Eager to be a part of history, Idzwan Husaini is joining Bersih 2.0 in London
I am looking forward to the next General Election because I want to exercise my right by voting. But there is a part of me that thinks it will all be pointless if the system is corrupt. I will still come out to vote anyway. But I would be more confident of the legitimacy of the outcome of the election if I know that the eight demands of Bersih have been heard and that the electoral reform has taken place.
The success of Bersih 2.0 will not be measured by the side that wins the next GE. Bersih 2.0 is not about political parties. It has never been and it will never be. Bersih 2.0 does not aim to overthrow BN by way of a revolution. We still believe in democracy. All we seek is for the election system to be free of its fraudulent practices that are rampant and apparent to help lend credence to those who win. It is about Malaysian citizens coming together to make sure that our voices are heard by both sides of the political divide. It is about making sure that whichever side that gets to form a government in the next GE realise that they should be doing what the citizens say, not the other way around.
So, even if the government disagrees with what Bersih 2.0 propagates, the government should democratically allow the demonstration to go on – asking for a clean and fair election system free of fraud cannot possibly be against the law.
The fact that BN chooses to demonise the demonstration is confirming the public’s suspicion that they might have won based on a corrupt electoral system. Their actions indeed prove that they have stayed in power through a damaged and crippled system: abusing and misusing various laws, ordinances and acts, detaining activists for ridiculous reasons such as wearing harmless yellow t-shirts!
The police investigating the nation’s most celebrated poet for sedition over a four-stanza poem, one that would have been lauded if we were still in the pre-independent era, reflects how far behind we are when it comes to freedom of expression. It is even worse when the government chooses to stop a demonstration that has promised to ensure peace and calm but at the same time allows a certain angry man to go on with his chaos-filled agenda spewing accusations and burning posters! (Somebody hug that guy for me. He must be very lonely.)
The way our government has been acting for the last two weeks only makes me even more resolute in my desire to join Bersih 2.0.
Not gonna give a shiz
Back in 2007, all that I ever cared about was my failing maths, my annoying parents, my confusion about my own identity, my annoying parents, my university applications, my annoying parents, bla bla bla. I was your typical 19-year-old.
Bersih was nothing but a question directed to me by a friend during lunch. He asked what I thought about it. I had not an iota of idea about the whole thing so my friend explained to me about the whole electoral reform and politics mumbo jumbo and all I said was that those politicians were not gonna help me with my failing maths so I was not gonna give a shiz about what they were trying to reform. I was apathetic. I chose to be.
March 2008 came and apathy stopped being a choice. I was drawing in my room when my sister burst my door opened to say that Nurul Izzah had defeated Shahrizat Jalil. That night, and that General Election, many things that were deemed impossible before seemed to have become possible!
Almost four years have passed and our country has, no doubt, experienced several major shifts in its political landscape and everyone, apathetic or not, is swept away in the tsunami that started in 2008. Since leaving the country in September 2008 to come to UK to study, never a day passes without me reading up on what is happening in Malaysia. From the death of Teoh Beng Hock to its farcical Royal Commission Inquest, from one by-election to another and all their ‘goodie bags’, from the PKFZ to Khir Toyo’s mansion, from Sarawak State Election to PERKASA, it became harder and harder not to care about what is going on. We often complain and grumble about this and that but we also often refuse to take proactive actions. I realised that to have a progressive nation, we need to be progressive citizens that always hold the government accountable for all their actions. To simply rely on the opposition for check-and-balance is not enough. The time to be apathetic is over.
Future generation’s history lessons
So that is why I am choosing to support Bersih 2.0 and that’s why I am taking a 7-hour bus ride from Newcastle to London to take part in Bersih 2.0 UK Solidarity Walk. I am walking out in the streets of London to show my support and solidarity for my yellow brothers and sisters in my home country who are likely to face resistance and legal actions from the authority.
To those who are supporting and will be walking this coming Saturday, I congratulate you for having the bravery to stand up for what is righfully yours: the country.
To the fence-sitters, do come out and join in the movement. Being in the UK allows me to discover the joy of Les’ Miserables. One of my favourite song from that musical (other than “Do You Hear the People Sing” which is also highly relevant to the cause) is “Little People”. The lyrics succintly epitomise the massive collective power we hold if we “little people” choose to be united to voice our demands.
Much has been written and said about Bersih 2.0 and I predict these writings will be used in the next 20 years as part of our future generation’s history lessons. Whether these writings will be viewed in positive or negative light no one can tell, yet, as history is none but a collection of stories arranged together by the then authority to propagate their own agenda. Ever the optimist, I continue to type away hoping that Bersih 2.0 will go down as a positive event in our nation’s history and that some positive changes will take place. And I hope I have played my tiny role towards those changes the way our freedom fighters had used literature and poetry to ignite the spirit of independence back in the not-too-distant past.
Click here for info on the Bersih 2.0 UK Solidarity Walk in London.
Click here for info on the Global Bersih 2.0 Solidarity Walks, presently in 27 cities across the planet.
Idzwan Husaini lives by Einstein’s wisdom that “the world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”