Saturday, 24 November 2007

The Hindraf Rally...

...why the walk must not proceed

Someone sent an email to lawyer Harris Ibrahim , who is also a blogger, saying that he is worried sick about the rally planned by Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) outside the British High Commission tomorrow (Sun, Nov 25).

Hindraf plans to submit a petition with 100,000 signatures to Queen Elizabeth ll to appoint a Queen's Counsel to represent the Indian community in a class acion suitgainst the Bitish Government for bringing Indians as labourers to the then Malaya and exploiting them.

Three of Hindraf members including its legal adviser, P. Uthayakumar, were arrested (read here) charged in court with sedition (read here)

Writing under the name A Worried Citizen, the writer says:
“Before you get put off by the heading which may prompt you to think I am some BN supporter, let me assure you I am not. I am however concerned about the planned rally by Hindraf this Sunday. Knowing how evil and corrupt our govt is, don’t let them use this rally or rather what may happen at the rally, to turn the tables on us. Do NOT play into the hands of this corrupt and ruthless govt by giving them ammunition to justify banning all future rallies.

The BERSIH rally was undoubtly a huge success to the people and the govt has its back against the wall. We need to keep the momentum and should not foul up by our short sightedness and underestimation of the ruthlessness of the enemy. The govt need to legitimize and find reasons to tell the world that Malaysians cannot have rallies as we are not mature or responsible enough.

As much as I hate this but I must agree with you that our Hindu brothers must retreat and regroup for the next time ”
Continue here

Harris says he shares the concerns articulated in the e-mail. He is NOT lending support to the rally, And here is WHY:

" NOT because I do not support the call to alleviate the lot of the Indians in this country, but because the Hindraf call is only to address the economic and social neglect of the Hindu / Indian community, and not the fate of all underprivileged, deprived and marginalised Malaysians, regardless of race."

"And make no mistake, there are underprivileged, deprived and marginalised Malaysians of all races, without exception, in the country.

"The Hindraf call, to my mind, is as chauvinistic and communal as is the UMNO call to defend ‘ketuanan Melayu’.

"Both stand in the way of any earnest effort to forge a nation of a single people.

"That is what I stand for and that is what I will walk for.
Justice and equality for all people.

"Yes, I walked on 10-Eleven, but that walk and the one planned for this Sunday cannot be equated, other than that both are founded on the constitutionally guaranteed right to peacably assemble.

"On 10-Eleven, Gelombang Kuning was made up of every race.

10-Eleven was an event to champion all the people, not a race."

"I pray that wisdom will also prevail in the Hindraf leadership now and that they will make an early decision to call off the rally."
Harris says he has tried contacting Uthayakumar
by telephone "to implore him to do the right thing. I have not been able to get through. I shall continue to try."

Read Harris's take on: Why I will not walk this Sunday and why the walk must not proceed, here

In the meantime, the Briish High Commission has dissociated itself from the planned rally.

"All suggestions that the British High Commision is anyway encouraging people to attend the event are false," it said in a statement released to the media.

Read also: sk's Hindraf: Why you shouldn’t walk tomorrow? here

For another view on the rally read:

Nat Tan's entry on Why I will walk this Sunday here
zorro-unmasked's Tomorrow I walk alongside my Indian brothers and sisters, here
And, galadriel's here and here
Police roadblocks days ahead of Hindraf rally: here


Shimi Lara said...

Hi Kok Ton, I agree with your analysis. This time it is different. I hope and pray it does not lead to violence. There is a fine line between freedom of speech and anarchy. I hope never to find out the hard way. Sometimes Kak Ton, there are elements of grandstanding.

As a pacifist I understood the reasons for Walk for Justice and BERSIH. The lawyers managed to keep their march dignified and unsullied by political agendas. BERSIH, though only symbolic, unfortunately got derailed (by who else?) but still drove the point home. Hindraf I don't understand at all. How far do we push the envelope?

Thanks for the magazines again. Let's pray cool heads and rational minds will prevail.


orang lama said...

kak ton,

I can understand if they are angry over the demolition of temples, but I can't understand for the life of me why they are suing the British Government over something that happened such a long time ago.