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Anwar’s wannabe moment of Gandhi-Mandela political theatre

Wed 2011-Aug-24 @ +08 00:00:46 am

by uppercaise

Anwar Ibrahim, for so long the virtuoso political actor, had his Nelson Mandela-Mahatma Gandhi moment in court on Monday.

By refusing to testify in his own defence in his trial for sodomy, and choosing to make an 8,000 word long statement from the dock on which he cannot be cross-examined, Anwar put on a grand piece of political theatre.

It wasn’t the first in his political career and certainly not the last; again it is calculated to impress the intelligentsia and intellectual circles, and calculated to draw the required references, particularly to Mandela.

And as a calculated act, drawing upon great moments in world history, it cheapens both Anwar and the very real heroes in the struggle for liberty that he professes to respect.

On 18 March 1922, Mahatma Gandhi cheerfully submitted himself to judgment on a charge of sedition, with a statement from the dock that was a defence of his great invention, peaceful non-cooperation, in which he said:

…non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is co-operation with good… I am here, therefore, to invite and submit cheerfully to the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is a deliberate crime and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen. The only course open to you, the Judge, is either to resign your post and thus dissociate yourself from evil … or to inflict on me the severest penalty…

And the judge entered political history for his response: “Mr Gandhi…it will be impossible to ignore the fact that you are in a different category from any person I have ever tried or am likely to have to try… if the course of events in India should make it possible for the Government to reduce the period [of his sentence] and release you, no one will be better pleased than I.”

Four decades later Nelson Mandela stood in the dock in Pretoria on April 20 1964 and delivered a defiant, blistering attack on apartheid and the South African system and paid homage to the timeless ideals of Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, and American democratic institutions.

An ideal for which I am prepared to die

He took four hours to read his statement, and his act of defiance is firmly a part of world political history. He put South Africa on trial. The world listened. (» Full text at Wikisource)

Mandela’s speech is now considered one of the greatest speeches of the 20th Century. It ended with these words:

During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

And, of course, on Monday, Anwar Ibrahim dutifully quoted Mandela’s words.

He plainly sought to emulate both Gandhi and Mandela, inviting the courts to do their worst. It is not the first time he (and his handlers) sought to place himself on the same pedestal as the world’s greatest heroes of liberty.

The “Asian Renaissance man” of the 1990s… the would-be aspirant to the Nobel Peace Prize on the same level as Aung Sang Suu Kyi… the now-forgotten “Permatang Pauh Declaration” on the lines of the Bandung Declaration… the would-be bridge across civilisations…

Anwar Ibrahim’s political career is littered with such echoes of great moments in the struggle for liberty. But they are merely echoes, deliberately crafted, moments of grandiose theatre, of someone aspiring to greatness.

There is merit in Anwar’s review of the rot in the Malaysian system. It is, unfortunately, all too familiar to all who have followed events of the past decade.

And thus Anwar’s statement from the dock is not the defining moment in the Malaysian struggle for liberty that his publicists and admirers will seek to declare. No matter how eagerly they strive to draw the parallels to Mandela (they seem to have forgotten about Gandhi).

Gandhi and Mandela’s struggles were of, and by, the oppressed seeking to tear down a repressive system.

Anwar’s struggle and those of his political fellow-travellers is of one power elite against another, contending for political supremacy.

We the oppressed are merely fodder in that struggle.

Therein lies the difference, between Gandhi and Mandela on the one hand and Anwar and Co on the other, the difference between the truly great and the merely want-to-be-great, the ones who only think they are great.

» Anwar’s lawyer tries to hype up the ‘great man’ posture

» Utusan’s cheap shot at Renaissance man

Assistant chief editor Zaini Hassan in his column today mocks Anwar as a Renaissance man, denigrates the Renaissance movement in Europe and the true Renaissance man, Leonardo Da Vinci, as well as sculptor and painter Michaelangelo to being sexual degenerates with a fascination for young male bodies. As current events have shown, it’s Umno leaders and Utusan, rather, that have a fascination with sex, male or otherwise.

  1. Wed 2011-Aug-24 @ +08 09:53:02 am 09:53

    This lusty and lying Anwar should never attempt or emulate to be Mandela or Gandhi, it is a bloody disgrace of him to compare himself anywhere this real leaders. They are real leaders who did not even needed to be pretend they were heroes but were and still are real heroes in every things they do in their lives. From day one till to day !
    When this lusty Anwar was an Umnoputra he never hesitated for a moment to make clarion calls for the non Malays to return to their ancestral homes just like all the deceitful and corrupted Umnoputra. He never hesitated for one minute using the non Malays ,as his political punching bags to advance his political career. His many evil deeds were very much recognized and loved by the P.M. the grand son of the untouchable pariah, the shenanigan Mahathir. As a result he was made the DPM and because of his demonstrated and expressed views and sad to say as a result of his impatience to become the P.M. led to his downfall plus also the unfortunate facts that he thought too much so himself and his accomplishments. He even thought he had too many supporters to have to wait to long to become the P.M. but he was very very wrong indeed. Just like a chook who has his throat severed and will give the kicks of his lives to pretend he is still alive !
    The only ones that I am sorry for are his wife and his daughter who have put up with him and all his lust and lies, just look at them how stressful they are.

  2. Wed 2011-Aug-24 @ +08 12:22:57 pm 12:22

    Quotation is but a poor substitute for wit. Ironic as quoting that may be, I feel it makes the point that while it is well and good to emulate greatness, it takes a very strong conviction of ones own cause to truly be great.

    Anwar is inspired by the desire to be great. Mandela and Gandhi before him were inspired by their love for their country, its inhabitants and the overriding desire to see them prosper.

  3. A. Asohan permalink
    Wed 2011-Aug-24 @ +08 12:45:50 pm 12:45

    Brilliantly framed, Mssr Uppercaise!

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