The missing voice after Bersih 3.0 — Zara Kahan
APRIL 30 — The aftermath of Bersih is one filled with confusion regarding who started what and who should be answerable for the casualties and violence.
The true answer to this is a convoluted one, since Bersih 3.0 happened at several places at the same time; it is difficult to gain an accurate holistic picture of how everything went down.
The blame game is rising to a shrill pitch because, in Malaysia, one’s political leaning is used as judgment of a person’s character. If you choose the “wrong side”, you are vilified and every evil that falls upon you is well-deserved. In the words of Khaled Nordin, if you go against us and get hurt, “Jangan tagih simpati.”
This immature and dysfunctional way of thinking is largely the fault of our leaders, who love taking political wars to a personal level. The name-calling that happens in Parliament is a testament to our political landscape.
Instead of good leadership we are faced with sellers of poison, and it’s a case of choosing which poison we should swallow. The stance of demonizing everyone who went to the rally or everyone who is against it, keeps us at a standstill that brings no good to anyone.
In this sort of climate, it isn’t surprising that all we seem to be asking is which effigy should we burn, instead of the most important question: How do we move forward?
There is room for discourse that goes beyond the madness, one that can engage every party on a civil level. Regrettably, both sides are concentrating on directing public anger towards their opponents. It is extremely easy to fall back on our baser instincts and do the things that serve our own selfish interests. This is what we expect from common men, not the “gifts from God” who propose that they are the best amongst us and therefore should lead us.
Leaders are meant to represent the people, even the ones that make fun of you on the Internet and march against you.
When you are the prime minister of Malaysia, you are the leader of all Malaysians, not only the Malaysians who voted for you.
A true leader would communicate a message that can take us out of this debacle in a positive way, for the good of every man and woman in this nation, and not just for a political party.
So the people broke laws by marching. Isn’t there value in the fact that people are willing to be tear-gassed to demonstrate that they care about the nation?
So certain police officers were brutal in their treatment of the protestors. What of the thousands who stood their ground while being called derogatory names and attacked on sight for simply doing their job?
There are so many good things that we can take away from Bersih 3.0 and the person who deserves our votes is the one with just enough compassion and insight to bring something better into the post-Bersih narrative.
There is something missing amongst our leaders: A voice that is inspiring enough for us to feel shame for giving in to our worst instincts instead of one that encourages it.
We need the voice of someone who wants the best for every Malaysian.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider