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LETTER | Succour without accusative rhetoric

LETTER | Scratch an anti-Zionist and you get an anti-Jew. Now, scratch an anti-Hamas and you get an anti-Palestinian.

Both are lazy, over-simplified, convenient put down and argued by those who seek an extreme and non-compromising solution to this seven-decade-long dilemma.

Here, it has morphed into this antagonistic generalisation by those who demand “you are either with us or against us “from those who see wrong on both sides militarily and seek a middle reconciliation approach or those who are neutral.

I am a non-Malay and non-Muslim. My wife and I attended the Dataran Merdeka “Freedom for Palestine” rally held on Oct 22. We were there for the children, peace and a stop to suffering and war.

We met a Malay Muslim gentleman who came from Penang to attend the rally. We sat down together by the sidelines and exchanged our views on the issue.

It was an amicable discussion and my wife and I took home a better understanding and clarity on his religious and practical approach to the issue.

I showed and posted to him a published article of mine in Malaysiakini titled “Malaysia errs by boycotting German book fair” and shared our views on the conflict.

I hope the gentleman came out glad and relieved like me, that humanity and common sense can prevail over religious, racial prejudice and extremism.

We exchanged phone numbers, and he invited me to his restaurant in Penang should I visit.

I have put my money where my mouth is, having donated money to two local non-religious international NGOs and one local Islamic NGO to provide aid to Palestinians.

With the local Islamic NGO, I volunteered on the Turkish earthquake disaster and a local school uniform project. I am in their WhatsApp group and there was a call to help out with packing donations to be sent out to Palestine.

Much to my regret and dismay, I hesitated to help out with the packing. I don't really know what brought on this reluctance. Perhaps timidity, anxiety, or apprehension that the aid may be diverted to those bent on continuing the war.

To this day, I feel I have let down those who could count on me and humanity. I do not write this to atone for this weak and indecisive moment.

Don’t politicise tragedy

I do not seek redemption by hoping there will be another round of aid packing for the Palestinians as I hope from this senseless carnage, nations will work out a lasting, peaceful and equitable solution for both Palestinians and Israelis.

I write in the sincere hope that we Malaysians - whilst trying to help those in need, do not resort to extreme rhetoric, polemics and accusations to support their opinions and religious beliefs or to gain unsavoury political mileage.

I believe the goal we all want, whatever spectrum of politics, race, or religion we subscribe to, is for those trapped in this conflict, to have the fundamental human right to live in peace and have food, shelter, education and jobs.

Let’s end the antagonistic tirades and finger-pointing and work together to achieve the goal with a moderate conciliative approach - focusing our energy, compassion and financial and material aid on those who need our help now.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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