Saturday, January 9, 2010

Terrorism: Najib and the Blame Game

Responsible parents always remind their kids, do they not, that playing with fire can be dangerous. You don’t know what some kids might do. And irresponsible parents may not have caused the house to catch fire and burn down, but they’re also not without blame for letting their spoilt juvenile delinquents to play with fire that results in the house burning down.

It’s Umno that insisted on and implemented the ban against the universal use of the term ‘Allah.’ Therefore, Umno is responsible for politicising this religious issue.

With the above ban, it ‘s Umno that provoked The Herald to challenge the constitutionality of the ban. Therefore, it is Umno that triggered this whole fiasco.

Once the High Court had ruled Umno’s ban unconstitutional, it was Umno that insisted on a stay on the court’s ruling. It was Umno that heightened the stakes – arguably to flex its muscle as the champion of Islam – and signaled that the court’s decision must be challenged. Therefore, Umno is culpable in politicising the religious controversy in a highly public fashion.

When its foot soldiers began to get aroused with the court’s decision, and by Umno’s leadership, which insisted on challenging the court’s ruling, it merely emboldened the rebel rousers. Therefore, Umno is at least negligent in its handling of the matter.

When the Umno leadership seemed sheepish in dealing and squelching the unlawful protests (like its repeatedly done to other unsympathetic groups), it simply added fuel to the nascent fire. Therefore, Umno is clearly implicated in letting the situation deteriorate.

Umno leaders may not have put the fire-bombs in the hands of the terrorists (and make no mistake about it, these church fire-bombings were acts of terrorism), but Umno leaders’ actions which triggered the build-up of this controversy cannot now be conveniently disregarded and swept under the rug.

And any reasonable person would understand that you don’t have to have a directive from the Umno leadership to do something in order to assign some degree of responsibility for a particular action.

Responsibility comes in various forms and degrees; in this case, Umno has been an intimate part of a series of linked developments – ones that it alone had a major part in escalating.

How then can Najib be taken seriously when he’d like to wash away responsibility by insisting that Umno cannot be blamed for these bombings?

Umno may not have sent the bombers out to do the (mis)deeds, but it sure cannot claim to be wholly innocent.

Umno may not have told anyone to burn down the house but it sure put the matches in the hands of the culprits.

G. Krishnan