Minnal 7: Put on Your Yellow Ribbon

Dear Malaysians,

If you support the Minnal 7:

1. K MeenakumariK

2. Sillalee (below),

3. V Jamuna (right),

4. Mahendran Veluplay,

5. Kavirajan Jagarajan,

6. Vijayan Muruti

7. Dhayalan Sharmugan

please put on a yellow ribbon on your shirt, bag, motorbike or car, until they are reinstated at work.

Why yellow ribbon? It is the symbol for freedom of expression and freedom of information in Malaysia since 2001. Freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association are three fundamental civil liberties guaranteed by the same Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

Adopting yellow ribbon as the sign of protest is to go back to the fundamental issue: civil liberties.

Adopting yellow ribbon as the sign of solidarity is put the persecution in perspective: The Minnal 7 are persecuted not as ethnic Indians per se, but as Malaysian nationals. They are persecuted not for (allegedly) participating in the November 25 rally particularly, but for (allegedly) exercising their constitutional freedom.

All Malaysians who love our Federal Constitution and the civil liberties must stand up and defend the Minnal 7. Freedom is a public good. If some of us cannot enjoy it, effectively none of us can. For someday the hand that takes away someone else’ freedom will take away ours too.

If you are angry with the November 25 rally, express it. If you are offended by Hindraf’s accusation, condemn it. It’s your freedom of expression. Doing all these however should not stop you from defending the Minnal 7.

Remember the famous quote attributed to Voltaire?

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

PAS has shown us a glorious example in this.

The news of repercussions on those who attended the November 25 Rally are disturbing. The Minnal 7 are only the most high-profile cases. If they would go after media celebrities, surely, there are many more who now fear and worry in the dark. They may be too weak, inarticulate or fearful to speak up or even to alert others.

Putting on yellow ribbon is therefore a sign telling all who face this political witch hunt, whether they are Radio DJ or odd job labourers, that they are not alone, that they need not be frightened.

All Malaysians who love freedom, not only the Indians, but also the Malays, Chinese, Dayak, Kadazandusun, Eurasian, Thais, Orang Asli and everyone else; not only the Hindus, but also the Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Taoists, Sikhs, Bahais, Jains, Atheists and everyone else; not only the Tamil-speakers, but also those who speak Malay, English, Chinese, Malayalam, Telugu, Penjabi, Gujarati, Iban, Murut, Portuguese, Senoi, Jakun, and every other language; are with them and for them.

In sharp contrast to those Germans who did not speak up every time the Nazis went after someone else and eventually had no one left to speak up for themselves, as described by Pastor Niemoller, the great American trade unionist Eugene Victor Debs (1855-1926) left us with his warming moral courage:

“while there is a lower class, I am in it.

while there is a criminal elements, I am of it.

while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

If you have joined the BERSIH or the HINDRAF rally, did you not feel empowered by the company of your fellow brothers and sisters in tens of thousands? The state wants to undo all the joy of empowerment. They have managed to force the Bar Council to cancel its rally on the coming Sunday, not withstanding its president’s criticism on the “unlawful fetter on our constitutional right to assemble peacefully”. Getting people like the Minnal 7 unemployed or living in fear will further take away the amount of courage many Malaysians have gained perhaps first time in their lives.

You can stop the political witch hunt. You can stop this politics of fear. I can. The person next to us can. We all can, if we all put our acts together, if the whole nation is turning yellow again, even not going to the streets.

Will ye put on your yellow ribbon, ye free souls ?

Yours,

Chin Huat

3 responses to “Minnal 7: Put on Your Yellow Ribbon

  1. Pingback: Seven RTM DJs sacked or suspended for joining HINDRAF Rally? « People are the boss

  2. Guys ..out there ..dont waste tiem for this ineffiectent ex staffs … They are not sooo professional neither productive to work in this boradcasting field anyway…they deserve it…you gusy better focus on hindraf objective then wasting your money buying yellow ribbon…

  3. Ubicaritas-
    The point is not that they were inefficient or unproductive or any number of other things. I don’t know, I will never really know, and frankly, I don’t really care. The point is, they were fired for voicing their opinion, and that, I do care about. Especially since they are people in the public eye who have a platform to communicate. When public figures are punished for voicing an opinion, we are all effectively being told: “Shut up.”

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