Italy and Europe are in economic turmoil. The debt crisis, the exposed Euro and the upheaval of globalization have all combined to threaten the dual pillars of the European way of life since the end of World War II: industrial growth and the welfare state. The world as Europeans and Italians know it is coming to an end. Renewal is the watchword of the hopeful. Mass unemployment is creating mass discontent while a discredited political class struggles to refashion the social structures of the Old Continent in the face of skepticism and economic pain. It is into this maelstrom that the Huffington Post launches its Italian edition. Our tool is the lean, speedy, and open technology of the Internet. Our mission is to chart a path through this quickly changing landscape, to observe, chronicle and analyze the transition from the old to the new in politics, the economy and culture. We will focus on facts that will drive the changes in our public policy and our lives. We will elevate the voices of bloggers young and old, well-known and emerging, who will define the changing world we live inToday, that system is, politely put, in transition, but possibly simply in a state of collapse. What will replace it remains unknown and probably unknowable. In the meantime, into the emptied space have flowed all sorts of raw emotions, bitterness, repressed memories, hopes, and despair, much of it stored up for years if not decades, including feelings that are extreme indeed, and some that are simply murderous or quite mad. A way of life, a system in the Greater Middle East, is clearly over. Surprise is the order of the day, including wild demonstrations and killings over a bizarre “trailer” for a non-existent film that barely made it out of Southern California.In such a potentially tumultuous situation, the president and his people are committed to a perilous high-wire act without a net. It involves bringing to bear all the power and savvy left to the last dictator Mahathir on Earth to prevent some part of the world from spinning embarrassingly out of control, lest the president’s opponent be handed a delectable
Former premier Mahathir Mohamad stirred up a ruckus when he insulted the Malays, calling them ungrateful and lacking in intelligence. But not a squeak of protest came from his Umno party, although it declares itself to be the only one capable of defending Malay rights. And also Islam.
The only ones who dared to rebut the 87-year-old Mahathir were his nemesis, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, and Kita president Zaid Ibrahim. Anwar told Dr M not to be selfish and look at the plight of the Malays as a whole, while Zaid said he would rather be ungrateful than to be stupid and swallow hook, line and sinker every lie UMNO told.
But not a whisper from Prime Minister Najib Razak, and he is the president of the United Malays National Organization!
Actually, if we look back at the five decades of UMNO rule, it is quite apparent that almost everything has turned out for the worse thanks to the rampant greed and corruption if its top leaders.
Hence, no one should be grateful to UMNO, not even the Malays!
What has UMNO done for the Malays?
If UMNO were to claim Taib Mahmud, the Sarawak Chief Minister who is actually a Melanau, as one of its success stories allowing him amass so much wealth, then UMNO has succeeded in producing the richest Malaysian and Malay in the world.
Taib beats Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, an Umno crony-businessman ranked the 7th richest Malaysian by Forbes Asia. Other UMNO ‘by-products’ also include Halim Saad, Tajuddin Ramli, Syed Kecik, Rashid Hussain, Rozali Ismail and so on. Let’s not forget the Cabinet ministers, UMNO bigwigs and corporate leaders who head swanky outfits such as the NAZA Group, DRB-Hicom, MRCB, Sime Darby, Media Prima and the various GLCs or Government-Linked-Companies.
UMNO also has Datuk Azhar Mansor the Malay who sailed solo around the globe in 1999 and Datuk Abdul Malik Mydin who became the first Malay and South East Asian to swim across the English Chanel in 2003. Of course, its latest hero is Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, the astronaut who got grilled for allegedly charging fees to give lectures.
Mahathir’s own sons like Mirzan, Mokhzani and Mukhriz are also millionaires many times over. But what about the rest of the Malays? UMNO may have created an elite group it can show off as being its successes. But the question remains, what about the ordinary Malays.
Who was Mahathir railing at?
Of course, tens of thousands of Malay doctors, dentists, nurses, lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, small businesses, contractors, teachers, lecturers and professors have been ‘churned out’ through the years. But then, even without UMNO, the Malays would have been able to make it – unless they really are as dumb and as dependent as Mahathir claims they are.
