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Text of Obama’s speech for his inauguration as 44th president
 
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them— that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence— the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

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I read with horror this New Straits Times report (see below) about a 16-year-old girl being charged in court for attempted suicide. I couldn’t help thinking that what she may0216enew23b1 have failed to do before, the harsh media spotlights on her now might very well prompt her to complete the deed. I’m not sure if I understand this right, was she being charged because she was just pretending to commit suicide? Had she done it properly, she could have escaped the charges that she now faces and not suffer the disgrace that she and her family are subjected to now? Explain it to me how charging a troubled teenager who was, to all intents and purposes trying to draw attention to herself, would prevent her from trying it again? This time she is sure to do a proper job of it. Isn’t a suicide attempt a cry for help? Shouldn’t she be helped first instead of being dragged to court to be punished for failing to kill herself? I don’t understand where the logic is in using her case to prove what? That all suicide attempts will be punished for not going all the way?

Listen, no matter what she has done, a troubled teenager needs help more than punishment. In these troubling times, teen suicide is on the rise all around the world. This worrying global trend is rooted in depression, often stemming from causes such as broken homes, drug abuse, bullying  and suicide pacts. Was there any attempt to find out why the 16-year-old tried to jump off the hotel roof? Tell me, when you were sixteen did you never feel that life was so hopeless that you just wanted to end it all? Maybe not as drastic an attempt as this 16-year-old perhaps but we’ve all been there, depressed and alone. If we don’t extend a helping hand to this troubled teen, would she ever be able to grow up and live a normal life, maybe be happy even?

Just read this story here, about a teen who attempted suicde by jumping off the ninth floor and lived to tell about it. He now speaks about his experience to highschool kids telling them about mental illness and to spread the message that when left untreated, this condition could lead to suicide. In the article, “Burnham said he set expectations for himself he could never meet, and when he failed, he could not forgive himself. Moments before he jumped, his parents confronted him about alcohol they’d found in the trunk of his car. “I’m sorry for letting you down,” he told them.He explained to the middle school students: “I felt hopeless, like I can never do anything right for my parents.”

Oh I forgot, that this is Malaysia where we just  blame  the parents, forget the kid and just drag everybody before the court! Unless it’s our own kids of course. Why oh why did they have to use this 16-year-old as a case in point? Another landmark case of insensitive reaction to every cry for help. Had she not been 16-years-old, had this not been a possible first time attempt and had there not been the spectre of mental illness and depression after being dumped by her boyfriend, I could have understood the need for resorting to prosecution. Whatever said and done, the only harm she would have caused would be to herself. (Photo is only an illustration. Read more about it here)  

Those who have problems can call The Befrienders. Its Kuala Lumpur hotline operates around the clock. They can be reached at 04-281 5161/1108 in Penang, 03-7956 8144/5 (Kuala Lumpur), 05-547 7933/55 (Ipoh), 06-284 2500 (Malacca), 06-765 3588/9 (Seremban) and 07-331 2300 (Johor Baru).
    

 A would-be teen suicide helps others
By Michael Vitez

One year ago, Jordan Burnham, then an 18-year-old high school senior, was lying in a hospital bed, unable to speak, fighting for his life after jumping out a ninth-floor window. Yesterday, in a new chapter in his life, Burnham told the story of his depression, suicide attempt and recovery to hundreds of riveted students at Pottsgrove Middle and High Schools. “Would you take back that day?” asked one middle school student. “Yeah,” said Burnham. “It was a horrible decision. I hope no one goes through what I did.” But, he added, in one way the tragedy has given his life purpose. He can now help others understand mental illness and avoid what happened to him. “It did change my life in such a positive way,” he said, “and I hopefully can help others.” Clearly, he did……

16-year-old girl charged with attempted suicide

By : Sean Augustin

KUALA TERENGGANU: A 16-year-old girl was charged yesterday in the Court for Children with attempting to commit suicide.  The teenager was alleged to have committed the offence at the YT Midtown Hotel rooftop on Nov 21 by attempting to jump off the building. Prosecution was handled by Nelson Ensit. The girl, accompanied by her mother, was unrepresented. Court registrar Kahirul Anuar set bail at RM2,500 in one surety and set Jan 22 for mention. It was reported on Nov 22 that the teenager threatened to jump off the ledge of the 10-storey hotel following a quarrel with her boyfriend. This is the first in many years that anyone has been charged with attempted suicide. The measure is being taken after a spate of suicides and attempted suicides in recent weeks prompted Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar to tell the New Straits Times that police were considering enforcing the law.

