Virus Ebola: Perang, Campur Tangan Barat, dan kesannya

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Pada ketika ini, Ebola telah pun melanda Sepanyol dan Amerika Syarikat dan nampaknya wabak ini tidak lagi dilihat sebagai satu isu yang remeh dan boleh dibuang ke tepi oleh barat.

Jika kita lihat melalui laporan berita, nampaknya seolah-olah kesemua 17 negara yang membentuk Afrik Barat telah dilanda Ebola.

Pada tahun 1978, jangkitan virus Ebola mula dikesan daripada golongan nuns Belgium dan pekerja sektor kesihatan dan kemudian isu ini mendapat perhatian dunia perubatan. Kes yang pertama diketahui adalah di Republik Congo dan kini beralih pula di Selatan Sudan.

Wabak Ebola ini sekali lagi dilaporkan pada tahun 1995 in Republik Congo, Sudan dan Uganda. Ada beberapa kes dilaporkan pada tahun 2003, 2007 dan 2012.

Kemudian, wabak ini kembali lagi di Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea dan di sebahagian kecil Nigeria. Badan-badan kesihatan dunia, golongan elit Afrika dan pakar-pakar telah menghabiskan masa selama 40 tahun bertarung dengan Ebola.

Tetapi, Ebola kini telah sampai ke tanah Sepanyol dan Amerika Syarikat dan ini bukan lagi hanya isu orang Afrika.

Pengajaran pahit yang kita boleh ambil iktibar pada tahun 2014 ini adalah bagaimana kurangnya kesatuan kita semua dalam mencari solusi kepada epidemik ini. Mungkin semasa wabak ini berjaya dikawal di Afrika Timur dan Afrika Tengah, pihak berkuasa di Sierra Leone, Liberia dan Guinea tidak terfikir bahawa satu hari nanti mereka juga akan berhadapan dengan epidemik ini.

Perang meletus pada tahun 1996 di Congo , dan dalam masa yang sama penularan wabak Ebola yang kedua turut berlaku. Konflik berterusan, dan sehingga tahun lepas konflik ini masih berterusan.

Uganda juga mengalami detik perang saudara pada tahun 1971 dan 1979 dan kemudian sekali lagi pada tahun 1986 sehingga sekarang. Sudan juga tidak terkceuali merana disebabkan peperangan yang berlaku daripada tahun 1955 hingga 1972 dan kemudian bersambung semula pada tahun 1983 hingga 2005.

Baru-baru ini, beberapa pertempuran diantara dua kelas paksi yang memerintah berlaku. Daripada tahun 2003 hingga 2012, berlaku juga peperangan di kejiranan Republik Afrika Tengah. Liberia terpalit dengan perang saudara diantara tahun 1989 dan 1996, dan daripada tahun 1999 hingga 2003.

Di Sierra Leone, perang meletus pada tahun 1991 hingga 2002. Dan pada tahun lepas Guinea menyaksikan siri protes dan keganasan berlaku diantara puak-puak di Guinea, dan konflik ini membawa kepada pertumpahan darah apabila pasuka keselamatan turut terlibat.

Senarai siri peperangan demi peperangan yang berlaku menunjukkan dengan jelas bagaimana pengagihan dan kegunaan dana yang ada tetapi digunakan pada kepentingan yang salah dan dana ini diselewengkan daripada diagihkan untuk sektor kesihatan dan pendidikan, sebaliknya dana yang ada digunakan untuk membiayai peperangan yang berlaku.

Dana yang digunakan untuk menaja peperangan bersenjata, membeli kelengkapan perang dan membayar gaji tentera dan pejuang sepatutnya
boleh disalurkan dan digunakan untuk tujuan perubatan.

Inilah antara sebab jelas mengapa, gerakan anti-perang peringkat global perlu lebih kuat, kerana kita sudah menyaksikan apa yang boleh terjadi jika lambakan dana yang ada diabdikan untuk kegunaan perang, dan bukan untuk membantu mereka yang memerlukan.

Kelemahan dan betapa tidak berdayanya kita melawan wabak Ebola ini merupakan refleksi atau gambaran kepada krisis kepimpinan selepas zaman penjajahan barat di Afrika, dimana golongan elit Afrika yang dilatih oleh penjajah ini tidak merasa berkepentingan untuk menjaga kebajikan masyarakat, akan tetapi menyerahkan tanah air mereka kepada kerajaan barat, institusi kewangan antrabangsa dan syarikat antrabangsa yang mensasarkan keuntungan jual beli senjata sebagai satu matlamat utama.

