THE NEW GENERATION OF MALAYSIANS WANT A PEACEFUL INTERPRETATION OF HISTORY – ONE THAT WILL NOT CONTINUE TO BLAME THIS OR THAT GROUP FOR THIS OR THAT ENGINEERED AND WELL-CRAFTED CONFLICTS SEEN AS FACTUAL, OBJECTIVE AND OFFICIAL NARRATIONS OF MALAYSIAN HISTORY.“MAN HAS NO NATURE… WHAT HE HAS IS HISTORY,” WRITES THE SPANISH PHILOSOPHER ORTEGA Y GASSETT.BUT WHOSE HISTORY MUST MAN LEARN? WHOSE CONSTRUCTION OF HISTORY MUST WE CRAFT AS OFFICIAL KNOWLEDGE? WHAT IS THE CONCEPTION OF HUMAN NATURE MUST WE HOLD IN WRITING ABOUT HISTORY? THERE ARE NO HISTORICAL ‘FACTS’. THE TERM ITSELF IS AN OXYMORON AND A CONTRADICTION. THERE ARE ONLY SELECTED MEMORIES WE PURSUE OUT OF OUR IDEOLOGICAL BIASES. UNDERLYING THE SELECTION PROCESS LIE THE ACT OF HISTORICISING AND THE BASE AND SUPERSTRUCTURE THAT SHAPE THE MANNER HISTORY IS WRITTEN. THE MODERN STATE – THE ‘NECESSARY EVIL’- DICTATES THE IDEOLOGY OF HISTORICISING; THUS THE MAXIM “WINNERS WRITE HISTORY, LOSERS WRITE POETRY OR STUDY ANTHROPOLOGY”-THE MUSLIM786 MALAYSIA
Israel is trying to deflect attacks against their “pal” opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim by exposing alleged commercial links between Malaysia and the Middle Eastern nation.
“Israel is now trying to help Anwar by releasing details of trade between between the two countries,” said former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a press conference in Serdang today.
“This is to show that Anwar is not the only one dealing with them. That other people are also doing it,” he explained further.
Mahathir also accused his former protege of being “best friends” with Israel since way back, calling the former deputy prime minister a chameleon who changes his appearance according to whom he was approaching.
“When he is with Chinese, he becomes a Chinese. When he is with Malays, he becomes an ulama ,” sniped Mahathir.
Mahathir was commenting on reports of commerce between Malaysia and Israel, which may be done on the sly as Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
In past weeks, the opposition had also unearthed allegations that Malaysia had been shipping palm oil based cooking oil to Israel via Johor Baru, hitting out at alleged links between Malaysia and Israel.
Anwar had come under fire from BN leaders after being quoted by the Asian Wall Street Journal of being supportive of efforts to maintain Israel’s security.
Najib target of ‘regime change’
Mahathir also repeated his claim that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is the target of a “regime change” exercise by the Jews and the US who wants to see Anwar replace him.
However asked if he has any advise to the beleaguered PM, Mahathir only advocated caution.
“I don’t think I should advise him. I am warning him that he is the target of a regime change, be careful,” offered Mahathir.
Commenting on a recent foreign media report that Malaysia has stopped palm oil shipments to Iran, Mahathir said that Malaysia may have been forced to do so because of pressure being brought to bear by the US.
“We are independent, but not really free,” admitted the veteran politician.
As a student I knew of the horrors of the Holocaust and other human tragedies, but merely as a distant thunder: The violation of human rights and crimes against humanity were only an abstract notion.
That was all fated to change with my arrest under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) of Malaysia, which allows for indefinite detention without trial. My crime?
I had known Anwar Ibrahim, the deputy prime minister and finance minister of Malaysia, as a close personal friend for many years. We shared and strove for a vision of life firmly rooted in human dignity. We struggled for building an intellectual and political milieu for free expression. Together, we subscribed to the idea of economic prosperity, gender and racial equality and a civil society.