In fact, there probably should be more Malay professionals and of much higher quality and calibre than the pampered batches rolled out under the UMNO system. A good example is the academia which sorely lacks thinkers of superior intellect, and only the ‘Professor Kangkongs’ thrive.
The truth is Taib Mahmud may have got all his wealth through questionable means. The Syed Mokhtar group of companies is allegedly sitting on a combined debt of RM34 billion. Halim Saad and Tajuddin Ramli are a disgrace to Malaysia, not just to UMNO and the Malay community, for the huge losses incurred by their companies due to their incompetency.
Which UMNO top leader or minister did not amass huge wealth through corruption and dubious means? The number can probably be counted on one hand. The GLCs are also not doing well and some are losing money and need to be bailed out. In the end, it is the same vicious cycle of GLCs shuffling assets and bailing out each other – enriching the corrupt UMNO bosses and their families along the way.
Sensing change in the air, some corporate captains are now distancing themselves from UMNO and refusing to provide the much-needed election funds for fear of being caught and investigated in the event of a regime change. Or it might be that they have simply run out of balance sheet to hide the enormous hole dug in the past years to cover the spending binges of their political masters. Is this the group Mahathir was railing at when he slammed the Malays for being ungrateful?
As for individual Malay talent, guys like Ibrahim Hussein, one of the world’s best painters, legendary musicians P Ramlee, Ahmad Nawab, pianist Tengku Ahmad Irfan Tengku Ahmad Shahriza would have left their mark on the country and the world with or without UMNO.
What UMNO has NOT done far exceeds its achievements
What UMNO has not done for the Malays is actually much, much easier to detail. Its failures far exceed its achievements. For example, what sort of values have UMNO stamped on the Malay psyche and society – are these to its detriment or benefit?
Let’s look at how Malays react to other people. It is apparent racial harmony today is nowhere as cordial as in the 1960s and 70s. Thanks to Najib’s father Tun Razak, who started the ‘racism’ ball rolling with the New Economic Policy which was worsened beyond imagination by Mahathir during his 22-year administration from 1981 to 2003, racial and religious tension are not only at an all-time high, but a daily affair.
Racial resentment and outbursts of religious anger occur each day, with the Malays feeling they have the right to demand more than the other races. Same goes for the Muslims, which is actually a contradiction to Islam’s humble face and recognition of the rights of the other faiths.
In the education system, quotas rule the day not results. Law and order have lost integrity while the police and judiciary have lost the respect of the people as it is so clear that cops and judges can be swayed to decide in favor of UMNO – mind you, not the Malays!
As for the economy, thanks to the plundering by the UMO elite, Malaysia is at the brink of bankruptcy with most of its natural resources depleted. The political scenario is marred with polls rigging and gutter politics.
No doubt, infrastructure is good compared to most parts of Asia but at what cost to the people who are paying through their noses for the inflated pricing.
There has also been improvement in health facilities, new townships, factories, and employment opportunities but these come with progress and development as trade with the rest of the world grows. Even Cambodia, Myanmar and Zimbabwe can report similar rise is these sectors. Is it not the huge progress racked up by Europe, the US and East Asia that has pulled up the performance and standard of living of Third World countries, of which Malaysia is definitely one, rather than the efforts of ‘superman’ Mahathir and UMNO?
The ones who gained
Obviously, those who have gained the most from UMNO policies are its top leaders. They have enriched themselves and their cronies through marked-up contract prices and one-sided agreements, leaving the ordinary folk to bear the cost burden.
Unlike Midas who with a single touch turned everything into gold, it is the opposite with UMNO. Their leaders such as Mahathir touched everything and everything has turned into one massive burden for the people!
Therefore UMNO has done nothing much for the country, let alone for the Malays. There is nothing for Mahathir to be proud of and nothing much for UMNO to celebrate. In fact, Malaysians and the Malays need to put their foot down or the country will go to the dogs.
