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Nuffnang

Ahad, 30 November 2014

Suara Sri Andalas

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Suara Sri Andalas


Kelas Innai dan Ikat Sari Kedua DUN Seri Andalas

Posted: 30 Nov 2014 04:10 AM PST

Kelas kedua program mengikat sari dan innai di Pejabat DUN Seri Andalas dari jam 9 pagi hingga 1 petang. Terima kasih kepada Ms Usha Ranjani Sinniah dan Ms Sri Mahalekshumy Maha.


Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim


Pope Francis’ visit to Turkey and a new chapter in relations between Islam and Christendom

Posted: 29 Nov 2014 11:38 PM PST

The visit by Pope Francis to Turkey gives new meaning to religious tolerance and understanding between Christendom and Islam and heralds a new chapter in relations between the two great civilizations.

In a radical departure from the conventional papal posture, Pope Francis prefers to relate rather than pontificate and that has made all the difference.

To begin with, he goes to Turkey not to preach but to reach out, very much in the tradition of Christ, with humility and peace to the Muslim world as signified by Turkey, having already made his rounds to Jordan and Palestine.

Even more significantly, he has led by example in being the first pontiff to eschew the stereotypical association of Islam with extremism and violence, no doubt one of the glaring features of Islamophobia particularly in the West that is spreading at an even faster pace than the tentacles of the reviled Isis and the so-called Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

This genuine desire for understanding must therefore be received warmly and reciprocated with an equally genuine desire for the same from leaders of the Muslim world.

In this regard, President Erdo?an has done just that in publicly praising the pope for his "efforts to spread world peace, tolerance, peace and co-existence." More than just words, this is a gesture that will go a long way towards blazing the trail for a new chapter in Muslim-Christian relations in general and in mending the strained relationships of the past.

Once we get past the theological polemics which more often than not puts a strain on inter-religious relations, the matters that bind these two great faiths should be reason enough for cultivating greater tolerance and mutual respect.

There is no doubt that issues that bind all faiths and communities such as equity and justice, peace, the dignity of man, the need to alleviate the plight of the poor and the marginalized must continue to dominate the discourse.

While detractors will be quick to point out that one swallow does not make a summer, it is hoped that, emulating the positive steps being made by the Pope and President Erdo?an, world leaders of all major faiths will focus their energies on resolving these issues with a fervour and commitment driven by common ground that we share rather than the differences that are exaggerated.

Anwar Ibrahim
Chair
World Forum for Muslim Democrats
30th November 2014

Sabtu, 29 November 2014

Suara Sri Andalas

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Suara Sri Andalas


Aktiviti Sukan JKKK Sg Kandis 29 November 2014

Posted: 29 Nov 2014 05:15 PM PST









Sumbangan Program Belia - Program Explorezania 2014

Posted: 29 Nov 2014 05:13 PM PST

Klang, 27November 2014, YB Dr. Xavier Jayakumar menyampaikan sumbangan untuk program belia - Program Explorezania 2014 ke Lost World of Tambun.


Rabu, 26 November 2014

Suara Sri Andalas

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Suara Sri Andalas


Hari Pementasan Bahasa

Posted: 26 Nov 2014 05:28 PM PST

Klang, 26 November 2014 - YB Dr. Xavier Jayakumar pada petang ini menghadiri Hari Pementasan Bahasa di Dewan Dato' Hamzah Klang.







N37 Batu Maung

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N37 Batu Maung


Tahniah Kepada Astaka Bukit Gedung

Posted: 26 Nov 2014 03:02 AM PST


Tahniah Kepada Astaka Bukit Gedung ( Kompleks MPPP Bukit Gedung ) telah dinobat sebagai Johan Peringkat Kebangasaan 2014. Semua dijemput hadir bagi memeriahkan majlis.

Posted: 26 Nov 2014 02:54 AM PST




Semua Dijemput hadir bagi mengimarahkan Program ini

Selasa, 25 November 2014

Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim


[PROGRAM] Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim – Pulau Pinang, Selangor dan Sarawak

Posted: 25 Nov 2014 12:35 AM PST

Jelajah RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim

Ke Pulau Pinang, Selangor & Sarawak

 27 November 2014 – Khamis – PULAU PINANG

1)    6.00 ptg –  Ucaptama – ” THE FUTURE OF ASEAN,

BEYOND   ASEAN VALUES”  -

KASYP ALUMNI CONFERENCE

Lokasi:  Hotel Vistana Pulau Pinang

2)   8.30 pm  - MAJLIS PENGHARGAAN SEMPENA

KEMENANGAN    TEMPAT PERTAMA –

MEDAN SELERA BERSIH &  SELAMAT

PERINGKAT KEBANGSAAN 2014

Lokasi:  Komplek Bukit Gedung,  BATU MAUNG

3)   8.30 – 12.00 mlm – Ceramah –  RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

