Friday, February 20, 2009


As Raja Petra Kamaruddin, or Pete, or RPK as he might have been known to you, prepares to be incarcerated yet once again, it bothers me that I am doing very little in showing my support for him.

The powers that be want him written down as no more than a nuisance whose right place at this time is in some detention centre or prison.

So, he is supposed to be a threat to society and a threat to the security of the country. Well, at least that is what I read in the MSM. The way they report it, I suppose I am supposed to believe that if the government of the day says so, and they act so, and they prosecute so, they must be doing so in the interest of the people. Therefore I should be thankful to the government that they are doing this to RPK.

And then it occured to me. Not too long ago there was certainly a similar situation in another country where the legitimate government of the day was doing exactly what the Malaysian government is doing today to RPK. I thought of Nelson Mandela. I thought of Mahahtma Gandhi. And then I stretched my imagination a bit and it went so far as Jesus Christ himself.

What would I have been doing if I had had the kind of comfortable life that I am having now and these things were happening to Mandela or Gandhi or Jesus?

Would I have been reading the Times of India and reading the version of the story as expounded by the government? Maybe I might have even sighed and thought, why can't this starving skiny bones just leave things be and let those who govern, govern? Surely the government would not prosecute if they had no evidence!! Surely the judges would be impartial and rule fairly. And so, even though they may have jailed Gandhi 11 times in all, surely the judges would have been fair and right? Wouldn't they?

It makes me wonder now, if those judges who found Gandhi guilty and had sentenced him to prison were to be alive today and reading everything they are reading about Gandhi, what it is they would be thinking of themselves! Guilt free? I wonder what the judges who are going to be sitting in judgement of RPK think of thsoe judges who sent Gandhi, Mandela and Jesus to imprisonment and crucifixion!

But lets just leave those doing their jobs alone. Let us ponder about the rest of us who may not have been part of the movement of these individuals. We may have not been aredent fans or followers or supporters of Mandela, Gandhi or Jesus. And we may not exactly have been fans of the government of the day. We are just ordinary citizens who have our businesses and our jobs and we are comfortable in the environment provided by the government of the day.

As I have earlier stated, I think all that I would have done would have been really to not even bother too much. Of course I will keep myself informed through the newspapers and radio. And in Jesus times I suppose I would have gone to the temple to hear what the Pharasees and rabbis would have had to say.

Would I have comprehended Gandhi's message? After all when you gather lots of people who are in protest there must be problems and potential for violence. What with traffic jams and the closure of roads and public places? Not exactly good for business. And Gandhi caused all this. As for Mandela, I didn't even know he existed until long after his incarceration started. So there!!

No. RPK is no Gandhi or Mandela or Jesus. But the similarities are glaring. The description of these individuals by the powers that be. The excuses that were used in bringing them before the courts. The manner of the judgement that befell them. The consequenses of those judgements. Well, Gandhi and Mandela were lucky in some ways. They became legendary and succeeded in achieving their aims while still alive. RPK? I wonder! I hope!!

As for the instruments of government that kept the regimes protected to perpetuate their rule. As for the judiciary that attempted to give credibility and legitimacy to the rule of these regimes; well, they certainly did their jobs. They were powerful and they carried out their work judiciously and they certainly seemed so strong and unbreakable. This also reminds me of all those secret service agents and police who kept the Eastern European despots in power. When they fell, what ever happened to them and their power? We the ordinary citizens were supposed to live in fear of them.

So it was convenient I suppose to just go on living out our lives as we usually do. And this is where the oxymoron or dichotomy arises. How can then, Jesus, Gandhi or Mandela be our hero?

A good read on Gandhi's jailbird experiences may be read here.

You may want to read BBC's report at the time Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. Compare this to the reports today that you will find in NST and The Star. Absolutley no different in the reporting styles if you were an ordinary citizen who just wants the good life.

Or just be an ordinary citizen going about living your good life at the time when Jesus was hauled up, tried and convicted. Mind you, even Peter denied him three times, so how much better do you think you could have been?

Even if RPK is no angel, which he is not. He after all smokes and drinks and uses the f word even in his writing!! And he wears jeans for heavens sake!! And he has got a keen eye for the good looking ladies...just take a look at Marina and you know what I mean. Has he earned to be named alongside Jesus, Gandhi or Mandela? NO HE HAS NOT!!!


What RPK represents to the Barisan Malaysian Government is no different to what Jesus represented to the leaders of the temple, is no different to what Mandela represented to the Apartheid government of South Africa and is no different from what Gandhi represented to the British government in India.

No, RPK is no Jesus, Gandhi or Mandela. Sure go ahead and jail him and history will equate this government, this judiciary, this police force and the people of Malasyia living at this time as being no different from those governments and institutions and the people that imprisoned Mandela and Gandhi.


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