At the time of writing this piece, it is the 30th of April 2015. Today marks the 40th anniversary of the American defeat in Vietnam. 40 years ago today, the Vietnamese liberated and then unified their nation to what is today known just as Vietnam.
This piece of history is significant to all those who are struggling for justice, liberation from the colonialist yoke – as represented today in the various forms and structures in the economy, in politics and culture – and simply foreign domination. In the struggle of the Vietnamese, one learns of perseverance, commitment to the larger goal of freedom and of course to achieve all these, the most necessary ingredient – sacrifice.
Hence, if we were to compare the struggle of the Vietnamese to free their country from US domination and imperialism with what we in Malaysia are undergoing presently, some similarities may be drawn. Just as the Vietnamese fought for liberation and be united under one nation and to drive that nation to success, we too see the struggle of the rakyat to free themselves from bad governance, corruption and mismanagement of the country. In large part the rakyat have been mobilized by Pakatan Rakyat and of course the larger civil society who are clamouring for change. The current regime controlled by Umno and which is a continuation of the same party since independence in 1957 is bringing this country to ruin. And in this the emergence of Pakatan in 2008 is rather significant.
If in Vietnam the struggle for liberation was mobilized by such figures like Ho Chi Minh, the Malaysian struggle had Anwar Ibrahim in the central role. This is a fact nobody can deny. It was Anwar who brought the three Opposition parties on to one platform to fight for justice and ‘liberate’ the country from the evils of corruption, cronyism and mismanagement. And he has ‘sacrificed’ to such a level as to the extent of willing to go to jail for a second time within a span of 12 years. He has steadfastly stressed his stand to continue with the struggle.
While the Vietnamese sacrificed 3 million of their people who were killed and many millions more maimed, our struggle though not seeing deaths of that kind sees a continuous stream of activists and politicians being jailed, charged and brutalized at demonstrations. Injuries of a smaller scale have been recorded though. And we cannot deny the various forms of oppression the regime through unjust laws in order to protect the ruling party metes out upon the rakyat who want a better Malaysia for themselves and future generations.
So to all Malaysians who take pride in dignity and freedom and high moral values as exemplified in the struggle of the Vietnamese 40 years ago, do come aboard and strengthen civil society in this country and do everything that can also strengthen Pakatan Rakyat.
Pakatan Rakyat must be the prime mover for change.