Caution: this post contains graphic depictions of atrocity. Viewers discretion advised.
"Killing is murder", screamed a headline in a Malay Mail online report yesterday. Under it, the sub-header reads, "Dr M calls for change of mindset and value system."
Dr Mahathir, in his keynote address at the “Criminalise War International Conference and Exhibition” which began yesterday at the PWTC, was quoted as saying:
“There must be a lot of things we have been doing for thousands of years which we don’t believe should be done now, such as abuse of human rights, discrimination against women, child labour, public executions, the gibbets (gallows), torture and slavery.
“Though there may still be places where some of these practices are carried out, generally the civilised world rejects them, even if they had been common for thousands of years.”
The report continues;
"So what makes war different from the mentioned practices? Why can’t we reject the act of war altogether?
“It is because we do not regard war as a crime, therefore the killings have not stopped,” said Dr Mahathir.
I suppose every sane and reasonable person, even more so those who would like to believe that they belong to a civilised society would agree with what Dr Mahathir said. Abuse of human rights, discrimination against women, child labour, public executions, the gibbets (gallows), torture and slavery are uncivilised, unacceptable and downright inhuman.
And when such acts are done and executed by the government itself, the repulsion an abhorrence against such acts would be of a different magnitude. This is because the citizens, in their social contract with the State, agree to give away some of their freedom and liberty to the government and State in exchange for greater societal benefits and security. Thus, when the government abuses its powers upon its own citizens, that is the greatest betrayal of all.
And when such acts go unpunished, - and in fact it continues from time to time - aided, abetted and executed by various governmental authorities, the people might as well surrender their fate to the Leviathan.
In conjunction with the "Criminalise War International Conference and Exhibition", ARTiculations hereby declare the opening of the first "Criminalise Human Rights Abuses National Conference and Exhibition."
Yes. Although these acts have been carried out for thousand of years, in modern times, they are acts which are not acceptable in any civilised nation and society. Every violent attack on the citizen's freedom and liberty should be criminalised although they may be common for thousands of years.
We have to change our mind set. We have to reject these abuses of human rights and fundamental liberties.
It is because we do not regard these abuses as crimes, therefore the abuses have not stopped.