“Of the the thousands of times I’ve seen the Queen, I can’t ever recall her wearing yellow before.
Only when she meets Najib!!
Long live the Queen!!”
Yes, Long Live the Queen!!
We will never know if it’s coincident or otherwise but as her former subjects, I’ll like to think she’s helping us send a message to Najib, . that Yellow is not a crime!!
I did something for my country. I walked with my neighbours, my friends, and fellow strangers. Different and segmented as our personal lives may be, but in cause, there is no doubt in my mind, that we are one.
There were eight different demands of Bersih, but to me, there is essentially one and it’s the only reason I came out on the streets. It is so that we can be heard and counted. It is so that, when election arrives, each vote will matter.
As I shouted “Hidup Rakyat,” I felt a sense of belonging amongst the strangers around me. I looked around and, I realised, that skin colour doesn’t matter. As I looked into their eyes, I saw the same anger — the anger that comes not from hatred, but from crying foul. The anger came from injustice done to us, from the squandering of trust that the rakyat had given those in power.
At that moment, I also saw hope. I saw an old Chinese couple hoping for a better Malaysia for their grandchildren, a middle-aged Indian woman crying for her future, and then I saw me, doing the least I can do for my country, for everyone. I thought to myself. If this is not 1 Malaysia, then what is?
We held hands, and we marched. My fear depleted and we became stronger. Our fear became our strength, because together, those bullies don’t stand a chance. I knew at that moment, if all else fails, I could rely on us — the rakyat. Because the rakyat are decent, whose dream is only to see our futures are chartered right, and our country prosper.
To those against us, it’s okay. This is democracy and you have your right as I do mine. I may not agree with your beliefs and your stand against my cause, but I will defend your right to say your cause and your beliefs. Let’s not intimidate each other and let’s not be unjust. Because at the end of the day, it’s how just you are that will define you.
On July 9, 2011, I did something for my country. Now it’s your turn. Register as a voter and vote. Vote for whomever you feel is worthy of your trust for your future and the future of your next generation, and vote for your country. Come back home, if you’re away, and cast your ballot, and get your neighbours, your friends and strangers around you to register and vote.
Let’s make the country right.
Ahmedabad: Gujarat appears to loom large over the Mumbai blasts. That’s apparently why terrorists targeted the Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House for bomb blasts on last Wednesday, July 13, 2011, questions arose similar to those after the July 2006 terror attacks on the city’s suburban trains — was the Gujarati community targeted?
The July 11, 2006, blasts that killed over 200 people took place in the first class compartments of trains going to western suburbs, such as Malad, Kandivli and Borivli, which have a large concentration of Gujaratis.
On August 25, 2003, Zaveri Bazar and Gateway of India were the targets of a terror attack that killed over 50 people. Earlier, blasts had taken place in Ghatkopar in July 2003, Mulund in March 2003 and Vile Parle in January 2003 — all largely inhabited by Gujaratis. After the 2003 blasts, the then chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde had said that there was no indication that the terrorists had targeted the Gujarati community.
Hemraj Shah of the Bruhadmumbai Gujarati Samaj, a community organisation, said that the terrorists had probably chosen areas that were crowded in the evening to kill more people. “Zaveri Bazar is close to the police commissioner’s office. Khau Galli in Opera House and Kabutarkhana in Dadar are crowded in the evenings with office workers leaving for home,” said Shah.
Viren Shah, President of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, was of a similar opinion. “To some extent, it looks like the diamond and jewellery hubs have been targeted, as Opera House and Zaveri Bazar are centres of this business. At the same time, it also looks like the terrorists targeted crowded areas.”
Sources said the aim apparently was to hit the rich Gujaratis, The Lashkar-e-Taiba, intelligence reports suggest, has recruited local youths saying that they should take revenge for the atrocities heaped on the minority community in Gujarat where the Narendra Modi government is heavily funded by the rich Gujarati businessmen of Mumbai.
What else do we know?
The aftershocks of latest serial blasts in Mumbai shook Gujarat deeply. A large number of people killed and injured were Gujaratis.
At least seven people, mostly diamond traders, were killed in the blasts, while another eight diamond traders were reported to be missing till Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, in a press statement Fr Cedric Prakash SJ, Director of PRASHANT (A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace), has strongly condemned the blasts in Mumbai. He said that violence of any kind and on any one must be eschewed.
“Violence is NO answer for any injustice. The perpetrators must be brought to book immediately and be severely dealt with. We condole with all those who have lost a loved one..and pray that those injured, may have a speedy and complete recovery. Let us all, in a spirit of solidarity ensure that peace and harmony prevail,” said Fr Cedric Prakash.
December, 13 2001 – Indian parliament in Delhi is attacked and 12 people are killed as the then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee vows to wage a “do or die” war against “terrorism”.
March 13, 2003 – Bomb attack on a commuter train in Mumbai kills 11 people.
