Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Foolhardy Stunt

New Straits Times reported on December 28 that Viva Palestina Malaysia (VPM) staged a flash mob event two Mondays ago by staging an assault in KL Sentral station to remind the public that Gazans are still under siege. In the mock-up, a group of armed men (supposedly Israeli soldiers) “stormed” the building and dragged an old Palestinian man along the floor, in an attempt to abduct him. A couple of women and children were seen to plead unsuccessfully with the masked “soldiers” to show mercy. Commuters were generally stunned by the spectacle.

Musa Mohd Nordin, the VPM medical committee chief, played the role of the old Palestinian man in the skit and said that the flash-scene was based on reality: “When I was there in Palestine, we saw events like that on a daily basis.”

The guns used in the play were only plastic and Musa's own pair of glasses was shattered while performing the act. He said, “We're trying to show Malaysians the violence that's happening there and awaken society, so everyone would rise against oppression.”

Ah-h-h, that familiar word “Oppression”. Why are we so intent on showcasing something that is thousands of miles away when the oppression is unfolding right at our doorstep?

Malaysia already offers so much. We have tyrannical laws in our statute books such as the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) and the University & University College Act 1971 (UUCA). We have rules and regulations that favor one privileged group of citizens while the others are alienated. We have the police who enjoy using brute force – when citizens hold candles, they get arrested; when citizens protest, they get blitzed by tear gas and sprayed with chemical-laced water.

What’s more this was a foolhardy stunt – what if people panic? What if this was not play-acting and it was very real? Terrorists with assault rifles. Where are our security forces? Hmmm… we seem to think we are safe! And I wonder if the organizers received police approval to stage this event?

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