Saturday, August 1, 2009

For the Anti-ISA Protestors: Abou Ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt

(photograph from GMI's blog)

The current situation in KL, with some Malaysians willing to threaten and intimidate other Malaysians with violence just to prevent them from exercising their right to free speech and peaceful assembly, fills me with deep concern. If we care about our rights and freedoms, and for a Malaysia that is free from unjust laws, violence and thuggery, we must effectively oppose groups like Pewaris.

I will write more about how groups like Pewaris are a threat to our freedom and democracy. Until then, I'd like to share with you this poem by Leigh Hunt. It is one of my all-time favourites, and I humbly dedicate it to the Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI), and all who join in their protest today. May all who are unjustly detained without trial get the justice they deserve.

Abou Ben Adhem
by Leigh Hunt

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight of his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:-

Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
'What writest thou?' - The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered 'The names of those who love the Lord.'

'And is mine one?' said Abou. 'Nay, not so,'
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said 'I pray thee then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.'

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names who love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

Please support the Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA in their struggle for Justice.

Leigh Hunt based the protagonist in this poem on the legend of Ibrahim Bin Adham, the 8th century Sufi mystic. According to the legend, as described by Rumi in his famous Masnavi, he was the ruler of Balkh, who abandoned the throne to become a zahid.

Hunt also seems to have been inspired by the Islamic belief of Lailatul Bara'ah (or Nisfu Syaaban, as it is referred to in Malaysia). On this night it is believed that the records of our deeds during the past year will be collected, and a new "book" opened. This year, it falls on the evening of Wednesday, 5th August 2009, in four days time. This webpage has information about it.

God knows best.

Malaysian Heart

1 comment:

  1. Bravo Malaysians.
    Yesterday Malaysians of all ethnic and religious backgrounds, both genders and all skin colours, walked together on a matter of national policy. This was simply beautiful.
    I was there. I saw black-clad Malaysian Chinese who shared light moments with tudung-clad Malaysian Malay ladies, brave Unit Amal members giving salt (against tear gas) to Hindraf supporters. That's why BN is so enraged. Malaysians built history together yesterday, as they did in the Hartal and the PUTERA-AMCJA people's constitution days. Malaysians have a history together, though it has been hidden to them for decades. They just proved they will build a future together!
    Hidup Malaysia!

    1 Black Malaysia. Democracy First. Elections Now.


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