The Star says… It need not remain a black day
|Sunday, 11 May 2008 01:39pm|
©The Sunday Star (Used by permission)
ON Tuesday, it will be 39 years gone on the country’s most terrible tragedy and the biggest blot in its history.
A nation that had barely turned 12 was torn apart along ethnic lines when people succumbed to base human instinct.
It’s been a long time but there are still numerous lessons to be learned from this darkest episode of our history. We should also honestly ask if we have truly learned anything so far, except for treating it as a subject of taboo or censorship.
Instead of continuing to keep the events of May 13, 1969, in the deepest recesses of our memory, as we have done all this while, there must be a rational acceptance for a closure on the wretched chapter.
It is about time that we go through the needed process of sensibly and unemotionally getting to the truth of what really happened on that fateful day when lives, the number of which is still in dispute, were lost horrifically.
In this digital age when information on everything is available easily, we should not continue to believe what we think we know about May 13 through what was disclosed officially then.
Similarly, we should also not continue to believe what we learned about it through exaggerated accounts and blatant lies or through re-told prejudiced stories.
A few of the people who witnessed the tragedy are still alive but the majority of Malaysians are those who only know it as something that is too sensitive to discuss openly. Up to now, that is.
Instead of trying to hide or ignore the tragic event, we should perhaps get to the accuracy of what happened through a truth commission, accept it reasonably and mark the day positively instead of negatively.
Yes, May 13 could still become a momentous day in the history for a good reason. Perhaps we should denote it as a day to signify our collective decision to accept the truth and recognise the vital need for all races to always regard each other as brothers and sisters of the same nation.
A nation that has gone through such a tumultuous event should never be rife with deep mistrust or bitter rivalries between communities that have lived together for decades.
No one should harbour any fear of losing out to the other, for in this great journey that we have embarked on, we can’t go it alone.
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