Sunday, 15 December 2013

Never Again, Over Again

I was looking back at Apartheid South Africa and Israel when I was growing up. I had my international passport made when I was 9 years old (Standard 3). In my passport, it says I can't visit South Africa and Israel. At that time I had no idea where Africa was nor where South Africa was. I didn't know Israel either. I remember asking my father why we weren't allowed to visit those 2 'places'. I don't remember what my father said but the memory lasted a lifetime. Now that I am old enough to understand Apartheid South Africa and Israel, I understand the problem why we weren't allowed to visit them back then and even now.

What is wrong with apartheid?

In my desire to understand the fuzzy word apartheid, I read many magazines when I was a teenager, mainly Times and Life. In any apartheid system, there is dominance of one party over the other. The dominant party is aggressive and oppresses the other presumably weaker party. There is transgression.

In Apartheid South Africa, the white minority was dominant over the majority Black Africans and other 'coloureds'. The Blacks and coloureds were bushed back into the inhabitable interior while the whites occupied once prime lands of the Blacks and coloureds.

In Israel since 1948, the migrant Israel is dominant where the Palestinians have resided since the times of the great prophets. Even though the Jews are mentioned in holy books including the Quran, people have mistaken the truths and manipulated their true deeper meanings. Now we get and see what we have today - such a great mess of non stop fighting and killing.

Who's wrong, who's right?

Apartheid is not limited to just the countries I mentioned above. It is evident in many other countries where fighting and killing continue today. In Apartheid Burma, they try to burn huts in villages and kill the Rohingyas. On the island of Mindanao, in Apartheid Philippines, they try to rid the Moro people from the island dominated by their ancestors since time immemorial. In Apartheid Thailand, the Pattani people are targeted. Elsewhere, the problem is suttle but people are marginalised in their own lands. The Aborigines of Australia have a hard time fighting back. The Maori of New Zealand seem to have assimilated well - I have not heard trouble from their quarters.

Till the last drop of blood

I remember 'ethnic cleansing' was a dirty phrase for a working academic in medical school. I had thought it was just about making skin whiter for an ethnic group. It's not; it was worst than what I had feared. It is actually getting rid of one race, an entire human race, by mass killing - genocide. All are terrible words which we must not pass on to the next generation. We all observed the ethnic cleansing that occurred between the people of Bosnia-Herzegovinia and Serbia. It was sure bloody and terrible. Aggressors raped and killed even their neighbours; worst still, rape occurred in front of family members.

War and apartheid

We all have observed so many wars in this century and last century. Losers become the oppressed, and the apartheid is born every time after a war 'is presumably over' - a war is never over; apartheid reigns after a war. The world's 2 worst oppressors are well-known to all of us. How can we tell oppressors to stop whatever they are doing and still plan to do? Can war ever be prevented? Will talks suffice? What do oppressors listen to? Do they ever listen to little voices like ours? Will they ever learn to be 'civilised' in the true sense of civilisation, and live with others peacefully? I don't know. I doubt people learn that quickly.

What can we expect?

Nelson Mandela was an exceptional person in what he did for Apartheid South Africa; de Klerk should be applauded for his part in the peaceful settlement.

Can we expect the same for Apartheid Israel and Palestine?

Can we expect the same for Apartheid Thailand and Pattani?

Can we expect the same for Apartheid Burma and Rohingya?

Can we expect the same for Apartheid Philippines and Moro?

Who's working on those issues for humanitarian reasons? How much longer do kids, mothers and the elderly have to hold on till they can see change?

Who will bring necessary change in such turmoil?

Me? You? Whom?

I think we all need to sit down and do muhassabah. Then hold talks as intelligent and responsible human beings. Then make changes for whatever demands there are, till we see warring parties compromise and come together as one. I know it is hard but never impossible. Then, we can hope to have some peace, in sha Allah.