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Archive for 2008年11月

本南女生频遭木山工人性侵,施志豪九个月里接11宗投报

Posted by mayashanti5282046 于 十一月 30, 2008

本南女生频遭木山工人性侵
施志豪九个月里接11宗投报
■日期/Oct 09, 2008 ■时间/07:16:10 pm
■新闻/家国风云   ■作者/本刊黄书琪

【本刊黄书琪撰述】砂拉越州本南族原住民女生遭木山工人性侵害事件最近引起关注,当地执业律师施志豪向《独立新闻在线》透露,在今年首九个月里,他已经接获11宗本南女生遭性侵害的投报,这些案件都发生于峇南河中游,受害者年龄接介于1218岁之间。

施志豪(左图)也是人民公正党砂拉越实旦宾区部主席,他透露,有些受害者是搭乘伐木公司的交通工具上学时,遭伐木工人性侵害,有些受害者则是遭酒醉的伐木工人闯入住处性侵。

他们很愤怒,但是却无法采取任何行动,施志豪表示,由于本南族人居住在偏远地区,要到附近城镇报案不但非常耗时耗力,警方也未必会跟进和逮捕犯案者。

性侵害本南族女生的伐木工人,据称来自三林(Samling)及Interhill这两家伐木公司,不过三林已发表声明否认其伐木工人犯下上述罪行,而interhill则没有任何回应。

警官与伐木公司有利益关系

施志豪透露,当地不少高级警官退役之后,受聘成为伐木公司的安全顾问,很难让本南人相信警察可以保护他们,也更不愿意报警求助。

马来西亚律师公会及32个非政府组织昨天(108日)就本南族女生遭性侵事件召开记者会,律师公会主席安碧嘉(Ambiga Sreenevasan)在会上也表示,本南人对当地警察已经失去信心,因此只能透过非政府组织向联邦政府陈情。

1994年,本南族人曾因一名12岁女童遭警察部队普通行动组(General Operation Force)队员性侵而向警方报案,但却不了了之。2000年,本南族人再次就该案子向马来西亚人权委员会(SUHAKAM)申诉,至今依然没有下文。

另外,本南族人一向反对伐木业进入该族居住地,被砂拉越政府视为眼中钉。关怀原住民中心(Center for Orang Asli Concern)负责人柯林尼克拉斯(Colin Nicholas)斥责砂拉越政府对发生在本南族居住地内的性侵案件毫无作为,完全无法让本南人信赖。

柯林指责砂拉越政府只重视经济利益与形象,根本不想处理这类事情。

弱势族群求助无门

另外,除了已经被媒体揭露的峇南河中游,上游地区相信也有类似案件。《独立新闻在线》专栏作者、长期关注原住民的砂拉越环保工作者黄孟祚(右图)就表示,本南族学生居住的地区没有学校,本南学子都必须到附近的弄拉玛(Long Lama)、弄山(Long San)、峇里奧(Bario)上学,本南女学生遭性侵事件在这几处学校时有所闻。【点击:本南学子跨栏难度大】

施志豪受访时也表示,不少在藉女生遭性侵后怀孕,被迫辍学。

由于本南人居住的地方距离城镇遥远,出入往往必须依赖伐木公司的交通工具,女学生因而惨遭性侵。黄孟祚强调,就算是在城镇里念书的女生遭到性侵,没有任何大人协助的话,根本也不知道要怎么报案。因此,更遑论在偏远内陆地区遭伐木工人入侵施暴,几乎报案无门。

加之,本南人分散而居,一些村落可能只有十几户人家,而伐木区内的工人动辄就有上千名,当为数众多的伐木工人闯入纠众闹事,本南人也难以抵抗。

瑞士环保组织Bruno Manser FondsBMF)曾揭露本南族女生遭遇的惨剧后,妇女、家庭与社会发展部长黄燕燕下令组织行动队调查;不过,安碧嘉强调武吉阿曼警察总部的性侵害案件处理小组应该协助砂拉越警方彻查此案。

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赛胡先:要赢东马二州政权,五州必须承认原住民土地权

Posted by mayashanti5282046 于 十一月 30, 2008

赛胡先:要赢东马二州政权
五州必须承认原住民土地权
■日期/Nov 30, 2008 ■时间/10:49:13 pm
■新闻/家国风云   ■作者/特约记者周泽南

【本刊特约记者周泽南撰述】人 民公正党署理主席赛胡先阿里表示,如今东马沙砂两州人民,特别是占人口大多数的原住民已深切意识到政治改革对保障其权益的重要性,但他们可能对人民联盟执 政东马后会否赋予原住民习俗地拥有权还心存疑虑,因此西马民联五州政府若承认西马原住民土地拥有权,无疑将能为夺取东马政权注入强心针。

赛胡先阿里(右图)今晚630分左右在该党第五届全国代表大会的提案总结和闭幕演讲时,发表上述谈话;他说:我们今天在大会上听到了砂拉越州署理主席尼古拉斯(Nicholas Bawin Anggat)及砂拉越原住民人权律师巴鲁比安(Baru Bian)发表了振奋人心的演讲,他们所说的,我相信安华不仅了解,而且也能深深的体会。【点击:承认原住民习俗地拥有权 民联在东马执政首要任务】

如今,伊班人正在经历着巨大的改变,华人的改变也不错,马来人还需要努力。阿兹敏(Azmin Ali)承诺过,我党全体国州议员包括雪兰莪州务大臣,都必须轮流前往砂拉越为州选举助选;可是我认为,如果民联五州政府能承认西马原住民的祖传土地拥有权(customary land rights),这势必将增强东马原住民的信心,让他们才能感觉到民联一旦执政,有诚意解决他们的土地拥有权问题。

安华也为原住民习俗地背书

人民公正党实权领袖安华为代表大会发表压轴性演讲时也表示,该党砂拉越州代表们已明确表达了他们的要求和意愿;他说:我非常同情他们的处境,而我们也必须坚持斗争的原则,那就是永远将人民的权益放在优先地位。”

“为权利而斗争,首先要克服的是恐惧的文化。过去有不少国家的伟人都是用克服人民的恐惧的方式,将国家和人民从殖民者手中解放出来的。马来西亚独立了,意味着从此从殖民者手中恢复了自由,所以万万不能掠夺原住民的土地。

我们必须用尽一切力量对抗恐惧的文化,也用尽所有力量捍卫人民的权益。我们改变政府,从来都不是为了私己的政治利益,而是遵从改革的议程。

经过数十年的忍耐,安静的达雅族起来要求改革了,玛拉恼族、比达友族等等也对被政府的压制感到反胃到极点。数十年以来,困扰这些土著的没有别的问题,一直都是NCRNCRNCR(祖传习俗地权利),一直都不曾解决。国阵从来不关心他们的命运,这次(即将在砂拉越举行的州选举),我们一定会前往东马支持,而砂拉越的人民们也必须勇于站起来斗争。

