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Fools, fanatics and wise men

Youth are the torchbearers of the future - FILE PHOTO

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Let us all embrace the diversity of our fellow Malaysians by allowing them to exercise their beliefs without sacrificing our own, writes Faisal S Hazis.

Let us emulate the courage of the young University of Malaya scholars - Photograph: KennKC/Twitter
Let us emulate the courage of the young University of Malaya scholars – Photograph: KennKC/Twitter

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts’ – Bertrand Russell

SOS! All wise men – from both sides of the political divide, ethno-religious groups, class and gender – please stand up and be counted. Cast away your doubts and consolidate your resolve to push for genuine acceptance of diversity, rationality and progress; qualities that have long been among the foundational values of our country.

Do this in your personal capacity either as a father, mother, son, daughter, friend, neighbour, social media user, journalist, political leader, ulama, priest, teacher, bureaucrat or simply as a loyal citizen of our country.

Let us all embrace the diversity and difference of our fellow Malaysians by allowing them to exercise their beliefs without sacrificing our own. Respect them just as how we want to be respected. Always see in them their good and positive sides. Do not judge, instead understand.

Let us spread the message of love, acceptance and moderation in our daily lives. Talk, write, preach and post these messages.

Let us find common ground that would allow us to work together and address the many challenges that our country and society presently faces. Let us not allow fools and fanatics to distract us from this bigger picture. Ignore the meaningless debates on who is a “pendatang” or “what to touch”.

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Instead, we ought to be addressing more pressing issues, i.e. the rising costs of living, the alarming crime rate, the declining quality of education, the high level of corruption, the recurring dengue epidemic, and a host of other issues.

Let us inspire a movement to reclaim Malaysia from the grip of fools and fanatics. Let us show these lunatics that we shall not be deceived by their hate, their venomous words and their divisive actions.

Let us all emulate the courage of our young UM scholars who challenged authority for stifling academic freedom. They have ceased merely talking about a democratic Malaysia; they are actually doing something about it.

Yes, I am aware that not many among us are willing to sacrifice our freedom and our lives for the struggle. Not many of us are willing to follow in the footsteps of Anwar Ibrahim, who is facing his second sodomy conviction. After all, we are not UM scholars or Anwar Ibrahim or Pak Samad or Ambiga or Anang, etc. who sacrifice so much for the sake of other Malaysians.

But we certainly can start a movement.

Together, let us sow the seeds of doubts in the wicked brains of these fools and fanatics. At the same time, let us re-assert our convictions with the zeal of the wise men/women. It is time that all wise men/women come together to work towards making Malaysia a peaceful and bountiful place for our children and our children’s children regardless of race, religion, gender, age and political belief.

The stakes are high. Malaysia and the future of her people hang in the balance.

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Will you stand with me? After all, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men/women to do nothing”. (Edmund Burke)

Faisal S Hazis
Co-editor, Aliran e-newsletter
31 October 2014

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