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sajdahsahuphp_sajdahFrankly, I don’t understand the hue and cry over the National Fatwa Council ruling over yoga. Exercise is exercise, no question about that. But what the council was talking about had nothing to do with the physical exercise moves but with the spiritual component of the ancient Hindu exercise form. There is no need for an edict on exercise surely!! Before everyone falls over themselves trying to belittle the intelligence of the Fatwa council, they should consider what if the shoe was on the other foot – would non-Muslims perform the Muslim solat (obligatory prayer) moves as an exercise form without the chanting? Would they be comfortable doing it? Do we need even to call it solat? Hey, five times a day, simple moves with prostration, ruqu’ and supplication using the ‘2,4,4,3,4’ raqaats formula….that sounds cool also what?  Hhhmmm….if someone sees a non-Muslim doing those moves, would they think that he or she was exercising or praying I wonder? What if, upon seeing that non-Muslim doing his or her “exercises,” someone decides he or she is a terrorist? Omigosh, that could prove fatal in these post-9/11 hysteria!!! Let’s face it, faith is between you and God. Nobody has any business messing with what they don’t believe in. So  you  choose, make peace with your conscience, cut the bellyaching and go figure!!

Catholics also not in favour of Yoga

Kota Kinabalu: Muslims are not the only ones who are having reservations on yoga. Sacred Heart Cathedral Youth Counsellor, George Thien, said the Catholic church’s advice to Christians is also “not to go for it.” Thien was commenting on the National Fatwa Council’s Fatwa (edict) banning Muslims from practising yoga, which is said to involve mantra (chants) and the concept of oneness with God which are based on Hindu beliefs and, thus, deviate the faith of Muslims.

George said it is not difficult to understand the reason for the Fatwa. “They believe in one God and not in any other. Meditation in yoga is like tapping into a different realm but where is the source? “We (Christians) believe in Jesus Christ and that every peace and joy only comes from the Lord. That’s why we don’t go deep into yoga.”

A yoga instructor concurred George’s view that Christians, generally, were also against yoga. However, she said there are some Christians who see the benefits of the various yoga exercises but abstain from the chants and meditation aspects. In fact, certified Yoga Society instructor Beeda Christina Gautier said there are many types of yoga that do not involve meditation or chanting but this is not helped by a misconception about the age-old practice, leading to the anxiety. She said the yoga she teaches, called Hatha yoga, does not entail chanting but physical exercise, which incorporates intricate breathing techniques. “The main objective of yoga is ultimately to have peace of mind…I tell my students that yoga is awareness of your body, a journey of health. “There are so many types of yoga but we don’t do chanting or meditation at all, just body conditioning exercise,” she said, referring to her thrice-weekly classes in Bornion Centre, Luyang.

Beeda was of the opinion that because of the way yoga was normally portrayed, especially on television, the public generally tend to perceive that everything about yoga had to involve spirituality. “Yoga originated from the Himalayas thousands of years ago, it came even before religion. But along the way, there have been many schools (of yoga), where some practice chanting, then it becomes religion-based,” she said, adding those that involve meditation are, among others, Mantra yoga, Tantra yoga and Raja yoga.

She said besides Muslims, some Christians also questioned if she practised meditation. “I show them through the Internet that Hatha yoga is not about meditation.” Nevertheless, Beeda is not worried how the Fatwa will affect her classes, saying she only has two Muslim students. Michelle, who runs the Scott Michelle fitness centre in Damai, here, also echoed Beeda’s sentiments, saying yoga was not all about closing one’s eyes and chanting to a higher being. Being a Christian, she was also against yoga meditation but as far as she is concerned the sessions at her centre did not involve chanting. “I don’t instruct the yoga session but in my centre we only stretch and tone. “Yoga for me is not a religious issue, unless it involved meditation, so I do not interfere with the sessions,” she said. With the new fatwa, Michelle said she had no problem adhering to the law. “I will obey the law É if it (yoga) is not meant for Muslims then I will not encourage it.”