在长达三天的人民公正党代表大会上,除了经济和教育议题的提案动议,三项最受关注的课题都和政权更替及选举有关;分别为万人期待的“916变天大计”失败的后续动作,东马尤其是砂拉越变天计划,以及瓜拉登嘉楼国会议席补选。

晋入最后一天,该党砂拉越代表的激昂发言一度将砂拉越变天的可能性和该州原住民的土地权问题逐渐带入讨论的焦点。

赛胡先阿里适时提出了要赢得沙州政权,民联政府必须在自己管辖的州属竖立好榜样,从捍卫各自州属原住民土地权开始,无疑为向来受忽略的东西马原住民的政治权力加分。

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承认原住民习俗地拥有权,民联在东马执政首要任务

Posted by mayashanti5282046 于 十一月 30, 2008

p7110216

2008年6月,原住民遊行到國家元首皇宮呈備忘錄,還沒開始就被察攔截,並無理取消

2008年6月,原住民遊行到國家元首皇宮呈備忘錄,還沒開始就被警察攔截,並遭無理取消

承认原住民习俗地拥有权
民联在东马执政首要任务
■日期/Nov 30, 2008 ■时间/01:43:04 pm
■新闻/家国风云 ■作者/特约记者周泽南

【本刊特约记者周泽南撰述】人民公正党砂拉越州署理主席尼古拉斯(Nicholas Bawin Anggat)透露,在200655日曾经和其他六人一起会见副首相纳吉,商讨成立马来西亚达雅党(Malaysia Dayak Congress)的事;他说:“当时纳吉只问我们两个问题,第一是为什么达雅族不满意砂拉越的国阵,其次是为什么要成立马来西亚达雅党。”

尼古拉斯表示成立该党的目的是捍卫原住民的传统习俗地拥有权(Native Customary Land Rights),这对达雅族和所有沙州人民是非常重要的。他说:“1958年的砂州土地法典,甚至独立前的统治者,皆承认砂州原住民的土地拥有权。反而是现在的国阵政府,完全不承认我们的权利。”

“该土地法典第五条款注明了支持原住民习俗地拥有权的理由,可是1970年代以来,国阵政府开始大肄砍伐和开发森林和剥夺原住民习俗地,一些和官员勾结的伐木商甚至获得者十万公顷以上的伐木权。砂拉越人民特别是原住民被彻底的边缘化和受歧视。”

他表示很可惜,38日之前,砂州人民并非不了解国阵边缘化人民的政策,只是每逢大选时,当国阵前来大派糖果,很多人就会忘记了切身的问题。他说:“不过308之后,砂州人民开始觉醒了,并且对席卷西马的政治海啸充满期待。”

尼 古拉斯至少两次向在场聆听的人民公正党实权领袖安华呼吁,他们已经在砂州展开政治海啸的准备工作,不过他们希望获得人民公正党中央的协助和领导。他屡次呼 吁民联一旦拿下砂州或在全国执政,首先必须承认原住民的土地拥有权,意味着赋予习俗地合法的地契,让所有砂州子民都享有祖传土地拥有权。

他表示,最具体也最先要进行的是对所有原住民土地进行测量,以便鉴定和核准其土地拥有权。

尼古拉斯是于今天上午在人民公正党大会发表各州代表提案时,激昂的发表了上述言论。他较后也向记者透露,因巴贡水坝的兴建而被逼搬迁至双溪阿沙(Sungai Asap)的原住民,被民都鲁(Bintulu)公共工程局追讨从表面上看1998年一直拖欠到现在的水费。前来参与大会的民都鲁律师保罗拉惹(Paul Raja)向记者解释,当地原住民是因为被逼迁移后获得分配的土地太少而缺乏收入,才无法付该笔款项。

尼古拉斯之所以在经济提案上作出如此呼吁,是因为原住民的土地拥有权和经济效益具有直接的关系。失去了土地拥有权的保障,将直接对原住民的生计构成威胁。

总共11名各州代表于今天上午提呈了关于经济的提案,包刮霹雳州议员郑立慷,森美兰代表蔡东才,吉隆坡直辖区代表查希(Zahir Hassan),砂拉越州署理主席尼古拉斯、公青团代表卡达菲(Gaddafi Kawal)、吉打代表旺沙列(Haji Wan Salleh Wan Isa)、玻璃市代表阿斯鲁(Asrul Nizam Abd Jalil)、槟州议员陈智铭、雪州代表哈米(Hami Bakar)及登嘉楼代表旺拉欣(Wan Rahim Wan Hamzah)。

也是著名砂拉越原住民人权律师的人民公正党新进党员巴鲁比安(Baru Bian)在教育提案中表示,在砂拉越首席部长泰益玛末长达27年的统治下,该州人民的权益包刮教育,已彻底被边缘化。由于该州计划再兴建12座水坝,所以巴鲁比安形容砂拉越为水坝的州或被诅咒的州(The Dam/Dammed State)。

他 说:“泰益玛末声称自己在砂州建立发展的政治,实际上财富从来都不曾落在人民手中。州政府从来没有关注过人民的基本需求,包括教育。尤其是郊外的学校校舍 和设备,完全处于难以操作的境地。我小学时必须步行五个小时去上学,然后在学校住宿五天,再步行回家。中学时则需步行三天才能到达学校。”

“这样的事情在今天依然发生,所以我希望民盟一旦执政,必须在两方面改善砂州教育情况。第一,改善学校设施,其次,为贫苦学生提供奖学金。没有这两方面的协助和改善,砂拉越人民尤其是原住民将无法改善他们的生活。”

刚加入人民公正党的巴鲁比安是砂拉越著名的人权律师。他着手处理的原住民土地诉讼案件就多达成200宗以上。他是于今天上午假雪州马拉瓦蒂体育场举办的人民公正党大会上发表教育领域提案时发表上述讲话。他还语重心长的表示,如果大会不关注像砂拉越土地权这样的基本人权问题,其大会提案将会失去意义。

虽然巴鲁比安的提案属于教育课题,可是他和砂拉越州署理主席尼古拉斯一样,在演讲中一度偏离教育课题,而积极发表关于原住民传统习俗地权益的议题;他说:“砂拉越和沙巴原住民有一句俗语说,土地是我们的血肉和生命。可是这心声从来都不被两州的国阵领导听进去。”

