WITHIN 50 days, more than a million Malaysians have come together spontaneously to call a halt to the looming war in Iraq. The rally in Stadium Bukit Jalil today is proof that ordinary Malaysians have their priorities right.
Malaysia is not an impoverished or unstable country; in fact quite the opposite. Malaysians, who enjoy the highest living standards in the developing world, have been at peace for many years.
But we are not insensitive to the plight of the less fortunate who share our planet. The good fortune that we have worked so hard to achieve has not made us smug and selfish.
Over the previous weeks as the Malaysians For Peace campaign built up steam, the usual cynics had been at work.
For example, there was talk that it was no more than a sly gimmick for the political incumbents.
There is no denying that such a campaign is political in nature. It is political because it addresses the issues of peace and war in our world.
There is no need for any quarter to politicise the peace campaign beyond this. To cast aspersions on a popular exercise that is of and by the Malaysian people, for peoples everywhere, is to serve only the interests of warmongers.
Any sane and sensible person would not want to see the annihilation of a sovereign nation by the world’s sole superpower. Against this prospective butchery, Malaysians everywhere have stood up and spoken out. This takes courage.
What is also notable about Malaysia’s peace campaign is that it brings together Malaysians of all ages, races, cultures, backgrounds, religions and philosophies. They are one with the rest of humanity who are also calling for peace from around the world.
Such a spontaneous outpouring of popular concern is unprecedented, coming on such a scale even before the war has begun. But let not the cynics insult the people’s will by saying this serves only the interest of Saddam Hussein; it serves the legitimate interests of the Iraqi people and all threatened peoples everywhere.
It may be easy to feel fatalistic and indolent if we are in a small country like Malaysia, which does not seem to have much political clout.
But today the eyes of the world are on Malaysia, in part because of events like the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, and all Malaysians of heart should make the best of this occasion to do what is humanely possible.
The many Malaysians who have done the country proud by speaking out against war are showing that they are prepared to work for a better world, a civilised world. Human beings have a free will, and therefore they also have a destiny – but only if they are prepared to work at it.
There is no sensible or coherent argument against peace. Only inhumane spoilsports and paid apologists for war will be with the warmongers.
Whatever befalls Iraq in the coming days, the thousands and millions of people at Bukit Jalil and elsewhere in the world prove that there is no just war. For truly, blessed are the peacemakers.
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