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GE13: Hope is both terrible and wonderful

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Malaysians came together after GE2008. We can only grow stronger as one after GE2013, says Sheila Santharamohana.

Democracy for all
Democracy for all

Hope is at once wonderful and terrible.

Since 308, we have emerged stronger. Never before have we been so united in our dream to free this country from the tyranny of BN. For me, having lived through the poison of Mahathir’s darkest era, this was something I had only dreamed of – a Bangsa Malaysia that was not mere rhetoric but a reality. Thank you my fellow Malaysians for this.

505 is tomorrow and I don’t know what I will do if PR does not win and I cannot imagine the tumult in the hearts of those in the front-lines. It has been a hard fought battle for both seasoned and aspiring politicians and their teams on the ground. Undoubtedly, the toll on the family, health and careers of these admirable people is incalculable. And I am grateful.

But I find it hard to be optimistic. As news of illegal voters ping into my FB and e-mail complete with images and e-mail screenshots, I get so frustrated. This country is all we have and I wonder how it is possible that anyone in the army, police and civil service could let down the people they serve without any remorse or conscience. Surely, there must be someone who has the gumption to make a stand?

Every time I think of this nation’s leadership, I am reminded of fascists. If we look at Germany, the holocaust happened because the army and civil society let it. They chose to believe in the propaganda spewed put and ceased to see their Jewish neighbours and friends as fellow humans. Sometimes I wonder who was more dehumanised? The Germans chose not to listen to their conscience and to look the other way. At the end, their excuse was that they did not know. Will this be the hollow excuse of our policeM, immigration and army if it is proven that they were on the wrong side of history? No matter who we vote, Malaysians alive today will not forget this.

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And so it becomes clear that the rakyat are alone in this. Tomorrow, we will have the law against us. The police will be watching and I’m sure somewhere in the crowd, several plain-clothes SB will be taking notes and images for their dossiers. I don’t care really. If there is one hope we still have before tomorrow, it will be that Malaysians will unite once again to make sure their voices are heard and their votes are true.

But if Malaysians can’t and don’t win, what then?

I will still have faith because I have met amazing people these last five years. They are unwavering in their goals despite the odds: young men and women who give so much of themselves, their time and energy and transformed the political landscape with their passionate idealism. Working tirelessly, they are the unsung heroes who are the agents of change because they live Bangsa Malaysia. With their passion and our participation, I am sure that if we can come together after 308, we can only get stronger after 505. Malaysians have done it and we will do it again.

Tomorrow, the BN caretaker government may betray us in the worst manner but they cannot do it forever – because hope is both terrible and wonderful.

If you had told me 10 years ago that we would be talking about Bangsa Malaysia, I would have laughed. I don’t anymore. I know that no matter what the outcome WE, the rakyat, would have made this better Malaysia.

Sheila Santharamohana is an Aliran member based in KL.

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