by Eyes Wide Open
Bersih 2.0 was undoubtedly one of those iconic events, destined to be forever etched into Malaysia’s collective memory.
Although it failed to achieve its objective of having a peaceful march, the major fault lies with the politicians and the authorities who issued orders for a harsh clampdown on legitimate dissent. KL city had never been locked down since May13 1969. This was certainly a bad sign.
The silver lining must surely be that despite the mass arrests, despite the racial threats by the likes of Ibrahim Ali and others, despite all sorts of accusations and lies fed to the public about Bersih 2.0 and the massive mobilisation of media and security forces, Malaysians of all ages, creeds and colours came out in droves to demand free and fair elections. As Pak Samad said, never before had Malaysia seen such a unity of her citizens. That alone is cause for great hope in the future of our beloved country!
As expected, the MSM went all out in their attempts to downplay, demonise and destroy the movement’s credibility.
They still do not realise that with social networks and sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, people can get immediate information of what is happening. Most of the Bersih participants were organised and informed via these sites. News portals such as malaysiakini and citizen journalists such as Anil Netto were giving live blow-by-blow reports of the event.
People can easily see the clear disconnect between the raw, uncoordinated information coming in live and the managed spin of the MSM. If they thought that they still have hope of reaching the conservative rural folks, think again. Their children living in the cities and have access to Facebook etc will bring the news back home. Yet, the MSM and their political masters continue to treat the rakyat like idiots to led around by the nose like cows.
But who’s the real idiot? Those who appear on the news claiming that what the country saw and experienced and documented is merely a work of fiction? Even though the foreign news footage clearly show that the BN government is lying?
Yet, they still persist. And the rhetoric becomes more low class by the hour.
We see Najib mocking the effects of tear gas on Anwar. So maybe Anwar didn’t get that much and maybe he’s really milking it for the publicity. But the tear gas was no laughing matter to the thousands of other Malaysians – young and old, men and women – who truly suffered its effects. Even hospitals were not spared!
We see Najib claiming that the police didn’t even touch the protestors.
We see Najib threatening racial / religious violence by warning the rakyat not to even mention Islam, or else the Silat Lincah group, Perkasa and other UMNO lackeys rise up and run amok.
We see the IGP justifying the tear gas and water cannon attacks, saying it was because people were shouting “Bersih!”
We see Hishamuddin congratulating the police for maintaining order and preventing rioting. And warning people not to claim that the police attacked the rakyat.
Worst of all, the Police denied having anything to do with Baharuddin Ahmad’s death. Whereas dozens of witnesses testified that he collapsed in a cloud of tear gas fired at KLCC, while the police stood by and ignored his plight.
The reality is, as can be clearly seen from the numerous Youtube videos of Bersih 2.0, the #bersihstories tag on Twitter and various blog and Facebook postings, it was a peaceful march of Malaysians who cared enough to risk their health and liberty.
Malaysians know the truth and no amount of spin can make a difference. And if social media can be so effectively used to mobilise Malaysians for a cause, the BN better pay attention. The 100,000 People Request Najib Tun Razak Resignation Facebook page, set up shortly after the Bersih Rally, has already garnered over 125,ooo “Likes” in less than 48 hours.
For eyewitness accounts of Bersih, go to: