Bersih rally will return on July 9th-whether the authority allows it or not. Not that the original one in 2007 was allowed by the ruling party. The rally called for fair election, or in broader terms, free and fair electoral competitions. Everyone accept that only with free and far elections that the best will win and rule with legitimacy. By disallowing peaceful rallies the ruling party is trying to tell their opponents that there is no fair rules to all competitors under their administration-rules will favour the side of the ruling parties and disadvantage the Opposition ie these ruling party do not recognise the point made by the Bersih rally ie the lack of free and fair electoral competition! In theatrical terms it is a show that BN cannot win from the beginning: the more they try to suppress the rally the more its point ring true to those who know about it!
Thus the more the police will cordon off the rally assembly points (3 points announced) the more the attendants will make it an achievement to reach the targets irrespective. After all these are part of the `tanah tumpah darah’ (homeland)-in what sense gathering in our own land/country can equal to malicious intention to threaten the nation’s security? The police’ ruling to disallow the rally on the ground of threatening the nation’s security appear seriously lacking in credibility and logic. An UMNO Minister’s claim that the Malaysian laws as interpreted by the BN politicians do not recognise any peaceful assembly conjure a malicious image of a threatening police force out to make any assemblies in the nation by its citizens unpeaceful! The threat to peace come more from the police -who is supposed to keep the peace, than the crowds!
In a democracy it is fair game for the opposing parties to prove their popularity by rallying their supporters to show that their stands and cause is more popular than the others’. BN can stage its own rally to counter the Bersih rally. And some BN supporters did exactly that in 2007-and attracted only a much smaller crowd. There is only one but impossible way for BN to address this situation: argue your case for unfair elections, which is the rule of the days for over half a century now!
The police’s argument that there is no police permit to the rally hardly stand up to scrutiny: it s also the police who refuse to give permit in the first place. Put it another way to show its outrageous logic: you don’t have a permit from me which I refuse to give without any reasonable ground! So: who is more unreasonable: the peaceful protestors or the police and the BN leaders who are incapable of justifying their insistence of only competing with their rival under handicap conditions that favour their side?
The Bersih rally is therefore a strong statement by the people that they deserve equal rights and fair rules for all! No one regime can suppress this demand from the people for too long. And half a century of denying this right is long enough-even a world record!
The demand strike at the heart of what democracy is all about. The rules through majority consent cannot be realised if the people are not allowed to know the information needed to make their choices of leaders, and they are prevented to gather peacefully among those they share common ideas. In short you cannot claim to have a democracy when the people are stopped from speaking, gathering and sharing their ideas.
Do people take this idea ie their right to decide who rule over them, seriously? 40 000 people came to the 1st Bersih rally in full knowledge-as broadcast by the mainstream media, that the police will do what they can to repulse the rally for fair elections. The people come in full knowledge and volunteered themselves to be beaten up by the mis-bahaving police and FRUs. All to make a point: the elections are not free and fair! From the bias Election Commission to the bias media, vote buying, rampant abuse of government resources for partisan campaign etc. The proves are all well documented-the latest being what people can see for themselves from the 10th Sarawak state elections. Their right to make a free choice of their leaders had been compromised, denied.
In this context the claim by the Home Ministry Hishamuddin that Bersih rally will not be given `special’ treatment is a misrepresentation on a mammoth scale: it is the ruling party who insist on special treatments in the forms of handicap for themselves in elections and civil liberty. The right to rally for the citizens is no special treatment everywhere else in the democratic world. It is indeed a big bro/Orwellian speak to brand what is normal human rights as `special treatment’ while denying that right is considered `normal’!
And now the current leaders show their true colours to stop them to gather peacefully under the nation’s sky. The case against a tyrannical ruler, not chosen in free and fair elections and not endorsed by the free will of the people, is closed in the people’s heart the moment the first baton land on a citizen’s head, the first tear gas canister is fired to pain the public’s eye, and the first volley of chemical laced water is shot at the peacefully gathered pak cik and mak cik!
The ruling parties have been counting on the people’s pliant deference to the authorities for the politicians to get their way with their abuse of security personnel against their own people. But the people are not convinced of such abuses of power. Such abuses will only strengthen the resolve of the people to fight what appear as blatant injustices.
There has only been 1 winner for such fights in history and in our contemporary world: the people. The verdict will be displayed worldwide-through the cyber connections, every time a victory is scored anywhere in the world.