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obama1While watching news coverage of Barack Obama’s historic win, it suddenly struck me that the man they are hailing as the first Black president of the United States has one major distinction that sets him apart, he was born a free man and was never the descendant of slaves. I am thinking that his having been born the son of a black man from independent Kenya and a free thinking white mother plus his unconventional upbringing by his white grandparents had a lot to do with his being accepted by Americans from both sides of the racial divide. His connection to Indonesia by virtue of a step-father and half sister and to Kenya through his father’s relatives, gives Barack a most unusual background indeed and hopefully makes him more worldy, less xenophobic and most certainly less insular than the typical American.      

Watching a newsflash on RTM that showed Obama and his family waving to the crowd in his moment of victory as the President elect, I was moved to tears for this historic moment, not just for Americans but for the world, at the sight of a coloured man headed for the White House. I haven’t been following the US presidential campaign much until the question of Barack’s links with Islam came into heavy discussion. Indeed, so what if he is not Muslim? The fact that his father was born a Muslim, but a non-practicing one apparently, and that his middle name is Hussein (same as Saddam’s dad), suddenly puts him on the defensive about being pro-Islam. 

Islam is his Achilles heel and will continue to be so until he brings the promised change that will exorcise the demons of religious and racial prejudice in what is purportedly the most powerful nation on earth. Barack has less to fear from Islam than from the white supremacists who fear him for everything he represents, an intelligent, successful and victorious non-white man who will be the 44th President of the US of A. If Barack understands the harm racial prejudice breeds, he should feel for Muslims all over the world who have been demonised as terrorists. Can he empathise with fellow Americans who have been discriminated against for being Muslim? Can he bring back the innocence lost in the Bush era that bred fear where there never was any reason to be? Can he bring back smiles on the faces of Americans when a hijab clad foreigner visits their country as a guest to attend an international conference? Bring back the welcoming smiles and the open mindedness that was the America I knew when I was a student.

There is something in the way he speaks to Americans during his campaign, his sincerity, his earnestness, his determination and that charming charisma that is so refreshing. Obama is an orator par excellence, along the lines of Martin Luther King Junior and John F Kennedy before him. Even non Americans are caught up in his call for change, for a better America post-911, where fear does not exist. Whether he can deliver remains to be seen but what strikes me more than anything is the sheer humility with which he accepted victory. There was no jubilant arrogance nor jeering sneers that seems to have become the political culture here in this Muslim country we love, Malaysia. Just watch what happens in our parliament and you wonder what turns decent men and women into a bunch of ludicruous rabble rousers who make pre-schoolers appear better behaved. Our politicians have a lot to learn from Barack about being dignified and statesman-like and most of all about being gracious in victory. An intelligent man for once, after years of a fumbling Bush. Whoever Bush blames for the failure of his government, I don’t like the America he has left for Barack Obama to clean up. Can Barack really bring change to the US and to the world? I wish him all the best. It’s vice-president Joe Biden that I am worried about.      

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How Could You Teresa?

At a time when she could have brought up the subject of what could and should be done to rescue missing children before the lawmakers in the august house of parliament, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok just had to draw attention to herself. When there could have been a serious discussion on this issue and a reminder to one and all that these innocent children are still missing, and only God knows what has happened to them, our duly elected and much trumpeted lady MP decides her case was more important. What has happened to Sharlinie and Asmawi? Does anybody care? Obviously, grandstanding politicians don’t!!

Tuesday October 14, 2008
Seputeh MP Teresa Kok likens her detention to being kidnapped

A QUESTION on kidnapped children caused a stir in the Dewan Rakyat when Teresa Kok (DAP €“ Seputeh) asked if measures were being taken to ensure politicians were not “kidnapped” as well.