他还表示,土地问题的严重性可以从目前在砂拉越高庭的习俗地诉讼案竟然多达至少200宗显示。

因此,他呼吁民盟一旦在砂执政,必须即可处理习俗地权益问题,赋予习俗地合法地契;大约100名来自砂拉越的代表和观察员参加了这次的人民公正党大会。

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被禁止的聖誕月

Posted by mayashanti5282046 于 十一月 28, 2008

禁人民反燃油漲價集會的暴力鎮暴隊

禁止人民反燃油漲價集會的暴力鎮暴隊

禁原住民呈交備忘錄予元首的官sdyney
禁止原住民呈交備忘錄予元首的警官sdyney

Forbidden X’mas

回教徒練瑜珈禁止 非回教徒喝酒禁止

街頭集會禁止 女穿男裝禁止

流浪狗禁止 豬肉攤禁止

言論自由禁止 男扮女裝禁止

脫離回教禁止 褻瀆先知禁止

女同性戀禁止

回教徒和非回教徒研討會禁止

手提袋有安全套禁止

站街禁止 拉客禁止

葉亞來妓院包兩百女人不禁止

雲頂賭王林梧桐高山仰止

賣淫禁止 買春禁止 A片禁止

強姦案不止

抗議禁止 示威禁止

揭發潛水艇買賣禁止 三人晚餐照片禁止

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蒙古女郎冤魂不止

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中文路牌禁止 淡米爾文路牌禁止 多語路牌禁止

公園溜狗禁止 捷運帶犬禁止 養豬場禁止

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身在馬來西亞禁止 改教專題報導禁止 人民集會場面禁止

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煽動刺殺國會議員的濫小說不禁止

反馬華收購南洋禁止

反星洲壟斷媒體禁止

糾正東方改革文棍來搞屎

揭穿董教總假招牌星洲媒體欲言又止

資訊自由禁止 言論開放禁止 思想不合作禁止

捍衛社區小學禁止 母語教授數理禁止

頭髮過绢禁止 內衣和膚色不相符禁止 不統一鞋襪禁止

學生參政禁止 大學語文學會禁止 大專辯論禁止

亞航空姐裙子不夠长禁止

女性帶安全套逛街禁止 在巫統黨員面前性感禁止

黃燕燕呼籲女人穿透視睡衣取悅丈夫不覺得是女權的羞恥

原住民不搬遷禁止 抗議興建水壩禁止

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雇主和女傭相互虐待常上報紙

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不夠壓抑禁止 不道貌岸然禁止

不捧張曉卿卵葩禁止

文憑不強被華研禁止 領域不專遭新院禁止

不民族感情華社不齒

血統不純馬華禁止 漢語不准大陸禁止

英語不溜企業禁止 國文不優等升職停止

記憶卡不乾淨禁止 警察暴力鏡頭禁止 鎮暴隊暴行片段禁止

採訪集會禁止 討回公道禁止 組織工會禁止

記者高調禁止

不弱智禁止 批判禁止 不群而不黨禁止

重提馬華文化宣言禁止 質疑何國忠知識份子主體性禁止

歪曲中文報業歷史不禁止

頒發精神獎予墮落報人真無恥

反內安法令集會禁止 挺內安法令不禁止

種族言論不禁止 報導發表種族言論者禁止

賄選不禁止 淨選盟集會禁止

選區劃分不公不禁止 選舉成績出爐幾乎被禁止

媒體禁止刊登的夢話

海狼於11月28日

Posted in 失語 | Leave a Comment »

记忆卡里的暴力记忆

Posted by mayashanti5282046 于 十一月 28, 2008

攝影記者在記錄著鎮暴隊的同時,誰來確保後者不會施加暴力予記者身上

攝影記者在記錄著鎮暴隊的同時,誰來確保後者不會施加暴力予記者身上

记忆卡里的暴力记忆

二零零八年十一月二十八日 下午三时十七分

作者:周泽南

再一次,笔者的记忆卡被逼纪录着本月23日警察和镇暴队对集会群众展开逮捕的情形。只是这一次,成功的保住了相机里的记忆卡。实际上,一位朋友提醒,暴力的记忆并不存在于记忆卡里。每个见证过暴力的记者或平民,都有一张无形的记忆卡,纪录下这个国家和政权所默许的暴力。

也可以说,凡是在采访前线的记者或摄记,都有一张储存各种伤痛记忆的记忆卡,记录着各种人民集会场面,手无寸铁的平民,被全副武装的制服人员呼喝、推挤、恐吓、殴打、逮捕,乃至羞辱的画面。

一部新闻从业员的受暴史

这 些硬体或软体的记忆卡,有时也见证着记者本身被镇暴队或警察推倒、殴打、逮捕、相机被抢、记忆卡内容被删除、或被大道公司雇用的下三滥殴打、恐吓等职场意 外事故。如果这些记忆卡都还健在,或都能从软体记忆转换成硬体记忆,其丰富且充满暴力、血腥、愚昧的画面,足以编成一部马来西亚制服人员暴力史,也可以编 成一部大马新闻从业员所遭遇的暴力史。《独立新闻在线》记者曾薛菲为我们作了上述暴力史的初步描述,罗列如下:

2008年11月9日: 镇暴队在集会者仍高唱国歌时,冲入人群中逮捕、追赶和殴打集会者,并逮捕了《当今大马》的摄影记者。警方也尝试逮捕在场进行采访的《公正之声》 (Suara Keadilan)记者沙菲(Syafiq Sunny),当沙菲告诉警察他是记者时,警方将其相机抢走,在霹雳州和丰区国会议员杰亚古玛(Jeyakumar Devaraj)协助下才重获其相机,但是相机里储存的照片已遭删除。《当今大马》摄影记者苏克里(Syukri Mohamad)在录影整个过程时,也遭警方逮捕。

2008年9月12日:《星洲日报》记者陈云清因报道槟州大山脚巫统区部主席阿末依斯迈(Ahmad Ismail)的“寄居论”,遭警方以《1960年内安法令》扣留18个小时。槟州峇东埔补选提名日,有摄影记者被疑是人民公正党支持者的暴徒围殴受伤。

6月,蕉赖皇冠镇暴徒持械攻击《独立新闻在线》特约记者周泽南、《马来西亚前锋报》摄影记者、《大都市日报》(Harian Metro)记者。此外,也发生巫统蕉赖区部党员暴力攻击《光明日报》摄记事件。

2008年1月26日:在吉隆坡双峰塔阳光广场举行的“不要调涨油价,控制物价与服务费”集会,《当今大马》英文版记者赛加玛(Syed Jaymal Zahiid)以及身穿“净选盟”黄衣的自由撰稿人周泽南遭逮捕。

2007 年,淡米尔文报《马来西亚南班》(Malaysia Nanban)的两名记者遭遇肢体和语言恐吓事件。来自柔南的摄记拉曼(R. Raman,笔名R. Kalaramu)遭三名男子攻击致昏迷;而驻吉打的纳加拉占(M. Nagarajan)则接获死亡电话恐吓。这两名记者关注印裔社群的教育问题,特别是淡米尔小学被关闭事件。

在马六甲马接(Machap)和雪州依约(Ijok)补选期间,也发生歹徒攻击与胁迫新闻工作者事件。

当 然比起战火不断的伊拉克、阿富汗、巴基斯坦、克罗地亚等地,我国新闻从业员还未严重到殉职的程度,可是这种职场风险威胁的不仅是媒体行业的安全,更直接打 击着新闻和言论自由的行使。记者遭遇暴力对待的事件有越演越烈的趋势,可是我国各大媒体为雇员提供的保险范围有没有随之扩大,而媒体系的课程是不是也应该 跟进时代的脉搏,设立一门介绍新闻从业员职业风险的课程呢?

