Batu Burok Aftermath: STOP Racist/Religious Insinuations!

13 09 2007

Blogger KTemoc noticed and posted here about a disturbing trend in the aftermath of the Batu Burok riots. It is something that I’ve noticed too and I consider it dangerous enough that this post is a follow up on KTemoc’s post.

Over the past 2 days, some of us have noticed an insidious undercurrent of racism and religious intolerance appearing in the seething public anger over the political violence in Batu Burok where police opened fire on a civilian crowd, seriously injuring two men.

Obviously, the bulk of the anger has been directed at the UMNO-BN government and the police over the heavy-handed police action and subsequent media manipulation of the Batu Burok incident, but a significant number of the many angry blog posts from Malay-Muslim bloggers about the riots have been saying things like “…the (Chinese-owned) pigs in Paya Mengkuang are luckier than the (Malay) protestors in Batu Burok…”; “…the (UMNO-BN) government is afraid to offend the (Chinese) pig farmers because they need the Chinese community’s support in the upcoming election…” etc etc.

This is irresponsible and dangerous. I don’t know if they consciously mean it but there is a distinct undercurrent of RACISM and RELIGIOUS SUPREMACISM in these comments, and it clearly shows a failure to see and understand the reality of the situation: that the clashes at Batu Burok and the near-riots at Paya Mengkuang had very similar causes and conditions, except that one erupted into a full riot while the other one was eventually defused.

Both situations came out of UMNO-BN trying to bully the people using the corrupt, politicised and ill-disciplined police force.

msk-pig-farms-standoff-23941.jpg

[ photo from Malaysiakini ]

In Paya Mengkuang (above), the UMNO state government deliberately politicised a purely technical issue about the pig farms in order to score cheap political points and gave the pig farmers unreasonable and impossible demands to fulfill, which of course created the backlash leading to the standoff with the police and FRU riot police.

batu_buruk_riot-070908.jpg

[ photo from Present Point Power ]

Again, in Batu Burok (above), there are strong indications that the UMNO-backed police interfered with a peaceful civil society forum, bullied volunteers and then used agents provocateur to instigate trouble in order to ‘justify’ the heavy-handed and apparently preplanned police ‘response’, with the shooting of the two men being an unfortunate outcome when the police plan went awry.

As a Malaysian citizen, I am outraged at the Batu Burok incident because the police fired live ammunition at civilians attending a civil society forum. The ethnicity, religion and gender of the civilians has ABSOLUTELY NO RELEVANCE AT ALL. They were civilians attending a civil society forum and became victims of what strongly appears to be a politically-motivated and premeditated disruption of the forum by the police.

Equally, I am outraged at the standoff in Paya Mengkuang over the pig farms; while there may have been real environmental problems caused by the pig farms there, these were purely technical issues and should have been resolved peacefully with technical solutions in collaboration with the farmers, instead of bringing in the FRU riot police and causing a near-riot. CLEANING UP SMELLY PIG FARMS DOES NOT REQUIRE THE FRU.

Both of these incidents point to the corrupt and ill-disciplined police force allowing themselves to be used as a political tool by UMNO-BN to bully the rakyat (people) to get its way with things.

We are all angry at the blatant abuse of police power and media manipulation surrounding the Batu Burok incident, but by painting the political violence in racist-religious colours, these individuals making the comments reveal a sinister streak of chauvinism and show themselves to be little better than the UMNO fascists in power. These individuals seem unable to see past the blinkers of their own narrow, religiously-coloured worldview. Instead of being angry at the similar bullying behaviour of the UMNO state govt in Malacca towards the pig farmers, the supremacists have directed their hate towards the pigs and pig farmers simply because their existence creates a perceived affront to Islam.

STOP IT NOW. There is no room for chauvinism of any kind in this country, whether it be racism, religious supremacy or sexism. We as Bangsa Malaysia are fighting for equality and our civil rights as free citizens of Malaysia, not to be subjugated to yet another racist-religious hegemony, and until we can stop looking at things through the distorted lenses of race and religion, we will be trapped in the vicious cycle of communal and sectarian politics.

We are striving to overcome the racial divisions sown by nearly 40 years (particularly since 1969) of racist rhetoric, and to a certain extent we have succeeded, as shown by the admirable effort put into the ongoing ‘colour-blind’ Bangsa Malaysia initiative. The chauvinistic insinuations of these individuals in the blogs however are just as corrosive to race relations as the overt supremacist rhetoric of UMNO-BN.

Malaysian citizens and civil society activists of all races and religions are fighting for the civil rights of the Malay civilians hurt in Batu Burok; Malaysian citizens and civil society activists of all races and religions are fighting for the civil rights of the Chinese pig farmers being bullied in Paya Mengkuang. Malaysians are fighting to defend the civil rights of ALL Malaysians for a fair and just Malaysia.

Is that not the ultimate objective?

So stop it NOW. Say NO to racism, religious supremacism and sexism. NO!


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2 responses

13 09 2007
malaysian

a message to those goblok bloggers:

babi tidak menyerang polis
babi tidak membakar Jalur gemilang
babi makan, tidur di kandang tiap2 hari
apa salah babi?

BUT the government wanna burry them alive in big holes, you fools!

So stop using the pigs, u pigs.

[ GhL ] :
I’m letting this one comment through unedited in order to make a point, though I think it’s unnecessarily quarrelsome. The racist bloggers are wrong, but so are we if we respond in kind. Point out where they are wrong and criticise where necessary, that is enough. We need to exercise a great deal of self-restraint if we are to overcome the deeply-conditioned mutual suspicion. There will always be agents provocateur seeking to irritate racial tensions whether on the ground or on the Internet. This is exactly the kind of communal strife that UMNO-BN has been sowing for 40 years with its supremacist rhetoric. If we succumb to communal fighting, UMNO-BN wins. Let’s not make it worse.

13 09 2007
bongkersz

As I wrote in my merdeka post, after 50 years of independence, it seems like general Malaysians become more racist then before. Every single issue turned into race, religion bashing. we still refused to identify ourselves as Bangsa Malaysia. Communal politics is still takes precedence, therefore making it hard for us to achieve the goal for a true united nation of one entity – Bangsa Malaysia.

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