Thursday, June 4, 2009

Obama: “Freedom of Religion is Essential…”

I recall that when Obama was newly elected and then inaugurated, the various media in Malaysia were abuzz, ironically enough, especially from many proponents of racist policies, expressing their congratulations and enthusiasm for him. At the time, I thought what hypocrisy! People so comfortable with enforcing blatantly racist policies and, the minorities who pander to perpetuating such policies seemed to be desperate to approve of Obama’s election.

This same Obama delivered a much anticipated speech in Cairo. There were many great sound bites in the speech. To the Umnoputeras and racists, let me remind you of some things he said by highlighting some of his words:

“We should choose the right path” – Well, that’s kind of vague, isn’t it? But do you suppose ‘the right path’ means practicing a form of apartheid and blatant discriminatory policies against minorities? Do you suppose ‘the right path’ includes subtly denying others their freedom to practice their faith in openly and freely? Do you suppose ‘the right path’ means intimidating minorities? I wonder.

“Respect the dignity of all human beings” – I wonder if this also includes respecting the rights of all peoples to practice their religion freely and without discrimination? As I recall, he actually said “freedom of religion is essential to living together.” I wonder exactly how the religious chauvinists and bigots in Malaysia who happened to have celebrated his election as president genuinely feel about Obama’s comments about ‘freedom of religion.’

Referencing the scriptures, Obama also invoked the following: “We should do onto others as we would have them do upon us.” If only the regime and its functionaries, especially those who profess to be God fearing, had the moral fortitude to even superficially approximate this sacred principle.

By the way, Obama also uttered the following: Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.

Imagine what it could be like if we heard such words at the passionate speeches during the UMNO general assemblies.

And some of these Umnoputeras would like us to believe that they share Obama’s aspirations?


G. Krishnan