Posted in 馬來西亞警察暴力 | Leave a Comment »

自由的冬季,抗爭在燃燒

Posted by mayashanti5282046 于 十一月 24, 2008

當主流族群懂得為弱勢族群抗時,真的政治自由才有可能.

當主流族群懂得為弱勢族群抗爭時,真正的政治自由才有可能.

公正黨報

專欄名稱:《對話的喧鬧》

周澤南

20081117

自由的冬季,抗爭在燃燒

今年9月至11月,各族群的節慶一個接一個,被禁止的電視節目、人身自由和性權利也接蝩而來。特別是對電視的言論自由和人民的性自由而言,這個年底,一直至到明年巫統黨選或納吉上台當首相,絕對是充滿禁忌和地雷的月份。

ntv7旗舰节目《追踪档案》的两辑专题报道在9月被禁播10月初開始播出的ASTRO AEC频道旗下的时事节目《身在马来西亚》,被懷疑過於尖銳而被抽起復又重播。11月的第一天,也傳來国营第二电视台(RTM)的时事开讲节目《你怎么说?》遭腰斩的消息,隔天相同节目时段将以所謂全新的藝術文化节目取代。

1026日撥出的《你怎么说》節目,相信是因為邀请了民主行动党国、州议员郭素沁上节目,惹怒了巫统人士,而遭管理层即刻抽起,就算副新闻部长陈莲花向新闻部长沙比里仄(Shaberry Chik)陈情也于事无补。

另一方面,自10月以降,人身自由和性自由被禁止和束縛的嚴重情況也不遑多讓。先是《星洲日報》記者陳云清和著名部落客拉惹柏特拉被援引內安法令扣留,後發生另一部落客在煽動法令下遭逮捕之事。在性權利方面,馬來西亞回教事務委員會(FATWA)在召開了兩天會議後,於1023日宣布今後禁止女性穿男裝,並且禁止女同性性關係。該委員會發言人Abdul Shukor Husin告訴媒體,不少女性羨慕男人的穿著、舉止和社交方式,這是違反「人性」和對「她們」性別的否定。

他說:「我們決定禁止女性像男人一樣穿著和從事女同性戀,因為那是回教所禁止的。」月底,該委員會又將其欲干涉的人身自由範圍,延伸到參加瑜珈這活動上。

言論、人身和性自由

撇開各種宗教和各民族傳統文化對言論自由、人身自由和性別認同的不同詮釋和認同程度,站在民主和人權的價值立場上,言論自由、性自由和人身自由具有同等價值,它們在基本人權的捍衛上也不分先後順序。因為它們同樣建立在自由、平等、博愛的普世價值上。換言之,如果我們可以誓言捍衛拉惹柏特拉的言論自由和堅持揭發真相的權利,筆者看不到我們有任何理由或藉口,不去捍衛男穿女裝者、同性戀者或者穿緊身衣練瑜珈者的性別選擇權和行動自由權。

我們或許會搬出「國情有別」、「亞洲價值觀」、尊重各族宗教等理由,選擇性地只捍衛分歧較小的言論自由和人身自由,而對個人的性自由持保留態度。不過別忘記,我們之所以可以根據各自宗教的解釋或各自的倫理偏好,去讚揚、批判或貶阺和主流價值觀相左的男穿女裝、同性戀或穿緊身衣行為,因為那是言論自由最基本的原則。而同樣的原則也要求我們必須不計後果,捍衛男穿女裝者、同性戀者或者練瑜珈的回教徒的權利和自由。

當然,源自西方社會背景的基本人權的「普世價值」只是一種價值的參考,而非真理的化身,所以為了符合馬來西亞的社會現實,權利的捍衛必須伴隨著深入的理解和充份的對話。許多對男穿女裝者或同性戀者的誤解和偏見,其實來自於一些不加懷疑的保守觀念,和對自己宗教或思想權威的盲目崇拜。用傅科(Foucault)的話語來說,是不了解哪些干涉人們權利(rights)的權力(power),其背後是合法的暴力和未經檢驗的知識。

權利非天賦,靠對話和爭取

因此小至干涉女同志穿男裝的回教事務委員會,大至剝奪人身自由的內安法令,皆通過未經檢驗的知識,如「女扮男裝不自然」和「言論自由威脅國家安全」,來行使其對異類(同性戀者,部落客)的暴力控制。我們相信,任何宗教都不應基於任何原因而向異類行使暴力控制,任何政權也不能基於任何理由,剝奪異類的言論自由、人身自由和性別自由。

性權就是人權,性的言論自由也是言論自由的一部分。選擇捍衛後者而忽視前者,叫著人格分裂。人格分裂者自圓其說,並不會因此而變成真理。

近年來發生在馬來西亞的各種示威情願,爭取的權利性質不同,而參與的人數、族群和對象也互異。例如,去年由興權會(HINDARF)發動的印裔示威可視為族群本位的動員,爭取的是單一族群的經濟和文化權益。同年由淨選盟(BERSIH)發動的萬人大集會,以選舉公正為出發點,是跨越族群的抗爭。每星期天晚上在八打靈爭取廢除內安法令的聚會,則是人身自由和言論自由的跨族群雙重抗爭。

實際上,有一些人數單薄的抗爭很容易被我們忽略,例如在117日,大約12名主張性別平等的男女,張著巨大的布條,從安邦捷運站遊行到雙子塔附近。他們抗議的是馬來西亞回教事務委員會禁止女穿男裝和女同性戀行為的歧視性措施。這些布條和海報甚至表達:「女扮男裝不是犯罪」、「停止控人民的服裝和思想」。難能可貴的是,這些示威者大部分並非女扮男裝者,也不是女同性戀人士。她們或他們是基於對個人自由和性別認同權利的堅持,而選擇將自身的安全,暴露在警察暴力的威脅下。

上述種種抗爭固然具有不同的議程,可是抗爭對象其實都是宰制思想、言論和行動自由的政權、法律和將之合理化的知識/權力。筆者相信,如果各抗爭群體能充分認識這一點,必能加強抗爭的能量,同時促進各族群、階級、宗教和性別之間的包容性,並互相認識彼此的差異性和共同性。

真正解放的力量並不建立在意識形態上,而是建立在差異中的對話和真正的包容中。當五大宗教協會和回教黨能放下道德判斷,爭取同性戀者的性別認同自由,而所有同性戀者也能不計代價的為回教徒、興都教徒或任何族群的言論自由、人身自由抗爭到底時,開放社會的敵人力量縱使再強大,也無法阻擋這股解放的人民力量。

這是個手機和網路無法受管制,思想不再受監控的年代。破產的集權主義者,還急於通過禁止電視節目、人身自由和性權利來製造自由的嚴冬,可是馬來西亞人民相信,再嚴寒的冬天,都能憑更大的海嘯或地震,讓它變成溫暖的春天。何況經過308這場牛刀小試,人民已經得起種族暴動簡訊謠言的考驗,區區催淚彈和鎮暴隊,怎能抵得住人民的崛起?嚴冬已然降臨,春天還會遠嗎?

