Sunday, December 26, 2010

NOTA EDITOR: Ahli Majlis Syura Ulama Saudi, Dr Ghaith bin

NOTA EDITOR: Ahli Majlis Syura Ulama Saudi, Dr Ghaith bin


NOTA EDITOR: Ahli Majlis Syura Ulama Saudi, Dr Ghaith bin

Posted: 26 Dec 2010 11:12 AM PST

NOTA EDITOR: Ahli Majlis Syura Ulama Saudi, Dr Ghaith bin Muhammad Al Sheikh Mubarak mengeluarkan fatwa membolehkan orang Islam merayakan perayaan agama lain jika tujuannya untuk menarik perhatian penganut agama lain kepada Islam.

Dengan kata lain, sekiranya kita turut merayakan perayaan, penganut2 agama lain ini akan berlembut hati dengan orang Islam sekaligus melembutkan sikap dan pandangan mereka terhadap orang Islam dan Islam itu sendiri.

Dari pemahaman TUlang Besi, sekiranya perayaan itu semata-mata mahu merayakan perayaan agama lain, hukumnya haram. Namun, sekiranya perayaan itu bertujuan melembutkan hati penganut agama lain kepada Islam, maka mengikut Dr Ghaith, hukumnya adalah harus.

Tak sabar rasanya nak tunggu Dr Yusri Mohammad menggelarkan Dr Ghaith sebagai pengikut PLURALISME AGAMA.

Tulang Besi

Muslims can take part in non-Muslim festivals - paper
Dec 23, 2010 at 13:56


DUBAI - Muslims can take part in religious festivals of other faiths if the purpose of their attendance is to attract non-Muslims to Islam, a senior Saudi scholar said in remarks published on Thursday in the run-up to Christmas.

Dr Ghaith bin Muhammad al-Sheikh al-Mubarak, member of the Council of Senior Ulema (scholars), said by attending festivals of other faiths Muslims could help to "pacify their souls", according to local daily the Saudi Gazette.

The scholar said when a Muslim rejects an invitation to attend such a festival it could alienate non-Muslims and divert them from the right path, the newspaper reported.

Saudi King Abdullah earlier this year issued a decree stating that only members of the Council of Senior Ulema were allowed to issue fatwas.

The limitation was imposed following a number of fatwas by individual clerics that caused disputes and dissent among Muslims, decree said.


Tahniah Kepada Pasukan Malaysia Di atas Kemenangan

Posted: 26 Dec 2010 12:42 PM PST

Malaysia perlu memenangi piala AFF ini demi membuktikan kepada rakyat Indonesia segala nista dan fitnah yang dilemparkan oleh media, surat kabar, television, radio dsbnya selama ini adalah bohong semata-mata.

Bagi Tulang Besi, kemenangan 3-0 ini masih tipis kerana di Gelora Bung Karno nanti, suasananya berbeza sama sekali.

Di Malaysia keselamatan penyokong Indonesia terjamin 100%. Malahan, 1/4 (atau lebih) stadium dipenuhi penyokong Merah Putih.

Malahan, tiada sesiapa pun dari penyokong Indonesia diapa-apakan. Mereka bebas berpakaian dengan warna Merah Putih mereka. Tiada siapa yang menggangu.

Saya dapat menjamin, suasana toleransi yang sama tidak akan dapat dinikmati oleh penyokong-penyokong Malaysia.

Belum habis permainan, media Indonesia sudah pun memainkan sentimen negatif terhadap Malaysia. Mana mungkin 2-3 orang penyokong bermain laser dan membaling mercun dapat menggangu konsentrasi pemain-pemain Indonesia? Bukannya pemain Indonesia dibaling batu atau kayu? Masa perkara kecil seperti itu mampu mengganggu konsentrasi pemain-pemain Indonesia.

Tapi percayalah, media-media Indonesia yang "dikawal Singapura" ini akan memainkan isu ini dari sekarang sehinggalah ke pusingan kedua nanti. Ditakdirkan Malaysia menang pun, tahap kebencian berjaya disebarkan keseluruh Indonesia seterusnya menguntungkan Singapura.

