Posted by: Gurindam Jiwa | Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hindraf’s Meaning of Ethnic Cleansing

Hindraf has setup it’s own blog at WordPress. It’s first posting was apparently two days ago, 27 December 2007. As of this posting, it apparently already has more than 300 hits. It even appeared on the Fastest Growing Blog on the Dashboard.

I guess Hindraf setup this blog because their supposedly official site (policewatchmalaysia) is impossible to access. Besides, blog is the “in” thing nowadays.

It has already taken to task answering issues of ethnic cleansing.

I was brought up in a 99% Hindu village. I can understand how they feel.

Meaning of Ethnic Cleansing
Posted: 28 Dec 07

No ‘final solution’ ethnic cleansing but…
A Keen Observer | Dec 7, 07 5:24pm

I write in response to the vigorous denials by ruling politicians and some Malaysiakini readers towards Hindraf’s claims of ‘ethnic cleansing.’

Societies do not leap from being non-discriminatory and egalitarian to the outright killing and extermination of ethnic minorities overnight. It is an evolutionary process that starts in small steps.

The initial phase is usually innocuous. It starts off with seemingly “noble” intentions including positive discrimination in favour of the group in power on various justifications such as socio-economic restructuring. However, the rule of unintended consequences usually means that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Once the perpetrators are allowed to get away with the initial measures, they can take it to the next level, including:

  1. Restrictions on educational, employment and business opportunities for minority groups
  2. Restrictions on language, cultural and religious freedoms on minority groups (including restrictions on the building of places of worship and recent calls to remove crosses from Christian schools by a local politician pandering to his religious constituency)
  3. Encouraging the migration or destruction of the intelligentsia, including independent media, who are usually the first to oppose such policies
  4. Ethnic or race tagging when dealing with government agencies for example, the insistence that citizens must declare their race in government forms and policies

In more advanced phases of this virulent condition, symptoms can include:

  1. Ethnic or religious profiling in law enforcement
  2. Complete domination of the government civil service and armed forces by the dominant power’s group, beyond its population proportions in the general community
  3. The creation of underclasses and ‘ghetto-ed’ minorities
  4. Outright religious persecution
  5. Forced religious conversions
  6. Vilification and demonisation of ethnic and religious minorities
  7. The destruction of minority groups’ places of worship
  8. Destruction of minority groups’ businesses

The Hitler- or Balkan-style “final solution” of outright killing and ethnic extermination usually takes years if not decades to happen. Ethnic cleansing does not require conscious planning by its perpetrators. The baser human tendency to divide our world view into “us” and “them” is enough to do the job. All it needs are populist or demagogue politicians who appeal to our false sense of racial patriotism (such as keris-waving politicians) and superiority.

Many ordinary German survivors of the Second World War struggled to come to terms with how they were foolishly-led by the Nazi regime into perpetrating some of the worst crimes against their fellow citizens. The ordinary German citizenry certainly did not start the 1930s with the outright ambition to rid the world of inferior races including Gypsies, same-sex couples and Jews. But by the end of 1945, over 20 million people perished as a result of the war, of which six to eight million were victims of race-hatred killings).

Yes, there is no ethnic cleansing of the Indian community in the sense of a “final solution” where outright killing occurs, as some of Malaysiakini readers have correctly pointed out.

However, no one rules out that the current and previous administrations’ policies, unwittingly or not, can become precursors to more advanced phases of ethnic cleansing. In fact, the political power base of the past and present administrations are based on the toxic twin ideologies of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ and Islam ideology. It is extremely unlikely that the present administration can undo any of these policies without undermining its very own political power.

Hence, it is understandable why Hindraf has made these “outrageous” claims. When the final solution arrives, it is too late. Just ask the surviving African Sudanese refugees in Darfur or the Tibetan exiles today. It is too late to ask the hundreds of thousands of Tutsis who were killed in the Rwandan genocide, and the Bosnian and Croats killed in the Balkan wars. It is certainly too late to ask the millions of Jews, Gypsies and other minority groups killed by the Nazis in the Second World War.


  1. There’s no similarity no truth in any evolutionary process. You went overboard thus leaving many sympathisers in a quandary.
    I for one still believes that you are marginalise but targeting Islam and Malays rather than the society the government PARTY above all the British would have garnered tremendous support.
    My grandmother is from Kolkata shipped as a slave to the Caribbean by the British although treated similarly as Indians in Malaysia, most of the prejudices came as a result of European racism that permeated the societies they left behind therefore blaming Malaysia have done damage to a just call.
    The name HINDRAF be replaced and nations which suffered similar historical abuse must come together and state our claim in the European courts.

  2. The term ethnic cleansing refers to various policies of forcibly removing people of one ethnic group. At one end of the spectrum, it is virtually indistinguishable from forced emigration and population transfer, while at the other it merges with deportation and genocide.

    At the most general level, however, ethnic cleansing can be understood as the forced expulsion of an “undesirable” population from a given territory due to religious or ethnic discrimination, political, strategic or ideological considerations, or a combination of these.

    Some political commentators avoid use of the term, which they see as a political euphemism which attempts to apply a word with positive connotations (cleansing) to a morally objectionable act (forced population movement usually achieved through violence).

    Hence I suggest the UMNO racist politicians first try to read some English books as regards to the defination before they make denials.

    And this also goes to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Father of Racial Slurs and Disunity of Malaysia

  3. This is a tough/delicate issue. The Prime Minister said if ethnic cleansing can be proven, he will resign. May be that is one way to go?

    On my side, I always try to hold on to the saying that life is what you make it (ar-Ra’d, 11). And it goes both ways.

    Regardless of the hurdles, education is key. Take anything you can get. Then ACT educated!

    On the other side, never blame the past. You can’t turn the other cheek. Problems must be faced straight on. And you must go on.

    Some lessons can also be learnt from the experiences of the Black Americans. There was true slavery, but after 200 some years, they have come a long way, albeit there is still a long way to go. There is always a long way to go.

    May be we also need 200 years to grow? I don’t think so. But this is the problem of communal/racial politics.

    We have already been told more than 1,400 years ago that we have been made into “various nations and tribes so that you may know one another” (al-Hujurat, 13). In a multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-religious society like ours, we should subscribe to this along with other holy principles. To say that being a Malay is defined as also being a Muslim, is a bunch of crock. A Malay is a Malay, a Muslim is a Muslim. A Malay Muslim is no better than an Indian Muslim, or Chinese Muslim, or American Muslim, or vice versa. “Indeed the more honourable among you, in the sight of Allah, is one who is more pious among you” (al-Hujurat, 13).

    The communal/racial politics of this country, however, says that a poor kid who excells at his studies shall find it more difficult to get government scholarship simply because he is non-bumiputra, even though he is a Muslim.

    We should’ve seen Hindraf coming all along.

    And if we don’t learn, and the trend continues, there shall be more to come.

  4. […] Related post: Hindraf’s Meaning of Ethnic Cleansing […]

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