Wednesday, September 10, 2014
A POEM NOT FOR AZMI SHAROM "Ameen -- to the Malaysian academicians"
by azly rahman
an academic started off with idealism
in a classroom in a liberal nation
the spirit of the free mind prevails
he is intoxicated perhaps
by the fact that man is born free
and everywhere he is in chains
then he goes back to his culture
he lets society...
and those ignorant of what a free mind means dictates
he then begins to see the beauty
not in leading
but in following
not in liberating the minds of others
but in shackling the minds of the young
--but he is still alone
in his newfound ignorance
still a safe situation for the nation
he sees no need in opening up minds
he sees the need in toeing the line
then he becomes the leader
he becomes the dean
he is no longer james dean
a rebel with or without a cause
he takes pride
in taking sides
he hears voices from above
from the Ignorance
he thinks god hath spoken
he then sees the need
to plant the seeds
of Authority unquestioned by those he leads
he is now empowered
those young minds
those young academicians
yearning to know the meaning
of thinking freely
so that society will breed mediocrity
and fed like cattle
and be given more grass
so that Man will be happy
and the nation safe and secure
from thinkers espousing anarchy
-- then the dean is rewarded
through both his hard work
and his gameplan to rise to the top
by trampling on others
and by acting like a glorified game warden
he plays the game politicians play
he does this in multiple replays
until he gets what he wants
to become the leader of all the leaders
of the dull and ignorant
and then he becomes the leader of all leaders of education
and that is when
there will be trouble
big time -- for the nation
because dead and gone is idealism
of the need to help the young think and to help minds remain open
because that is what will happen
when there is no revolution
of even for mental improvement
of critical sensibility and the offering of thinking -- in multiple dimensions
and how will it all end for this nation?
you and i have seen
not only the germinating of the seeds of destruction
but the coming of total chaos
because and only because
the intellectuals are now fighting
not anymore for any noble cause
but for more and more rewards
in service of a Darker Force
whose life knows no limit
for Acquired Ignorance
let alone the Illusion of Wisdom ...
ameen to us all
ameen to us all
DRILLING THIS CONCEPT INTO THE THICK HOLLOW SKULL OF POLITICIANS
is not easy -- and I still cannot understand why.
I am talking about the freedom of the citizens and academicians to express their opinions on matters dear to their future; so that a better one will be left as legacy.
Fundamental to human nature and natural to our rights, after freedom from hunger and homelessness and torture, is free speech. That comes become the "state" has agreed to exchange this rights in a social contract that promises individual protection from the state in exchange for "votes" so that the government can assume that it has this "general will" or a mandate of sovereignty, guided authority, and sensibility to exercise power on the disempowered. This is the essence of the social contract between the ruler and the ruled.
But why is this simple concept so difficult to understand, especially in the case of the academician criminalized and prosecuted for expressing his/her views? What is the logic of this madness of the intoxication of power of those high on palm wine/tuak or ketum leaves allowed to make decision on the lives of sensible and noble citizens whose only crime is expressing what is right to be expressed -- speaking truth to power?
Where is our understanding of what education, dialogue, and critical sensibility should mean? Did the oppressors not go to school at all and learn the very basic idea of the Constitution in regard to freedom of speech?
When they were schools, didn't they have professors and teachers whose life is devoted to speaking truth to power intellectually, encourage them to speak freely, cultivate their critical sensibility -- so that they will not become leaders who abuse power at their whims and fancies?
I mean-- for these thick-skulled politicians, didn't they have professors like Azmi Sharom at all?
THIS -- I CANNOT UNDERSTAND ...
AZLY RAHMAN is an educator, academic, international columnist, and author of seven books. He grew up in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and holds a Columbia University doctorate in international education development and Master’s degrees in six areas: education, international affairs, peace studies communication, fiction and non-fiction writing. Twitter @azlyrahman.
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