Posted in 社會運動 | Leave a Comment »

警方逮捕记者和删除照片,记者何时才能免于恐惧?

Posted by mayashanti5282046 于 十一月 24, 2008

警方逮捕记者和删除照片
记者何时才能免于恐惧?
■日期/Nov 10, 2008 ■时间/07:21:28 pm
■新闻/家国风云   ■作者/本刊曾薛霏

本刊曾薛霏撰述】一年前的“黄潮日”,我见证了警方以暴力驱逐集会者,而且在采访期间,我也被联邦镇暴队推倒扭伤脚;今年,我见证了镇暴队在集会者仍高唱国歌时,冲入人群中逮捕、追赶和殴打集会者、逮捕了《当今大马》的摄影记者,并强迫《公正之声》记者删除其相机内的照片。

昨晚,在Amcorp购物中心对面草场举行的烛光会,原本是为了纪念“黄潮日”一周年,要求政府正视干净与公平选举联盟(净选盟,BERSIH)的五项诉求,并继续声援目前仍在霹雳州甘文丁扣留营的《内安法令》扣留者;另一场在八打灵再也市政厅公园举行的烛光会,却遭警方强行镇压,导致23人遭到逮捕,数人受伤(左图?/SPAN>

昨晚大约7时,我前往Amcorp购物中心时,通往该商场的道路已被警方封锁。晚上8时至8时半左右,一群人民已聚集在该商场对面的草场中,警方起初允许他们聚在那里,点燃蜡烛。但是,后来将他们驱赶到Amcorp购物中心的前门,大约30名联邦镇暴队和警察一字排开镇守。

晚上930分左右,聚集在商场大门外的近百位人民,聆听主办人之一的人权律师哈里斯依布拉欣(Haris Ibrahim)发表了简短发言后,唱国歌,然后便散去。

大约晚上10时,另一群人在市政厅公园展开集会,刚刚获释的《今日马来西亚》(Malaysia Today)主编拉惹柏特拉(Raja Petra Kamarudin)也受邀发表演说。在拉惹柏特拉发表演说完毕后,联邦镇暴队已一字排开守在一公尺外。当人民开始高唱国歌以结束集会时,镇暴队竟在毫无预警的情况下,一拥而上展开镇压行动。

当时,国歌仍未唱完,镇暴队和便衣警察已冲入人群逮捕和驱赶集会者,一些镇暴队还大声叫嚣,恐吓在场的集会者。一些警员也大声谴责集会者“固执”、“不听劝解”并大喊“捉人”。

镇暴队和便衣警员也强行拉扯一些在场的集会者,并逮捕他们。我目睹警员强行带走两名印裔集会者和神父玻里诺(Polino Miranda),一些便衣警察甚至追赶集会者至对面的嘛嘛店。

逮捕记者和删除记者照片

警方在逮捕过程中,纷纷警告许多在现场进行拍摄的人民不要拍摄。我在拍摄警方逮捕的过程时,一名便衣警员也跟我说:“够了!够了!不要再拍了!”当我欲走到关着遭扣留者的卡车前拍照时,也遭警察阻止。

警方也尝试逮捕在场进行采访的《公正之声》(Suara Keadilan)记者沙菲(Syafiq Sunny),当沙菲告诉警察他是记者时,警方大声问他是否拍下其照片,并将其相机抢走,在霹雳州和丰区国会议员杰亚古玛(Jeyakumar Devaraj)协助下,他才重获其相机,但是相机里储存的照片已遭删除。

而当《当今大马》摄影记者苏克里(Syukri Mohamad)在录影整个过程时,也遭警方逮捕。

这是继今年126日,在吉隆坡双峰塔阳光广场举行的“不要调涨油价,控制物价与服务费”集会,《当今大马》英文版记者赛加玛(Syed Jaymal Zahiid)以及身穿“净选盟”黄衣的自由撰稿人周泽南遭逮捕以后,再有记者在执行公务时遭警方逮捕。【点击:逾40人遭逮捕 封锁地铁站 警方施旧计申请庭令禁集会】

而在912日时,《星洲日报》记者陈云清又因为她报道槟州大山脚巫统区部主席阿末依斯迈(Ahmad Ismail)的“寄居论”时,遭警方以《1960年内安法令》扣留18个小时。

这种种例子已经显示,记者的工作安全已严重受损。

记者会提问反遭要求录口供

另一方面,《公正之声》另一名记者鲁斯尼占(Rusnizam Mahat)在雪州警察总监卡立(Khalid Abu Bakar)于八打灵再也警区总部外举行记者会上,质疑警方为何在没有发出警告的情况下进行逮捕,但是卡立否认此说法;当鲁斯尼占表示,他亲眼目睹警方在没有发出警告的情况下进行逮捕,卡立马上表示要他到警局录口供。

鲁斯尼占告诉《独立新闻在线》,虽然整个录口供的过程中,只花了大约半小时,但是当时并没有律师陪同在场,他也不知道自己是在什么条文下录口供。

加入《公正之声》才六个月的他,乃首次向警方录口供。虽然在录口供的过程中警方并没有出言恐吓他,但是回想起昨晚的情况,他显然心有余悸,可从其语调中察觉到他的恐惧。

过去一年来,马来西亚的记者面对着更大的挑战,除了来自警方的恐吓和逮捕行动之外,新闻工作者遭受暴力攻击事件。

今年的例子包括,槟州峇东埔补选提名日,有摄影记者被疑是人民公正党支持者的暴徒围殴受伤、蕉赖皇冠镇暴徒持械攻击《独立新闻在线》特约记者周泽南(右图)、《马来西亚前锋报》摄影记者、《大都市日报》(Harian Metro)记者。此外,也发生巫统蕉赖区部党员暴力攻击《光明日报》摄影记者事件。

去年,淡米尔文报《马来西亚南班》(Malaysia Nanban)的两名记者遭遇肢体和语言恐吓事件。来自柔南的摄影记者拉曼(R. Raman,笔名R. Kalaramu)遭三名男子攻击导致昏迷;而驻吉打的纳加拉占(M. Nagarajan)则接到死亡电话恐吓。这两名记者都报道关于印裔社群的教育问题,特别是淡米尔小学被关闭事件。

而在马六甲马接(Machap)和雪州依约(Ijok)补选期间,也发生歹徒攻击与胁迫新闻工作者事件。

生活在免于恐惧的环境中是一种基本权益,对任何一个媒体和新闻从业员来说,一个免于恐惧的新闻环境更为重要。只有在这样的环境之中,新闻从业员才能够尽责地为读者提供高素质的新闻报道和分析,而不是一味报道一些口水新闻。

“黄潮滚滚”已过去一年,四万人民上街的情景尽管不再,但是人民求变的心日益炽热。黄色,代表着人民的力量,黄丝带是新闻自由斗争的象征,当晚飞上天空的那束黄色气球,一直在我的脑海盘旋。什么时候,新闻从业员可以奔向一片自由的天空?