She likened her arrest under the Internal Security Act (ISA) to being kidnapped, saying she was not allowed to inform her parents what had happened to her.

“The police told me I was going to be detained under the ISA and confiscated my mobile phone. I could not inform my parents, and they had to find out (where I was) through the newspapers the next day.

“I was ‘kidnapped’ for seven days. Who is going to investigate? I want to ask the ministry: who will conduct the investigation as I was detained under the ISA based on one article?” she said.

Kok was detained under the ISA for seven days from Sept 12 on allegations she had acted in a manner prejudicial to the country’s security and that she was involved in activities, which could cause racial and religious strain.

Many Barisan Nasional backbenchers jeered at Kok’s supplementary question, saying that it was out of topic.

The initial question by Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid (PKR €“ Kuala Langat) was on the measures taken by the Government to tackle the problem of kidnapped children.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung proposed that Kok submit a separate specific question to the House as her supplementary question had deviated from the original question.

In his reply to Abdullah Sani, Chor said the police had a high rate of solving kidnap cases, where seven out of 11 cases were solved in 2006, while six out of 10 were solved in 2007.

“There is a special team comprising police personnel from Bukit Aman and at the state contingent level to investigate cases of kidnapped children.

“When a kidnap case is reported, posters and pamphlets are quickly distributed to taxi drivers and other members of the public to trace the victim,” he said.

On the unsolved cases of Sharlinie Mohd Nashar and Muhamad Asmawi Jalaludin, Chor said this was due to a lack of witnesses and evidence. Sharlinie, five, went missing on Jan 9 while Asmawi, 11, went missing on March 9.

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In the buildup towards the great political showdown in Permatang Pauh, I am away from the country and safely out of the fray. However, this does not mean I am not wondering what is happening in my beloved homeland. Everyone who cares about Malaysia is apprehensive. Will cool rational heads prevail in the aftermath, come what may?? I certainly hope so because no matter what, there is no country like Malaysia and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Not having been online for a bit, my brother just told me that Obama had chosen his running mate, the erstwhile Senator Joseph Biden, an FoA. Well, what more can I say. Read this report “Biden Balances Obama’s Israel-Palestine Problem” and tell me what all this will mean to us ordinary citizens should DSAI win or lose in the Permatang Pauh by-election???     

There is no doubt that one of the main factors behind presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama’s choice of US Senator Joe Biden to be his vice presidential running mate his Biden’s unwavering and rock solid support of Israel, support that has come at the expense of genuine peace.

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Now I get it!

For non-political reasons, I have been puzzled by the show of support from “friends” of DSAI’s mostly because, and if global events are any proof, these are worrying times for the Islamic world. In an article posted in the online Foreign Policy magazine, DSAI himself explains his cosy relationship with the US in “Seven Questions: Anwar Ibrahim”. An excerpt below: 

FP: You got into trouble in the late 1990s once you began to criticize Mahathir, your former political mentor. Did you underestimate him as a political opponent?

AI: No, I didn’t. But at that time I had strong views. He resented the idea of my rapport and contact with the West, particularly the United States. And I said, I know I am not on the CIA payroll. I have strong views on Iraq. I have very independent views. What is the harm of my treating America as a friend? He expects everyone else to be so anti-American to the point of being irrational.

It has taken me a while and, I guess arising from the show of support from FoAs, to realise that politics is far more complicated that what politicians would have you think. Read this thought provoking article “THE ROLE OF ISLAM IN CONTEMPORARY SOUTH EAST ASIAN POLITICS” written by Colin Rubenstein and posted in Jerusalem Letter on 15 August 2000. Read the full article here and an excerpt on Indonesia’s Gus Dur:

Similarly, Wahid’s open preference for the establishment of full relations with Israel – one of his first comments upon assuming the presidency – has provoked some demonstrations by Islamic hard-liners and “go slow” advice from Rais, among others. In November, Wahid told Voice of Israel radio of Indonesia’s need for investment “and you know, the Jewish community everywhere are very active in the commercial lives of the nations we would like to have investments from.”

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