Kalau ditakdirkan Malaysia menang, saya tidak sabar untuk melihat muka Surya Paloh dan MetroTV di atas segala fitnah yang mereka lempar kepada Malaysia selama ini.


Semoga Malaysia memenangi Piala AFF ini.

Tulang Besi


Can Malaysians tell the difference between criminals and police!?

Posted: 26 Dec 2010 10:02 AM PST


For being frank with the police, 34-year-old Chia Buang Hing was detained for five days and beaten up until he vomited blood.

The businessman, who is frame-maker, narrated the "horrific" incident today, saying that the police bashed him up, threatened and robbed him of RM13,000 in cash he was carrying - all for the expired road tax of his wife's car that he was driving.

NONEChia's (left) nightmare began about 11pm on Dec 18, as he was driving from his house in Tropicana to Kota Damansara, where traffic police had set up roadblocks.

Having spotted the expired road tax, one of the police officers asked for his driver's licence and identification card.

It was then, he said, that the officer spotted stacks of RM50 notes, totalling RM7,000, sticking out of his pocket and demanded that he hand them over.

Chia said he refused and insisted he be issued with a summons but as the officer kept asking for the money, Chia warned that he would lodge a report. Then the assaults began.

"I tried to take his picture with my mobile phone, but I was repeatedly punched by him and two other officers.

"One of them then handcuffed me and I screamed for help (but) I was shoved inside a police car and beaten again," he said, adding that there were several witnesses to this, including a security guard and a friend of his who was in another car.

Chia said he was carrying a total of RM18,000 that he had collected from his three frame-making shops that night, with RM10,000 in his pockets and RM8,000 in the car.

'My money was thrown into the toilet'

The father of two said he was then taken to the police station in Kota Damansara and again assaulted.

NONE"I was outside a toilet at the station and seven officers kicked and stepped on me until I vomited blood and sustained injuries on my face.

"Then, one police officer took the RM7,000 from my front pocket and RM3,000 from my back pocket and they threw it on the floor."

"He (the officer) became angry when I demanded the money be returned and he threw the remainder he was holding into the toilet and hit me again."

Chia said the police then ordered him to write a report that his sustained the injuries in a traffic accident and when he refused, they threatened to plant a blood-stained machete and drugs in his car and get him locked up for a long time.

At about 3am the following morning, he said, he was threatened by an officer that drugs would be injected into his bloodstream. He was later assaulted again, by as many as five officers, at the police station and at another place he could not identify.

One thing he managed to do, Chia said, was to leave his bloodied fingerprints in many parts of the police station that he had been dragged to.

"Only when they saw that I was barely surviving - as I had vomited blood and white foams were trickling out of my mouth - they took me to the hospital. By the time we got there, it was already 7 in the morning.

Magistrate ignored his complaints


Chia was taken to the Sungai Buloh Hospital and after that to the Petaling Jaya magistrate's court, about 10am, for a remand order against him.

He said he informed the magistrate of his ordeal but he was ignored. The magistrate ordered Chia to be remanded by police until Dec 22 on suspicion of possession of drugs and weapons.

During that period, he said, he was taken to a officer at narcotics department in the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters.

NONE"He told me there was no case against me and called up the men who had abused me. He advised me to lodge a report and allowed me to contact my family," Chia added.

He said that he was then released on police bail and RM5,000 was returned to him.

Segambut DAP MP Lim Lip Eng (left) assisted Chia in lodging his report at the Mutiara Damansara police station yesterday.

Lim said the investigating officer accompanied them to the Kota Damansara police station where most of the Chia's bloodstains been removed, but there were some under a table, behind a mirror and under a cupboard, which were photographed by police.

'Nobody is above the law'

Malaysiakini was later informed that the Selangor police contingent headquarters has officially taken over the matter.

A task force has been set up to investigate the complaint in detail. There will be no cover-up in the investigation, police said in a text message.

"Nobody is above the law. If there is evidence, the persons responsible will be charged in court," added the contingent's officer in-charge of criminal investigations, Mohd Adnan Abdullah.


