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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Peace and the ISA

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Today is International Peace Day (thanks to Marina M. for the reminder). It was declared in 2002 by the UN General Assembly, to provide a common date for everyone on planet Earth to do something towards the common goal of global peace.

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From the About Us page at the International Day of Peace website (emphasis by myAsylum):

"Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace."

Who doesn't want peace? It's strange to think that there are some who don't, but Walski reckons that out of the 6 billion or so Earthlings, these idiots probably form a very, very small minority. Or at least Walski hopes so. Like the ones who honestly think global chaos is a prerequisite for the Second Coming. With the advancements in pharmaceuticals, though, Viagra usually takes care of that little problem...

What's equally strange is that some really awful things are done purportedly in the name of maintaining peace - by instilling an inordinate amount of fear, for instance. Fear, however, is a feeling that's far from peaceful. Confused? Well, you should be.

And you don't have to look far for examples of nasty things being done, ultimately, in the name of peace. Invasion of Iraq, for example. Or closer to home, the dreaded Internal Security Act, or ISA.

Yes, we all know this archaic act must go - pronto. There is no justification, moral, legalistic or social that will ever convince Walski that the ISA is needed. It has been abused in the past, and it continues to be abused by the powers that be. It just is that simple.

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A forum will be held this coming Tuesday, September 23 at the KLSCAH (that's KL/Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, for those of you not acronymically inclined) at 8pm. You can get more details about it at Tony Pua's blog. Walski's thanks to Lulu for the heads-up.

Potentially indefinite detention without trial, by any measure, regardless of your morality or faith, is WRONG. Wrong, wrong, wrong... 
(minor forum details, and more, in the full post)

And yet, as in the case of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, you have Islamic bodies supporting his detention under the ISA. Plain hypocrisy, if you ask Walski. The ISA is as un-Islamic as any piece of legislature gets. Anyone care to explain how that bit of twisted logic makes sense?

Incidentally, for a whiff and taste of how the ISA is being abused for political reasons, in the case of RPK, read the latest post at Malaysia Today, entitled "Heads they Win, Tails I Lose".

In any case, for those of you interested to attend - and you should, if you have the opportunity - the panel of speakers scheduled to be there include Lim Guan Eng (Penang Chief Minister), and Teresa Kok (MP for Seputeh, and Selangor State Assemblyperson) - both former detainees under this infernal piece of legislature. Also scheduled are Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan (Bar Council President), Nurul Izzah Anwar (MP for Lembah Pantai), A. Sivanesan (Perak State Exco), Khalid Samad (MP for Shah Alam), and last but not least, Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh - Chairman of GMI (Gerakan Mansuh ISA, or Anti-ISA Movement).

In case you were wondering, at present there are approximately 63 detainees under the ISA (including RPK, the most recently incarcerated and still remaining in custody). Aliran has a list of detainees here (hat-tip: I Am Malaysian).

But let's ask ourselves this question: aren't there sufficient laws under which these detainees could be charged with? 

If you answered Yes, then the next question you should ask yourself is this: if there are sufficient laws, why aren't those detained charged under other prevailing laws?

Walski, in truth, can't tell you the answer, because he honestly doesn't know. But he has a guess: it's probably because there is no real evidence against these people, only suspicion of wrongdoing. In which case, these people have lost the presumption of innocence, and have been pre-judged as guilty, without the onus of proof on the part of the Government. Innocent until proven, beyond reasonable doubt, guilty? Guess again.

And that, dear readers, sounds a lot like tyranny to Walski.

Tyranny employed to maintain peace... is it just Walski, or is there something terribly wrong with that notion?

And that conundrum is what Walski will ponder on today, September 21, the International Day of Peace...