Saturday, January 3, 2009

No New Year's day to celebrate...

Thank you co-blogger Nuraina Samad, for reminding me that it was already New Year and I have yet to update my weblog.

As Stevie Wonder's 'I Just Called To Say I Love You' song goes ...'no New Year's Day, to celebrate...' (I sang this number to qualify for the finals of NST talentime in 1987), I was beside an ailing friend at Pantai Cheras Medical Centre on the eve of January 1, 2009.

Palestinian businessman, Tareq, 51, lost his wife and 2 lovely daughters during a raid by the Israelis on Jabaliya refugee camp, Gaza, in 1991. That dawn raid on August 12 also took away his younger brother and a few friends.

Devastated, he went to Jeddah in November and operated a small grocery store until an Indonesian managed to persuade him to migrate to Jakarta in 1996. During the students demonstration in 1999, his bazaar was burn down.

He came to Penang in January 2000. I came to know him when former Palestine Ambassador to Malaysia, Ahmad Al-Faraa invited me to a dinner at J W Marriott in 2001. That's how we became friends.

I remember Jabaliya well enough during my trip to Gaza Strip in 1985, about two years after the massacre at Sabra and Shatila. It was worse than that reported.

Tareq suffers from kidney problem.

"I dont mind if Allah calls me to rest, brother Jelani. I have tried to live a life without being haunted by the past... but I am just a human being. Losing your loved ones is most shattering. What have I done to deserve this?

"Nobody knows how long this war will go on. I dont know what happened to my relatives in Gaza and other parts of Palestine... I hope they are fine. The last time I spoke to my good friend in Jabaliya was on Christmas eve... two days later the line was cut."

Amid prolonged frustration and the agony of watching his homeland being reduced to rubbles, Tareq has a good heart.

"I hope the Palestinians and the Jews can end this war. We dont need the superpowers to broker the peace. We, the people of both countries had wanted peace a long time ago but some leaders were against it.

"Do you know that most Israelis, too are against this confrontation? No matter what their regime had done to me and other Palestinians, I hope we will live in peace somedays. If its not for me, its for the future generations."

I stayed on with him until the fireworks around KL came to an end. Back home, I went through my e-mails, some of which sent by friends from overseas and also from the United Nations News Centre.

Again, I was taken aback reading about more than two million people suffering from hunger in many parts of Africa.

What was there to celebrate... I asked myself.

8 comments:

INSAN, kajang said...

bang,
isu palestin ni dah puluhan tahun tapi tidak ada penyudahnya.

yang menanggung malu ialah liga arab yang hanya pandai bercakap tanpa bertindak.

andainya dunia arab melancarkan perang terhadap israel, saya rasa dalam dua tiga hari je musnah negara yahudi ni.

tetapi disebabkan persahabatan dengan amerika, palestin dijadikan mangsa

SON OF PALESTINE said...

your friend tareeq is among thousands, if not millions of palestinians who lost at least a member of their family since the war in 1967.

since then, the world just stood still and abided to the american way of trying to settle it.

NO! the americans are israelis best friend. how could washington make any decision that will lead to the lost on israel?

i am also a palestinian living in malaysia. maybe i know this tareeq. i am from west bank which also comes under israel non-stop aggression.

what can a country like malaysia contribute to the peace in palestine and middle east? pardon me, even during your chairmanship of the OIC, nothing much was done to assist us. dr mahathir was just becoming its chairman when he had to step down. he was the only muslim leader who dared to confront the superpower and israel with his words. unfortunately, we dont have another mahathir after that.

the united nations, too, is in the hands of america. any draft resolution to condemn such attacks on the palestinian soil will go down the drain when US representative applies the veto power.

what is the function of the security council then? just becoming a watchdog for the american interest. when there are troubles in other parts of the world, they were fast to act by denouncing the aggresor and called for multinational forces to be deployed.

in palestine case, the UN is afraid to act as it receives million of dolars from washington every year.

the question now - is the UN still relevant when it comes to protecting the rights of the palestinians?

khan, KL said...

u got a good point there, bro. what is there to celebrate when our brothers of islam is under oppressed.

i admire your spirit...

- khan -

bujai said...

khan,
it doesnt matter whether they are muslim or not, those under similar circumstances as the palestinians must gain special attention and protection.

thank u

Anonymous said...

FO WITH THE ISRAEL, AMERICANS AND THE UNITED NATIONS!

SERAI said...

i would rather put the blame on the arabs. they are the ones closer to that conflict but they did nothing.

bujai said...

son of palestine,

thank you for the comment. the future of palestine depends much on the arabs, rather than leaving it solely to the united nations. i hope you understand.

however, malaysia has played a leading role in pursuing the issue after abdullah badawi took over from dr mahathir, in his own way and style.

we view this issue as most important. the government, via its representative at the united nations never stop monitoring the situation and tried to applied pressure to the world body and other organisations to act.

any decision must be based on concensus. one nation alone cannot break the deadlock of the middle east issue.

maybe both sides - hamas and israel - should sit down again and discuss it within the arab league capacity as the united nations is helpless.

we can also hope for the new american regime under barrack obama will have a better policy for the issue soon.

dannalli said...

Jai,

This new year was the third time I stayed home. Didn't even bother to watch what stored on TV or took a peek outside the verandah for the fireworks. I am one of the guys that totally subscribed to Azidi's 'Nation In Distress'. The good excuse now for the distress is global economic downturn. Bear in mind that we are in distress way before that.

What your friend said is true,.. we do not need superpower to broker the peace. It's the regime against the Palestinians. The people of both countries had wanted peace a long time ago but some leaders were against it. With the current outbreak, again civilians on both sides were killed, albeit one side inflicted far more damage than the other.

The world is far too small and fragile for anyone's "holy wars" be they Muslims or Jews. To the Muslims please reaffirm our belief of God as merciful, forgiving, and compassionate, and not as God to be angry, enraged, and vengeful as we are now.

Salam Maal Hijrah and Happy New Year to you Jai and I hope the Jewish bros and sisters had had their great Chanukah earlier.