Vairamuthu: Poet-lyricist and THANK GOD FOR ARR AND HIS HEALING MUSIC

Posted: 26 Dec 2010 04:29 AM PST


 

"THANK GOD FOR ARR AND HIS HEALING MUSIC"
Music lovers in South India had to make a hard choice in the early 90s – they could either choose to be patrons of top English bands that slowly seeped into the bedroom of Indian families or choose to be loyal fans of their own music maestro – Ilayaraja. In 1992, when Mani Ratnam madeRoja, a generation of confused music lovers got a wonderful option – in the name of Allah Rakha RahmToday, almost 17 years later, none of them will ever regret the decision they made after hearing the beautiful tunes of Chinna Chinna Aasai and Kadhal Rojave. From Roja to Jodha Akbar, the music director's journey has been a delight to lap upThe right mix of melody and fast music has always been Rahman's forte. If Shankar's Kaadhalan boasted of a local fast number (Urvashi Urvashi), it also had a soulful Ennavale to showcase. If the song Rang De Basanti featured energetic beats and typical bhangra notes, the film also had amellifluous Tu Bin Bataye. With Rahman, there's a little bit of everything for everybody. His musical albums of Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Manainstilled a sense of patriotism in all listeners. The recent initiative to start amusic school to teach young musicians to play within an orchestra will surely fill a big void in Indian music. "If Ilayaraja wants to record an epic score, he goes to Budapest. Why can't we do it in our country itself ?" Rahman remarked recently, when asked about the need for a music school.
Very recently, a person was heard humming the tune of Dheem Thana (Rhythm). If a lyric of such immense meaning (Kadhal Nadhiye… Neeyum Pen Dhane?) can get buried in the sheer brilliance of the tune, it speaksvolumes of Rahman's musical genius.
When we read about Rahman going global and composing for highprofileEnglish films, it's not fair to crib that he has left Tamil music and resorted to greener pastures. As he said recently, "The respect for all things Indian has gone up in recent times. We need to take an initiative to propagate our culture."
It's just the same way that a Ramanarayan Subramaniam fromNungambakkam or a Julian Moses from Nanganallur would be creating new trends at hotshot software offices in the USA.
Rahman is not just a music director who made a grand introduction into the Indian music scene. He is a person who's made a sweeping and everlasting impact on a whole generation of music lovers. About Roja, Time magazine's noted critic Richard Corliss stated that the "astonishing debut work parades Rahman's gift for alchemising outside influences until they are totally Tamil, totally Rahman". This is true of all his albums, right till the latest Jodha Akbar…
A R Rahman has rightly matured without letting go of his 'Madras boy'roots.

S

"THANK GOD FOR ARR AND HIS HEALING MUSIC"


Vairamuthu: earth, people my muse

Meera Srinivasan

Poet-lyricist bringing out a compilation of 1,000 of his songs spanning nearly three decades

"AR MEANS ALL TO ME"- THE ONE I ADMIRE A LOT 'A MUSICAL GENIUS' 'PROUD OF BEING A RAHMANIC' IF MUZIK IS A RELIGION AR IS MY GOD I VL WORSHIP HIM 4EVER "LONG LIVE ARR AND HIS MUSIC "
Music loversin South India had to make a hard choice in the early 90s - they could either choose to be patrons of top English bands that slowly seeped into the bedroom of Indian families or choose to be loyal fans of their own music maestro - Ilayaraja. In 1992, when Mani Ratnam madeRoja, a generation of confused music lovers got a wonderful option – in the name of Allah Rakha Rahman.readmore

 

 



Gerak yang benar hanyalah gerak dari Tuhan

Posted: 26 Dec 2010 03:35 AM PST

Saya telah ditanya oleh salah seorang yang mengikuti apa-apa yang saya tulis didalam blog saya sejak beberapa ketika dahulu samada saya sedar atau pun tidak yang suara saya adalah suara yang terlalu 'dissident' dan tidak mungkin sesiapa berani mengikuti dan mengambil pandangan saya untuk dilaksanakan oleh mereka yang bertanggungjawab.