Keutamaan-keutamaan yang bersimpang-siur ini telah membawa kepada masalah baru, dimana kakitangan dalam bidang sains dan teknologi yang sepatutnya boleh membantu mencari penawar kepada Ebola telah berpindah dan menetap di barat. Penghijaran sarjana-sarjana hebat Afrika ini nampaknya membawa keburukan yang sangat ketara terhadap masalah-masalah yang berlaku di Negara-negara Afrika.

Epidemik Ebola hanya boleh diselesaikan apabila isu Ebola ini dilihat sebagai satu isu global yang memerlukan perhatian dan solusi secara bersama, dan apabila Afrika berhenti daripada menjadi taman permainan untuk ekonomi barat dan kepentingan-kepentingan tertentu.

oleh Explo Nani-Kofi, 19 Oktober 2014.
Terjemahan oleh Megat Hakim, Pelajar Tahun Pertama Jabatan Sains Politik UIAM

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Emile Durkheim: Ritual, Kuno dan Moden (Bahagian 3)

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Bagi Durkheim, kesucian/ketuhanan (the sacred) itu disampaikan melalui ritual sosial, yang kita lalui melalui peristiwa-peristiwa besar yang diulang-tayang melalui media

Jika Durkheim benar dengan mendakwa “kesucian”sebagai sumber daya yang kuat dalam dunia moden, di mana boleh kita menjumpainya? Satu jawapan pasti ialah melalui simbol kebersamaan dimana manusia berkumpul bersama-sama dan berkongsi pengalaman terhadap suatu bentuk sentiment moral seperti bendera negara, imej kanak-kanak tertindas, atau kubur hero revolusi.
Simbol-simbol ini bukanlah semata-mata idea. Ianya merupakan kuasa sosial dan budaya yang selalunya dimanifestasikan dalam bentuk material seperti cetakan di duit syiling, reka bentuk bangunan awam, gambar-gambar di dinding kita dan skrin televisyen.

Durkheim , walaubagaimana pun menganggap objek-objek material ini tidaklah sepenting makna simbolik yang telah diluahkan. Dalam tulisannya tentang agama “primitif” dalam The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, berterusan memberikan gambaran ilustratif tentang bagaimana “kesucian” sesuatu itu telahpun berlaku melalui apa yang manusia makan, objek material yang mereka cintai, cara mereka melakar ruang-ruang khas dan apa yang mereka buat terhadap tubuh badan mereka. “Sesuatu” yang suci secara fizikal dan nyata, memberi bermakna selagi mana ia berfungsi sebagai fokus kebersamaan emosi moral.

Dalam The Elementary Forms, Durkheim memahami tindakan-tindakan “suci” ini sebagai ritual, dengan membezakan antara ritual “positif” menyambut atau melahirkan kecintaan terhadap objek “suci” dan ritual “negatif” yang melindungi objek suci dari tercemar. Antara contoh-contoh yang beliau beri menampakkan struktur yang sama. Terdapatnya beberapa kumpulan (selalunya dikecualikan wanita dan kanak-kanak) pergi ke suatu tempat (kadang-kadang rahsia) yang istimewa, untuk melakukan suatu ketetapan tindakan yang berkaitan dengan objek suci. Pengalaman kolektif yang dijana oleh ritual-ritual ini begitu berkuasa sehingga mampu memberi pesertanya rasa ketergantungan antara satu sama lain dan kepentingan moral yang mendalam yang merubah cara mereka menanggapi diri mereka sendiri dan tentang dunia.

Sudah tentu, terdapatnya beberapa masalah praktikal terhadap pemahaman ritual ini. Seperti yang disebut Mary Daly, tiada jaminan bahawa manusia akan mengalami ritual ini dalam keadaan yang bermakna. Ritual juga boleh sama-sama dialami sebagai kosong, lesu dan beku. Ritual ini juga meletakkan banyak batas-batas terhadap bentuk-bentuk tindakan yang kita rasa sebagai kepentingan yang suci hari ini. JIka kita hanya berfikir dalam kerangka struktur ritual yang unik dan kuat, pemerhatian kita akan tertumpu kepada peristiwa seperti pertabalan raja, pengebumian, dan acara-acara awam yang lain. Akan tetapi, tindakan awam yang menyentuh “kesucian” pada hari ini, mengambil bentuk yang lebih luas dari ini.

