How to help the Palestinians

NOV 30 — I am all for the Palestinians. Their woeful state of affairs screams at the double standards in human rights practised by those in the corridors of world power. 

For those who are naive about the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, it began when the Palestinian’s homeland for over a thousand years was taken, without their consent and mostly by force during the creation of the state of Israel. And all subsequent crimes — on both sides — inevitably follow from this original injustice. 

Nothing warrants the senseless killing of civilians... women, children by the thousands. Not in the name of religion, country, definitely not in self defence against a country that does not even have a proper army to defend itself.

For every Israeli killed in combat, hundreds of Palestinian civilians die, and more are injured and left homeless without access to food as well as basic medical and sanitary supplies. 

Help? They may fabricate evidence to invade an oil rich country but for the resource-deficient Palestine the risk of angering the small but very powerful Israel is simply too great to take. The Obama administration was in Yangon, preferring to reminisce about the days of a cruel junta while Palestinians continue to suffer the wrath of Israel in broad daylight.

Malaysia tabled an emergency motion in Parliament condemning the attacks. Israel, as an established nation state, has violated international humanitarian laws, the UN Charter and the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in conflict zones.

The rest of the Muslim world? Some are too busy fighting each other and building their country from the recent “spring break”. The rest who did not have their spring breaks (yet) are either aiming for one, wallowing in their wealth, busy playing God by judging on each other’s piety, or are trying their level best to boycott anything and everything — no matter how distant — they are related to the Jews and the Israelis.

It is sad when you think about it. The only real, immediate, foreseeable help and retaliation that the 1.2 billion Muslims have to offer the Palestinians are boycotts, boycotts and more boycotts towards the Israelis.

Taking cues from those countries, and due to the limited response available at their disposal, certain quarters in Malaysia have also jumped on the bandwagon calling for the boycotting of certain popular fast-food chains and clothing brands. 

In their haste to emulate the others, they have forgotten to include every American, British, Chinese, Russian and French brand and product to their boycott list. After all, the UN Security Council has all the powers to deploy peacekeepers and troops to create a ceasefire and protect civilians, but where are they? 

Why weren’t they included in the boycott list? 

Within the answer lies the problem. Not only are the Muslims disunited and in disarray, but they do not seem to make sense anymore. How often have we seen Muslims killing Muslims for something that was perpetuated and started by someone else? How often have we seen Muslim suicide bombers killing their own Muslim brothers after seeing an insulting cartoon? 

Irrationality seems to be the only retaliation Muslims know to dish out lately.

Instead of staging an ineffective boycott, lashing out and bombing your countrymen in blind anger, perhaps we should just take a moment to recompose ourselves and ask the most important question that eludes Muslims worldwide — who is our biggest enemy?

The answer is — the Muslims themselves. 

We are lagging technologically, economically, politically from the rest of the world, resulting not only the inability to defend ourselves, but also our religion from our enemies. 

Who is to blame? 

The Muslim world must realise that education, and political stability, is always the best defence. With education comes an evolved thought process, leading to a higher level of rational thinking, resulting in scientific discovery and technological breakthrough. Political stability, believe it or not, is the bedrock of an enlightened society, both are qualities severely wanting in Muslim countries.

Perhaps with rational thinking they will understand why it is futile to stage a successful boycott against these multinational companies that employ hundreds and thousands of Muslims worldwide.

To the groups calling for a selective boycott in Malaysia, this is my suggestion. Instead of a boycott, why don’t we round up our youths and send them for a language camp? Get them to learn an extra language or two, sign them up for extra maths and science classes at the same time. Make them hate corruption, abuse of power to the extent that they will scream whenever people ask them for “duit kopi” at road blocks. 

Turn them into assets that will ensure our continued growth and stability in future instead of Mat Rempits and other juvenile delinquents you find in the Pusat Serenti. Believe it or not, they will not only be a great human capital but also serve as a deterrent to any enemy of the state, and will yield results way better than any boycott can ever achieve.

Let me end this with a quote from one American author, Harlan Ellison: “The passion for revenge should never blind you to the pragmatics of the situation.”

We should aid the Palestinians and those in need while taking steps to ensure a similar fate will never befall us.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.



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