Encik Hasnul ini menasihati saya supaya berhenti sahaja memberikan pandangan kerana pandangan saya memang tidak disukai oleh mereka yang berkuasa atau pun oleh mereka yang mengampu kumpulan yang berkuasa. Hasnul mengganggap yang saya adalah seperti anjing menyalak bukit; sampai bila pun bukit itu tidak akan runtuh ataupun bergerak. Bukit itu akan tetap ditempatnya walaupun banyak anjing yang menyalak kepadanya.

Kepada Hasnul saya hanya mampu memberikan jawapan yang ringkas terhadap persoalan yang saudara timbulkan tadi.

Bagi saya yang penting ialah untuk saya mengeluarkan pendapat saya tanpa dipengaruhi oleh mana-mana pihak. Saya tidak boleh dipengaruhi oleh mereka yang mempunyai pemikiran lain dari pemikiran saya kecuali jika mereka boleh membuktikan yang pandangan mereka itu benar dan pandangan saya adalah pandangan yang salah.

Walaupun saya adalah dari kumpulan yang kecil, saya tetap yakin yang suatu hari nanti pandangan saya ini akan diakui benar apabila sampai masanya. Jika suatu hari nanti segla pandangan saya diakui benar, apa yang saya minta jika ikhlas, untuk menghadiahkan saya surah Al-fatihah kalau saya sudah tiada lagi didunia ini.

Salah satu firman yang saya temui ialah; 'selagi masih ada yang berzikir kepada ku walaupun seorang dunia tidak akan kiamat.'Begitu jugalah dalam perjuangan. Jika masih ada segelintiran manusia yang berusaha dengan cara apa sekali pun untuk melakukan apa yang sesuai untuk membetulkan keadaan yang tidak baik dalam parti saya UMNO ini, selagi itulah UMNO akan selamat dan tidak berkecai sampai hancur.

Jika saya digerakkan untuk melakukan apa yang saya lakukan pada hari ini saya rela menerima apa sahaja risiko yang bakal saya hadapi dihari muka. Lagi pun saya memang sudah tiada apa-apa kerana saya sudah hilang segala-galanya sehinggakan saya sudah tidak ada apa-apa yang akan hilang lagi, dan saya tidak pernah menyesal dengan keadaan ini.

Saya mengucapkan berbanyak-banyak terima kasih kepada Hasnul kerana rupa-rupanya ada insan yang ikhlas memberikan saya nasihat secara peribadi dan ingatan saudara itu akan saya kenang sehingga akhir hayat saya.

Apa yang berlaku disekeliling kita tidak semestinya perlakuan yang baik. Tuhan telah membuktikannya melalui apa yang telah diafa'alkannya. Cuba kita ingat kembali apa yang dihadapi oleh Nuh alaihissalam. Nabi Nuh telah menyeru manusia diseluruh dunia untuk menuju kearah kebenaran dan meninggalkan kebathilan.

Selama 800 tahun Nuh telah berkempen untuk kebaikkan tetapi seruan Nuh tidak diambil indah oleh semua umat manusia, kecuali seramai 81 orang sebagaimana yang digambarkan oleh setengah ulamak yang muktabar yang mengikuti jejak Nuh alaihissalam.

Malahan Nuh telah ditertawakan oleh semua orang dan memangil Nuh sebagai orang gila apabila Baginda membina bahtera ditengah padang pasir yang kering kontang. Semua umat semasa itu mengejek Nuh dan mempersendakan Baginda dengan kata-kata hina dan nesta. Tetapi Nuh tetap dengan tugasannya, terus membina bahtera ditengah padang pasir yang kering kontang itu.

Akhirnya kebesaran Tuhan telah dinyatakanNya secara terang-terang. Apabila air bah yang begitu besar tiba, maka hanya yang 81orang itu sahaja yang terselamat dengan kehendak Tuhan dan seluruh umat yang mengejek-ngejek Nuh itu hanyut ditenggelami oleh bah yang begitu besar termasuklah anak dan isteri baginda yang tidak menerima seruan Nuh untuk menuju kearah jalan yang benar dan diredgoi Tuhan.