 

Lokasi : Pusat Khidmat DUN Permatang Pasir,

PERMATANG PAUH

Penceramah  :

1)    YB Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim

2)   YB Dato' Mansor Othman

3)   YB Khalid Samad

4)   YB Dato' Salleh Man

5)    Pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat Negeri

28 November 2014 –  Jumaat – PULAU PINANG

1)   9.00am  - UCAPTAMA MAJLIS PENGIKTARAFAN DAN

IJTIMAK  AL- HUFFAZ   PERINGKAT  NEGERI

PULAU PINANG –  KALI KE 7 – 2014

Lokasi : Yayasan An Nahdhoh, KUBANG SEMANG,

Permatang Pauh

28 November 2014 – Jumaat – SELANGOR

1)   8.00 – 12.00 mlm – Ceramah – RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

Lokasi : Jalan Indah 2/1, Puchong (Sebelah Petron)

Penceramah:

1.     YB Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim

2.     YAB Azmin Ali

3.     YAB Lim Guan Eng

4.     YBhg Mat Sabu

5.     YB Dat' Husam Musa

6.     YB Hanafiah Maidin

7.     YB Gobind Singh & Pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat

29  November 2014 – Sabtu – SARAWAK

1)   4. 00 ptg – Ceramah – RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

Lokasi : Kampong  Logan Bunut, Tinjar, BARAM

2)    7.00 – 11.00 mlm – Ceramah – RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

Lokasi : Waterfront, MIRI

30 November 2014 – Ahad – SARAWAK

1) 10.00 pg –  Perjumpaan Pimpinan Muda Sarawak

Lokasi : Grand Continental Hotel, KUCING, SARAWAK

2)   2.00 ptg – Mesyuarat Majlis Pimpinan Negeri

3)   4.00 ptg – Ceramah – RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

Lokasi : Kampong Santubong, SANTUBONG

4)   6.30 ptg – Himpunan Perdana – RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

Lokasi : Desa Ilmu, KOTA SAMARAHAN

Penceramah:

1.     YB Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim

2.     YB Baru Bian

3.     YB See Chee How

4.     YB Ali Biju

5.     YB Nurul Izzah Anwar

6.     YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad

7.     YB Sim Tze Sin

8.     YBhg Dato' Saifuddin Nasution

 

PEJABAT DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM

Isnin, 24 November 2014

Suara Sri Andalas

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Suara Sri Andalas


Meraikan Anak-anak Yatim di Perindustrian Subang Utamas

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 05:19 PM PST

Shah Alam, 23 November 2014 - Menghadiri Program Meraikan Anak-anak Yatim dari Kaum India di kawasan Perindustrian Subang Utama, Shah Alam anjuran sebuah kilang perindustrian yang prihatin. Moga lebih ramai lagi tokoh-tokoh korporat tampil membantu menceriakan mereka yang kurang bernasib baik.





Program TAWAS Persiapan Murid Tahun Satu

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 05:16 PM PST

Kg. Jawa, 23 November 2014 - YB Dr. Xavier, ADUN Seri Andalas di Program JOM SHOPPING TAWAS untuk anak-anak Selangor yang akan ke Tahun Satu 2015. Program anjuran Yayasan Anak Selangor di pasaraya Econsave Kg. Jawa. 

Seramai 2,000 kanak-kanak dari DUN Seri Andalas, Sri Muda, Batu Tiga & Kota Anggerik hadir menerima Baucar RM50 untuk dibelanjakan.





Gotong-royong di Taman Sentosa

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 05:14 PM PST

Taman Sentosa, Klang, 23 November 2014 - YB Dr. Xavier, ADUN Seri Andalas di Program Gotong Royong di kawasan Jalan Laksamana 10, Taman Sentosa anjuran Pejabat DUN Ser Andalas. Turut serta YB Dr. Siti Mariah, Ahli Parlimen Kota Raja, Ahli Majlis Zon 49A, Encik PS Rajoo, wakil-wakil dari Jabatan Korporat, Jabatan Kesihatan & Jabatan Perkhidmatan Persekitaran MPK serta kontraktor kawasan. 

