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By Yin, Letters from Ward 5, T.R.

America and Western Europe condemn Hamas for Oct 7’s killing, rape and hostage taking of innocent civilians. It is a crime under international law or any law.

Any reasonable person would also condemn Hamas.

But what about condemning Israel for taking Arab land, for killing Arabs and driving them out so that Jewish settlers can take over; for indiscriminately bombing Gaza killing innocent old men, women and children; for denying them power, food and water and medicine; for operating an apartheid system where Arabs are treated like animals corralled in the world’s largest open prison.

While roundly condemning Hamas, America and Western Europe have been silent about Israeli war crimes. Their response: “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

Yes, Israel has that right.

What about the right of Palestinians “to defend” themselves If in fact they can defend themselves? With crude missiles and stones from the rubble of Israel’s making against the fourth most powerful army in the world backed by the most powerful military force?

The truth is, Palestinians cannot defend themselves against the might of Israel. The world must speak up for the Palestinians.

There are accepted rules of conduct even in war – which govern both Hamas and Israel. Both have broken the rules, yet America condemn Hamas and say nothing about Israeli atrocities. America has also ignored the circumstances that have driven Hamas to this point. Palestinians have waited 70 years to see justice done yet have their land taken year after year by Israel and it is still continuing.

Our prime minister has condemned Israel and rightly so. Thousands of Malaysians gathered in the Axiata Arena to condemn Israel. They fly Palestinian flags and drape them on the fences of mosques and suraus. Palestinian flags flutter on top of cars.

 But did our prime minister or any of the activists condemn Hamas for its atrocities? Are we being even-handed in dealing with this issue? In condemning one side it is impossible not to condemn the other for a similar offence; to do so is to practise double standards. It is hypocrisy.

There is a video which has gone viral showing young school children trampling and jumping on the flag of Israel. These children would not know an Israeli flag from an Irish flag. They have been taught it. I had hoped it would be a one-off by some misguided teachers acting irresponsibly. But with what the ministry of education has come up this seems not to be so. Why are we teaching our young to hate? Our Biro Tata Negara can do that when they become adults.

The Minister for Education has defended her “Palestinian Solidarity Week” for schools and colleges as “a programme to educate students on human rights and compassion for others. This includes fostering attitudes of empathy and concern for the suffering of others regardless of their nationality, religion or social status”.

Why drag children into an issue which many adults do not understand the full complexity? Children should be allowed to enjoy their all-too-short childhood and not be used by misguided adults as political fodder. Stop injecting the venom of hate into our children.

We can educate our children on human rights and inculcate compassion in civic classes, we don’t need “Solidarity Week” of any sort. Leave our children out of politics.

“Palestinian Solidarity Week” this time, “Rohingya Solidarity Week” next, where will it end? Will there be a “ Solidarity Week for Christians and others” who suffer under ISIS or the Taliban? She did say “. . . regardless of nationality, religion or social status”.  Or is the minister’s compassion strictly for Muslims only?

Arab Israeli citizens do not enjoy the same full rights as Jews. They are not equal citizens and it looks like this apartheid is here to stay as long as the Jewish State exists. We must condemn this as we did apartheid in South Africa.

Our prime minister has done that, but someone should ask him what about the apartheid at home?

Granted it is not as severe as the Israeli variety, but apartheid is apartheid anywhere whatever guises it wears. It is pernicious when it is state sponsored especially when citizens by and large get along. We do not have “social apartheid” we have “institutional apartheid” sponsored by the state in the guise of “affirmative action” but as everyone knows, “affirmative action” is based on needs and not race. Anwar said so himself.

We condemn Israel yet we, like them, practise apartheid and it looks like the Malays, like the Jews, are not likely to give it up any time soon.

Educating students on human rights and compassion for others”. . . “fostering empathy and concern for others irrespective of race or religion . . .”

If we can show compassion and empathy for the Palestinians and demand equal and fair treatment for them why not at home? How can we demand that Israel remove its apartheid when we keep ours?

 If you cut us do we not bleed just like you? Do we not share the same aspirations  – to give our family a good life, to give our children the best education, yet you deny us the same opportunities.

Would you not be angry if you risk your money and expend your energy to build up a business and a Chinese or Indian take 30% or 51% from you for doing nothing? Empathise with that.

Israel drive the Arabs out at the point of a gun; intended or not, Non-Malays are driven out by institutional racism. The end-result is the same.

I can empathise with the Palestinians because I know what it feels like to be second class.

You want to teach empathy? Try walking in the other person’s shoes.

Jewputraism is here to stay . . . it looks like. Is Bumiputraism and Ketuanan Melayu here to stay? With the “Never Ending Policy” it seems like.  It’s been around almost as long as “Jewputraism”.

You condemn the Jews yet you act like them. They treat the Arabs as second class, you treat the Non-Malays as second class, what is the difference?

When will we have a Malaysian Citizenship without classification? When will our poor be given the full benefits of “affirmative action” irrespective of race (or religion) without it being hijacked by the rich and powerful because of race. Anwar talked a lot about needs based affirmative action but has done nothing. Talk is cheap.

We wave the Palestinian flag and fly it on our cars. We cry for the Palestinians; who cries for us?

We are no better than America and Western Europe, HYPOCRITES.

It is time we look ourselves in the mirror.

Apartheid is apartheid whatever the degree of discrimination and hurt; be it in South Africa or Israel or at home.

If the Minister of Education wants to teach our young empathy, fair play, compassion regardless of race or religion start at home.

“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shall thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” Matthew 7.5

(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)

By Yin, Letters from Ward 5, T.R.

Rebuilding Malaysia
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