Apa yang berlaku kepada Nuh ini merupakan iktibar yang besar dan kita wajar mengakui yang kumpulan yang besar itu tidak semestinya kumpulan yang benar. Demokrasi berkata, 'majority rules' itu jika dipandang dari sudut hakikatnya tidak semestinya betul. Yang betul hanyalah apa yang diafa'alkan oleh Tuhan Maha Pencipta itu.

Tentulah apa yang dikatakan oleh Nuh itu lebih benar dari apa yang dikatakan oleh pemimpin politik yang tidak tentu arah perjuangannya. Masing-masing mempunyai pandangan masing-masing. Hanya yang membezakan pandangan-pandangan ini ialah samada pandangan masing-masing itu didasarkan kepada keredhoan tuhan kita.

'Tidak bergerak sezahrah pun tanpa gerak aku!'; itulah salah satu firmanNya. Jadi apa masalahnya untuk saya menerima sahaja apa yang digerakkanNya untuk saya lakukan dengan sebaik mungkin?

Tugasan masing-masing telah ditentukan oleh yang MAHA ESA. Saya menerima sahaja apa yang sepatutnya saya lakukan. Wallah hualam.


Posted: 26 Dec 2010 02:17 AM PST



Mengapa Agenda Negara Islam PAS GAGAL Menjana Sokongan Dari Rakyat Malaysia?

Posted: 26 Dec 2010 10:09 AM PST

Masikah saudara/ri sekelian ingat, sebelum pilihanraya 2004, PAS telah mengeluarkan "Dokumen Negara Islam". Dokumen yang tebalnya tidak sampai 100 muka memuatkan garis panduan UMUM berkaitan dengan Negara Islam TANPA menjawab 99% dari persoalan berkaitan negara Islam yang selama ini dinaikkan oleh orang ramai.

Dokumen Negara Islam ini telah dikehadapankan manakala usaha untuk mengenegahkan agenda "PAS UNTUK SEMUA" telah dihalang dan disabotaj oleh golongan ulama atas sebab2yang tiada asas kukuh mahupun sebab yang jitu.

Hasilnya, PAS ditolak MAJORITI rakyat Malaysia. Orang bukan Islam SECARA PUKAL menolak agenda Negara Islam. Dr Mahafiraun mempermainkan konsep itu dengan mengisytiharkan Malaysia sebagai Negara Islam. Padahal, beberapa bulan selepas itu, Dr. mahakutty telah mengeluarkan lesen judi bola untuk VInsetan.

Persoalan yang timbul adalah, mengapa berlaku penolakan secara pukal terhadap pukal sebagai reaksi kepada Dokumen Negara Islam?

BANDING DENGAN PRESTASI PAS 2008

Sebelum 2008, PAS dibawah inisiatif "Geng Erdogan" (seperti yang digelarkan oleh Ustaz Kayu dan geng Terengganu beliau), telah melancarkan beberapa inisiatif:

1.0 Melancarkan slogan "Negara Berkebajikan" sebagai menggantikan slogan "Negara Islam"

2.0 Melancarkan kempen "PAS untuk Semua"

3.0 Mengadakan perbincangan dengan HINDRAFF di waktu semua masyarakat Melayu menolak Hindraff

4.0 Melancarkan beberapa agenda ekonomi

5.0 Memperaktifkan sayap "Bukan Islam" melalui Lujnah Perpaduan Nasional

6.0 Melancarkan manifesto bersama Barisan Alternatif di beberapa negeri

7.0 Mewar-war kan kejayaan Kerajaan Kelantan yang selama ini terpendam dan tidak diketahui rakyat Malaysia.

dan banyak lagi.

Ertinya, sebelum 2008, PAS menunjukkan sikap yang "sederhana" dan "selaras dengan pemikiran majoriti rakyat Malaysia" tanpa mengorbankan prinsip dan syariat Islam.

HAsilnya PAS meraih kejayaan TERBESAR semenjak PAS ditubuhkan pada tahun 1951.