Alas, the Malaysian dictator, Mahathir, under the growing burden of corruption and cronyism, conspired to halt the march of freedom. In order to build his fraudulent case against Anwar, Mahathir himself ordered my arrest.READ MORE A VULTURE, NAMED MAHATHIR WHAT KIND OF MUSLIM YOU ARE TO DO THIS TO YOUR MUSLIM BROTHER
Malaysia’s US and Jew-bashing former leader Mahathir Mohamad finally got to combine his pet hatreds in one tremendous spin that he and current Prime Minister Najib Razak are gambling on to save their BN coalition from being kicked out at the ballot boxes come the 13th general election widely expected to be held this year.
Mahathir’s tirade and the manner in which the issue has been stirred up by the mainstream media, which are mostly controlled by the Umno-led BN government, have prompted speculation that this could be another ruse to incarcerate Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and derail the advance of his Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance.
“Malaysia has definitely become a candidate for regime change because Malaysia does not recognise Israel and criticises various policies of the United States. America and Israel’s candidate for building a puppet government is Anwar Ibrahim. For a long time now they have fostered a close relationship with Anwar,” the 86-year-old Mahathir had written in his chedet blog.
Gave warning to Najib of ‘regime change’
Mahathir again raised the subject at a press conference today, this time cautioning the Najib administration against the purported move that he has so far not offered an iota of evidence for, other than a rambling commentary strung together on his personal blog.
“I think I don’t have to advise him (Prime Minister Najib Razak). I just warn him that Anwar is the candidate for regime change, so be careful,” Mahathir told a press conference at the Perdana University on Wednesday.
Anwar, once Mahathir’s anointed successor before he was jailed on trumped-up sodomy and corruption charges for out-shinning his boss, is rated as having an even chance of leading the Pakatan to a historic win. After sweeping 5 states and the Federal Territories in the 2008 election, the Pakatan has gained momentum, while Najib has failed to galvanize the sinking Umno-led BN coalition.
Emergency rule to preempt Arab Spring uprising
The situation is now critical for Najib and Mahathir as the loss of key states such as Selangor and Penang has derailed the Umno gravy train, with supporters and division chieftains clamoring for greater allocations and access to the overly lucrative deals of the past. If Najib fails to retake Selangor in particular, it will be the political curtains for him, while Umno is expected to implode with a massive exodus of members of all levels heading towards the Pakatan.
“I won’t be surprised if the US-Israeli angle is used to detain Anwar and slap on emergency rule to protect Malaysia’s sovereignty. What Mahathir and Najib are actually doing is to prevent an Arab Spring happening in Malaysia? Whether or not there is a ‘regime change’ depends on the people of Malaysia at the ballot boxes. It is also telling that Mahathir has finally acknowledged that the current BN government is a regime, hence the regime change he is warning about,” Tian Chua, a vice president of Anwar’s PKR party, told Malaysia Chronicle.
In his posting, Mahathir gave free vent to his dislike of his former deputy. Indeed, Anwar is the very antithesis of Mahathir, who is reviled by many Malaysians and the international community as well. He is considered to be a corrupt dictator in the style of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, with scant regard for human rights and someone who would not hesitate to use violence to stay in power.
“Anwar, therefore, gives the impression of being a liberal; one who accepts and supports Western concepts like human rights, freedom in everything, anti-cronyism and corruption, rejects the New Economic Model, which is said to victimise certain ethnic groups here, and many more, in order to get praise and support from the US,” Mahathir wrote with a blistering pen.
Protecting ill-gotten gains?
At the press conference, he continued to spit at his arch enemy.
Among reasons why Mahathir and the Umno elite fear Anwar coming to federal power include the high probability that they will be prosecuted and made to return any ill-gotten gains salted away during their terms in office.
According to the Washington-based Global Financial Integrity during the decade from 2000 to 2009 alone, RM888 billion or US$291 billion left Malaysian shores in the form of illicit outflows.