Setinggi-tinggi terima kasih kepada yang terlibat menjayakan program ini, khususnya anak-anak muda dari Kolej MySkill yg turut menyumbang bakti.







Majlis Berkhatan Beramai-ramai di Sungai Kandis

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 05:10 PM PST

Sungai Kandis, 23 November 2014 - Menghadiri majlis berkhatan anjuran Ahli Majlis MBSA Zon 15 di Dewan MBSA Kg. Sg. Kandis.



Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim


Islam and Democracy: Malaysia in Comparative Perspective

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 03:53 AM PST

by Anwar Ibrahim, Leader of Opposition Malaysia and former Deputy Prime Minister

Stanford University on November 20, 2014 hosted by Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) and Muslim Student Association

I begin by making some bold assertions. We, as in we all, regardless whether it is the Muslim world or the West or Asia, are facing great challenges. This is no time for equivocation.

So, let me first state firmly: Islam and democracy are fully compatible. The contention that they are diametrically opposed to each other is without foundation.

Secondly, Boko Haram, al-Shabab, ISIS and all other terrorist organizations that resort to killing innocent people, raping, kidnapping and forced conversions have no legitimacy whatsoever and the term Islam or Islamic state cannot be ascribed to them. Period.

Thirdly, the ulema, Muslim clerics, influential Muslim organizations and all eminent Muslim democrats must condemn not just these extreme and violent groups but also the dictatorships and autocratic regimes in the Muslim world that have persistently denied democratic rights to their citizens, and whose human rights record could put even North Korea to shame.

Fourthly, even as the tentacles of ISIS appear to be spreading across Syria and Iraq, Islamophobia is spreading at an even faster pace all around the world. In consequence, bona fide Muslim organizations and Muslim democrats become targets even as ordinary Muslims fall prey to 'hate crimes'.

Islam and freedom

It is true that there is no democracy without freedom. And detractors are quick to point out that on this alone, Islam is left at the starting blocks when measured against democracy. According to them, this is because there is no freedom in religion.

This is simply not true. Within Islam, freedom of faith is one of the five higher objectives of the divine law, the maqasid al-sharia, together with the protection of life, family and lineage, intellectual well-being, and property rights.

All persons must rely on their convictions about what is right and what is wrong – freely, without any form of duress, intimidation or compulsion. The Holy Qur'an is explicitly unequivocal about this:

"There shall be no compulsion in religion." Al-Baqara:256

That means you cannot force a person to become a Muslim. Freedom of faith is allowed.

That is why the same elements in a constitutional democracy become moral imperatives in Islam – freedom of conscience, freedom to speak out against tyranny, a call for reform and the right to property.

In Islam, freedom must go together with justice, hence the doctrine of al-Hurriya wa-l-Adala. This doctrine is fundamental for moral and social reform in as much as it is a cornerstone in the Western concept of democracy.

Equity and justice is ordained in Surat al-Ma'idah: 8:

"O believers, be you securers of justice, witnesses for God. Let not detestation for a people move you not to be equitable; be equitable-that is nearer to being God-fearing. And fear Allah; surely Allah is aware of the things you do".

And in Sura al-An'am:115

"And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice."

The Rule of Law

Islam enjoins rule of law. Firstly, the expropriation of an individual right by the state constitutes an infringement. Secondly, a judge must exercise caution and discretion in his pronouncements and not allow personal prejudices or animosity to come in the way. And thirdly, and perhaps most significantly, is the principle that all men are equal before the law and that society has rights even as against the state.

In Two Treatises of Government, John Locke sums up the consequences of a breakdown in the rule of law: "Wherever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another's harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by the law…(he) may be opposed…"[1]

Joseph Raz adds that laws should be prospective, stable and not subject to frequent changes, that the discretionary power in law enforcement agencies should not be allowed to pervert the law and most significantly that the independence of the judiciary must be guaranteed.[2]

I submit these are totally in line with Islam. The idea that the whole of Islamic law can be reduced to the application of criminal laws and penalties is an aberrant approach that has proliferated in the modern period.  The great Muslim scholars from Ibn al-Muqaffa to al-Mawardi to ibn Taymiyyah and al-Ghazzali have spilled much ink on the topic of siyasa, what the Arabic language calls the "Art of Governance" and what we refer to more colloquially as public policy. Interestingly, the most intense debates on siyasa took place at times when the Muslim world was in crisis – and such a debate is of critical importance in the current period.

Islam and governance

In Islam, power is trust and those who have power to rule must be held accountable for their actions and decisions.

