There Is Something Terribly Wrong With This Country, Isn’t There?

13 09 2007

As a Malaysiakini columnist wrote some weeks ago prior to the 50th anniversary of Malayan Independence, we have merely traded one set of colonisers and oppressors for another, home-grown one. One which in some respects is even more insidious than the colonials they eventually replaced. In the past several years especially we have seen increasingly fascist tendencies manifest in the UMNO-BN government, from the active suppression and persecution of dissenting voices and civil society (including the recent Batu Burok clashes and Paya Mengkuang standoff) to the constant race supremacist rhetoric spewing forth from the ranks of UMNO, rampant corruption and almost total hijacking of the mainstream media, to name just a few examples.

The bloody suppression of civil society and dissenting voices has come far sooner than even I expected, and in the aftermath of Batu Burok, I feel compelled to post — for the third time in one month — the text of the speech by ‘V‘ from the film ‘V for Vendetta‘, as a reminder of what we the people of Malaysia face if we do not make a stand now in the face of impending fascism, and also as a reminder of what we should be fighting for: freedom, equality and justice. But this time, there is a YouTube video clip of the speech from the film. The last few lines are unfortunately missing from the clip, but there is enough there to carry the meaning and passion of this singularly eloquent speech.

I reproduce the text of the speech below:

V: Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine – the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.

There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.

How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.

Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked.

But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot. People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. Strength through unity, unity through faith! I am V. At last you know the truth. You’re stunned, I know. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it, that beneath this wrinkled, well-fed exterior there lies a dangerous killing machine with a fetish for Fawkesian masks. Vive la revolution!

I know this speech resonates with you. As it does with me. It is the enunciation of an ugly truth that the government has tried to hide for so long, and that too many of us have tried to avoid facing even as it stares us insolently in the face.

We cannot avert our eyes any more.

This government is clearly beyond redemption. It is our duty and our right to change it.

___________________________________

Previous posts on this topic are here and here.


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8 responses

13 09 2007
malaysian

more and more bloggers quoting Mr. V, looks like i’ll have to buy the 69.90 DVD collection of V before the government bans it….shit…i was hoping to get it in christmas should the price dropped…LOL

[ GhL ] : Do get it, and share it with your friends.

13 09 2007
garvi

It is sad that Malaysians now see a comic, a fiction, a fantasy and a Hollywood movie as their source of hope and inspiration.
I’m sincerely feel sad and sorry for you.

[ GhL ] : The appeal of the speech and text is that it enunciates with simple eloquence a few universal truths that resonate strongly with the people aware enough to know what is really happening in Malaysia; the tragedy, as you say, is that the situation in Malaysia seems to be headed down the path of the fictional Britain in the film. Which is why we must not allow it to happen.

13 09 2007
bongkersz

“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

How apt 🙂 Just watched the movie last 2 weeks. A great movie to watch, especially at time like this..

[ GhL ] : Indeed. With the harsh truth so clearly stated in its dialogue, I wonder if the UMNO-BN government might not “see fit” to ban the movie. Someone told me an anecdote (not verified, but entirely plausible) that they once banned a book entitled “Revolution” — which was actually about wheels.

13 09 2007
Stu

“We must ensure that the fight against corruption is overcome”

a very honest statement by the Foreign Minister of Malaysia during his interview on the BBC ‘Hard Talk’ programme today.
No need to say more, I rest my case

[ GhL ] : Ah, the Foreign Minister speaks the truth, even if he didn’t mean to.

13 09 2007
Stu

See the interview on line at this url:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/hardtalk/6992908.stm

On a second hearing I think he said ‘our’ not ‘the’

“We must ensure that our fight against corruption is overcome”

Please listen to the interview if you missed it on ASTRO.

14 09 2007
Antares

What a rich voice Hugo Weaving has. What a memorable performance, pulled off from behind a plastic mask. Big Brotherism and the Brave New World Order are a global disease (try as they might the Americans still have Cheney & Bush in the White House; and the Brits have only traded Blair for Brown, ha ha; while Howard the Duck’s humorless cousin John continues to rule Down Under) – but it’s true one must think global and act local. Keep up the excellent work, GhostLine!

[ GhL ] : Thank you Antares, we do what we can. If only we had the US’ two-term constitutional limit. It’s not perfect, but it is a form of built-in damage control.

15 09 2007
chansey

I think the last few lines were spoken by a different character later in the movie, that may explain why it isn’t there.

I would like to point out, however, that too many of us still don’t know what we’re fighting for, save that it involves freedom of speech, non-racism and meritocracy.

Your own “wiki”constitution seems a very good starting point, and I urge you to give it some priority over news posts, which will be covered by other bloggers anyway.

[ GhL ] : Point taken, chansey. The government seems to be able to cook up an inexhaustible supply of misdeeds, detracting from more positive efforts to combat them.

25 04 2008
Chris

“It is sad that Malaysians now see a comic, a fiction, a fantasy and a Hollywood movie as their source of hope and inspiration.
I’m sincerely feel sad and sorry for you.”

This man is an idiot. Who is he to judge where someone finds their hope and inspiration? The concept of overcoming a governments reign is itself a fantasy, until it has been completed. It has been done before, it will be done again. Whoever the first person was to overcome the rule of some tyrant did it purely on imagination, the thought of what life would be like with the freedoms he was denied. V for Vendetta’s story as a whole was meant to inspire hope in the heart’s and minds of all the people who read it, all the people unaware of their significance in the grand scheme. The people who had been lied to from birth, told that their opinion would effect nothing. I, for one, am happy to see that this “fantasy” was a success.

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