Ia sangat membantu jika kita kembali memikirkan bagaimana kita mendefinisikan “kesucian” sebagai sesuatu yang dianggap manusia sebagai realiti moral. Dalam pemahaman yang lebih luas, “ritual suci” ini boleh jadi apa-apa sahaja yang membuat manusia mengingatinya, dan diperbaharui identifikasinya dengan realiti moral yang mendalam ini. Oleh itu, teori “kesucian” Durkheim ini boleh difahami sebagai teori komunikasi awam yang khusus. Ia membawa perhatian kita terhadap tindakan sosial yang membawa makna moral yang sangat kuat yang bermaksud untuk meraih sokongan awam mengelilinginya.

Ini bermaksud, bentuk komunikasi “kesucian/ketuhanan” yang paling lazim bukanlah acara/sambutan awam yang biasanya menggambarkan ritual-ritual yang disebut Durkheim. Ianya boleh dijumpai dalam cerita-cerita moral yang disebarkan melalui pelbagai bentuk media sosial dan awam. Manusia dalam masyarakat moden tidak selalunya mengalami rasa “ketuhanan” dan kejahatan dengan memencilkan diri ke dalam lokasi yang tersembunyi untuk melaksanakan ritual tersebut. Mereka boleh merasainya melalui berita-berita tentang pencabulan dan pembunuhan Baby P, orang awam berkabung di Wootton Basset, persembahan-persembahan patriotik dalam ucapan-ucapan calon Presiden atau pelbagai bentuk bencana kemanusiaan.

Ataupun sebaliknya. Kerana salah satu daripada kesan penyebaran makna-makna suci ini melalui media ialah kita boleh terdedah kepada pelbagai sentiment “kesucian”, yang mana ada yang boleh kita kenalpasti dan tidak. Ada yang boleh kita anggap sebagai cubaan sinis untuk membuatkan kita merasainya, mengundi atau memberi duit dalam cara-cara tertentu dan ada yang kita hanya alaminya sebagai peringatan yang bermakna tentang kebenaran moral. Kita hidup dalam dunia yang mana rasa “kesucian” tidak lafi dialami melalui ritual berkala. Kita merasainya melalui penyebaran berterusan melalui penceritaan-penceritaan dan imej, yang menujah kejiwaan moral kita yang kompleks, sinis dan bersikap sambil lewa.

oleh : Gordon Lynch
diterjemah oleh : Megat Hanis

 

Critique on Mufti Menk’s Purification of the Soul

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Mufti Menk started with there are differences between the heart and the soul, but never specify the differences. In fact, the whole lecture was about the heart, and only a few times the word soul was uttered. Heart was defined, as in the Quran, a piece of flesh in the body, if it is clean, the whole body will be good, and if it is dirty, the whole body will be bad.

There is a problem here, since Mufti Menk did not explicitly say that heart in his context is the same heart, as the organ that pumps blood. It could be, it could be not, but if he is claiming that the blood pumping heart and the Quranic heart is one and the same, there are no scientific proofs to support this.

In terms of Halal and Haram, Mufti Menk quoted a few hadith, saying that both Halal and Haram are clear constructs, but there exist a middle area, a grey area and avoiding it is the best way. This grey area for example in case of food, 20 people says that it is poisonous, and 20 says it is fine, thus avoid the food altogether than risking it. This then relates back to the heart where doing Halal actions will clean and strengthen the heart, and doing Haram actions will dirty and weaken the heart.

Halal and Haram here are in the broader sense, where everything Halal is which that is commanded by God to do it, practice it and which are not Haram. Haram is everything that is forbade by God for us to do. Mufti Menk did not go deeper into Halal and Haram in terms of Fiqh (jurisprudence) and it’s classification and technical jargons, he just kept it simple.