Elected representatives, particularly those in power, must therefore answer for decisions made. This is an essential element in good governance.

Governance therefore must go beyond mere democracy and accountability here must go beyond mere electoral accountability.

It is not surprising therefore that we hear  that the specter that is haunting democracy in the world today is bad governance.[3]

That means governance that serves only the interests of cronies and relatives and the political elite. It means patronage and the lack of transparency in the dispensation of government funds and projects. It means governance that turns a deaf ear to the demands for social justice. It means abuse of power and corruption.

But seriously, solving a country's governance is therefore the key to attaining quality democracy and this takes precedence over the economy. This is because economic growth will not be sustainable without significant improvements in governance. Again, to quote a prominent Stanford professor, "for democratic structures to endure…they must listen to their citizens' voices, engage their participation, tolerate their protests, protect their freedoms, and respond to their needs."[4]

Overlapping consensus and dialogue with the ruling party

 

In advancing our constitutional rights and other legitimate demands and expectations, we should remember that there are competing claims from different segments of society. Rawls reminds us that despite "considerable differences in citizens’ conceptions of justice there can still be consensus provided that these conceptions lead to similar political judgments."[5]

This doctrine of overlapping consensus is of particular significance in practical terms for a society like Malaysia's that is multiracial and multi-religious. But the consensus can only be realized by the respective contending parties refraining from cantankerous and open disputes regarding religion and philosophy.

Rawls does not suggest that society can or should do away with its diversity in religion and philosophy but the overlapping consensus on principles of justice is the common platform founded on morality that will cement the multiplicity of groups with diverse doctrines.

It is true that democracy requires compromise and groups with different agendas and views must be prepared to enter into dialogue setting aside immediate differences.

The humane economy

Drawing inspiration from the principles of Islam, social justice can only be realized through a 'humane economy'. From the standpoint of such an economy, there is no clash between the pursuit of wealth and the dispensation of social justice: the right to ownership of property endures and while Islam encourages wealthy individuals to contribute to society there is no compulsion apart from the obligatory taxation on wealth imposed across the board.

The Islamic position on charity, however, is that it is supererogatory, i.e. one is not enjoined to do it but to do it is part of a higher calling to please God and to earn greater merit in the Hereafter. But the Islamic imperative on the State's administration of pubic wealth is clear: The redistribution of this wealth is to be undertaken by the State with the condition precedent that it is done in a transparent way with officials being held completely accountable.

But this is not to say that since charity is not obligatory social justice can be done away with. In the context of democracy and governance, in the Islamic conception, social justice is an imperative to be followed by the state. Again, the maqasid al-Shari'ah enjoin those in charge of the state to ensure society's sustained well-being. Gross inequalities of wealth, poverty, and the deprivation of fundamental social necessities such as health care, education and housing cannot constitute society's sustained well-being.

Islam and the Arab Spring

The euphoria many felt in the wake of the Arab Spring seems like such a distant memory that some of us are left scratching our heads. Did that even happen?

Watching on television as thousands of Egyptians took over Tahrir Square and in doing so literally took back their country.  But it was not long before thousands more marched in the streets of Cairo in a stunning, almost baffling reversal of fortune. They fought tooth and nail not for freedom per se but to hand the reins of power right back to the military – where it will most likely rest for generations to come. The regime in power in Egypt today is demonstrably more repressive than anything we saw under Mubarak.

The Arab revolutions have largely unraveled – if one can even call them revolutions at all. Some countries have imposed severe authoritarian strictures in hopes of stuffing back into Pandora's Box what was unleashed in December 2010 by the Tunisian street vendor Muhammad Bouazizi.  Other countries have literally crumbled in the wake of protest, uprising and civil war.

As if democracy was simply a thing that happens to good people when the time is right, there are those who look at the past few years and conclude that the Muslim world is simply not ready for a democratic change.

Is this really the lesson we should draw: that democracy is not worth the price one must pay in hopes of achieving it.  I would argue emphatically to the contrary.

I have tabulated the essential values enjoined in Islam that are fully compatible with democracy. Unfortunately, between what ought to be and what is lies a deep chasm. Or as T.S. Eliot has so eloquently put it:

"Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the shadow."[6]

Thus, freedom of religion and conscience, freedom of speech, the fundamental liberties, sanctity of property, dignity of man, justice and rule of law – the things that ought to be are just so sorely lacking in Muslim societies that while the theory is right the reality bites hard.

