WOW. What a weekend.
As most who know me personally would attest, I have been going on quite abit about the BERSIH initiative, which culminated in the demonstration that was on Saturday 9 July.
As to why BERSIH is important to me and to a lot of Malaysians, I direct you to the words of others with superior eloquence. Art Harun's Bersih and Fall of Reason is a very good read.
People who attended the rally cited overwhelming pride, unity and patriotism..as well as tear gas, water cannons, arrests by the police and manhandling by riot teams. Despite not attending the rally - I was left behind by SOMEONE who got tear gassed trice as a consequence (bribe me and I won't tell dad) - my BB was close to calling it quits due to my 12 hour Twitter vigil.
Social media has played its part in transforming Egypt and I dare say that it will continue to be a platform for people's movements everywhere including Malaysia. BERSIH would have been less organised and its effects less far-reaching without Twitter for one. From eye-witness accounts, to warnings and words of comfort, strangers are linked to each other by a common aim and a hashtag. How amazing is that!
Anyway, back to BERSIH, the mainstream media's coverage of the affair is filled with half truths but that is to be expected, being the governments' lackeys. The most blatant lie is that only 6000 protesters marched the streets of KL. In the age of camera phones and Youtube, who are they kidding?
While many did not make it to Dataran Merdeka, being chased by FRUs, the demonstration was largely peaceful, and if you are on Twitter, do follow the #bersihstories and you will find many heart warming experiences of those who were there.
Yes it was a success in the sense that there was no parang wielding molotov cocktail hurling mob as warned by the IGP or the government, and it was a damn good show of support for electoral reforms, the largely non-partisan effort is being sadly hijacked by opposition parties taking credit for the move and claiming support for their causes. This is highly regrettable to me.
Anyway, for more thrill and spills, the best reads are from the following:
Well done and thank you to all who were there, braving risks of arrest and violence, walking for the rest of us who can't and making a stand for our rights. And I have never been prouder of the legal fraternity especially the legal aid emergency arrests teams.