To purify our heart, it starts with intention, and pray to Allah SWT. Then remove our hatred towards others, our jealously, our clinginess towards worldly materials. Practice moderation, if we can’t, donate our unused worldly materials first before making a new one. In terms of clothing also, remember the Halal and Haram nature of clothing. Avoid pornography, it will dirty our heart. Adding to relationships, non-marriage love can cause us to dirty our hearts too. Do not abuse the opposite sex mentally or physically.
We can also cleanse ourselves through Zikrullah, not just zikr, but understanding the meaning of the Quran and Sunnah. Give dakwah to other will also help. Basically doing all Halal things will clean our heart, and Haram things will dirty it. The heart also can manifest itself physically, if it is dirty, such psychological problems as depression, and stress is its symptoms.

To conclude, it is a good lecture, based on the Quran and Hadith, but the lack of definition bothers me a little. Is the heart mentioned in the Quran is the same as the heart that pumps blood? Or is it a different organ? Was there a misnomer in translation from Qalb to Heart? There sure is in the Malay language of Qalb to Hati, where in HatiEnglish, means Liver, not Heart. Or, the past scholars just assumes it is our beating pumping heart due to lack of scientific discovery? And/or there is another organ which actually refers to the Qalb?

If it is our beating Heart, could we physically see the clean/dirty effect? Can we really, biologically join the Heart and the effects on psychology? Which was claimed that a dirty Heart will manifest itself in terms of depression and stress?

By: Abdul Rahman Shah

Huntington-Fukuyama vs Barber: The clash in modern history

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Huntington’s “Clash of the Civilization?” article (1993) which became a book in 1996 is an important thesis in our modern history. It was criticized heavily by a lot of other scholars, but do also have it’s supporters. Three different works will be briefly discussed here, and all of them are trying to describe the world after the end of The Cold War.

For Huntington, our modern history is about collection of unique identities group themselves as civilizations and how these civilization will be the reason for future wars to happen. He noted 8 different civilization, namely, Western, Latin American, Orthodox-Slavic, Muslim, Confucian-Sinic, Hindu, Japan and possibly African.

The problem with these 8 civilization is, it over-generalized the group of people living within those “borders”. Thinking every human are a single minded entity identifying themselves as a part of that particular civilization in the modern world. Huntington too admitted that in a civilization there will be multiple identities, religion, races and ideologies, but it will go down with the strongest identification. In Huntington’s words, a man can be half-French and half-Arab, but can’t be half-Christian and half-Muslim. Continuing in his own example, the Muslim civilization, where there are African nations, Arab nations, Central Asia nations, and South East Asia (Malay) nation which all differs with one another. He admits that they are different but at the same time calling them the same?

Or let’s visit the Ukraine-Crimea-Russia issue, where Ukraine again was in a revolution, now the state of Crimea wants to go back into Russia. Ukraine have been a nation of different allegiances between their leaders, some are pro-EU, and some pro-Russia. Since the revolution is about bringing down a pro-Russia leader and establishing a pro-EU government, can it be said that Ukraine is now Western rather than Orthodox civilization? Or are they a civilization on their own?

Adding on to Japan which was classified as a whole different civilization and not included with the Sinic civilization due to being the only nation that have become modern without being western. Which is kind of ethnocentric, but this is not what I am focusing on.
Let’s put South Korea in the picture, now becoming one of the strongest country in terms of economy, politics and cultural transmission. Everywhere you go there are the K-pop phenomena everywhere, not unlike Japan’s own J-pop 10 years back. Thus, can it be inferred from Huntington’s idea of civilization, South Korea too will break out from the Sinic civilization and become a civilization of its own?

Does this mean every nation from non-western country will become a civilization of its own once they established themselves as modern and starts to become “different” than the civilization they were in? Will civilizations become smaller and smaller when each nation becomes their own civilization?

Fukuyama’s End of History
Huntingtonwrote his article in response to Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History?” (1989) article, which also became a book (1992), who was also his student. Huntington was actually criticizing Fukuyama’s idea that we are at the end of our history (as homo sapiens), and suggests that there are still a long way to go with all the civilization clashing.

A simplification of Fukuyama’s End of History is simple, all nation will soon accept liberal-democracy politics and economy, and live in a homogenous world order. Before criticizing this, we need to understand that USA won the Cold War, where USSR was abolished and Russia starts to use a democratic system. So it is not a leap of imagination, when he claims that liberal-democracy political and economic system are the best we have, since all other alternatives, communism, monarchy etc. have clearly failed. His evidences include the increase of GNP of the Asian Tigers and Russia after using the liberal system.