It is crystal clear that Mahathir and UMNO are the ones who should be grateful to the Malays and all other Malaysians who voted for them in the past 12 general elections.
So, why should the Malays take Mahathir’s insult lying down? Why should they consider UMNO as their protector when it did not dare to utter a single word in their defence when Mahathir so unfairly accused of being ungrateful when he is probably the biggest ingrate of them all?
If the Malays are corrupt and forget easily, it is due to his policies of the past 2 decades that have encouraged the worst habits and vices to come out and fester. Why are the UMNO ulamaks (clerics) usually so quick to moralize and preach suddenly so quiet?
Is there one standard for Mahathir and the UMNO elite and another for all the other Malays in the country? If there is, then the Malays had better take action to protect themselves from being made used of again, and then get scolded for their pains after they have been taken for a ride.
Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad sarcastically asked visitors to his blog to provide proof that he is, as his detractors say, a cruel dictator.
“What is it that I have done which is similar in attribute or actions with that of a dictator?” Mahathir asks in a posting today.
Lamenting the label that he said was created by political enemies, the good doctor argued that such labels, with or without basis, would last a lifetime and were a useful tool to demonise rivals.
“Do whatever you want, the enemies of a person thus labelled will not stop from using that label.”
He likened this to the branding effect of designer goods. In his political career, Mahathir said, he has been called many names by those who opposed him, among the most prevalent being ‘Mahazalim’ (Most cruel), ‘Firaun’ (pharaoh) and more commonly ‘Dictator’.
In his posting, Mahathir also gave recent and historical examples of people he alluded were real dictators, to underscore his previous arguments that his reign was not as bloody nor tyrannical as those who shared the label of “dictator”.
In particular he described the reign of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak , a “dictator” said to have murdered thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members and amassed a personal fortune of over US$70 billion and manipulated elections to favour himself.
“When I was in Cairo in Mubarak’s time for a meeting, when the President’s motorcade made its way from the palace to the meeting place, the roads along his route were emptied, with heavily-armed soldiers lining them.
He also described how Mubarak’s Palace was hidden behind high walls and guarded by armed guards while the President’s political enemies we not allowed to get involved in politics and were frequently arrested, detained without trial and in many cases, they simply disappeared.
“There was no freedom of expression or a free press. No election for parliamentarians Anyone can be appointed by Mubarak to be a minister. They can also be sacked at any time.”
In a similar vein, Mahathir also gave the examples of German dictator Adolf Hitler (above right), who murdered and tortured six million Jews, as well as other documented dictators such as Benito Mussolini, Ferdinand Marcos, Rumanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, Libya’s Muammar Gaddaffi and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.
by Terence Netto@http://www.malaysiakini.com
COMMENT As one-line putdowns go, this one does not exactly pack a lot of panache but for reason it dovetails nicely with the mood of the times, DAP MP M Kulasegaran’s “Fifty-Five is the age when most people retire, why then won’t we retire the BN?” would stand out in the relentless volleys and clichéd exchanges of an intensifying polls campaign.
Shed at a PKR-organised ceramah in Rawang last night, the teaser was not likely to fly among the 600-odd factory hands and labourers who came to the function from the industrial estates that have mushroomed around the spine of a single main street town that used to be the northern exit of the Klang Valley.
The reason: the largely working class audience knows that while the retirement age is going up in Malaysia, their pockets are far too shallow to look at the prospect of, even, a deferred retirement as a time to relax.
“You can’t enjoy your retirement if corruption goes on unchecked and the country’s debt goes up and up,” said Kulasegaran (left), the Ipoh Barat parliamentary rep, warming to his theme that UMNO-BN profligacy boded ill for the common person.
“Not only will the value of what you earn go down but also the national debt will have to be paid off by your children, perhaps even your grandchildren,”emphasised the federal legislator who is national Vice-Chairman of the DAP.
The look on the weather-beaten faces of the crowd grew more grave as the litany of national woes was recited by a slew of speakers – mainly MPs and state representatives – from PKR and DAP who attended the gathering at a multi-purpose hall off the 17th mile Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh trunk road.