Posted in 馬來西亞警察暴力 | Leave a Comment »

镇压反内安法集会,警方粗暴逮捕七人

Posted by mayashanti5282046 于 十一月 24, 2008

镇压反内安法集会
警方粗暴逮捕七人
■日期/Nov 23, 2008 ■时间/10:36:44 pm
■新闻/家国风云   ■作者/特约记者周泽南

【本刊特约记者周泽南撰述】原定今晚九时在蕉赖班丹英达安邦再也市议会草场举行的反对《内安法令》露天集会和演说,在细雨中进行不到五分钟,即被人数远比集会者多的警察和镇暴队以武力强行驱散。

集会召集人之一的回教党青年团团长沙烈胡丁阿育(Salahuddin Ayub,右图)透露,截直今晚10时半,据他所知总共有七名集会者被警察逮捕,并被扣留在班丹英达警察局。他表示已经通知其律师前往该警察局,以了解情况和进行保释。

集 会原订晚上九时开始,可是警方在今午四点钟或更早之前就已严正以待,非但在第二中环公路进入班丹英达的入口处设立路障检查来往车辆,还派驻至少四辆警察大 卡车在将进行集会的停车场。记者于下午六时路过第二中环大道时,正好见到六辆镇暴队的车辆驶往班丹英达的方向,可见庞大的警力早在集会三小时前,就已开始被安排到集会场地。

晚上八时左右,警方已在集会场地周围起黄线,禁止所有人士包刮记者进入。迟至九时,安邦区国会议员兼人民公正党妇女组主席朱艾达(Zuraida Kamaruddin)才在数十名支持者陪同下出现在集会现场。这时天空开始下起细雨,朱艾达不断通过手机和其他人员联络。大约五分钟后,回教党青年团团 长沙烈胡丁连同反对内安法令联盟(GMI)主席赛依布拉欣(Syed Ibrahim Syed Nor)才抵达。

现场所见,至少一百名警察和手持藤鞭的镇暴队阻挡着集会者前往露天讲台的去路。沙烈胡丁见前进不果,询问警方谁是负责人。一位名叫阿兹兰(Azlan)的警官前来要求群众马上解散,否则就要逮捕人。沙烈胡丁向他要求给予集会者五分钟时间,以便主办当局能向群众说几句话。警官同意让沙烈胡丁对集会者发言五分钟。

接 着,沙烈胡丁举起扩音器,向大约百多名从四方涌现的支持者讲话。他说:“我们不被允许在这里集会,所以我们将会在编人员分钟内解散。不过我们将会在士拉央 的体育馆进行更大的集会,日期另行通知。我们必须将这次集会延后。”说罢,沙烈胡丁率领集会者高喊 “废除内安法令”、“内安法令是森林法律”等口号。

警方突然发难捕人

可 是,还没等集会者喊完口号,警察和镇暴队突然发难,高声喝令群众解散,并且动手推挤集会者,一些记者也被挤压。人多势众的警察和镇暴队继续将集会者推挤到 警方设立的警戒线之外,然后开始高喊捉人,场面顿时一片混乱。记者目击至少两名身穿回教党志工队制服的回教党员遭警察以暴力手法推挤,然后遭逮捕(右 图)。

警察一边逮捕集会者,一边通过镇暴队队员,将群众驱赶到大约100 米之外。集会者作鸟兽散后,纷纷集聚在附近的Steven Corner餐厅等候最新消息。原先疑遭警方逮捕的沙烈胡丁突然出现并告诉记者,被逮捕者多达七人,其中三人证实是直辖区回教党青年团主席卡玛鲁查曼 (Kamaruzaman Mohamad)、雪兰莪回教党青年团的沙丽芙丁(Sharifuddin Mohd Yatim)、雪州回青团宣传组主任莫哈末沙尼(Mohd Sani Hamzan),其余被扣留者包括阿都拉拉曼(Abdullah A. Rahman)、莫哈末阿米尔(Mohd Amir Ali Mohd Shah)、哈菲兹(Hafiz Zulkifli)和阿兹曼(Azman Abdul Hamid)。

马来西亚人民之声(Suara Rakyat MalaysiaSUARAM)今晚发文告谴责警方再次使用暴力,逮捕和驱散和平集会者。该组织呼吁所有关心人权的人士,拨电话到班丹英达警局(电话03-9274 222)呼吁警方无条件释放七名被扣留的人士。该人权组织也强烈谴责警方不断打击联合国人权宣言和《联邦宪法》所赋予的集会自由。

上 述反对《内安法令》集会原定九时开始,其宣传布条于两天前才开始出现在太子园等安邦地区。据悉三名民联党魁人民公正党实权领袖安华、回教党主席哈迪阿旺、 民主行动党林吉祥和回教党副主席末沙布等人,原本都会上台演讲。三名党魁未克出席今晚的集会,而前来支持的民联领袖包括末沙布(Mat Sabu)、回青团团长沙烈胡丁、安邦区国会议员朱艾达、废除内安法令联盟主席赛依布拉欣等。

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The Intellectual Pt 1: Origin, rise, and decline (?)

Posted by mayashanti5282046 于 十一月 22, 2008

Sim Kwang Yang | Nov 3, 07 11:41am

Published in Malaysiakini.com

Writing in his column article entitled “’Amateur’ pros giving country a bad name” in the

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NST on Oct 28, Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, the Vice Chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia, lamented “certain unprofessional conduct and behaviour by professionals and intellectuals, causing embarrassment not only to the fraternity, but the country as well.”

He has not specified what kind of conduct and behaviour by professionals that have brought us shame, but I assume they have something to do with the questionable professional ethics of some of our lawyers, doctors, architects, auditors and such other revered and highly-paid professions in the country.

He also went on to extol the principle of an “amateur” intellectual, as articulated by Edward Said, especially in his book Representations of the intellectual (1994). The honourable VC of our country’s leading higher institution of learning concluded his observation as follows:

“His (Said’s) intellectual honesty should be enough of an inspiration for us in trying to establish a firm tradition and consciousness as the next phase of human capital development in Malaysia.”

Here, I sense the possibility of a “confusion of categories” over the term “amateur” in the context of discussing unprofessional conduct in Malaysia, in contrast to Said’s idea of an “amateur” intellectual.

(In any case, I wonder. If Edward Said were to have been appointed to a senior position in a Malaysian university, and assuming that he had given acceptance to his appointment, how long would he last – a month, or a year? Would he have accepted uncritically the premise that the function of the university is the mass production of “human capital”?)

Anyway, the meaning of the term “intellectual” is not all that clear, and is a matter of considerable debate in the West. (Interested readers can refer to the book Intellectuals in Politics, containing a collection of essays by prominent academics, and edited by Jeremy Jennings and Antony Kemp-Welch.)

