Preventing bloodshed by promoting human understanding and fostering a more united society will require a certain level of self-restraint and forward-thinking, says Syerleena Abdul Rashid.
For a majority of us, our definition of war is almost always confined to military warfare involving artillery and body counts. Needless to say, our views are heavily influenced by media and what Hollywood moguls can try to sell to us.
However, these days, as society becomes more sophisticated (or lazy – depending how you want to see it), we have become increasingly transfixed by how information can spread so quickly through social media (fascinatingly enough, Facebook alone has approximately 1.3bn members and counting).
In recent times, Malaysians are beginning to see how unscrupulous factions have begun disseminating lies and slander through social media in efforts to sway public opinion and mould unsuspecting minds into believing their half-truths. This year alone, efforts to uphold peace and unity have been tainted by numerous damaging incidents that underline the suppressive undertone our country is now beginning to endorse.
Malaysians now live in a time when the fanatical voices are growing louder with each passing day. Who can forget the ridiculous incident where a women was made to wear a sarong simply because someone decided her skirt was inappropriate and could wobble a man’s innocence.
Malaysians now live in a country where marital rape doesn’t exist, religious authorities are permitted to snatch bodies at whim and over-zealous bigots are debating the status of penguin meat. These fanatics spread their type of skewed ideologies through misinformation and oppression. They broadcast with unfettered conviction; the gullible believe every single bit of it without even bothering to question the validity of their claims.
We have witnessed despair and conflict created by such demented beliefs, as these mad men fabricate lies that are in (conflict) with progressive human values. For Malaysians, although it does not seem as though we are at war, the growing tension fuelled by racial bigotry and religious intolerance may lead us to a destructive downward spiral.
Great thinkers of ancient times believed that peace was the ultimate goal which humanity had to work towards. We must be made to understand that peace is regarded as the norm in civil society. Not only is it essential for our material survival but it is a requirement for all human existence.
The principles which we should live by are obvious, but how can we understand situations that may force us to react aggressively, void of logic and sound moral judgment. We must find a way to counter the tide of violence and oppression.
Preventing bloodshed by promoting human understanding and fostering a more united society will require a certain level of self-restraint and forward-thinking. To achieve this, Malaysians must set aside our differences and accept the fact that once we’ve stripped away all of our man-made labels, we are all the same – both inside and out.
Let the message of peace go out to everyone in the world whose lives have been destroyed by senseless acts of violence created the by human lust for power and to those who seek nothing more than to uphold justice, freedom, solidarity and equality. Let this message of peace resonate in the minds of Malaysians and help restore our relationship with one another.
Are we able to achieve peace and harmony and unite our fragile nation? The answer will depend on our willingness to reflect on things thoroughly and our ability to learn from past mistakes. After all, an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind and this wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest.
Contrary to what some factions may want you to believe; it is peace and not war that is appropriate and in line with human nature.