(© Peter Mulligan / Flickr)
WHILE many are passionate in voicing their disgust at Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, I’m feeling an equal amount of disgust for all the parties involved.
I’m looking within our borders and noticing that these very parties so outraged at Israel are hardly outraged with other issues affecting Malaysians.
How is it that there was a special parliamentary sitting to discuss whether to condemn Israel, while there is not even a single mention of helping 7,000 Malaysians suffering from a flood in Sarawak?
(© Dmitry Kutlayev, Rob Wilson / Dreamstime) We have our nation’s blood bank raising a red flag on the shortage of blood supply, but I don’t see any Malaysian civil society leaders answering this with fiery and emotive comments.
And all this talk of boycotting American products is just daft. I put forth the question: If you’re going to actually boycott all American products, then why exactly are you using the internet?
Obviously some Malaysians do not understand the concept of franchising. Otherwise they would understand why Coca-Cola (Malaysia) is coming out with a statement of nonalignment to any party involved. But then, knowing the mindsets of certain Malaysians, they would probably label it as propaganda by the Jews.
And why is Coke being boycotted and not Pepsi? Are they both not American?
It is great to note that there are intelligent Malaysian businesspeople who can state that we should be aware of exactly what we mean. Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was quoted in an article as saying we need to beware of harming local investors and bumiputera owners. He also mentioned focusing on the need to stop investing in banks and weapons dealers that may be linked to Israel.
This was, of course, a more rational suggestion compared with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s call to simply boycott the greenback.
Facts about boycotts
Some facts taken from the State Department of the United States website:
In 2007, our nation’s largest investor to the sum of $15.7 billion was the United States of America.
The US contributes 10.8% ($16.632 billion worth) to our local imports, and takes back 15.6% ($28.86 billion worth) of our exports.
Do you really think we can cope with such a loss of income?
That’s not all. Now with talks of Seagate, a US company, wanting to cut down on jobs, and Western Digital already closing a plant in Kuching, do we really want to talk about boycotting US products and letting our largest foreign investor leave?
Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj says a realistic poverty line is RM2,000 per month per family, not the official RM720. So I ask these boycotters, should the US corporations shut down their industries here, putting thousands out of work and on the streets, would they be willing to give up that amount every month to support the poor?
Yes, Palestinians are dying and suffering, but so are Malaysians. How can we preach international solidarity when our own nation’s people are stuck at the bottom of the barrel?
There are some who are calling for the shutting down of the United Nations for not doing anything. On the other hand, Christian leaders in Pakistan are calling for the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to do something. What should a nation like ours do?
We should do what many Malaysians are admittedly sceptical of doing now: leave it to the government to handle. With Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim acting quickly to get a UN resolution on this issue, it is already being handled through diplomatic channels.
Accordingly, if we must put our money where our mouths are, Mercy Malaysia is always looking for funding of their humanitarian cause, and provides its bank details for donations.
(© Lorna / Dreamstime) Pray for peace
And of course, there’s always the power of prayer. I don’t agree with some mosques that have started making this a holy war and have included prayers for the destruction of the Jews. Still, I believe there is a place for prayers for peace.
It would be nice if mosques also organised prayers for Malaysian minds to become more rational, starting with those who want Starbucks and McDonald’s employees to stop working there in protest of the crisis in Gaza.
I will personally remain nonaligned. It is the collective stubbornness of Israel, Hamas and Fatah that is the very reason this is happening.
I also believe we Malaysians should look to clean up our own act first. It’s fine to give out humanitarian aid to those who suffer all over the world, but not at the expense of fellow Malaysians who are suffering.
Ahmad Hafidz Baharom is a paradox. He’s an anti-smoking chain smoker, an environmentalist who leaves his office lights on, a centrist who’s a lalang, and a twentysomething yuppie who dreams of being a slacker. Basically, he’s a lovable moron.