Street Demonstrations a BIG no-no

So says our very vocal and opinionated Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz in The Star today. And for the first time, I am  inclined to more or less agree with him.

After the debacle over the Islamic Family Law Bill and the stern warning to not openly discuss issues pertaining to Islam if we do not understand it, Datuk Seri Nazri – whom I’ve always thought to be quite smart, media savvy and friendly – has plunged down in my popularity ratings. He might move up the ratings again if he continues to toe the line and give us the respect we are due.

In regarding street demonstrations being held in Malaysia, I have to agree with him that in this peace-loving country, it is not right that we allow something so disruptive and uncontrollable to held for the sake of freedom of speech and right to protest. This is the reason why I sometimes find the debate over a particular freedom with much disdain.

People should wake up and realise that there is no such thing as an absolute freedom to do anything and everything a person wants to do. The lines cannot be compromise and definitely not blurred.We may have the freedom of speech, but that freedom comes at an end when we vocalise our contempt and misuse our freedom to incite hate, to tarnish reputations and to destroy dignities integrity. More often than not, this is what happens during street demonstrations. 

Street demonstrations bring nothing but turmoil and fear to the people…look at what happened to our ASEAN neighbours – Thailand is experiencing almost daily street demonstrations, disrupting businesses and causing strife and insecurity in the country, in Indonesia, street demonstrations are a normal fixture, whether its about religion, decency or protesting against their leaders. Even in Europe, France specifically, demonstrations are held by university students to protest against the recent job reforms, till the people who wants to learn and study are disrupted and inconvenienced as a result of the students insensitive and irresponsibility.

Street demonstrations brings no benefits. Sure, People Power in Phillipines has overthrown dictators and corrupt leaders twice, does that mean we have to keep on doing that if our leaders fail and fail again? Should we all drop everything we do now and camp outside the MPPJ building and protest against the increase in assessment rates and make demands to see their accounts?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

From L to R: 300,000 disaffected youth in Algeria hold violent protests on 31 May 2001 against police brutality; People Power 2 in January 2001 in The Philippines forced then president Joseph Estrada to step down – paving the way for current President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is now also facing similar protests against her leadership; live elephants were not spared from being used as street protest puppets by anti-Thaksin groups in almost daily street demonstrations against the leadership of Prime Minister Thaksin since early this month. Click on the thumbnails to see slightly bigger versions of the photos. Pictures were found via Google Image Search.

I just want to stress that if you want to make an opinion, make it through the right channel. I am thankful that despite the reformasi days back in the late 90s did cause severe harm and did not make a lasting impact. Those that got themselves involve in street demonstrations are nothing but vagrants, vagabonds and irresponsible parties that simply have no regards to the sensitivities and feelings of the general public. What riles me is the fact that when they protest, they make it as if they represent the entire general population… HELLO! I don’t need idiots to be my mouthpiece and represent me. 

Malaysians want peace. Malaysians want harmony. Disruptions, strife and fear is what we do not need in this country. When we held demonstrations against the war in Iraq, we did not do any flag burning, chant profanities and hurl abuses at our targets, we did it wholesomely and really peacefully. Did we riot? No, and you cannot deny that in some places, street demonstrations will surely degenerate into something much, much worse than they intended (rioting, clashing with authorities and destruction of public and private property).

I hope that this country of mine, despite all its ups and downs, will never have to see a street demonstration of such enormity and severity as those experienced by in places like Thailand, France, Indonesia, Philippines and the Middle East. Call me a blind patriot, but I’m just looking out for the interests of my country and my future generations.

After all, is it wrong for me to want to hand over this country to a generation that understands the importance of peace, harmony and diplomacy – and safeguarding it to ensure the stability and survival of the nation?

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  1. Street demonstrations aren’t always violent or distruptive. Many of them are peaceful – poetry readings, people sharing their experiences, candlelight. Most times it gets violent mainly when the police get involved and try to arrest everyone violently – shooting them, fighting them, and so on.

    It’s the violent ones that make the news, but there’s so many out there that aren’t violent at all – yet go unnoticed.

  2. Yup, I noted that as well. It’s a bit sad you know – people should remember the Godfather of Peace – Mahatma Gandhi, whose non-violent confrontation was the key that led to India’s independence from British rule. He was subjected to imprisonment and yet, he never wavered and never took the quick and violent way to end colonial rule.

    Our forefathers, beginning with Tunku Abdul Rahman, was also a man of peace. We did not use violenc to win independence for our country but the race riots of 1969 has indeed left a big black mark in Malaysia’s history.

    Hopefully, we will all learn to be peaceful people and that in all matters and issues, we will not take the quick and violent way to address an issue but take the long, difficult and yet peaceful and non-confrontational way.

  3. No, seriously. If you don’t know about other peoples’ religion, don’t butt in. They don’t comment on our priests or samis or whatever, do they? Aside from telling people to stick to the facts and not drag emotionalism into the issue, if you don’t have anything positive to contribute, then stfu. I have friends from many different religions and as long as nobody starts behaving like an ass, we all get along just fine.

    It’s always the stupid in society creating problems for other people.




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