“Anwar is good friends with Israel. He can appear to be all sorts… When he’s with the Chinese, he becomes Chinese. When he’s with the Malays, he is Malay. When he’s with Muslims, he becomes an ulama (religious scholar); when with Israel, he supports Israel… this sort of person, you cannot believe… he has no firm belief,” insisted Mahathir.
Onward, Abrahamic soldiers
There are many stories that contemporary Imams rarely tell their congregations. The story of Mukhayriq, a Rabbi from Medina is one such story. I have heard the stories about the battle of Uhud, one of prophet Muhammad’s major battles with his Meccan enemies, from Imams and Muslim preachers hundreds of times, but not once have I heard the story of Rabbi Mukhayriq who died fighting in that battle against the enemies of Islam.
So, I will tell the story of Rabbi Mukhayriq – the first Jewish martyr of Islam. It is quite apropos as the season of spiritual holidays is here.
Mukhayriq was a wealthy and learned leader of the tribe ofTha’labah. He fought with Prophet Muhammed in the battle of Uhud on March 19, 625 AD and was martyred in it. That day was a Saturday. Rabbi Mukhayriq addressed his people and asked them to go with him to help Muhammed. His tribe’s men declined saying that it was the day of Sabbath. Mukhayriq chastised them for not understanding the deeper meaning of Sabath and announced to his people that if he died in the battle his entire wealth should go to Muhammed.
Mukhayriq died in battle against the Meccans. And when Muhammed, who was seriously injured in that battle, was informed about the death of Mukhayriq, Muhammed said, “He was the best of Jews.”
Muhammed inherited seven gardens and other forms of wealth from Mukhayriq. Muhammed used this wealth to establish the first waqf – a charitable endowment – of Islam. It was from this endowment that the Prophet of Islam helped many poor people in Medina.
When Muhammed migrated form Mecca to Medina in 622 he signed a treaty with the various tribes that lived in and around Medina. Many of these tribes had embraced Islam, some were pagan and others were Jewish. All of them signed the treaty with Muhammed that is referred to by historians as the Constitution of Medina. The first Islamic state, a multi-tribal and multi-religious state, established by Muhammed in Medina was based on this social contract.
According to Article 2 of the Constitution, all tribes who were signatory to the treaty constituted one nation (ummah). Mukhayriq’s people too were signatories to this treaty and were obliged to fight with Muhammed in accordance to Article 37 of the Constitution, which says:
The Jews must bear their expenses and the Muslims their expenses. Each must help the other against anyone who attacks the people of this document. They must seek mutual advice and consultation, and loyalty is a protection against treachery. A man is not liable for his ally’s misdeeds. The wronged must be helped.
In a way Rabbi Mukhayriq, who was also a well-respected scholar of Jews in Medina, was merely being a good citizen and was fulfilling a social contract. But his story is fantastic, especially for our times when we are struggling to build bridges between various religious communities. Mukhayriq’s loyalty, his bravery, his sacrifice and his generosity are inspirational.
Perhaps it is about people like Mukhayriq that the Quran says:
And there are, certainly, among Jews and Christians, those who believe in God, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them, bowing in humility to God. They will not sell the Signs of God for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord (3:199).
Mukhayriq’s story is a story of an individual’s ability to transcend communal divides and to fight for a more inclusive idea of community. He was a true citizen of the state of Medina and he gave his life in its defense. He was a Jew and he was an Islamic hero and his story must never be forgotten and must be told and retold. When Muslims forget to remember his, and other stories that epitomize interfaith relations they diminish the legacy of Islam and betray the cause of peace.
If Muslim Imams told his story in their congregations in America and elsewhere, I am confident that it will contribute to manifestations of increased tolerance by Muslims towards others. There are many such wonderful examples of brotherhood, tolerance, sacrifice and good citizenship in Islamic traditions that undergird the backbone of Islamic ethics. I wish we told them more often.