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The new ‘brownshirts’?

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There was nothing democratic or peaceful about the “brownshirts” just as there is nothing democratic about the current mob of haters here, observes Zaharom Nain.

Like many others, I understand that it is all a political manoeuvre, calculated to help keep Umno in power even as the party loses any semblance of legitimacy and support, and clings on desperately, devoid of new ideas, and needing to play the old, pathetic race-game.

Indeed, like any other reasonably intelligent Malaysian, I do get it.

But, nonetheless, as a reasonably educated Malaysian Malay, I’ve also just had it up to here with the unwarranted attacks, the blind hatred and, of course, the utter idiocy of these right-wing Malay groups and individuals, hell-bent on sowing the seeds of discord and conflict in this green and pleasant land of ours.

Fifty seven years after Merdeka, and almost 40 years after the launch of the NEP, is this what these cretins have been reduced to? It is an embarrassment; indeed, they are an embarrassment.

Instead of thinking of competing on the global stage – since, like it or not, we are but one cog in the wheel of a global economic system called capitalism – this pitiful bunch of for-rent whiners not only appear to want more and more but also want other Malaysians to receive less and less.

And while doing so, they make baseless allegations of my fellow Malaysians, clearly designed to whip up a frenzy among their ilk and others who, they hope, are easily swayed. But also, these allegations, in addition, are designed to intimidate, bully, indeed antagonise, other Malaysians, the so-called ‘non-Malays’.

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A couple of years back, there was the accusation that a church in Perak was about to baptise Muslims, and there was a call for Muslims to come to the church and protest. As it turned out, the only people being baptised were a group of Christian kids who were, indeed, frightened by the commotion. And, of course, as is typical of these bullies, no apology was tendered.

Then there was the shameful incident in Shah Alam, where another bunch of thugs – immediately after Friday prayers, mind you – marched to the state government building, carrying a dead cow’s head, to protest the planned location of a Hindu temple where they lived. They kicked and spat on the poor dead animal, clearly aware that the cow is a sacred animal for Hindus.

Not surprisingly, a short while later, they were seen at a press conference given by the then home minister, who virtually laughed the incident off.

And such demands, insults and allegations have been par for the course at the last Umno general assembly. One by one, as if on cue, the delegates spewed much hatred towards fellow Malaysians.

Then, one woman delegate, a former deputy minister to boot, remarked that a Chinese community in Kedah “had burned the Qur’an during a prayer ritual”. Of course, there is no evidence whatsoever of that having happened.

Yet, she is unrepentant and, equally disgusting (but predictable), she has not been reprimanded by any senior member of the party.

There is no shame, no subtlety in all this. Clearly egged on by some ‘hidden’ entity, some ‘Big Brother’ pulling all the strings, these groups and individuals make one ridiculous assertion after another, all designed to push everyone else against the wall and close up any democratic space there may be left.

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Granted, they may lack the organisation and sophistry of Hitler’s “brownshirts”, but, make no mistake, their aims are the same.

According to one account, the brownshirts “functioned as the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party. They played a key role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Their main assignments were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of the opposing parties, fighting against the paramilitary units of the opposing parties … and intimidating Slavic and Romani citizens, unionists and Jews”.

Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?

There was nothing democratic or peaceful about the “brownshirts”, just as there is nothing democratic about the current mob of haters. The fact that they are allowed free rein should make us rise from our slumber and be more vocal with our objections.

They might consist of what many consider to be jokers, like those buttheads outside Ambiga’s house not that long ago. Or that Jabba the Hutt lookalike in that weird uniform who finds it difficult to articulate a single decent sentence but nonetheless keeps springing up in the media like a toad after the rain.

But the fact that they are allowed to do what they do with impunity and that more are being given the voice, however inelegant, to spout their hatred, their bigotry, their racism, should make us more vigilant.

More than that, it must make us all figure out ways to engage with those pulling their strings, their real ‘leaders’, and tell them in no uncertain terms that this is NOT the direction Malaysia should head.

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Source: The Heat Online

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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