The authoritarians that have survived this latest bout of democratic fury are generally speaking more clever and cunning. The brutality of their rule is carefully masked by expensive public relations exercises and carefully scripted appearances in the international media.

General Sisi knows that to scuttle the democratic aspirations of a nation of 80 million requires careful strategy that has world leaders lining up to praise his coup as a triumph of democracy in the Middle East. The irony is so implausible I can only think of Malcolm X who said that "if you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing."

In the recent period Malaysia has seen a rise in exclusivist politics. What has been a relatively peaceful and multi ethnic nation is being fractured by competing voices of intolerance suggesting that citizenship is no longer based on the belief in a nation but rather in the absolute supremacy of a single religious or ethnic group.  We no longer live in a world where rights are to be shared harmoniously.

This is in part due to ignorance. But it does not take a doctoral degree in Islamic law or history to demonstrate the religion's pluralistic outlook – and Muslim teachers well versed in the tradition should be at the forefront of debunking this racist agenda.

So what is at play in places like Malaysia where bigotry is sanctioned in the name of Islam? Why else are some religious authorities playing this dangerous game other than to kow-tow to political masters who cling to power through diabolical tactics of divide-and-rule.

 

This should be deeply distressing for everyone. Certainly the nation remains relatively at peace. But religious and racial bigotry are a slippery slope. In America Islamophobia starts with a few isolated incidents of discrimination and violence; then – a gradual sense of fear and mistrust;  followed by full blown institutionalized racism.  If the NYPD can legally pursue a policy of surveillance of an entire community based on their ethnic or religious belief without any reasonable cause, then the possibility of suspending other Constitutional provisions becomes much easier.

These actions sow the seeds for mistrust and discord, tearing away at the fabric of a nation. If those chauvinists and bigots are not taken to task for undermining what are constitutional guarantees then the entire system of rights and responsibilities decays by this cancer. The selective application of laws to protect just a few – those who support the government – leads to violence and empowers those who would seek to take the laws into their own hands.  You project this to its eventual conclusion and you have disasters such as that which is unfolding in Syria and Iraq. I hope Malaysia can correct its course.  The antidote to this disease is a version of statehood that is inclusive and accountable to the hopes and aspirations of its own people.

Conclusion

Some great heroes have emerged in recent years. People whose sacrifice gives truth to adage "Give me liberty or give me death."  Their work – frequently highlighted by this Center – is worth noting. These weighty concepts of freedom, justice, rule of law are not just theoretical concepts to be discussed in the halls of academia. For many around the world – they are quite literally the difference between life and death.  In closing I offer to you a few lines from Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi, a colonial-era Tunisian poet whose verses inspired men to move mountains in search of freedom.

If the people will to live

Providence is destined to favorably respond

And night is destined to fold

And the chains are certain to be broken

And he who has not embraced the love of life

Will evaporate in its atmosphere and disappear[7]

Thank you.



[1] Two Treatises of Government, edited by Peter Laslett, New York: Mentor, 1965, Ch. XVIII

[2] Raz, Joseph. "The Rule of Law and Its Virtue", The Law Quarterly Review, volume 93, page 195 (1977)

 

[3] Larry Diamond's address of the National Endowment for Democracy's 25 years of operations, 2007

[4] Larry Diamond, The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2008

[5] John Rawls, A Theory of Justice. (Revised Ed.) Harvard University Press, 1971, 1999, p. 340.

[6] The Hollow Men

 

[7] From "The Will to Live" by Abu al-Qassim al-Shabbi

 

Sabtu, 22 November 2014

Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim


A habit of the heart

Posted: 22 Nov 2014 12:51 AM PST

The Philippine Star

There was a time when I would not be caught dead supporting Anwar Ibrahim. This was the time of development and the virtues of authoritarianism in getting things done.

Mahathir was my hero. He still is – for the brave stand he took during the 2008 Asian financial crisis against all odds and criticisms from western financial moguls especially against George Soros whom he accused of sabotage. He introduced controls to protect the Malaysian ringgit. That was also the time when he went against Anwar Ibrahim when it seemed that his deputy prime minister was wavering in his support for Mahathir's policies.

Close Filipino friends were in Kuala Lumpur for the trial of Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy. We stood at different parts of the courtroom. I went to see Mahathir in his office outside the city convinced that it was the development path that was more significant than Anwar's fight for freedom and democracy.

The same Filipino friends of Anwar Ibrahim in court have sent his speech in Georgetown University to this column as he awaits the decision from Malaysia's High Court expected any day.

