Saturday, January 28, 2012

on how to talk about protests and flags while trying to maintain neutrality

Its been a week since i last wrote. Those bubblemen are starting to protest.

Protests, protests. Its becoming the Cool Word of 2011/2012. 

"You were one of the protesters at Tahrir Square?? would you like an interview?"

"I was one of the 99% who protested at Wall Street." 

"i'm protesting in Syria tomorrow. If anything happens, you can have my laptop."

And although the action is happening at the centre of the world, even countries on the peripheries (like Malaysia truly Asia have not been spared). Witness the recent fiasco over "the flag that shook a nation".

And some of the things i frequently hear is 

"Why are you protesting? you have a comfortable life. Okaylah tu, bersyukur."
"they're throwing away their future, protesting like that."
"protesting is not good at all. Look at the Arab countries. They rebelled. Are they more peaceful now? look at their country, its still in chaos."

Of course it would be daft to expect change in one night. Rome was not built in one day. Even the Prophet took 23 years to establish islam all over arabia, in the meanwhile encountering resistance and chaos.

I have no comments on the methods used by the protesters. Biasalah, darah muda (young blood). But the objects of their grievances are real. 

And i don't agree with the view of "why all the fuss, we have a stable and secure life". 

Sure, we have a stable and secure life. We have no external wars, no civil wars. That only means that there is no physical violence.

But violence occurs every day, right under our noses. We go to sleep full, whilst others in our neighbourhood don't have enough to eat. That is violence.

We are free. But our brothers are shackled, enslaved by the burden of debt and interest that they have to pay to the banks. That is violence.

Our fathers work hard and pay taxes. But some have the nerve to squander that money. That is violence.

This is what sociologists call "symbolic violence", the hidden modes of domination/oppression happening every day.

And as a famous man once said, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere".

And an even more famous book says,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Verily, Allâh enjoins Al-Adl (justice) and Al-Ihsân, and giving (help) to kith and kin and forbids Al-Fahshâ' (i.e all evil deeds) and Al-Munkar (i.e all that is prohibited by Islâmic law) and Al-Baghy(i.e. all kinds of oppression), He admonishes you, that you may take heed. (An Nahl:90)

The Prophet was undertaking a form of protest. He was trying to change the oppressive system of the Quraisy and the Arabs, changing them into a people who are just and kind and submit to Allah.

Corruption. Moral decay. Crime. etc.

A playwright once said,
"by continuing to play the roles assigned to them, “individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.”

If we do nothing to change the oppression, we are part of the oppression.

And how does change start? By protesting against our inner self.



Jzkk for a really good read =)