Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Imam's Magical Shoes (revisited)

Lawyers urge review of jail term for shoe-throwing imam
By Shannon TeohThe Malaysian Insider | March 08, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, March — Lawyers stunned by the Federal Court’s one-year jail sentence for contempt of court against an imam who threw his shoes at three senior judges have called for a review of the “excessive” punishment. 
The court decided this morning that Hoslan Hussin’s “act of contempt was very serious” and “if no action is taken, can threaten the powers of the court” before meting out the jail term that several lawyers told The Malaysian Insider was unprecedented for a case of contempt. 
“No, I have never seen such a heavy punishment. Even considering the need for a deterrent, I had expected a custodial sentence but no more than six weeks. Does the punishment really serve justice?” said senior lawyer Karpal Singh, who had pleaded in mitigation for Hoslan. 
Hoslan praying at the court building in Putrajaya before being sentenced to jail
for contempt March 8 2012. — Picture by Choo Choy May (The Malaysian Insider)
Human rights lawyer N. Surendran also said “the sentence is excessive and inappropriate”. 
“The circumstances of this case required that justice should be tempered with mercy. This the Federal Court failed to do,” the PKR vice president said. 
Imam Hoslan Hussin: denied his day in court since 1999
Remember Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who enjoyed a brief burst of global fame and popularity in December 2008 for throwing his shoes at George W. Bush during a press conference?

[First posted 15 November 2013]

Imam Hoslan Hussin may or may not have been inspired by Muntadhar's act of raw courage and pure passion, but his act of shoe-throwing was most certainly in the same heroic and noble spirit.

Just as George W. Bush symbolized the hypocrisy and arrogance of power unleashed against the powerless in the interest of greedy corporations and their lunatic desire to dominate the world - economically and militarily - the Malaysian Judiciary since 1988 has become emblematic of everything that has gone wrong in our once blessed and bountiful land.

Zaki Azmi, retired Chief Justice
recently awarded a highway project
The monolithic power of the state apparatus maintains itself through cowing the masses - whether through the sort of colossal architecture you will find in the Kremlin and Putrajaya, or through the threat of physical violence, outsourced to vigilante mobs like Perkasa, Pekida, Rela, Redshirts and Mat Rempit on the Umno Youth payroll.

While those in the political opposition are constrained to operate within the framework of parliamentary debate - using their leverage to expose policy errors and serious wrongdoing - the proverbial man-in-the-street is confined to merely casting a vote every four or five years when a general election is called.

By casting his shoes at the bench of judges who had dismissed his case without due consideration or regard for the imam's growing sense of frustration with the ponderous, impersonal workings of so-called justice, Hoslan Hussin did the only thing possible to reclaim his dignity and sovereignty as a human individual.

Nobody, as far as I know, has ever been killed or even injured by a flying shoe. Indeed, if modern warfare consisted of squadrons of planes dropping a million pairs of shoes on a deeply insulted populace, the only casualty would be the local shoe industry - notwithstanding the hypothetical possibility that somebody gawping at the sight of shoes raining down from the skies might find himself with a set of fractured dentures, should one of these missiles land directly in his mouth.

In any case, if someone was extremely angry with me, I would much rather he or she lob a shoe at me - than a rock, for instance, or an empty bottle or a grenade. I would view this act of hostility as extremely negative feedback. Obviously, I must have said or done something to deeply hurt or annoy my assailant. It would present an opportunity to make amends by quietly returning the attacker's footwear with a sincere apology and a renewed effort to resolve the issue amicably.

What the Malaysian judiciary has done, in this instance, is utterly unpardonable. By imposing the harshest possible sentence on the imam - a one-year  imprisonment - they have only revealed their immaturity and vindictiveness. Those who sit in judgement of us, with their somber robes and deadpan expressions, were clearly handpicked for their jobs on account of their subservience to Mahathirist principles - essentially, might makes right.