The sociological definition of the word “intellectual” often refers to a person who makes a living with his “intellectual” as opposed to “manual” labour, but that is not what we mean in the current context.

The spirit and tenet of this peculiarly Western cultural tradition are probably embedded in the European Enlightenment, especially in the life and work of the French philosophes, with Voltaire as its central iconic figure.

By common consent though, the modern 20th century sense of the word “intellectual” has its origin in the late 19th century Europe with the Dreyfus Affairs in France. It acquired the specific connotation of referring to certain group of thinkers and writers – in this case men such as Emile Zola, Andre Gide, Marcel Proust, and Anatole France – who intervened into the political domain in the name of Justice to secure the release of the Jewish officer in the French Army, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, against unjust charges from the state.

Ideals of intellectual life

This vision of the intellectual as a nation’s conscience and a social critic without fear and favour received one of the most radical expressions in Julien Benda’s treatise La Trahison des clercs – the treason of intellectuals – published in 1923 in Paris.

Though the article was a blistering attack on the intellectuals who had abandoned their calling and compromised their conviction, rather than a systematic analysis of the normative life of intellectuals, Benda did give many names of many icons as people who really embraced the lonely and courageous ideals of intellectual life. Socrates and Jesus were often mentioned, and so were more recent figures such as Spinoza, Voltaire, and Renan.

“Need I recall”, Benda wrote, “how Fenelon, and Massillon denounced certain wars of Louis XIV? How Voltaire condemned the destruction of the Palestine? How Renan denounced the violences of Napoleon? Buckle, the intolerances of England towards the French Revolution? And, in our times, Nietzsche, the brutalities of Germany towards France?”

Clearly then, Benda’s ideal intellectuals are “those whose activity is essentially not the pursuit of practical aims, all those who seek their joy in the practice of an art or a science or metaphysical speculation, in short in the possession of non-material advantages, and hence in a certain manner say: “’My kingdom is not of this world.’”

Clearly then, Benda’s intellectual had to speak to power, and did so from afar, even from an adversarial position to what we call the mainstream society to-day. From his perspective of unproblematic Platonism, he had in his mind probably the exiled philosopher kings of The Republic, pronouncing moral judgement on the world from the vintage point of abstract and universal values against what he called “the organisation of collective passions” such as sectarianism, nationalism, class, race, and religion, “passing from intellectualism to intellectual actions.”

In the 20th century, they are often referred to as “universal”, “prophetic”, or “public” intellectuals. Whatever their labels, they intervene into the public arena from a position of relative autonomy. As Karl Mannheim put it in Ideology and Utopia (1966):

“From a sociological point of view the decisive fact of modern times, in contrast with the Middle Ages, is that the monopoly of the ecclesiastical interpretation of the world which was held by the priestly caste is broken, and in place of a closed and thoroughly organised stratum of intellectuals, a free intelligentsia has risen.”

Their elative autonomy frees them from the “interest-bound nature of political thought”, providing them with “political knowledge” as opposed to false “ideology”. By virtue of their work and their autonomous position, intellectuals have the responsibility for truthfulness and for commitment to truth.

This was a view argued by Alan Montefiore in The Responsibility of Intellectuals (1990): “By ‘an intellectual’ I mean here to refer to anyone who takes a committed interest in the validity and truth of ideas for their own sake’”. Being an intellectual is thus defined in terms of a vocation.

Such haughty ideals of a real intellectual are both noble and attractive, and many writers on both sides of the Atlantic have indeed tried to live out their vocation as a passionate but disinterested conscience of their own times. Immediately, we think of great names like Orwell, Russell, Pasternak, Sartre, Camus, and more recently Derrida and Chomsky.

Likewise, there is now emerging in Malaysia a small band of writers who try to emulate the examples of their European and American counterparts, as well as intellectuals in the developing world, engaging the power centres in a critical dialogue through alternative media such as malaysiakini.

Unfortunately, Benda’s version of the ideal intellectual does have some serious epistemological, moral, and political problems.

In Western liberal democracies, where the intellectuals have the most influence, the danger is for the idea of the intellectual to be institutionalised, and so absorbed into the dominant political order. Heroic dissent may become politically correct and fashionable!

Their moral high ground can also be questioned, in an age in which the tyranny of absolute relativism rules, and near-nihilistic universal scepticism tends to look with disdain any claim towards universal objective truth. Epistemologically, even if there is a kind of universal objective truth, how can an intellectual claim any secular knowledge of such truth?

Oprah more influential

Then, there is Marxism that changed world history in the 20th century. By all account in Benda’s book, Karl Marx has to be the real intellectual par excellence, believing and preaching that the job of philosophy is not to understand the world merely, but to change the world.

Unfortunately, when Marx’ philosophy has been turned into a dogma by political Marxism, his idea has turned into an instrument of state terrorism in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. And so, we witness the persecution, execution, and exile of Benda’s intellectuals in communist countries everywhere.

The vehicle of an intellectual has always been the print media, especially in what is called the realm of high culture. Towards the end of the 20th century, the emergence and rise of the electronic audio-visual media, as well as the massive proliferation of mass popular culture, have combined to whittle away the influence of the traditional intellectual. Oprah is now far more influential than Chomsky in the USA to-day!

Then there is the problem of the self-perception of aspiring and accomplished intellectuals everywhere – including Malaysia. Once intellectuals see themselves as the embodiment of an almost divine vocation, breathing brimstone and hell fire on corrupt worldly powers from the rarefied sanctity of Mount Olympus, they’d better live the life of a saint. Otherwise, they would be vulnerable to personal attack on their indiscretion – not that such personal smearing is a legitimate form of argument.

That was what happened in the UK in the 80s, when the conservative revolution of Margaret Thatcher had unleashed an army of very literate hatchet-men upon the British intellectuals in the 1980s.

It was within that historical context that Edward Said was invited to the BBC Reith Lectures in 1993, to present his reworking and revival of Julien Benda’s vision of the roles and responsibilities of the intellectual.

To be continued…

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The Intellectual Pt 2: The decline and revival

Posted by mayashanti5282046 于 十一月 22, 2008

Sim Kwang Yang | Nov 10, 07 12:12pm

Published in Malaysiakini.com

The BBC Reith Lectures date back to 1948, with an inaugural presentation made by Bertrand Russell. Every year, the Lectures were a significant cultural event in the intellectual world of Great Britain, sparkling much debate and discussion among writers and the community of scholars.

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In 1993, the person invited by the BBC to present the Reith Lectures was Edward Said, and he chose to speak on the redefinition of the roles and responsibilities of the intellectual.

Edward Said was a giant in his own times, inventing single-handedly the idea of post-colonialism through his analysis of prominent British writers like Jane Austin and Joseph Conrad.

A Palestinian Christian, educated in Cairo, and finally finding his niche as the premier Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in the US, Said had a life-long interest in the changing roles of the intellectual. He had described them in the US as a “class badly in need of moral rehabilitation and social redefinition.”

