THE PROPHESY OF CHINUA ACHEBE
(article from akadirjasin.blogspot.com)
(written by Fadhallalah)
The saga of Anwar vs Mahatir and how Anwar was pinned down in 1998 can only be captured by Chinua Achebe in his acclaimed book: A Man of the People which he wrote 45 years ago.
By then, Anwar was in High School. The author of the book is a Nigerian intellectual of immense knowledge and unparalleled literature critic. The African icon talked about politics of demonization and character assassination in relation to nations, their colonial powers in the then emerging Africa which has gained independence in the early sixties.
The writer wrote the book in the wake of Africa’s independence where close to 35 countries have gained independence in the early sixties simultaneously. By then, the most important thing was independence. Africans were happy to have chased out the whites and reclaimed Africa. They hated any African who collaborated with the Whites by then. A traitor he was called. The writer however wasn’t happy because as he captured in his epic book, the new African leadership will cause misery, pain, corruption, nepotism, greed and suffering. They will do worse than the chased out Whites. In order to sustain themselves, the writer foresaw all evils and machinations. By then, what he wrote didn’t happen but he jsut prophesized it.
However, in the same year that he has published his book in 1966, what he wrote happened almost in a prophetic way. Achebe wrote that whenever an African leader will feel the heat of a strong leader in his government, and that he can’t remove him through popular vote or casual sacking; his only method will be to blackmail him and relate him to foreign powers and accuse him of treason. Remember, Africans were happy to have gained independence; so anyone who was accused of treason was a villain and cursed. This was when Tunku was the PM by the way.
The book has no relation to Malaysia but it talked about how desperate leaders will handle tough competitors ruthlessly.Ironically, the book gives a fictional example of how such leaders will handle their worthy competitors. In the book set up, there is a powerful PM and a powerful and popular Finance Minister. Chinua writes that the PM instructs the Finance Minister to “salvage” some companies as he needs to woo voters for the next elections and also as he has shares in those companies. Typically what Mahatir did to Anwar; albeit Mahatir wanting to salvage his sons’ companies. However, the Finance Minister declines that order saying it will harm the nation since there was a economic recession and that the economy couldn’t sustain such a venture. The PM is enraged and he moves against his powerful and popular Finance Minister. He sacks him and his close friends on one night.
The next day people come to the streets and protest saying the Finance minister was a good man. Knowing that he can’t convince people easily; the PM resorts to treason charges. He addresses the nation and even sheds tears in live coverage accusing his Finance Minister “of working with foreign saboteurs to destroy the nation.” The media is government controlled (typically Malaysia) and they do the spinning. Many people buy the PM’s story and even start blaming the Finance minister whom they regarded as good yesterday. The Finance Minister is jailed, his hand broken and his house raided. (What happened to Anwar) and his close companions create a new party. It is after a long struggle that the people come to know the truth, after the PM’s government is overthrown by the military due to excesses, cronyism and corruption. Prophetically, this happened in Nigeria in 1966 and the book was nicknamed: The Prophetic Book. The writer was even jailed briefly and he fled the nation later.
In our context, this is what has happened in Malaysia. Mahatir knew Malays hated Jews since they mistreat the Palestinians and knowing that Anwar was a man of grassroots and a Malay nationalist who was also more mannered than he was and who probably has the best wife and children given to any male Malay political leader today, he had to accuse Anwar of working with the Jews to destroy Malaysia. I have never seen a more prophetic incident than what Chinua Achebe wrote in his book. However, in Malaysia, there is no military takeover but people’s takeover. What Mahatir did to Anwar is what Chinua Achebe explained in his time immemorial book. The fact remains Anwar is far the most loyal and lovely son of Malaysia. Only that he is smarter than his Malay contemporaries by being a go getter politician who has extensive networks and foreign knowledge to know how to market himself and Malaysia. His competitors and UMNO warlords lack that finesse, so they resort to character assassination and base accusations. Thank God that we came along way as a nation to know much.
They say Anwar works with Jews. Absolutely there is nothing he did nor has cheated anyone. However, working with Jews is neither a crime nor an anti-Islam undertaking in the first place. Our Prophet (pbuh) did work with them and did marry from them. Talking to your enemy, engaging your enemy, learning your enemy, outmaneuvering and befriending your enemy for both tactical and strategic reasons and humanistic reasons are measures that can only be taken by few chosen and highly intelligent men and women. The unfortunate thing however, is that some poor Malays and intellectually handicapped elements like you engage in flimsy issues for personal greed and grandstanding thinking that Malays are living in the past.
It is interesting that Mahatir has to pay millions in order to have a photo with Bush through Jewish lobby and accuse others of treason simply that they are more influential than him. Pathetic. Understand, I support him meeting Bush, because we need to make him understand us and our issues. Talking to your enemy is the character of Muhammad (pbuh) and it should be done always. But I'm simply laughing at the irony. Mahatir destroyed our institutions because he wanted to be an institution himself.
Israel is strong today for one reason: good institutions. Israel's chief enemy Hassan Nasarallah of Hezbollah said last year: “I love Israel for one reason: Israel is a nation that draws its strength from its institutions and that’s why it wins because no Israeli leader can elevate himself above the interests of the nation for personal gain. But Muslim leaders always want to the institutions themselves and we always lose.” We have lost because Tun wants to be declared a semi-god. He dropped Ku Li, dropped Hitam, dropped Baba, dropped Anwar, dropped Pak Lah, dropped (now) Najib. It tells you a lot.
Truth can't be submerged however long it takes to dawn because that's against the creation order of God.