I feel far more respect for the funky imam's shoes than any of the judges who have denied him justice. I'm sure many will support my suggestion that the imam's shoes be displayed in a glass case as a symbol of honorable resistance to injustice - and that Hoslan Hussin be declared a national hero for making such a bold statement on behalf of all justice-loving, but justice-denied, Malaysians.

As for the judges, their names and images deserve to be assigned to the ever-growing judicial Hall of Shame.

[First posted 9 March 2012]

Arrogance and the Art of Political Shadow Boxing (revisited)

This post was inspired by a journalist friend who left the following comment on my Facebook wall: "I've met [Anwar Ibrahim] in person and he looked right through me, although I had to personally escort him. He makes my skin crawl. A couple of reporters I know who have interviewed him also say that this kind of arrogance was pretty normal even when he was DPM." Anwar had just been acquitted when I posted this in January 2012. Then AG Abdul Gani Patail immediately appealed the verdict, to the disgust of those who can't imagine ever being so viciously vindictive and venomous.

At 19 I met a fortune teller who read my palms and told me I will never have a boss. And that has held true my entire life. I don't regard anybody or any spirit as my "superior."

All political leaders, including Anwar Ibrahim, must ultimately bow to the rakyat as their boss. Others may bow before some concept of God or Devil. I don't.

In effect, other people's arrogance is just a joke to me. Arrogance, I know, is only a front - a form of ego armoring required for warfare. Just as Muhammad Ali used arrogance and conceit as a psychological weapon to inject apprehension and anxiety into his opponents, every successful politician learns to talk big and scare his adversaries. In the animal kingdom, puffer fish and peacocks inflate various parts of their anatomy to scare off rivals and attract potential mates.

Anwar Ibrahim addresses a rapt audience at Kelana Jaya Stadium (photo: TV Smith)

Anwar is good at that - and he is used to being in the limelight. Every rockstar knows what it's like to have thousands clamoring for you to appear on stage - it's addictive and scary at the same time. It takes a special kind of temperament to thrive under those high-pressure circumstances. Anwar has got it in abundance - he has trained himself all his life to become a political icon.

Have you ever had to escort Mahathir or Najib anywhere? Would they have looked right through you too... or looked straight into your eyes and noticed what a beautiful human being you are and suggested you add them on Facebook? The point I'm making is simply this: in a primitive culture where politics holds sway and policemen obey only those they deem their superiors, we desperately require regime change.

Anas Zubedy,
corporate wunderkind
If you remove Anwar Ibrahim from the equation at this juncture, what you're asking for is that the status quo remain unchanged. Look at the ego conflicts amongst activists and opinion makers - people like Haris Ibrahim, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Lim Chee Wee, Art Harun, Azmi Sharom, Malik Imtiaz... and let's toss in a few from the murky side, like RPK, Anas Zubedy, Chandra Muzaffar, Ezam Mohd Nor. Do you honestly think the ship of state will sail smoothly on course if it was left to a committee of debaters, public masturbators and would-be emancipators?

Until there are enough enlightened souls in our midst - ones who have internalized God and no longer regard external authority as real or legitimate - we will need some sort of political structure. And the best one I have seen thus far is the Pakatan Rakyat coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim.

I'm seriously tired of apparently intelligent people putting the brakes on the change by misapplyng their skepticism at what is, to me, a critical juncture in our political evolution. So, who do you wish to see in Anwar's place? I'm really interested to know....

[First published 18 January 2012, reposted 22 October 2012]

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

John Lash: Archons, Sophia and Gnosticism

Published 25 January 2016

John Lash explores the "high strangeness" of the Gnostic materials, the strangest factor of all is certainly the presence of the Archons. Here we confront an enigma of cosmic proportions. Where do we situate these weird entities in the evolutionary plot of the Gaia Mythos? Are they to be regarded as real entities, a species in their own right, albeit a non-terrestrial one? What is their relation to Gaia, the intelligence of the biosphere? And how do the Archons in turn relate to humanity?