That’s why it is called End of History, there are no more new system and philosophies as the best one have already here, just waiting for the rest of the world to realize it and follow it. How technology and urbanization causes reformations and in a way globalized (homogenize) the world.Some scholars heavily criticized Fukuyama, calling it juvenile as assuming the USA’s politics and economy can be generalized to the whole world.

Going deeper in Fukuyama’s philosophy, the main idea is his Master-Slave dialectic, of Hegel. For Fukuyama, the Master is clearly liberal-democracy. Fukuyama also recognizes the tension between megalothymia (desire for unequal recognition) and isothymia (desire for equal recognition) is yet to be solved. But rather than war and colonizing others, we use professional sports instead, which is healthier and for the better. Fukuyama also contemplates about the paradox of liberty and equality, where when the government helps some group of people, it will cause another group to lose some of their liberty. And for him when the balance between liberty and equality is achieve, the End will happen, again, as homo sapiens.

I have highlighted homo sapiens a few times here, and how we as homo sapiens will End. From Fukuyama’s perspective, as a Futurist, he predicts that in the future, human as a being will change, using technology to improve one’s body. In a way, from my understanding, for Fukuyama, homo sapiens will not evolve anymore, and this is our final form, and only with technology we can more further. And with that, a new history will begin, as humans are will be a new being.

Some argue that when 9/11 happens, Huntington won, but there are also some other who says Huntington and Fukuyama’s ideas are compatible as “democracy” was ”bombed” by the US in Afghanistan an Iraq in response. Fukuyama himself prefers the EU approach (through multi-national agreements) rather than the US approach in this manner.

To bring closer to home, take Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations and Fukuyama’s End of History, change liberal-democracy into the utopian “Khilafah” that our Islamist here loves to mention, you’ll get a clash of civilization, in terms of Muslim civilization against the world, in attempt to create a homogeneity, where the world accepts the “Khilafah” systemand Islam. Which again, it is foolish to think all Muslims will become a single consciousness under a single rule.

Barber’s Jihad vs McWorld
Moving into my argument against Huntington through Benjamin Barber’s “Jihad vs McWorld” first written in 1992, and a book in 1995. If we look at the timeline, Fukuyama (1989), Barber (1992) and Huntington (1993), shows that Barber published before Huntington, but ideas are compatibly arguing against an article written a year later. We could also infer that Barber in a way was answering to Fukuyama, but it fits Huntington’s thesis better.

Again a simplified version of his idea is, tribalization vs globalization. Barber argues, rather than civilizations warring against each other, and in a way also against Fukuyama’s futuristic liberal-democracy, says that the dualistic nature of tribalization or Jihad and globalization or McWorld is a more appropriate representation of the current history. Jihad here means different from the Islamic jihad, but Barber did took the term as how Muslim fundamentalist uses it, which is anything from “outside” (ie the West) is wrong and must be warred against. McWorld is a play of word from McDonalds.

In terms of Democracy, for Barber, both extreme Jihad and McWorld undermines it, Jihad abolishes state, rejects democracy to form dictatorship or autocratic rule. While McWorld is a world rule by capitalist corporation promoting consumerism for profits.
Jihad doesn’t only represents (some) Muslim nations (but many Muslims believes in the Jihad presented by Barber), but also any nation which is against the idea of globalization, including North Korea and China.

Tribalization here, wants to establish micro-communities. For football fans, a good example of the Catalan race who wants independence from Spain, which translates deeply in the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Or the breakup of former Yugoslavia and the Balkan war. McWorld on the other hand promotes consumer culture and globalized the world through consumerism and economic exploitation. A world where IPhone 5 is seen obsolete in the presence of IPhone 5S, where overpriced coffee of Starbucks is seen as better than coffee bought in normal restaurants.

But the most important thing about this idea is, they both exist in at the same time. How? In Barbers own words, rephrased, imagine a Serbian sniper, wearing Reebok shoes, hearing to American music, shooting Muslim Bosnians. This is to show, globalization exist even ina tribalistic war and vice versa. For Barber, both sides have their own extremist and will cause clashes, not because of different civilization. McWorld too are responsible for unleashing Jihad, as attempt to “liberate” some countries where their economy is exploited, making the citizens poor, causes a Jihadic uprising is at hand, as in Afghanistan and Iran.

