In defence of a revolutionary
Why is it that the government allowed the bodies of terrorists to return home? Is it because they are Malays, Muslims and Chin Peng is Chinese; worst a communist?
COMMENTBy Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
I refer to the two stirring articles of Kua Kia Soong’s, ‘The patriots and pretenders’, Sept 18 and Jeswan Kaur’s, ‘Umno in no mood to forgive Chin Peng’, Sept 19 that appeared in FMT; pertaining to the struggles and requests of Chin Peng to return to his birth land.
I cannot comprehend as to why Putrajaya cannot forgive nor forget Chin Peng’s atrocities; as if he is the most evil person existed in the Malaysian history.
I concur with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s view that: “let bygones be bygones”.
Indeed, ‘forgiveness is taught in all religions but the Umno leaders maintain that Chin Peng and the CPM cannot be forgiven for their past actions during the Emergency.’
Because during the 12-year ‘emergency’ when the CPM was waging war against British colonialism, a total of 3,945 security forces, 2,473 civilians and 6,697 insurgents were killed (Anthony Short, ‘The Communist Insurrection in Malaya, 1948-60’, 1975: 507), and due to this record, it is argued, Chin Peng and the CPM he led cannot be forgiven.
So for the government, it does not matter if Chin Peng and his comrades fought the Japanese.
Never mind that he and his comrades defended the honour and sovereignty of Malaya while the British abandoned the country.
Never mind that even England recognised Chin Peng’s wartime contribution. He was awarded the OBE, albeit later it was withdrawn.
Never mind that Chin Peng agreed to lay down arms and signed the Hatyai Peace Accord, an agreement in good faith that was signed by the Malaysian government but subsequently ignored and violated by the same government.
The ultimate question is why the government signed in the first place when they never intended to fulfill its terms in good faith?
In plain words of Jeswan Kaur:
“Chin Peng was clear as to why he was waging a ‘war’. But was the BN government ‘ethical’ in its dealing with the former guerrilla that the Malaysian government is now all out to label as a ‘traitor’?
“Chin Peng ‘honoured’ his part of the 1989 peace deal. Did BN do so?”
Now, the man is dead, yet ironically even his ashes, still cannot come home.
Selective ideological forgiveness
Why did the government re-establish good relations with Japan despite its wartime atrocities? If they can forgive, kiss and make up with Japan, why not with a ‘prodigal and radical son’?
Why is it that the government allowed the bodies of terrorists to return home, yet they cannot allow even the ashes of a dead revolutionary?
Is it because those terrorists are Malays, Muslims and that old revolutionary is Chinese; worst a communist?
I cannot understand the kind of justice the government is practicing. In my view, it is not only selective racial justice but also a type of selective ideological forgiveness.
If they cannot forgive a communist revolutionary, then why the hell forgive a bloody terrorist?
Chin Peng fought for his country. He fought both the Japanese colonisers and the British imperialists. He also fought in his own country because he believed that the government was not protecting and defending the rights of the people but the interests of the former masters and capitalists.
To the BN government, that is a crime that cannot be forgiven or forgotten.
Yet, those terrorists who discriminately and arbitrarily bombed to death innocent people, oh well, they can be forgiven; they can come home and be buried in their hometown. Wow! Such a bloody irony!
Is that justice? Is that fairness?
Hell no! I do not think so!
In reiteration, may I be allowed to repeat the question raised by Kua in his article?
Can Umno name any of their leaders who distinguished himself in liberating our country from Japanese occupation?
To put it in another manner, can Umno for purpose of the records state what their beloved leaders did during the Japanese occupation?
Can they list their contributions, their sacrifices and hardships?
What have they done for the country during those critical times except waiting for the return of the bloody British and hiding from the Japanese?
A call for historical closure
If the government is really sincere in its call for national reconciliation to all parties and of the Malaysian society, then it is my firm and passionate view that the first step for them to do is to allow the return of Chin Peng’s ashes and his other comrades who wish to die in their homeland.
Justice must be tampered with mercy and compassion.
If the government will not do so, then there will be no closure with regard to this issue.
Chin Peng may be dead but there is no shadow of doubt whatsoever on my mind that his revolutionary spirit and his radical legacy will continue to spawn new believers and future adherents.
In the parting words of the old revolutionary him:
“In the final analysis, I wish to be remembered simply as a good man who could tell the world that he had dared to spend his entire life in pursuit of his own ideals to create a better world for his people.
“It is irrelevant whether I succeeded or failed, at least I did what I did. Hopefully the path I had walked on would be followed and improved upon by the young after me. It is my conviction that the flames of social justice and humanity will never die.”
Comrade Chin Peng, may you rest in peace!
Jose Mario Dolor De Vega is Philosophy lecturer at College of Arts and Letters, Polytechnic University of the Philippines