* * *

Ibrahim's speech in Georgetown addresses Filipino reformists of today, too.  I like especially the part when he said that he would return to Malaysia soon. He could opt not to. But he said the cause of democracy is a habit of the heart.

He could not leave the youth he had inspired to continue the job. It would be unfair to them. In a way, we who have worked hard for constitutional reform in the Philippines for many years can learn from his speech. Like him we continue to fight against those who would destroy our institutions because we believe that we can mature in a democracy and continue the fight for reform and save our institutions under a rule of law. We must have faith and preserve our values. All this I take to mean as a response equally relevant to us in Bayanko.

It would be so easy to give up, but who is to do it if so many are mesmerized by what they think is progress and development?

* * *

In the same speech, he compares the Reformasi as the journey to Ithaka. This is a poem written by Constantine Cavafy. I would like to share this poem with this column's readers as a source of inspiration to keep them strong and determined for the struggle now and in the days ahead.

"When you set out for Ithaka ask that your way be long, full of adventure, full of instruction. The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops, angry Poseidon – do not fear them: such as these you will never find? as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare emotion touch your spirit and your body.

The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops, angry Poseidon – you will not meet them unless you carry them in your soul, unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long. At many a Summer dawn to enter with what gratitude, what joy – ports seen for the first time; to stop at Phoenician trading centres, and to buy good merchandise, mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, and sensuous perfumes of every kind, sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can; to visit many Egyptian cities, to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.

Your arrival there is what you are destined for. But don't in the least hurry the journey. Better it last for years, so that when you reach the island you are old, rich with all you have gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth. Ithaka gave you a splendid journey. Without her you would not have set out. She hasn't anything else to give you. And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn't deceived you. So wise you have become, of such experience, that already you'll have understood what these Ithakas mean." It is not just for the few but for the rare and "crazy."

* * *

News reports have been coming out that "we are now in a post crisis period." I was with a group last night who were not aware of the reports. If we are now in this post crisis situation what is the government doing about it?

"The Nasdaq reports that "looking back to between 1945 and 2008, we see that the frequency of financial crises and recessions is quite high: on average, there is one crisis every 58 months (using data from the US National Bureau of Economic Research). In other words, statistically speaking we should expect the beginning of the next crisis in April 2015, which would end by March 2016. So are we in a post- or a pre-crisis period?"

There is another perspective to the crisis. This comes from Jose Alejandrino, member and adviser  of Bayanko. He gathers facts that are available in many news reports.

'The Japanese economy sank further in the 3rd quarter after a severe contraction in the previous quarter, pushing it into recession. The Russian economy is on the edge of recession due to economic sanctions imposed by the West as punishment for interfering in Ukraine. The Eurozone is also on the brink of recession due to high debt, low growth, and high unemployment. The German economy, the powerhouse of Europe, only grew by 0.1 percent in the 3rd quarter.?IMF's managing director Christine Lagarde and Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned of a spectre of stagnation sweeping Europe.?The economies of the emerging markets are all slowing down.? All this will impact severely on the US economic recovery.

A world recession cannot but affect the Philippines. In my previous postings, I warned of external and internal factors that will hit the Philippines in 2015. A world economic recession is the  external factor. It will reduce considerably the country's exports and manufacturing, increasing further the already high unemployment and poverty rates. These are the internal factors. The social repercussions will add to the revolutionary situation already present in the country with a do-nothing government and wide discontent. It could sweep away the established order."

Is this the divine intervention that will happen to finally awaken Filipinos to the dire economic and political situation in the Philippines?

‘Cruel and unusual’ – Leaked prison letter from hunger striker Mohamed Soltan

Posted: 22 Nov 2014 12:48 AM PST

Middle East Monitor

US citizen Mohamed Soltan has been in an Egyptian jail for over a year, and on hunger strike for nearly all of that time. He has smuggled a letter out of prison to mark his 27th birthday today (November 16th). There is also another hearing in his trial today, and the judge in charge of the case is the same one who sentenced the Aljazeera journalists to lengthy jail terms, as well presiding over the trial of known activists Ahmed Douma and Alaa Abdelfatah. The text of Soltan’s letter is as follows:

For the first time in the pre-season, I came late to JV basketball practice. I had made the team at 336 pounds, during my junior year in high school, even though all of my classmates were playing varsity I was just happy to make the team. That day, Coach Slappy looked at me as I entered the gym, and without giving me the chance to explain my tardiness he put his index finger up and circled it in the air, directing me to run laps. I was OK with the punishment for the tardiness, but what I wasn’t OK with was his insistence on the “finger-circling” when I asked and continued asking as I ran, “How many laps coach?”