August 25, 2003 – Two car bombs kill about 60 people in Mumbai.
August 15, 2004 – Bomb explodes in the northeastern state of Assam, killing 16 people, mostly schoolchildren, and wounding dozens more.
October 29, 2005 – Sixty-six people are killed when three blasts rip through markets in New Delhi.
March 7, 2006 – At least 15 people are killed and 60 wounded in three blasts in Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
July 11, 2006 – More than 180 people killed in seven bomb explosions at railway stations and on trains in Mumbai. The attacks are blamed on an Islamist group.
September 8, 2006 – At least 32 people killed in a series of explosions, including one near a mosque in Malegaon town, 260km northeast of Mumbai.
February 19, 2007 – Two bombs explode aboard a train heading from India to Pakistan. At least 66 passengers, most of them Pakistanis, are burned to death.
May 18, 2007 – A bomb explodes during Friday prayers at an historic mosque in the southern city of Hyderabad, killing 11 worshippers.
August 25, 2007 – Three co-ordinated explosions at an amusement park and a street stall in Hyderabad kill at least 40 people.
May 13, 2008 – Seven bombs rip through crowded streets in the western city of Jaipur, killing at least 63 people in markets and outside Hindu temples.
July 25, 2008 – Eight bombs explode in the city of Bangalore, killing one woman and wounding at least 15 other people.
July 26, 2008 – At least 16 bombs explode in Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat, killing 45 people and wounding 161. The “Indian Mujahideen” claims responsibility for the attack and for the May 13 bombings in Jaipur.
September 13, 2008 – At least six bombs explode in crowded markets and streets in the heart of New Delhi, killing at least 18 people and injuring scores more. The Indian Mujahideen again claims responsibility.
October 30, 2008 – A series of apparently co-ordianted bomb blasts in three districts of northeastern Assam state kill at least 20 people.
November 26, 2008 – Heavily armed men attack high-profile hotels and restaurants in Mumbai, killing 166 people and taking US and British nationals hostage, among others.
February 14, 2010 – At least nine people, including one foreigner, are killed at a popular restaurant in the western Indian city of Pune. The restaurant, called Germany Bakery and popular with foreigners, is destroyed in the blast which officials called a “terror attack”.
July 13, 2011 – Multiple explosions in Mumbai, the financial hub, leave at least 21 people dead and dozens injured as the authorities point an accusing finger at “terrorist” groups.
As many as 27 protesters have been killed across Syria after security forces reportedly shot at protesters, hundreds of thousands of whom took to the streets in the biggest protests so far against Bashar al-Assad’s rule.
Police fired live ammunition and teargas in the capital Damascus, killing five people, and in southern Syria near the Jordanian border, where four people were killed, the Reuters news agency said quoting witnessess and activists.
Three protesters were shot dead in the northern city of Idlib, they said.
Reuters quoted a witness in the Rukn al-Din district of Damascus as saying that hundreds of young men wearing white masks fought security forces with sticks and stones.
“Down, down Bashar al-Assad”, they chanted.
“We are in Midan and they are firing teargas on us, people are chanting,” a witness said by telephone from the centre of Damascus.
In the city of Hama, scene of a 1982 massacre by the military, live video footage by residents showed a huge crowd in the main Orontos Square shouting “the people want the overthrow of the regime”.
Al Jazeera has not been able to verify independently the reports of violence.
Deir al-Zour unrest
At least 350,000 people demonstrated in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, a tribal city in the eastern desert, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an independent rights group based in London, said.
“These are the biggest demonstrations so far. It is a clear challenge to the authorities, especially when we see all these numbers coming out from Damascus for the first time,” Rami Abdelrahman, head of the SOHR, said.
The previous day, Syrian forces shot dead two pro-democracy protesters in Deir al-Zour, local residents said.
For the first time, that city observed a full strike on Thursday, an activist told Al Jazeera, with almost all businesses closed, though government offices remained operational.
Reports said military dragnets had also taken place on Wednesday and Thursday in Damascus, Idlib province and a politically sensitive area near the Turkish border in the northwest.
President Assad, facing the greatest challenge to 40 years of Baath Party rule, has sought to crush demonstrations.
The protesters have been calling for reforms and an end to the longstanding political status quo.
Swelling in size
Rights groups say about 1,400 civilians have been killed since the uprising began in March, but the protests have continued unabated and swelled in size.
With the economy stagnating and unemploying rising, Syria’s main ally, Iran, is considering offering $5.8bn in financial help, including a three-month loan worth $1.5bn to be made available immediately, a French business newspaper, Les Echos, said, citing a report by a Tehran think-tank linked to Iran’s leadership.
Emboldened by the spreading protests, prominent opposition figures and activists were to hold a conference in Istanbul in Turkey on Saturday that would be closely co-ordinated with another conference in Damascus.
