IS it true that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has created a monster that he might not control by calling for Palestinian solidarity in schools throughout the country?
Expressing solidarity with the cause of Palestinians is one thing, especially in light of the planned genocide by the Israeli state but calling the schoolchildren to express solidarity is another thing.
Both Anwar and the Education Ministry are not in a position to control the events in some schools. How the events marking the solidarity week will metamorphose remains to be seen.
Children are seen marching with toy guns as they are being prepared for war against the Jewish state. The majority of the students and teachers have a poor, rudimentary understanding of the Palestinian struggle but whipping up solidarity on the basis of race and religion might not do justice to the emancipatory cause of the Palestinians.
Anwar himself admitted that the Palestinian issue is a humanitarian one and has nothing to do with race or religion. It is the plight of ordinary Palestinians who have lost their land, property, and homes to the Jewish state.
It is not that Anwar doesn’t know that the Palestinian issue in the Malaysian context might be turned into a religious one by those supporters of PAS and Bersatu. These political parties, apart from their genuine concern for the Palestinians in the current attacks launched by the military forces of Israel are not naive about domestic political considerations.
Moreover, Anwar might have miscalculated the need for the Palestinian solidarity week in schools which has the tendency to spiral out of control. As it is, the opposition parties are going to have a massive gathering at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur to mark solidarity week. How the solidarity event is going to play out remains to be seen.
The Tambun MP started something for his political benefit, but the whole episode might not be within the control of the education ministry under the lackadaisical minister and deputy minister. He is trying to take a high profile to the extent of saying that he has been threatened on the Palestinian matter.
After being challenged by the opposition, Anwar has yet to name those behind the threat. Anyway, what has he done for the Palestinian cause that other prime ministers in the past have not done? What is the unique contribution of Anwar other than rubbing shoulders with Arab leaders who might not see the Palestinian struggle in a different way?
Anwar is not naive not to realise that it is the US that stands in the way of the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Why has he not taken up the matter with the US since he has a good relationship with the leaders there?
Furthermore, whether liked or not, Anwar, bereft of Malay support, is using Palestinian suffering to drum up domestic political backing among Malays in the country.
It looks like the Palestinian solidarity week in schools might get out of hand to play into the hands of the opposition.
Palestinian solidarity has no place in schools, especially among young children. It is nonsensical to say it is part of civic education.
Can carrying toy guns to “prepare for war” be considered part of civic education? Anwar should put an end to this idea of having a Palestinian solidarity week in schools. Is he prepared to have a solidarity week for Tamils who were subjected to genocide in Sri Lanka?
Politicians like Anwar should stop using and manipulating schoolchildren for their own political fortune.
Anwar, hardly one year in power, has shown his true colours by guiding the country in the wrong direction.
The ringgit has seriously plummeted against the US dollar. There is a serious food shortage that has yet to be overcome. Nothing has come out of the recent talks about revamping the cabinet. – Oct 28, 2023
Former deputy chief minister II of Penang and ex-Perai state assemblyman Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy was also a former Penang Development Corporation (PDC) board member.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main photo credit: KLSayang