That day I felt that I had received the worst punishment. I could have ran 100 laps had the coach let me know how many laps I needed to run, but the psychological punishment was, for me, nothing short of torture. That day I ran 29 laps around the basketball court, but every lap felt like it would be the last one. By the time Coach Slappy remembered to tell me to stop I was mentally and physically drained.

I remember this story as my 27th birthday, my second in prison, approaches and as I finish 290 days on hunger strike. One hundred and fifty pounds lighter and exactly 10 years later, I am sitting in an underground Egyptian dungeon reflecting on that basketball season and its relevance to my current circumstances. I have lost the sense of hunger; I lose consciousness often; I wake up to bruises and a bloody mouth almost daily; and physical pain has become the norm, with my body numb as it eats away at itself. None of that is as painful as the psychological torture that the ambiguity of my detention (which is under an indefinite temporary holding law) is imposing. This is a dark and gloomy nightmare; I have no clue about how it descended on me so suddenly; I don’t know how long it will last; nor do I know how and when it will end. Although it is a much more extreme feeling than that of Coach Slappy’s punishment, it is nonetheless similar; mental and physical depletion. I do not know how long until this “punishment” ends, so every day passes like it is the last, slow and excruciating.

And just when the rare tears filled up my eyes as I went down memory lane to that basketball season, it all began to come together. That year I stopped smoking sheesha, lost 60 pounds, worked extra hard every practice, and moved from benching the JV team to 6th-man, to a starter. By the end of the year I was on the varsity basketball team with my classmates.

I realised then that, on that one day when Coach Slappy decided to punish me, he was testing my mental strength, my potential, and whether I had enough heart for the game. He kept this up for the rest of season, and I was certainly transformed into a better basketball player. My mental strength would be cultivated through these tests because I trusted him and that he was making me a better player.

I could not help the tears flowing down my bony cheeks as I thought of my weakness and inability to fully trust in God’s wisdom as much I did Coach Slappy’s. There is no comparison of course; this current test is much more extreme and definitely more painful, but just like the former made me stronger so too is this going to make me stronger. Just like I was prepped to be a better basketball player, I am being moulded by God to be a wiser human being, an effective leader, and a stronger advocate of freedom and peace. My coach’s words, “Hate every moment of training but love and cherish every second of victory,” are ever-so relevant today.

A ray of optimism has lit my heart. That’s the thing about birthdays, anniversaries, New Years, etc.; they inspire reflections over the past, thoughts and emotions around purpose, priorities, plans, future and hope.

I wipe my tears and, just as I begin to prepare for night prayer to thank God for all His blessings, I smile as I remember what I told myself 10 years ago during the 29th lap: “This has an end.”

Lieman maximum security prison
13 November, 2014

Freedom of speech: When a human right is sometimes a luxury

Posted: 22 Nov 2014 12:47 AM PST

Huffington Post

Young diaspora Muslims are flocking to Syria and signing up with ISIS to fight in a cosmic war while others plot domestic violence against secularism in their adopted homelands. Nothing as horrific as 9-11 or 7-7 has yet to take place but some believe it’s just a matter of time.

What do western, anti-religion secularists recommend to discourage domestic jihadism? Grit-your-teeth tolerance? Or systematic protest through freedom of speech, manifested in the media as ridicule and humiliation?

Convening recently in October at the spectacular Tower Hotel in London, a two-day conference about The Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights brought critical activists together to discuss the global rise of the religious-Right and how secularism is the only viable solution to this creeping influence.

The UK’s hardcore, anti-religion secularists were in a majority at this conference and it was obvious that most of them believe religious tolerance in their society has gone too far. Political correctness has distorted society’s perception of Islam, they say, giving diaspora Muslims too much breathing space among educated, socially progressive citizens who otherwise cannot stomach theocracy, misogyny or homophobia.

“Is the BBC part of the solution or part of the problem?” someone yelled from the audience on the first day of the conference.

This reference to media deserves attention. Although there were six outstanding panels over the two-day period, none of them focused on freedom of speech and its role in what some interpret as a dangerous rhetoric of gratuitous ridicule. All references to incidents of public anti-Muslim sentiment were celebrated and endorsed by the conference participants, including the recent comments of American comedian, Bill Maher who said on his popular HBO talk showReal Time that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia.”

