Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The Archdiocese in Malaysia should never have gotten itself embroiled in a court battle against the government simply to demand its right to use the Arabic term for God, Allah. Winning in court, the ensuing glory caused an overflow of temper to attack eight churches beginning Friday mainly in failed acts of arson by Molotov cocktails.
Now, as church spokesmen are reported to defy the official request for the Archdiocese to withdraw the demand, it does make the Archbishop to be seen behaving like a brat who must have what he wants. He shifted the general agitation of civil society for justice and for fair-play into a coordinated act of international espionage.
How does using the word Allah help the Church in its evangelism? Why make such a mountain of what is to the popular mind a mere mole-hill? Why can't they use the Malay word "Tuhan" (God) which is known to everyone in Malaysia?
After the baptism of fire, the Archbishop, Tan Sri Murphy N. Pakiam, for a long time much respected and loved by many across the religious barriers, is saddled with the choice either to apply strategic withdrawal or walk into outright rebellion.
The Church in Malaysia had firmly kept to the line of secure diplomacy to render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what’s left of the remaining.
There was only the outspoken Jesuit, O.C. Lim of the Xavier Church in Petaling Jaya, who would mix politics with the apostolic in his sermons.
Then, from some years before, a wind came blowing the devil's artifices to change the Christian mind-set in Malaysia.
A group of Christians, said to have been funded by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, began an earnest campaign to shake the Church into a political awakening while founding at the same time a dubious Malaysian Inter-Faith Network (NIM).
Small bodies of church-led Christians appeared to have become politically active in that elections, bringing in its wake the train of events that nearly caused the Archdiocese to burn in the fire of hell.
What had transpired had been a relentless flame-baiting, a loathing of Malays and of Islam. In the terms of history it could only be construed as a Vatican-US-CIA devise to seed civil unrest in Malaysia.
It is, of course, far less vivacious than the grand plan of the complot to stump the expansion of Communism in Vietnam after French colonialism was battered at Dien Bien Phu by the Vietcong (here).
That was when the Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem was propped-up as the first president and with his brothers and his sister-in-law and a Catholic Bishop to boot, he falsified Armageddon under the gaze of the Lady of Fatima in Vietnam.
He rained insults, injuries and blow after blow on the Buddhist population until monks in saffron began the unforgettable protests by self-immolation on the streets of Saigon. You remember? You can begin to remember better from here.
What followed the High Court decision to approve for the Christians the use of Allah, was a quick reflexive remark by Anwar Ibrahim, de facto leader of Pakatan Rakyat and an old buddy of the architect of the Iraq War, Paul Wolfowitz.
In Malaysia the connection means we are in the midst of a geo-political tussle for the containment of China and to secure both, the Straits of Malacca and the air space of the triangle from the Spratly’s to the Nicobar/Andaman islands and to Bangkok.
It is clear that the attacks on the churches since last Friday were a direct counter to this “Anwar-offensive”.
The IGP, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, was reported to have said the motive behind the acts was political. They were not about religious sentiments.
While Tan Sri Pakiam and the editor of the Herald had challenged an order of the Minister of Home Affairs, who also withdrew the license for the Herald, the fiery reactions that ensued had clearly been understood to have been a reaction against Anwar’s approval of the High Court decision.
The Muslims were widely split in their attitudes and responses to the Christians using the word Allah. It is possible the larger body of Malays and Malaysian Muslims are not averse to the use of the word by Non-Muslims.
Thus, to many observers the vitriol had been sourced from the underside of the political conflict and it had nothing to do with the broad-based agitation for the freedom of conscience by civil society.
The Archdiocese was clearly trapped in the political mess that’s now headed for a final countdown.
In this contest for power is seeded the fear that Malaysia may well have to pay a very heavy price for the hubris of the ruling elite that has caused executive and administrative dysfunction.
That price is re-colonization, the takeover of the micromanagement of Malaysia and of her resources in the quest of another operational staging point to contain China and the flow of the Islamic magma in the region.
So, does Tan Sri Pakiam, the Archbishop, want to continue challenging the powers which will force him to appeal to the Vatican sooner than later, or will he resist that temptation and himself retreat for the well-being of the larger numbers in the country?
We will have to wait and see.---a. ghani ismail, 12 Jan. 2010