In his hugely influential Culture and Imperialism, he expressed his dismay with American intellectuals “cocooned” in the “munificence” and “Utopian sanctuary” of the university campus blind to the inhuman politico-social realities of the world. According to him, American intellectuals had been defanged, having internalised the norm of the state, and pre-occupied with merely manufacturing consent in the comfort of their specialised professionalism.

Said’s criticism of intellectuals in the US could be applied to those in Europe as well. In France, the birth place of the modern intellectual, this class of citizens have been in retreat, having gone through the acrimonious schism during the Algerian War (1954-62), and collapsing after the failed students’ revolt on the streets of Paris in May 1968.

Bernard-Henri Levy, in his book entitled Euloge des Intellectuels (1987), gave his provocative definition of the term as “Intellectual, noun, masculine gender, a social and cultural category born in Paris at the moment of the Dreyfus Affair, died in Paris at the end of the 20th century; apparently was not able to survive the decline of belief in the Universals.” He called the disengagement and the return of French intellectuals to their ivory tower in the 1980s a “debacle”.

In his article entitled Are intellectuals a dying species? – War and the Ivory Tower in the postmodern age (1991), David Shalk clarifies that “the ivory tower is not just the university, as it is sometimes understood to be, in the United States at least, but in its original 20th century derivation referred more generally to the intellectual’s home.”

Derogatory signification

“As Flaubert wrote to Louise Colet in 1852, in the modern world of a developing mass culture which he (Flaubert) so detested, “we must, independently from that humanity which rejects us, live for our vocation, climb into our ivory tower, and remain there alone with our dreams.”

The French intellectual’s elitist self image as a self-righteous, morally upright, and iconic conscience of their times has never sat easy with the French political mainstream. In fact, the term “intellectual” carried a derogatory signification of a busybody minding other people’s business when politics ought to be left to professional politicians.

In pragmatic, conservative, utilitarian and empirical England, the intellectual fares no better than in France.

Immediately after Said’s Reith Lectures on intellectuals were broadcast, the historian Norman Stone wrote an article entitled Mud in your intellectual eye in the Observer on 27 June 1993 giving his knee-jerk retort.

“The multi-purpose intellectual is one of the great pains in the neck of the modern age. If ever you had a class of people who got things badly wrong, it was the writers.”

Edmund Burke had long ago bemoaned the mistake of the French Revolutionaries in following the precepts of the philosophes with “civil and military anarchy made the constitution of France.”

This sentiment was echoed by Mrs Margaret Thatcher some 200 years later when she described the French Revolution of 1789 as “a Utopian attempt to overthrow a traditional order….in the name of abstract ideas, formulated by vain intellectuals.”

Since coming to power in 1979, Mrs Thatcher had been bent on her conservative revolution. In pursuit of her reform of many ancient British institutions, she could not resist the temptation at attempting to dislodge those who she and her handful of advisors regarded as the “chattering class”, the entrenched intellectual class who had come to dominate Britain’s universities, the BBC, the civil service, higher journalism (such as The Guardian), the arts world, and even the Church of England.

In response, the British “high-brow” class of intellectuals regarded Mrs Thatcher as philistine, suburban, middle brow, housewifish, and simply crude. Mrs Thatcher’s humiliation came in 1985, when Oxford University broke with the dictate of past tradition and voted NOT to award her an honorary doctorate.

Personal lives dissected

Nevertheless, Mrs Thatcher had not been nicknamed the ‘Iron Lady” for nothing. She had her own coterie of acolytes, admirers, and enthusiasts, who launched a sustained re-examination of the role of intellectual, viewed from the perspective of the Right.

One of the most widely read attacks on the British intellectuals came in the book entitled Intellectuals by Paul Johnson and published in 1988. Johnson’s tactic is this: judge intellectual not by what they write, but upon what they do.

He methodically dissected the personal lives of Rousseau, Shelley, Marx, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Brecht, Russell, and later on Norman Mailer, and Franz Fanon as well. He paid particular attention to the sex life of those great men. On the surface, he seems to be saying that if those influential intellectuals have messed up their private lives, then they would be guilty of hypocrisy when they preach to the world from the moral high ground of justice and humanity. For instance, Karl Marx’s writing would be useless because he appeared to have fathered an illegitimate child.

But Johnson’s argument actually goes deeper than mere personal attack. The great crux of the intellectual life, he contends, is that the intellectuals’ passion for radical absolutist solutions inevitably draws them into endorsing the use of violence. “One of the principle lessons of our tragic century”, he observes, “which has seen so many millions of innocent lives sacrificed to improve the lot of humanity is – beware intellectuals!”

At the end of the book, Johnson concludes what could be the most representative sentiment of anti-intellectualism everywhere:

“I think I detect to-day a certain public scepticism when intellectuals stand up to preach to us, a growing tendency among ordinary people to dispute the right of academics, writers, and philosophers, eminent though they may be, to tell us how to behave and conduct our affairs. The belief seems to be spreading that intellectuals are no wiser as mentors, or worthier as exemplars, than the witch doctors or priests of old.”

Such an attack, like many assaults upon the traditional intellectual’s Ivory Tower, was a reflection of the new era. The Enlightenment belief in eternal universal truths, to which only the learned scholar and writer could gain access, has become out-of-date. Truth has become far more problematic epistemologically, tending to be thought of as relative to cultural and textual contexts. The age of postmodernism and deconstructionism has arrived, at least in Europe and the US.

Intellectuals refuse to die

Therefore, it would appear that the sort of intellectual originally proposed by Julien Benda would no longer be tenable. On both sides of the Atlantic, grave doubts were indeed cast over the continued existence of the traditional intellectual, leading many engaged writers and scholars to rethink their position in relation to the new world order.

Fortunately for the intellectuals, the power centres of the world have continued to perpetuate injustice on a grand scale into the 21st century, persecuting their citizens most of the time, but increasingly across national boundaries as well. If nothing else, the ugliness of the human race has spawned generations and generations of younger aspiring intellectuals to be engaged with affairs of state, and intervene into the cauldron of national and international politics.

(As I write, Kuala Lumpur sits in tense anticipation of a massive rally to demand clean and fair elections, organised by a bunch of young, idealistic, and independent intellectuals in Malaysia. A police helicopter with searchlight swirled overhead, and Farish Noor sent a message of solidarity from Berlin. The FRU, the water cannon, and the tear gas must now be in abundance on the streets around Independence Square, or Dataran Merdeka.}

Despite the attack on the intellectuals, and their outright genocide in less civilised nations of the world, the strange species of intellectuals refuse to die. There will always be those citizens in any country who think, read, write, and sometimes act.

This is what the much persecuted Salman Rushdie described as “the unfettered republic of the tongue” in A Declaration of independence (1994). As he explained:

“The creative spirit is treated as an enemy by those mighty or petty potentates who resent the power of art to build pictures of the world which quarrel with, or undermine their own simpler and less open-hearted views.”

That is why Edward Said’s Reith lectures need to be revisited, to reaffirm the vocation of speaking to power truthfully and independently.

To be continued…

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