Only one of the conference’s speakers warned about the consequences of provoking diaspora Muslims. And he was dimly booed.

Pervez Hoodbhoy is one of South Asia’s leading nuclear physicists and social activists, perhaps one of Pakistan’s most esteemed intellectuals. He gave an informative presentation entitled: “Has the Islamic State Ever Been a Historical Reality?” Hoodbhoy is a man worth listening to yet his closing comments were not well received.

(To paraphrase:) “Free speech can be a luxury and sometimes it is not worth the consequences.”

After eight years, the existential question still haunts many Danes: were the Mohammed cartoons worth the lives of the 200 plus that died in the subsequent riots of 2006?

Many ideological secularists might very well say yes; that free speech trumps any and all practical considerations for a peaceful relationship with Muslims (or any other religious community).

Nevertheless, research has demonstrated that intentional ridicule of Muslims is undeniably counter-productive to peaceful co-existence. Take as an example, the anti-Muslim subway ads in 2012 that called Palestinians “savages,” i.e., uncivilized, barbaric and ferocious; less than human.

It’s humiliating to call someone savage. And humiliation matters.

Humiliation is visceral and existential. The Latin root of ‘humiliation’ is ‘humus,’ which translates as ‘dirt.” “When you are humiliated, “says psychiatrist and philosopher, Neel Burton, “you can almost feel your heart shrinking.” Psychologists say that a person who has been humiliated often becomes preoccupied or obsessed by his humiliation and may react with rage, fantasies of revenge, sadism, delinquency, or terrorism.

Shame and humiliation are factors virtually always cited by the social psychologists and political scientists that study religiously driven terrorism. Why? Because feelings of humiliation are one of the most frequently cited “root causes” of the conversion to radical Islam. One Palestinian trainer of suicide bombers has said: “Much of the work is already done by the suffering these people have been subject to. . . Only 10 percent comes from me. The suffering and living in exile away from their land has given the person 90 percent of what he needs to become a martyr.”

We’re better informed today than we were in 2005-2006 and many of us who live in Denmark have a more nuanced understanding of the cartoon crisis. We’ve taken a step backwards and looked at the cultural context in which it happened.

And here it is:

Denmark is one of the most civilized societies on planet earth with highly ethical citizens, yet this rigorous Scandinavian culture has also bred a roughness of character in Danes whereby their DNA is coded with irony. In Denmark, you must not take yourself too seriously. Everybody is a candidate for mockery or the butt of a joke. Danes even make fun of their Royal family.

Consequently, the concepts of shame and dishonor are almost unheard of.

Zurich University has more to say about this. In a famous study about shame and the fear of ridicule - gelotophobia - they compared Danish culture to 72 other countries. At the top of the chart in first place is the Middle East with Asia in second place. Denmark is at the very bottom in 72nd place.

Did Jyllands-Posten’s editors expect that people would die in response to the cartoons? Of course not. Just as fish can’t perceive the water they swim in, the journalists who commissioned the cartoons – because they are Danish – didn’t understand the significance or consequences of shame and humiliation. Their agenda was simple. They wanted Muslim immigrants to “get over” being so sensitive. They wanted them to act just like Danes.

But in the absence of a cultural precedent for irony, mockery and self-ridicule, it was like slapping a baby.

It took courage for Pervez Hoodbhoy to stand before the London secularism conference and warn us about gratuitous offense; how we should avoid humiliating diaspora Muslims, if we can. But it wasn’t a message many people wanted to hear. “What’s our alternative?” someone yelled to him from the audience.

Yes, indeed. This is the question. Is there an alternative to peaceful co-existence? Anti-religion secularists might dream of the day when human experience does not include religion, but it’s not likely to happen any time soon, most certainly not in our lifetime.

What do we do in the meantime?

One option is to try and convert one billion Muslims to atheism. Another is to support the growing movement of progressive Muslims, the ones that mainstream media hardly ever mention.

Progressive Muslims integrate human rights into their catechism, including full agency for women and their LGBT colleagues. They support the separation of church and state and are grateful for procedural secularism that protects them from their enemies: internally, the ones who call them apostates; and externally, the ones who say they are “not Muslim enough” to be taken seriously. You can read about these independent thinkers in Critical Muslim, a quarterly magazine of ideas and issues that features revolutionary thinking about Islam and what it means to be a Muslim in an interconnected world.

And as for hate-speech-as-free speech, I vote for a large dose of common sense.

Pimpinan

Angkatan Muda

Cabang