Monday, October 18, 2004

Out on Bail

That the sum of the parts is sometimes unequal to the whole was illustrated by the former Malaysian Prime Minister's endorsement of John Kerry. In the article Mahathir asks Muslims to vote out Bush, the Malaysian leader addresses an open letter to the American ummah.

In an open letter sent to the community, believed to number seven million, the former prime minister said during the past four years of the Bush presidency, the Muslims and their countries had suffered oppression and humiliation as never before in the history of Islam.

Kerry, the Malaysian leader conceded, may not be any different, but the candidates for the presidency of the United States must be made aware that in democratic America, Muslim citizens have a voice and can influence the selection of the rulers of the country. “Bush has shown that despite his protests, he is the cause of the tragedies in Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq. ... There is no doubt that he will continue to do this if re-elected,” he told American Muslims. He said he did not wish to dwell on the atrocities committed against the Muslims and Islam, but would like to appeal to Muslim citizens and voters of America to be united and to cast their votes against Bush, in the name of justice, in the name of Islam. “You may not be numerous enough but in marginal constituencies you can make a difference. It is your bounden duty to send a message to candidates that they must be fair to all the communities in the United States if they wish to rule the country. Even if you fail to unseat Bush, you can at least reduce his majority,” concluded the message.

Mahatir Mohammed, it will be recalled, arrested his Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim in 1998 for corruption and sodomy. Wikipedia has a succinct account of some of the court proceedings.

On September 29, 1998 Anwar appeared in court, bruised and with a black-eye, and pleaded innocent to charges of corruption and sodomy. The Chief Inspector of Inspector Tan Sri Rahim Noor later admitted to beating him while he was blindfolded and chained to a prison bed, and was eventually sentenced to two months in jail. Anwar Ibrahim alleges that it was this beating that led to his future life-threatening back problems. The black eyed Anwar with one hand raised became a symbol of the political opposition appearing in many posters advocating reformasi.

His wife continued the political struggle starting the "National Justice Party" (Parti Keadilan Nasional, popularly known as Keadilan) which features an eye on a blue background as its logo, although the eye is drawn in such a manner that it can be construed to be two opposing crescent moons.

Anwar was accused of corruption relating to the abuse of power to initiate the police investigation into the author of the "50 Reasons" book which led to the author's arrest. He was also separately accused of sodomizing his government appointed driver, Azizan Abu Bakar. ...During the trial Mahathir appeared on Malaysian television in a special appearance to clarify the arrest of his deputy. During this appearance he graphically described sodomy and mimed certain sexually explicit acts in front of a shocked nation.

Of all the TV shows I have not watched, none do I regret missing more fervently than those depicting Mahatir Mohammed miming the act of sodomy on Malaysian television. When Dick Morris observed that John Kerry's policy vagueness ("I have a plan") arose from the impossibility of pleasing one wing of his base without offending the other, he could scarcely have imagined a more appropriate example. A room of Kerry supporters, some of whom support gay marriage while the remainder are bent on burying them alive must surely be a strange place to be, a place of limited conversational possibilities; yet it is precisely the place where the Democratic Party finds itself. The argument that a Kerry presidency will somehow reform the Democratic Party by forcing it to assume national security responsibilities is less apt than the idea that it is stuffing itself with a volatile mix of elements, all of which will explode on contact the moment the thin membrane which separates is reactive elements is dissolved. Mahatir's own statement suggests the alliance is temporary: 'Kerry may not be different from Bush' -- his liberty is provisional -- but at least he has a plan.