The Avengers and Bersih 3.0 — David Martin
MAY 3 — I had a rollicking good time in the cinema last Friday as I watched the movie adaptation of Marvel’s “The Avengers”.
What’s not to like anyway? An ensemble cast with brilliant actors including Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johanssen and many more. Lots of explosive action, with downtown Manhattan being ground zero. Witty one liners leaving the audience in stitches for the good part of two hours. Alien getting their backsides walloped. In short, a comic lover’s wet dream come true.
I enjoyed it so much that I decided to watch it again, this time in 3D on the IMax screen. Then it occurred to me — how similar the Avengers were to the Bersih movement here in our very own backyard.
The big green monster Hulk was a reluctant hero while the Norse God of Thunder Thor was only involved as the rabble rouser to half-brother Loki. Captain America was driven to action by his sense of duty to the country while Tony “Iron Man” Stark always had to be the centre of attention.
The amalgamation of the super heroes with huge egos led to a lot of friction and tension amongst the team. This in turn led to non-stop squabbling which threatens to tear the team apart.
All their differences were set aside when humanity faces its biggest threat. As the saying goes, from the fire is forged the toughest steel. True to form, the rag tag bunch pulled themselves together to defend what is fundamentally important to them.
Lest I’m accused of writing a review of the movie, its best that I get back to the subject at hand, Bersih 3.0 and how it resonates with the Avengers.
We have a very loose coalition made up of distinguished personas, politicians, activists, etc fighting for a fundamental right — that we have a clean and transparent electoral system. And on that foundation, Bersih came to existence.
The mere fact that the numbers that turned up for the rally has grown since the first assembly some five years back shows that there are a substantial number of Malaysians who feel the same way. As citizens, it is not enough to just merely cast our votes when we know that there is something inherently wrong with the election process.
Just seeing all walks of life joining in the rally on a hot, lazy Saturday afternoon fully knowing that there’s a very real threat of being tear gassed goes to show how much we have matured as a democracy. The days when the government knows best are nod in the annals of history.
That said, the journey is long and hard still. A few rallies around the world would come to nought if we do nothing about it when given the chance to do so at the elections.
The fact that the rally got out of hand is further proof that the proverbial bed of roses is a long way off still. We can point fingers at the authorities or we can also blame it all on agent provocateurs planted within the rally goers.
Or, we can acknowledge that there were some organisational weaknesses which may have led to the flashpoint which was exacerbated by wanton firing of tear gas by the police. We should accept that a portion of the blame lies in the hands of the organisers and do better the next time.
Frankly, I am disappointed with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who has reverted to his Umno bashing fallback plan when asked about the role he played in the incidents leading to the moment all hell broke loose.
A true leader acknowledges his faults and failures. A true leader apologises when he does wrong. A true leader does not deflect blame when it isn’t warranted. A true leader recognises that no one, especially not him, is perfect.
On those counts, Anwar has failed Bersih and his own supporters. Despite Datuk S. Ambiga’s earlier reminder that there be no political speeches, banners or chants, all was forgotten in the heat of the moment by Anwar. To her credit, Ambiga knew that there were shortcomings from the organisational point of view.
As rightly pointed out by filmmaker Benji Lim, a stampede could have occurred which could have turned into something worse. Also, pictures circulating of a youth aiming a kick at a fallen policeman invariably were a dark spot in our beloved country’s annals. Under no circumstances should such violence be tolerated.
That said, the throngs that turned up on April 28 were testament to a country taking destiny in its own hands. It was a commitment towards a brighter, better future. It was the day we Malaysians are well and truly awake. It was the day when our version of the Avengers assembled...
Bring on Bersih 4.0!!!! “Avengers 2” would be nice too, by the way.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.