INJUSTICE, no matter where it takes place, must be rebuked. Compromising on this would mean condoning it. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is doing the right thing in speaking out against those who oppress.
Taking no notice of it means we are ourselves perpetuating injustice. It is a very short distance from here to being complicit in the crime itself.
Granted we are all sovereign nations, but this doesn’t mean sovereign nations can oppress the minorities as they please. The United Nations was established precisely to stop such oppression. But where the UN fails—and it fails a lot — individual nations must speak up.
Equal rights of men and women of every hue cannot be achieved otherwise. Some politicians — and a few media too — want Malaysia to trade our rebuke for palm oil. To them we say this: people must always come before profit. Never forget this either.
Yesterday, it was the Jews, Tutsis and Cambodians. Today, it is the Palestinians, Rohingya, Uighurs, Syrians and Yemenis. Tomorrow, it will be some others. Remember, it was because of the world’s lackadaisical attitude that injustice continues unabated. The list of the oppressed is a very long one. Our apathy may make this an endless one.
Consider Palestine. A territory that has for the longest time been carved away, little by little, first with the help of the British and now the Americans. Long before Israel was crafted by the colonialists — 52 years to be exact — the British brought hundreds of thousands ofEuropean Jews into Palestine to resettle there. And in the process driving the Palestinians out of their land.
Legitimacy didn’t matter then. It doesn’t matter still. The more than a century of resettlement hasn’t stopped.
Unites States President Donald Trump’s so-called “Peace Plan of the Century” perpetuates the thievery. This is why the world must join Malaysia in rebuking injustice such as this.
We are glad The Gambia did. If not for this smallest of countries in mainland Africa, the world would not have heard the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rebuke Myanmar. Like Malaysia, The Gambia is a profile in courage. Its Justice Minister Aboubacarr Marie Tambadou’s opening statement to the court was a cry to save humanity: “All that The Gambia asks is that you tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings, to stop these acts of barbarity and brutality that have shocked and continue to shock our collective conscience, to stop this genocide of its own people.”
Thankfully, the ICJ did just that. But the de facto Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi shrugged off the decision, despite several Nobel Peace laureates urging her to publicly acknowledge the atrocities against the Rohingya as genocide at the ICJ.
Unsurprisingly, a day after the ICJ ruling, Suu Kyi was all laments in an opinion piece in the Financial Times of the United Kingdom, saying the case against Myanmar was “precariously dependent on statements by refugees in camps in Bangladesh”.
Her preference? The statements given by 1,500 witnesses, mostly by security personnel, to the military regime’s Independent Commission of Enquiry. This is not the argument of one who is seriously interested in promoting coexistence. In such a world where mankind loses its humanity, rebuke matters.