PAS TIADA KREDIBILITI UNTUK MEMERINTAH

Dengan beberapa slogan dan program seperti di atas, imej PAS yang pelik dan terpisah dari masyarakat semakin pulih (kecuali di Terengganu). PAS semakin diterima masyarakat tidak sahaja di kalangan orang Melayu tetapi di kalangan bangsa2 lain.

Apabila Hishamuddin mencium keris di Perhimpunan Agung UMNO, secara otomatik imej PAS menjadi lebih lunak berbanding UMNO. UMNO pula dilihat sebagai extreme dan tidak tahu berkompromi.

Di waktu itu, PAS dilihat mempunyai kredibiliti untuk memerintah berbanding UMNO. Maka majoriti pengundi memberi undi kepada PAS lantaran memberi PAS kejayaan paling besar dalam sejarah PAS.

KONSEP NEGARA ISLAM BERGANTUNG KEYAKINAN RAKYAT KEPADA PAS UNTUK MEMERINTAH

Sedih saya pada sebelum 2004, bagaimana "simplistik" sehingga mereka mengira dengan hanya mengeluarkan sebuah buku yang nipis, mereka boleh meyakinkan rakyat Malaysia yang mereka boleh memerintah.

Kesanya PAS kalah tersungkur pada tahun 2004 serta hampir hilang Kelantan.

Sudah tiba masanya PAS menukar ganti kepimpinan dengan mereka yang diyakini oleh rakyat Malaysia sebagai boleh memerintah kalau mahu melihat agenda negara Islam berjaya.

TULANG BESI


Minister's sexual indiscretion: Trouble ahead for Najib

Posted: 25 Dec 2010 04:08 PM PST

By Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz

COMMENT: A potential storm is brewing in the case of a senior minister alleged to have raped or had sex with his Indonesian maid. The incident, it is said, occurred three years ago.

The maid (according to reports) had sent documents or some form of documentary evidence to the US embassy and other embassies.

The matter was apparently brought to the attention of the then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

To me, this is not an issue whether Abdullah concealed the incident or not. For all we know, Abdullah as the PM then may have concealed a whole lot of other things.

He may have kept quiet even on issues that were detrimental to him personally.

The issue here is how to conduct oneself with class and finesse.

If this minister is guilty of such gross indiscretion, then current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak must dismiss him on grounds that the latter's dismissal is made on the PM's absolute prerogative.

Najib must never be seen as being railroaded into making that decision.

He must never been seen as complicit in a conspiracy to "assassinate" a member of his team.

As such, it is most unfortunate that the current word on the ground is that Najib has somehow given his permission for the information about this particular minister's indiscretion to be leaked to the public.

Disreputable self-serving advisers

If Najib knows of this breach of discretion, he must decide on the basis that it's his prerogative to dismiss. He need not resort or countenance underhanded tactics.

His father, second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, was never a subscriber to heinously underhanded and supercilious means to eject his team members but he did make one mistake which he wasn't able to control.

Razak's "mistake" was allowing himself to be surrounded by disreputable and self-serving advisers.

Towards the end of his life, Razak was intensely bent on ridding himself of this fatal "mistake".

A good son will try to follow in the father's steps as far as possible. Or he follows by avoiding the mistakes of his father.

Which brings us to Najib and his dark underworld of self-serving advisers.

But unlike his late father who died in office, Najib will want to stay around longer.

But this will depend on his ability to never allow himself be corralled by self-serving advisers.

The danger of being cocooned by self-serving advisers is the control these people have over what gets to the PM's attention.

What passes to the PM's attention may only be what the advisers deemed to be of profit to themselves.

Here and now, Najib cannot afford to be fed with one-way traffic kind of information.

In this age of Internet supremacy where information is no longer the power tool for a small group, the PM must be opened to all means of information.

Even those from his "loyal" advisers must be treated with circumspect.

(The original report first appeared on sakmongkolAK47)


Gaza: Two years after the horror

Posted: 25 Dec 2010 11:28 PM PST

This week marks the second anniversary of the horror inflicted on the people of the Gaza Strip. Nothing has changed! Gaza has returned to its pre-invasion state of siege, confronted with the usual international indifference.

