Letters to the Editor

    Editor:

    I do not believe that Brian Uiga in his article, “”The call for a crusade leads to a dangerous societal situation””, really understood Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad’s speech.

    But I do not blame him. For many of us, the Holocaust evokes, as it should, a strong reflexive emotional reaction to its evil ‹ a reaction perfectly exemplified by Uiga’s article. But we cannot allow these emotions to cloud our present perception, and it is this principle that illuminates Mahatir’s speech. Indeed he says in the same speech, “”Angry people cannot think properly,”” and “”It is surely time that we pause to think … pausing and thinking calmly is not a waste of time.””

    So let us stop and examine what this advocate of intellect over emotion has said regarding the Holocaust.

    Referring first to Muslims he says, “”1.3 billion people cannot be wiped out. The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.””

    Now we can take this to mean as Uiga did, that Mahatir holds, and I quote Uiga, that “”despite Hitler’s best efforts, Jews still hold too much power,”” or we can interpret his statement as promoting the example of Jews as a model for Muslims to achieve a greater balance of power in the international arena.

    To aid us in understanding which of these interpretations is correct and more reflective of Mahatir’s intent, let us look to the words he spoke next: “”We may not be able to do that [get others to die and fight for Muslims]. We may not be able to unite all the 1.3 billion Muslims. We may not be able to get all the Muslim governments to act in concert. But even if we can get a third of the Ummah [the Muslim community/nation] and a third of the Muslim states to act together, we can already do something.”” Do what? What is this “”something?””

    Again, Mahatir says, “”We must build up our strength in every field, not just in armed might. Our countries must be stable and well-administered, must be economically and financially strong, industrially competent and technologically advanced. This will take time, but it can be done and it will be time well spent. We are enjoined by our religion to be patient. In Allah ma as Sabirin [Surely, God/Allah is with those who are patient/the patient ones].”” Does this sound like a call leading toward stable societies or away from them to a “”dangerous societal situation?””

    But yes, one of the goals of Mahatir’s drive for Muslims to do “”something”” involves liberating Palestinians from their current oppression. However, he is careful to note, “”Even among the Jews, there are many who do not approve of what the Israelis are doing.””

    If the process of liberating a people from oppression is a crusade, if being calm when surrounded by chaos is a crusade, if pausing to think while others are acting on emotion is a crusade, if calling for peace and unity and equal justice is a crusade then yes, Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad is on a crusade, and yes, he is calling on Muslim nations to join his crusade, and yes, those who are committing injustice and oppression should rightly fear and tremble at the coming of this crusade, for in the history of man, truth has always triumphed over falsehood, justice over injustice, and freedom over tyranny.

    ‹ Taha A. Gaya

    UCSD alum, Class of 2002

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