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What An Israelis Thinks About Mahathir

Malaysia is an 'alternative' country where many Western ideas were found wanting and were rejected. We are used to frequent changes of prime ministers and presidents and see it as a success of democracy. But Dr M, this benevolent king-philosopher in Plato's mould, disagrees. It takes many years for policies to produce fruits, he says. First year in power, the ruler learns to be addressed and to address others properly. Next year, he forms his opinions. Then he makes decisions, and only in a few years can we judge his decisions properly. He succeeded because he had enough time, he says.

This idea is unusual for us, but as the matter of fact, three of the most charismatic and extraordinary statesmen of our days, Dr M, Dr Fidel Castro and the Pope, persist in power for tens of years with great success. Commercial companies, nowadays as powerful as any state, also do not change their helmsmen without urgent need.

Surely, if a statesman like Dr M were to lead Japan, (or China, or Russia, or, indeed, the EU) the world would be different. Many things have changed since WWII, and Europeans, together with ordinary Americans, are now experiencing the brunt of the same policies Asia suffered in its colonial past. 'The Open Society' has become the tool for robbery brought home, as the New World Order is the colonisation of Europeans and Americans by their new financial elite.

Dr M is a strict opponent of the American War on Terror. For him, "terrorism never dies until the causes for terrorism are eliminated". He speaks against the impending Anglo-American aggression in Iraq, he refuses to accept the rant of 'Islamic terror'. Dr M supports the much-suffering people of Palestine without the caveats usually produced by his meek-hearted colleagues in Europe. His voice is heard, for Malaysia has not surrendered its discourse to its enemies.

Malaysia reminded me of Cuba, the Island of Freedom in the Caribbean Sea. It is also an alternative society where highly educated men map a different future for mankind, for "today's world is in shambles. The abuses of the free trade system, the unlimited greed of speculators, have resulted in the world losing its way", in the words of Dr M. Similar ideas are expressed in Castro's speeches. The two politicians met a few times and expressed mutual admiration, despite their huge ideological differences: Castro the Communist and Dr M the Nationalist. In Cuba and in Malaysia, one can read a newspaper or watch TV without nausea. These two small countries have much for us to learn from.

About The Author:-
Israel Shamir is a critically acclaimed and respected Russian Israeli Writer and Journalist. He wrote for Haaretz, BBC, Pravda and translated Agnon, Joyce and Homer into Russian. He lives in Jaffa and has become a leading champion of the 'One Man, One Vote, One State' solution in all of Palestine/Israel. His writings are mostly in English but you can also read some of his articles translated into Arabic, French, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Turkish, Russian and Spanish.


by Farhan Shah

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