Wednesday, February 21, 2007

From a Distance: Set Aside Your Prejudice for the Children of War

From a distance the world looks blue and green,
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
and the eagle takes to flight.

From a distance, there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace,
it's the voice of every man.

From a distance we all have enough,
and no one is in need.
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
no hungry mouths to feed.

From a distance we are instruments,
marching in a common band.
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace.
They're the songs of every man.
God is watching us. God is watching us.
God is watching us from a distance.

From a distance you look like my friend,
even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend,
what all this fighting is for.

From a distance there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
And it's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves,
it's the heart of every man.

It's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves.
This is the song of every man.
And God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.
Oh, God is watching us, God is watching.
God is watching us from a distance.

-- Bette Midler, Some People's Lives (1990)

The Sun issue dated February 13th, 2007 reported Datuk Param Cumaraswamy, the former United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, calling the proposed Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal is a farce. He raised the non-signing by the Malaysian Government of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court agreed by UN member states in 1998. He mocked the Tribunal as an NGO has no legal basis.

Police Watch and Human Rights Committee legal advisor, P. Uthayakumar picked on Tun for not holding a Royal Commission of Inquiry or inquest made on the 2001 Kampung Medan racial incident in Petaling Jaya.

I am tempted to answer the issues but would appeal to this two gentlemen and many others to set your prejudices. Read the note from a 7-year old below downloaded from Nizam Bashir.
Glory and glamour is farthest from feasibility in this struggle, particularly to an 82-year old man. Think of all those many tears and fears of children out there. Think of all those men and women victimised in this war of merciless cause.

The reply from Prof Shad Faruqi on the PGPO blog hopefully should answer your comment, Dato. In summary, the good Professor replied:

  1. The concept of law is not confined to enacted, formal law.
  2. Even if it is alleged that the KL proceedings have no legality, no one can deny that they have legitimacy.
  3. The KL proceedings are inspired by the principle that wherever there is a right there must be a remedy.
  4. By far and large international law on genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and wars of aggression is applied selectively and in a racist and colonial fashion.
  5. The Rome Statute has a number of flaws that prevent horrendous war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression from being prosecuted.
  6. The KL proceedings are inspired by previous precedents of People’s Tribunals.
  7. Such people’s initiatives have basis in democratic theory, in human rights jurisprudence and in the Charter of the United Nations.
  8. The fact that the KL War Crimes Tribunal cannot impose its judgment on the aggressors is not the heart of the matter.
  9. The fact that the KLWCC and the KLWCT may have to proceed without the presence of the accused is indeed troublesome.
  10. Admittedly, the KLWCT suffers from many limitations.
I plead to all peace-loving human to join hands in this fight and struggle, even if it is insisted to be called farce. I know Bush and B-lair would appreciate it be called so.

God is watching us from a distance.

A Voice
Kuala Lumpur
February 21st, 2007 3:50 p.m.

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