Again, Jihad and McWorld is on a spectrum and both can exist at the same time, both have their own pros and cons. Barber also mentions that the struggle between Jihad and McWorld is not something new, in the past some other forms of globalization also happened. Barber focuses on religious missionaries of the past as how similar the monuments in Thailand and India. And how this religious sites were the center of that form of globalization. What is this era’s center of globalization or “a place of worship”? Stadiums, McDonalds, Apple Center and many more.

The clash with Huntington is clear, for Huntington, his idea of civilization is quite weak and was criticized by many. And the clash happens as a way to conform and strengthen one civilizations own identity. But for Barber, it is not about civilization. Wars will happen when a Jihadic movement wants to create their own nation by rejecting all forms of outside influence, and McWorld, looking at their investments and interest in that particular nation or state, will impose their will to ensure that doesn’t happen. Or vice versa, a McWorldian movement want to exploit and profit in a nation, where it will cause instability and the gap between elites and the people widen, causes resurgence from the people, and with that experience doesn’t trust any outside influences.

Barber in a way solves Huntington’s little mystery about Japan, and as mentioned in the Huntington’s section in this article, one can be tribal but also globalized at the same time, they fight for nationalism and promotes the Japanese culture, but also allow global cultures to enter their borders. A balance between nationalism and globalization.

China too on the other hand, have their own government monitored internet so that the citizens won’t be influenced by the outside world, but at the same time allows corporations such as Apple to build factories assembling their products.
Huntington’s idea of civilization and it’s problems were simply solved by a simple logic written a year earlier. Yes, clashes will continue to happen, but rather than civilizations, it’s between the struggles of Jihad and McWorld.

To conclude, both movements, in an extreme form is dangerous and causes instability. In Malaysia, seeing that we are a multi-racial country, we do see Jihadic-like movements from time to time in various groups. And also the worry of McWorldian corporations using Malaysia for their own profits and exploits us if Malaysia agrees to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). It is hard to do anything if we keep being pessimistic, but in a way, being aware of these issues through Jihad vs McWorld “dialectic” is important so that we could react appropriately to events in the future rather than thinking it’s a conspiracy, and blaming others

by: Abdul Rahman Shah

Analysis On Rousseau`s Social Contract (Book 1 and 4)

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From my understanding, Rousseau made a distinct observation on the concept of freedom and the so called “right”. Although acknowledging that “men are born free” but “everywhere he is in chains” and he goes on further to say that, man live to seek his own preservation and by doing so, man come together as a society and agreed arbitrarily to a convention made and secured by the general will. So he is much interested in the “social order” rather than individual rights of man.

So, in terms of societies, the only thing that is natural is the family while other form of societies we have built upon are mere convention that is not natural, but necessary as the sacred social order is preserved so that our liberty is protected by the sovereign authority of the general will. And of course he goes on further by saying that no government or no convention so to speak have the legitimate authority without the consent of its people. The same way the king has no right over his subject to enslave them, it also applies the same with any convention that has no right over its subject as such enforcing them without their own will.

They way he has extended his opinion that the so called practices and claims of “right” is only the manifestation of the strongest. The strongest claims this right and enslave other man in which he objected the claim made by the ruler that the governance is for the sake of the governed as it is not exactly the case. He then, continues emphasizing on the sovereignty of the general will by way of election and vote made in favour of the majority.

For me, he did a great work in convincing me that it is not about the right of man that matters but what matters is how to protect the freedom man has upon his birth by way of convention by consent. Althought, they prefer to preserve their own self-interest, the general will, the majority so to speak, has the sovereignty to maintain social order that is sacred and must be abide by all its members if chaos is deemed to be avoid.

After all, in the modern perspective, it is far more difficult than the ideal democracy we imagined as he did mentioned that “a real democracy is only an ideal”. Voting and elections does not literally legitimize the ideal concept of preserving the freedom for all its members. As we already know, as the populations multiplied significantly, it is impossible for direct democracy demonstrated in ancient Athen, where citizens can literally exercise their vote upon any policies, because in using representative democracy, could in turn, overturn the ideal of the majority to the dictatorship of the minority.