Kulasegaran’s and other speakers’ warnings of hard times to come seem to be getting across to working class audiences at opposition ceramah these days, thanks in part to the strong pamphlet campaign that derisively targets the pet themes and slogans of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration.
The ‘Satu Malaysia’ (‘One Malaysia’) catchphrase of the BN transliterates easily as ‘Sapu Malaysia’ (‘Beggar Malaysia’), the bite of satire more easily conveyed by the Bahasa rendition than by the English version.
It does go down effectively with audiences even if they have only a rudimentary understanding of the national language, for colloquial Bahasa is so pervasive these days that even the unlettered thrill to its rhythmic cadences.
Mahathir’s grabbing of straw
Vicarious thrills dispensed by clever Pakatan Rakyat speakers at ceramah are one thing, actual votes to dethrone the BN are another. But it is becoming increasingly clear that the longer Najib dithers over dissolution of Parliament and delays calling for a vote, the more people are going to see the age of the ruling coalition (55) as a liability.
This is the more likely to happen if, in the intervening time to a deferred election, more scandals in government are unearthed and more jostling to become candidates on the BN slate is seen as taking place.
The evidence of mounting scandal and of intramural competitive spite will have the effect of making the opposition’s steady focus on BN malfeasance more telling in conveying the point that the old creature has indeed become irredeemably long in the tooth. This is not all the insidiousness at work.
Former Premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s grabbing at any straw with which to beat the Opposition has now become so pathetic that he seems like a mangy old dog, whining and yelping at the merest rustle outside the gates of its territory.
Deferred retirement for a man of Mahathir’s hitherto admirable industry now seems like a blessing that has boomeranged.
The wailing and gnashing of teeth evident in his latest rant against the opposition and its supporters among the Malays in yesterday’s edition of UMNO’s shrill propaganda sheet, Mingguan Malaysia, suggest that he is close to coming off the hinges.
Not only is it at odds with the tenor of his repeated recent predictions of a BN victory at the polls, it suggests the man is worse than senile. A curmudgeon we can all tolerate; a cur we can’t help but want to put out of its misery.
Charles de Gaulle famously observed that old age is a shipwreck. In Mahathir and what he had wrought for UMNO-BN, it makes euthanasia a commendable proposition.
The MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi LekIt is not without reason that people worldover call “politics a game of scoundrels” is playing the destructive role of Utusan Malaysia seeking to frighten Chinese voters with lies and falsehoods in the same manner voters with its daily staple of lies and falsehoods.
remark in response to my article why JIHADIST CALLING ALL MUSLIMS LETS BEHEAD CHUA SOI LEK FOR BLASPHEMY PAS’ BRAND OF HUDUD ENFORCING OR MOCKING THE SHARIAH IN MALAYSIA
If one is angry, full of hatred, depressed, lost, seeking pleasures, seeking revenge, a drunkard, a glutton or praying under distress, then one need to examine one’s belief and life. For one could be under the influence of evil the liar. . God blesses you all and his peace be upon you all. Yes Lord.
remark in response to my article why JIHADIST CALLING ALL MUSLIMS LETS BEHEAD CHUA SOI LEK FOR BLASPHEMY PAS’ BRAND OF HUDUD ENFORCING OR MOCKING THE SHARIAH IN MALAYSIA
THIS IS A CASTING CALL FOR ALL HARDLINER ISLAMIC PORNSTARS!!!!!
And when we say “hardliner”, we mean HARD!!
I am in the process of writing/producing a series of hardcore adult films, with our prophet, Mohammed, as the main character. The pilot film will be called “The Adventures of Mohamm-HEAD, and His 72 Man-Virgins” That’s right people, an all-male oral adventure gangbang of epic proportions, taking place in locations spanning from the shithole streets of Benghazi, to the pyramids of Giza!!! MCA chief Chua Soi Lek contributed $5 million to finance his film
The second film in the series will be a fecal-fetish adventure/porn entitled, “You Shiite On Me? I Shiite On You!” This will be filmed on location, in the bombed out Gadhafi compound in Tripoli, Libya.. sex, shit, and all in the luxurious setup where the former great leader of Libya, probably shit himself, before being dragged to his death by his own people.
