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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Democratic fault-lines in logical thinking...

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This is a few days old, but sometimes, the things our politicians say... nothing more than capitalizing on tragedy for political mileage. And rife with faulty logic.

clipped from

The assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto shortly after she held a political rally showed why Malaysia was against street demonstrations, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

He said demonstrations could lead to violence and Malaysia rejected all forms of violence, including that involving militancy.

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It's no secret that the recent public rallies became violent because the police started using water cannons and teargas. It's not the rallies themselves that were violent, but the action taken against the participants that caused trouble in the first place.

Later, in the same report, Syed Hamid had this to say:

We don’t want a democracy that can cause havoc and deaths,” he said after opening a forum on Malay culture here yesterday.

He said total democratic freedom demanded by certain parties in Malaysia would have a negative effect if people were free to demonstrate and create havoc.

(source: The Star)

The main problem with our incumbent politicians is that they actually believe their own spin, turning it into a reality that isn't. Why not come straight out and say that we don't want a real democracy? Because that, at the end of the day, is what they really mean.
(tin-pot logic below the international al-bar, and more, in the full post)

And why is it that Malaysia gloats about being a much better place than really awful countries, such as Pakistan, all the damn time? Why are we frequently setting such a low benchmark for ourselves? Yes, we may be better off than Ghana, but not when it comes to press freedoms (by RSF's measure, at least). Are we aspiring to be the shining democratic torch of despotic governments, or do we want something better to aim for? Don't know about you folks, but being best of the worst isn't something that Walski would particularly be proud of.

As it is, Malaysian democracy only happens every 4-5 years. And it is a "guided democracy" - meaning that the outcome is guided towards something desirable - usually to the incumbent. The recent challenge by the EC chairperson to the opposition parties, urging them to boycott the general elections if they felt it was not free and fair (via , subscription required), has been seen, by some, as an attempt to trap the opposition into boycotting the polls, thus giving the incumbent BN an unopposed passage to winning the next general elections.

Speaking of elections, around the same time the inane statement from Syed Hamid was published, Walski came across this news item, from the BBC.

clipped from

Thirty Kenyans including many children have been burned to death in a church, after seeking refuge from the mounting violence over last week's elections.

A mob attacked and set fire to the church in the western town of Eldoret where hundreds of people were hiding, say police and eyewitness reports.

Dozens more are reported to have been taken to hospital with severe burns.

It comes as EU election monitors said the presidential poll "fell short of international standards".

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Going by the kind of skewed logic displayed by our Foreign Minister, Walski was almost anticipating another insipid statement from our incumbent politicians, as to why Malaysia is against really free and fair elections... with the kind of treatment has gotten from the government and government-controlled media, one can only come to that conclusion.

Because elections, too, apparently can cause violence.