Radwan Ziadeh, an opposition figure, told Reuters the conference would elect a 75-member National Council consisting of opposition members from inside and outside Syria.
“This is the first time we have a joint dialogue [between] opposition in Syria and exiled Syrians,” he said from Istanbul.
“We will elect 50 members to the National Council from inside Syria and 25 from exiled Syrians.”
Thousands of Egyptians, increasingly impatient with their interim military rulers, rallied Friday in the nation’s two largest cities, ringing a security building with chants of “Oh police, you are thugs” and demanding trials for police officers suspected of killing of hundreds of activists in the uprising that brought down Hosni Mubarak.
The protests in the capital of Cairo and the port city of Alexandria were billed as the “Friday of Last Warning” to the military council that took over from Mubarak and is to lead Egypt to democracy. Large crowds streamed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square as the sun set, bringing relief from the day’s soaring temperatures. The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s best-organized political group, and the ultra-conservative Salafi movement stayed away. The Islamists are campaigning hard for parliamentary elections later this year and apparently want to avoid friction with the military rulers who will set the final date and rules for the vote.
For the past week, hundreds of hardcore activists have camped out at Tahrir Square, birthplace of the 18-day popular uprising that ousted Mubarak on Feb. 11. They want the military council to purge all remnants of the Mubarak regime.
“We want to cleanse the country’s institutions,” a demonstrator, standing on a stage in a corner of the square and holding a microphone, told a group nearby. “Until we see the government officials (talking to protesters) in Tahrir, we will not leave this place.”
“Bread, freedom and social justice,” he chanted.
The protesters’ frustration was reflected in new graffiti on the wall of Cairo’s biggest government building which faces the square. “The revolution has protectors,” read one slogan, referring to the protesters’ determination to keep going until their demands are met.
Another new drawing expressed skepticism that Mubarak will be punished. The graffiti showed Mubarak dangling from a rope, with the caption: “Message from the military council: don’t believe this drawing.”
Mubarak will be tried on August 3, over the killings of protesters and corruption charges. In a transcript of his interrogation published by two newspapers Thursday, the 83-year-old Mubarak denied any responsibility for the killing of nearly 900 protesters by his security forces. Mubarak, Egypt’s president for three decades, is in custody in an Egyptian hospital.
“The revolution is not complete yet,” said demonstrator Wael Malak, who temporarily closed his shop in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik because the political turmoil led to a sharp drop in tourism. Malak complained of a lack of security in post-uprising Egypt.
A second protester, Salim Youssef, said the military only responds to public pressure and that marches must therefore continue.
Though Friday’s crowd was smaller than usual, the number of those camping in Tahrir Square increased since earlier in the week. Coils of barbed wire were added to makeshift security checkpoints set up at the entrances to the square.
In Alexandria, thousands rallied outside the local security headquarters, chanting: “O police you are thugs.”
Some jumped over a high fence surrounding the building, the local branch of the Interior Ministry, tore down the police flag and replaced it with the Egyptian national banner. They sprayed anti-police graffiti on the walls and covered the ministry’s golden emblem with the words “The Ministry of Torture.”
Several protesters tried to storm the building, but others prevented them while chanting “peaceful, peaceful.”
Activists distributed leaflets listing names of police officers believed to have been involved in killings and torture of protesters. One of the protest groups, known as April 6, said a notorious police commander in Alexandria, known as the “flogger of the activists,” had been promoted to a top security position in the city.
Security forces stayed away from Friday’s protests.
Earlier this week, Egypt’s security chief dismissed hundreds of high-ranking members of the security forces, including those charged in the killing of protesters.
In the city of Suez, new allegations of policy brutality brought hundreds into the streets Friday.
Activists said four protesters were beaten and mistreated while being held earlier this week at the city’s main policy station. Police allegedly extinguished cigarettes on the bodies of the four, who remain hospitalized, said activist Reda Fathi. Interior Minister Mansour el-Issawi opened an investigation.
During the February uprising, Suez, at the southern end of the Suez Canal, was the scene of some of the nation’s worst violence.
Meanwhile, the semi-official Al-Ahram newspaper reported that Egypt’s former prime minister, Atef Obeid, was detained for 15 days on suspicion of corruption and permitting the sale of a nature reserve in the ancient city of Luxor to a Mubarak associate, business mogul Hussein Salem.
Egypt has demanded Salem’s extradition from Spain. The mogul is wanted for trial on corruption charges, mostly arising from his alleged use of Mubarak’s name to buy state land cheaply.
Obeid was prime minister from 1999 to 2004.
His deputy and former minister of agriculture, Youssef Wali, was also detained for 15 days for permitting the import of potentially cancer-causing pesticides.
Obeid and Wali were taken to Cairo’s Tora prison, where a string of former top regime figures – including another former prime minister, ruling party chief and chief of staff – are already languishing, facing similar corruption investigations.