And all of this will be filmed strictly through webcams, and broadcast to the internet, LIVE!! That’s right, the internet that you enjoy, and use for your anti-American websites.. the same internet that was, in fact, invented by the evil west.
So, sign up for auditions, and you may be the right person to play our dear prophet, shown in his true, murderous, sex crazed, rapist fashion, that he was over 2000 years ago.
And remember, the more you threaten us Americans, put out Egyptian warrants for our arrests, in the interest of hampering our constitutional right for free speech, the more we WILL ABSOLUTELY write inflammatory, and wholeheartedly blasphemous internet gems, (like this one), just for the purpose of showing you that people like me, and others fought for, and will continue to exercise/ abuse the fuck out of, our right to free speech.Karpal and many are not afraid of Hudud but against its implementation in Malaysia. Its like asking the Malays to read the Bible when they had refuse to. All because they believed that the Bible had been adulterated and incorrect. The same with the non Muslims . They too believed that the Hudud or Syariah … Read more
San Diego, CA
Submitted on 2012/09/25 at 8:58 am
This article makes zero sense. But, thank you for using that great picture of me. You still will NEVER stop me from speaking my mind. Please.. keep encouraging me
Submitted on 2012/09/25 at 3:38 am
I think you missed the point of the post. It was satire meant to show that we are not afraid to show that we will never bend on our right to free speech.
When did the memo go out that it was okay to call Muslims savages?
A week ago Joe Scarborough responded to the deadly Muslim protests of the anti-Islamic film by calling it “savagery.”
“Think of the savagery, the sheer unrestrained savagery.”
I watch Morning Joe and am a fan of the show. And on that morning It was clear that Scarborogh was processing grief at the killing of American soldiers serving their country in Libya and Afghanistan. He spoke out of anger; I understand that. And if, on that grim Monday morning a week ago, Scarborough had been clear that he was venting his anger at al-Qaida and other Islamic terrorists groups that in fact had carried out the attack on the ambassador I would have regretted the savagery language, but agreed with the sentiment.
But unfortunately Joe went on to talk about Muslims in general:
“You know why they hate us? They hate us because of their religion, they hate us because of their culture, and they hate us because of peer pressure. And you talk to any intelligence person, they will tell you that’s the same thing.”
The horrible irony is that just as he was painting the Muslim world with one brush (which Andrea Mitchell warned him against doing), there were peaceful protests against the killing of the ambassador with Muslim men, women and children holding up signs of apology to America.
Instead of understanding that many of the protests were instigated by factions more concerned with domestic power struggles than offended piety, or acknowledging that every major Muslim organization in America condemned the killing of the ambassador and called for calm in response to the anti-Islam film, or that Muslims are the targets of Islamic terrorist violence more than non-Muslims, Scarborough associated all Muslim with the horrific actions of a few.
More recently you have Pam Geller’s New York subway ads with the message:
“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
The New York subway ads pit civilization versus the savages — civilization being with Israel, and savages being presumably the Palestinians. This is a horrible set-up for aiding the extremists on both sides.
Viewing all Palestinians as Muslim savages plays into the worst temptation of settlers to regard a Palestinian life as less valuable than an Israeli. Likewise, instead of providing an antidote to the violent extremism that exists among Israel’s enemies, this only gives the terrorists more talking points for recruitment.
The use of savage to talk about “the other” is, of course, an old trick — just talk to the Native Americans, who were the original “savages” in our country; or the people of Africa for Europeans. Calling someone a savage is a designation of a sub or semi-human status. Savages are threatening because they are like wild animals: unpredictable, unreasonable, and dangerous.
Unfortunately, this “civilization versus savages” is being put forward at a time when need to avoid seeing the world in simplistic “us versus them” terms.