Two years after the Israeli assault (beginning Dec 23 2008) that lasted 22 long days and dark nights, during which its brave people were left alone to face one of the strongest armies in the world, Gaza no longer makes the news. Its people die slowly, its children are malnourished, its water contaminated, and yet it is deprived even of a word of sympathy from the President the United States and the leaders of Europe.

The dehumanisation of the Palestinians of Gaza continues unabated. But now the urgent question is how to hold Israel accountable to international law and basic principles of human rights in order to forestall further escalation.

A good friend of mine whom I met in Sidon in 1994, Haidar Eid, now an associate professor in post-colonial and post-modern literature at Al-Aqsa University, wrote on Znet:

One way to begin holding Israel accountable is through direct witness and citizen solidarity. For example, on December 27, an Asian aid convoy comprising of politicians and activists from 18 countries will arrive in Gaza in an attempt to break Israel's four year siege and to remind the world of the cruel consequences of the siege and the massacre.

It is one of the remarkable undertakings by international Civil Society organisations that have decided to take action into their own hand after the miserable failure of the international community. Some of those activists experienced first hand what it means to show true solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza when nine Turkish activist were brutally murdered in broad-day light on Mavi Marmara.

While in Gaza, the convoy's activists will undoubtedly hear stories that will curdle the blood. During the massacre, one Israeli soldier commented, "That's what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn't have to be with a weapon, you don't have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him."

Israel could not have carried out its brutal assault, preceded and followed by a punishing siege, without a green light from leading world powers. When Israel attacked Gaza in February/March 2008, Matan Vilnai, then-deputy minister of defense (a misnomer for an aggressive, occupying power), threatened a "greater Shoah" (Holocaust). Some 102 Palestinians, including 21 children, were killed.

The reaction of the international community? Absolutely nothing substantive. On the contrary, the EU decided to reward the aggressor by upgrading its trade agreements with Israel. This upgrade in early December 2008 gave the go-ahead for the larger Gaza massacre of 2009 in which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed: the majority of them civilians. But now, in spite of Israeli war crimes, both the US and the EU continue to strengthen ties with Israel.

The resemblance of Israel's violent campaign of domination to that of the apartheid South African regime has recently been articulated by the anti-Apartheid freedom fighter and former South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils:

"[It] is not difficult for anyone acquainted with colonial history to understand the way in which deliberately cultivated race hate inculcates a justification for the most atrocious and inhumane actions against even defenseless civilians - women, children, the elderly amongst them."

The South African apartheid regime came under repeated pressure as the United Nations Security Council passed one resolution after another condemning its inhumane treatment of blacks. This gave much-needed succor to the oppressed, while we Palestinians, today, are bereft of even this tiny comfort because the United States continues to use its veto to ensure that Israel escapes censure.

Today, there is a growing grassroots struggle inside Palestine, much as there was inside apartheid South Africa. An intensified international solidarity movement with a common agenda can make the struggle for Palestine resonate in every country in the world. Our goal now, as civil society organisations, is to lift the siege against Gaza.

Haidar added:
To accomplish this, many activists, Palestinian and international, have launched a boycott campaign modeled on the global South African anti-apartheid campaign. This campaign is a democratic movement based on the struggle for human rights and the implementation of international law. Our struggle is not religious, ethnic, nor racial, but rather universalist; it is a struggle that guarantees the humanisation of our people in the face of a dreadful Israeli war machine.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, a staunch supporter of Palestinian rights, has said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

While the Israeli armed forces were bombing my neighborhood, the UN, EU, Arab League and the international community remained silent in the face of atrocities. Hundreds of corpses of children and women failed to convince them to intervene.

Gaza 2009, like the Sharpeville 1960 massacre, cannot be ignored. It demands a response from all who believe in a common humanity. Nelson Mandela pointed the way to this shared humanity when years ago he stated, "But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

Now is the time to boycott the Apartheid Israeli state, to divest from its economy and to impose sanctions against it. This is the only way to ensure the creation of a secular, democratic state for all its inhabitants in historic Palestine regardless of race, creed, or ethnicity.


Overseas Malaysians To Sue EC Over Non-Voting Rights - By Teoh El Sen.

