Double standards 'sickening'


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 16 Feb 2003

BY FARIDAH BEGUM

KUALA LUMPUR: Double standards practised by some Western countries over human rights has prompted Datin Seri Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali to break protocol and speak up against the injustice. 

Expressing her disgust, the Prime Minister’s wife said she was “sick” with the statements of some Western leaders who professed to be promoters and protectors of human and children’s rights but at the same time aimed their nuclear warheads and biological warfare weapons at innocent people. 

“Many would question why I take part in anti-war and call for peace activities. As a First Lady, I should keep quiet. 

“After reading reports in the newspapers about the situation and threats that the Palestinians and Iraqis face, I feel sick at all the statements these leaders make,” she told a peace gathering of about 1,000 people at the KLCC Esplanade yesterday. 

Dr Siti Hasmah, who was launching the Peace Exposition themed “Don’t Attack Iraq, Free Palestine,” said these leaders did not practise what they preached. 

CALL FOR PEACE: Palestinians (from left) Heba Samir Sebieh and Mohammad Ahmad Ei-Betawi, both 16, presenting a peace poster to Dr Siti Hasmah while Shahrizat looks.

“We must voice our concerns and express our hate for war and do so without fear. War is war. 

“I have seen the effects of the economic sanctions in Iraq. I am a mother of seven and a grandmother of 15 and I really want them to live in a world of peace,” she said. 

In her speech, Dr Siti Hasmah said war did not only involve military troops but also innocent people.  

Women, she said, suffered the most as they would be made into sex slaves or killed after they were raped.  

Women, she added, would also be forced to become prostitutes and in the process contract sexually transmitted diseases. 

Later at a press conference, she urged Malaysians to take part in the call for peace and “keep this initiative going on until we achieve our goals.” 

“The international community cannot stand idle as violence in Palestine threatens not just regional peace but also world peace. We believe much of the root causes for acts of terrorism today are connected with the Palestinian issue and therefore there is a dire need for the international community to address the issue. 

“We strongly condemn the use of excessive and disproportionate force against innocent Palestinians by the Israelis. We call on the international community to urge Israel to comply with the various UN resolutions as it is the only way to achieve a lasting solution to the crisis,” she said. 

Dr Siti Hasmah was visibly moved by the strife of the Palestinians and Iraqis shown during a video presentation at the launch of the exposition. 

Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the peace activities in Malaysia were a clear message to the global community on the importance of peace to its people. 

She said this was an opportunity for all Malaysians to come forward and voice their support for peace, love and respect among the people of the world. 

“Every voice counts. No one country has a right to destroy another,” she said. 

Shahrizat, who is also the organising chairman of the exposition, said Malaysians were lucky for they could voice their concerns as they were governed by a responsible and caring government that “wants peace, not only in our country but worldwide too.” 

Patron of the Malaysians for Peace Alliance Movement Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein said the diverse peace activities had one aim and one theme, and that was to raise awareness about the great need for peace and the grave threat of war.  

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