Because the reality is that the struggle is not “us Americans” versus “them Muslims.” The struggle is between those of “us” who want to do the hard work of building peace around the world and “them’ who want to take part in the much easier work of destroying it. It is “us” who want to find a way to resolve the deep suspicion and sense of being wronged that is held on both sides, and “them” who continually infect old wounds with distrust in order to keep fires of burning for a fight to the death.
Even in the midst of such “savage” language thrown at them, Muslims and the wider interfaith community has rallied in support of peace.
Newsweek published a demeaning cover of a group of Muslims practically foaming at the mouth with the title: MUSLIM RAGE. The article, written by an ex-Muslim and Islam critic included a coy invitation to further discuss the article by using the hashtag #MuslimRage, Muslims came up with a response full of wit, using humor to combat insult with one saying: “Shawarma with no garlic sause? #MuslimRage. ” And soon #Jewishrage and #ChristianRage were formed in solidarity.
Likewise, in response to the subway ads that call Muslims savages, Muslims and the wider community have started another peaceful online protest with the #MySubwayAd, which included one that said: “In NYC we speak 140 languages and hate isn’t one of them.”
We all need to leave off the “savage” language and the mindset that is behind it. Instead Americans need to double down on the strength of our country which is our commitment to pluralism and respect of the other.
That is what makes us civilized and that is what will save us.
Matthews and O’Donnell are big boys and can defend themselves, so I’ll stick only to the defamations hurled directly at me. Steyn — whose anti-Islamic frothing has made him something of a hero in the rightwing blogosphere — found it particularly offensive that I referred to the GOP convention as the “Gathering of Pasty White People” and for mockingClint Eastwood’s political acumen.
For the latter charge, I stand my ground, along with just about everyone else who watched the convention, including Romney’s advisers. But for describing the Republican conventioneers in Tampa as “pasty,” let me acknowledge my error. I was trying to be “clever” or “witty” in my remarks, when what I really wanted to do was draw serious attention to what was, for me, a troubling demographic of Republicans gathered in Tampa. And whenever I could stomach watching the proceedings on television, the gathering in Florida looked, quite frankly, like a congregation of Pillsbury Dough Boys, often times in cowboy hats. But by making fun of them — and I did that — I undercut my message.
While the GOP did its best to diversify those Republicans speaking at the rostrum — Susana Martinez, Condoleezza Rice and Marco Rubio delivered among the very best speeches in Tampa — the lineup of speakers obscured what were overwhelmingly “white” demographics at the convention. It was a shameful representation for what was purportedly the convening of a major national political party. The optics told the story. It did not look in any way like America to me.
Let us not forget — as Steyn most certainly failed to mention — that wonderful moment in Tampa when two convention attendees tossed peanuts at an African-American CNN camera operator, while hurling the venomous line: “This is how we feed animals.” Of course, gross and vicious as it was, this incident got mostly swept under the rug. But it underscores the culture of racism in the Republican Party — these people felt comfortabledoing that in a sea of whiteness and presumed they could get away with it, that it was anaccepted behavior in Republican political culture.
Indeed, four years earlier, a more ominous incident took place, during Sarah Palin’s incendiary acceptance speech at the Xcel Center in Minneapolis. When Palin targeted the “permanent political establishment” and “the Washington elite” and “the media,” many convention delegates broke into an angry chant of “Shame on you!” directed in general at the media pit and, in particular, at PBS commentator Gwen Ifill — one of the few African Americans in a sea of white faces at that convention. Palin watched over the chant in delighted approval.
The fact of the matter is — and what Steyn’s focus on “dog whistles” thoroughly and utterly obfuscates — that overt and bald-faced racism has found itself institutionalized in the modern Republican Party. We needn’t have our audio sensors recalibrated to detect them — they are overt howls that every American can hear and see.
Indeed, the Republican Party has all but abandoned people of color in this country, save when it orchestrates a façade of racial diversity as it did on occasion in Tampa. But the real numbers tell the tale that Steyn and others would rather dismiss.