They are of course several problem with regard to representative democracy. First is that, since citizen elect person not necessarily competence but popularly so to speak visible in front of the public and all this rhetorics, we are not doing justice by putting the right person to protect the sovereignity of the general will as they are elected on the basis of popularity. So, what they need to do is campaigning over and over, and increase their popularity, and if it is necessary, assassinate his opponent`s image and win over the votes of the people. Second is that, although the majority decides their representative, to do represent their interest, it turns out that in the name of the majority, all law passed by the majority that discriminates the minorities will be seen as legitimate. It is the the dictatorship of the majority. Third of all is that, the lack of political education for the citizens simply makes them ignorant in choosing the representatives. They are often blinded by the false promises given by the representative candidates in order to lure them into voting.

This type of democracy, by the very means, undermines the liberty that is ensured by the convention that is deem desirable to obey the soverenignity of the general will as the general will can be easily abused and manipulated eventhough through voting and elections. It breaks down completely the simple idea that this convention and ensure justice to all and gives true freedom. It cannot escape the fact that freedom is the privilege of the strongest and might be, literally the elites, in our modern terms, in which the weaker, the citizens was given the illusion of choice that they seemed to believe it so eventhough, their choices of obedience to the convention does not ensure their freedom.

For me, convention, as a social order is the fact that everyone need to accept to live peacefully but the idea of the sovereignity of the general will is not practical in the sense, not even morally good in the modern context. Convention must be established by considering the tradition of the past, and also the evolution it has upon the ever-changing societies. In essence, we can no longer practice Rousseau`s method of “return to the first convention” as the changes happen in society will of course change the convention that is legitimate to the citizen at large.

Rousseau in his work, also did not consider or maybe expect the fact that the concept of citizen in the modern world has overlapped and extended in which man can change their citizenship from his home country to country of his best interest. The fact that this interaction between state happened conclude the idea that both convention of the two states, if bilateral, needed to be altered in a way , agreed by both counties or states. In this case, the general will so to speak, has extended towards even a larger perspective that includes two nations of two different conventions.
In our globalized world, the interaction has also significantly impact not only bilaterally, but multilaterally in which case, an international convention inevitably made necessary for all the nations to live in peace. The magnitude of the general will and the mechanism Rousseau proposed must be considered then, irrelevant and classical in the sense that it is an ideal that fails to materialize the objective of freedom it promised.

In realist perspective, this international convention, is not as good as we may think it manifest, but again like what Rousseau validly explain, is the expression of power and domination as well as cultural imperialism if not imperialism in the physical sense towards the weaker nations , in this case, the third world countries. They are enslaved by the global or international convention as legitimate and enforced to submit in the authority and sovereignity of the “general will” of the global world. This is again devastating and terrifying to put Rousseau`s social contract context in our modern context. Rousseau`work, I would say magnificent but it is no longer relevant in its ideal sense.

by: Megat Hanis

Dunia Si Pekak

Standard

Aku memerhati duniya, dan aku melihat,

ramai pendering loceng merdu dan enak,

deringan iramanya membuai, mencandu pendengar,

selesa tiada resah,

namun hanya mengetuk sisi enak,

khuatir berbeda nada,

irama candu diulang-ulang,

apakah nasib si pekak?

aku melihat jua, sedikit kali ini,

pendering jujur berirama sumbang,

mengetuk diseluruh muka loceng,

berbeda-beda nada tercipta,

membingit hingga ke jiwa,

penyentak dari khayalan sementara,

pendengar berbisik,

“alangkah aman jikaku pekak”.

oleh: Szwan ‘Asri

Dosakah aku?

Standard

Warkah pada perasa suci,
atas dasar apa kau persetankan aku,
atas dasar agama atau keangkuhanmu,
berbeda dari kalam yang dituruni,
disalah tafsir disalah erti,
dirasuk nafsu dipandu amarah,
apakah mulia dapat dijual beli,
yang kaya dirahmati yang fakir dikeji,
atas dasar agama atau kebodohanku,
ya aku masih muda dan tidak berdaya,
namun aku punya sifat bertanya,
adakah itu benar atau dusta,
pandu aku ke jalan yang nyata,
dan bukan kepalsuan yang diberhala,
ya yang berasa suci,
jika kau dengar ini,
hayatilah,
renungilah,
pelajarilah.

oleh : Szwan ‘Asri