Monday, June 21, 2010

Liberals, nothing more than those passionate in liberating others.

“In the name of Allah the most gracious and most merciful.” More than just a sentence, it is an utterance of faith in one omnipotent God, declared by Muslims all around the world before committing even the simplest of deeds. An act so entrenched, it has been taken for granted by those caring only to wet their lips with these beautiful names of Allah, without thoroughly embracing their meanings by heart.

Allah is ar-Rahman, the most Beneficent, the most Gracious. Allah, God of all things living and not, does not discriminate according to blood, family-line, religion, and yes, including race, in awarding His bountiful wealth to a person deserving of what he had worked for.

A person not learned in the laws of God, I could not speak for the many interpretations of God’s kindness. Yet, one thing I do understand is that a number of ways could be used in attempts to explain fairness and equality in various economics terms.

Based on an idea suggested by one John Nash in his 1950 doctorate dissertation in Princeton, the best result achievable by a group of players is when all involved acted in the interest of the group, not of individual preferences. In other words, there is no harm, only goodness, that could come out of sharing, rather than fighting. John Nash may be the one who discovered the theory; the result, however, had been promised by God thousands of years back.

The embarrassing question we cannot avoid but to ask ourselves now is, why do more citizens of Malaysia – in fact, let’s call them the majority – believe so much in the pessimistic view of zero-sum game, that they are afraid to face even the most inevitable challenges of life?

Human beings are created by God from sounding clay, in an array of tones from dark to fair, not for us to shout our claims of which land belongs to who, but to appreciate the differences in us as the glue that has been keeping human relationship from falling apart as God prefers not for one group to feel above another by what granted to them, except only of humility.

With all due respect, I ask, what is a constitution except words written by mortal human beings who did not have the ability to foresee the coming future even if they had wanted to?

Malaysia may be a young country, but based on human time, it had been a while now since we last saw 1957, and the Malaysians that are currently living here are no different from their neighbors except for the limitations put in their way by those easily brought down from vulnerable seats of power.

We are a scared bunch of people. Regrettably, because of our unwarranted fear, not only are we restricting the gains of those we are afraid of facing in a game of strength and perseverance, but because of negative-sum game, indirectly we are putting a constraint to what we can fully achieve too. God is fair, and karma is mean.

I’m proud of 1Malaysia. In fact, why don’t we stretch it further to include 1World?

The challenge now is, to those who have been eating the cili padis, are you too arrogant to defy the law of God for those written by men? Is being Malay, a race, a color of the skin, that is only as pure as the Gombak river, more important to you than being a Muslim, a religion, unchanged by neither time nor weather?  



Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Peace, an unrealistic term, used realistically

     terrorism [ˈtɛrəˌrɪzəm] n    shocking acts of violence in which the principal purpose is not destruction itself but the dramatic and psychological effects on populations and governments

The world we are currently living in is unknowingly divided into two, the one shared with others, and another that others choose to keep to themselves, an effect of our own subconscious mind. Physical reality is not made up of atoms and matters; instead, it is made up of our own definition on particular matters.

Before 9/11, the word 'terrorism' was simply defined as the practice of terror, with no hidden message, only truth that comes from adding the English suffix of –ism. Now, ten years after the scare of Y2K, the world has yet to agree upon a universal definition of a word that was once neither flashed nor stamped in the media every time a bomb explodes in some remote places in the world.

Yet, according to the world that we live in today, terrorism is what we choose to call the actions of those who do not abide by conventional laws of war and peace. The question is, “Who decides who gets into the list, and who to be left out?”

The act of terrorism is not exclusively a strategy of one tribe or, say, religion. Terrorist groups can be found in various locations on the map including the Far East in the form of Aleph in Japan, and to as far west in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. These very distinct groups use similarly harmful methods as a way to call attention to their causes, since there is very limited use to the human voice if no ear chooses to listen. Destruction is a small price to pay for what these groups deemed as the greater cause. Anybody with a right mind knows no such justification is justification enough.

In international politics, it must be understood that terrorism can be used by both state and non-state actors. Most commonly, though, more not-state actors choose to hide behind the smoking veil of terrorism because they are disproportionately weaker than the state, or any power, they are rebelling against. On the other hand, states do have an incentive to use terrorism too, especially during a losing battle, to scare their own people or other states, while at the same time avoiding the blame of starting a psychological battle by using surrogate non-state actors.

Unfortunately, there are also a handful of states, committing acts so horrendous they terrorize those dwarfed by their standard of prowess, with no political purpose, using no surrogate actors, except those employed by the states themselves. What do we make of them? Do we leave them alone in the name of self-autonomy? If so, where is the line between humanity and sovereignty? What are we willing to give up in order to maintain world order? If we choose to let blood be spilled to stand up for a belief in the Westphalian system of four hundred years ago, are we any different from those whom the word ‘terrorist’ rolled out of our tongues in spits when their names are mentioned?

Simply, justice does not exist. If such a thing has ever walked and breathed on this earth, where has it been all this while as we quietly watched states take mothers away from sons, nephews away from uncles, and friends away from each other? Where is this justice when cases of families torn apart by the power of the state are to be filed under the eyes of no observer? The balloons of arrogance and hypocrisy are only further blown into, taking more wind out of feeble states to keep them begging for mercy.

Reality does not exist, either. There is nothing real about having to dissect a seemingly objective affair in subjective terms. An influential state does not have to answer to any power above it once the finger (or gun barrel) has been point. But take a much weaker state which is asking for practically nothing, except that of the same rights enjoyed by its neighbors, only to be denied on the ground of unproven suspicion. What, thus, is left to be considered as real about international laws and conventions?

No words or actions can change the reality in which a state chooses to live in. They are not what they say they are not, and we are what they say we are, which technically is what they are, too, except, we are labeled with an ironically undefined word.