Posted: 25 Dec 2010 10:01 PM PST

A group of Malaysians demanding voting rights for all citizens living abroad are planning to bring the Election Commission and the government to court.

MyOverseasVote (MOV) international coordinator Andrew Yong told FMT that the group is looking to file the suit in the first half of 2011.

MOV or 'Malaysians Overseas – Right to Vote' is a campaign that was recently kicked off in London and aims to encourage Malaysians living or working abroad to vote.

It is also raising funds to legally challenge 'discriminatory' regulations preventing many Malaysians overseas from registering as 'absent voters'.

"We want the court to say that the current regulations are against Article 8 of the federal constitution, which guarantees equal treatment for all citizens under the law. We want the court to declare that the Malaysian government and the Election Commision cannot discriminate against citizens abroad from voting on arbitrary grounds," said Yong.

Under the Election (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, only members of the Armed Forces, public servants, students on government scholarships and their spouses living overseas are eligible to register and vote as absent voters.

"We believe that there are no rational grounds for the government to say that only people working for the government can vote. We believe in the principle of 'one citizen, one vote'," said Yong.

"To date, we have collected about 10% of the RM200,000 required legal fees to cover everything right up to the Federal Court and includes costs in the event we lose the suit. Currently, the 10% is sufficient to launch the action and get it through the first few stages," said Yong.

Though there are people ready to be litigants, MOV is now looking for more Malaysians abroad to better represent the wide spectrum of people denied voting rights, said Yong.

"We have people in the UK and we need people in the US and Australia to volunteer as litigants. We are looking at professionals and people of the lower income group as they are the ones who are not financially able to return to vote," he said.

Election Commission being unreasonable

Yong said MOV has already engaged severals lawyers in the Malaysia, including prominent human rights lawyer Edmund Bon, who has agreed to take up the suit.

"We want Malaysians to be really involved and we're conducting campaigns. There's no point in us winning the suit if we don't have people voting."

About 20,000 students overseas are facing problems. In London, students wanting to register were told that they had to be students sponsored by the government to be registered as absent voters.

He added that the Election Commission was also not facilitating the registration through embassies and had not responded to applications in several cases since 2008.

Yong said: "This is unfair. Are certain people special and the rest of us don't count? Does the Election Commision automatically link government workers to the BN government? There are so many Malaysians who have been out of the country from five to 15 years and they could've easily become British or US citizens but chose to remain Malaysians. But for some reason they are being denied the right to vote. It's unreasonable."

Yong said in his own case, he studied law in London and he could vote after he was 21, but when he was in private practice, couldn't, and was eligible when he continued his masters.

"For me, I was in a position where I couldn't vote, can vote, couldn't vote, then can vote again," said Yong, who recently returned to Malaysia after being in the UK for 15 years.

There are 11 million registered voters in Malaysia, out of a potential electorate of 15 million.

Over one million Malaysians are estimated to live and work outside Malaysia and this, MOV said, could potentially provide an 8-9% increase in total voters.


Courtesy of Free Malaysia Today


SIMULATING BEING OLD

Posted: 25 Dec 2010 09:32 PM PST

Source: Straits Times

Would caregivers for the elderly do a better job if they could experience the daily challenges that their patients or loved ones go through?

The Tsao Foundation of Singapore believes so. The voluntary welfare organization has been running workshops to train staff of the SingHealth group to better understand the daily challenges faced by the elderly in carrying out simple tasks. So far 400 of the 20,000 employees have attended the workshops in batches.

My mom's daily calendar on the left, and my wallet-size 2010 calendar on the right. As we age, we need larger text to enhance readability.

Given that about one in 11 Singaporeans today is aged 65 and above, and one in five by 2030, this initiative is timely.

Workshop participants don partially blurred glasses to experience what it is like to perform tasks like reading labels on medicine bottles, or buttoning up a shirt with their fingers bandaged and unable to bend.

If you have missed this year's programme, make sure you sign up for it in 2011. 

Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society conducts a comprehensive training programme for caregivers for the elderly. If you are looking after an elderly parent or relative, you will find the 2-day programme extremely helpful.


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