Imagine that you are now at your home; with all your family members, happily living together under one roof. Then one day, a group of people comes to your house, armed with guns and MK-16 rifles, points at you and orders you and your family members to leave your house at once. With nowhere to go, with no permanent shelter, little money and food, some of your family members starve, some of your family members get robbed and terrorized by outlaws, and some of your family members get killed because he or she wants to protect you, the children, the young people, leaders of tomorrow.
This is not just an imaginary situation. Thousands of families have been broken up in Palestine. Families destroyed, broken dreams, kids wandering about without the love of their parents and their lives consigned to seeking protection, constantly running away from their prosecutors. Ladies and gentlemen, tonight I would like to address two questions that people been asking my us: why we care and why we are important.
I have been trying to ask many of my friends, what their thoughts and opinions on the Palestine issue are. What surprised me is that some of them feel that this is completely a religious issue; sparked by religious conflict; a tension between two religions.
I am a Buddhist, and I am a human being and I feel that they couldn’t be more off the mark in this issue. This is a human rights issue. When someone pointed gun at you and ordered you to flee, forcing you to become refugees and seizing your property, isn’t that a human rights issue?
We the people, are born with certain inalienable rights; the rights to life, liberty and property. And no one, no government in this world, no regime can take these natural rights away from us. So when the rights of the people of Palestine have been reduced to next to nothing by their oppressors, there is absolutely no reason not to see this as a violation of the United Nations’ Human Rights agreement.
We the people, share collective interests as human beings. When one part of the world is weakened, it affects us all. We are our brothers’ keepers and we look out for each other. This is what sharing the world means. Of course it is a much easier choice if you just sit at home and be an armchair critic. But if we are serious in following the advice of Mahatma Gandhi, that is to be the change that we want to see in this world, we cannot ignore conflict. We cannot ignore the source of conflict in Palestine.
We need to face and confront this issue together. It is only when citizens of the world unite and show that we indeed care about this issue that we start to see people in power taking action. So get your friends, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Jews, people of all races and religions in different parts of the world and bring their attention to this human rights issue. Get them together to demand justice, action and freedom for the people of Palestine!
This leads to my next point: why are you important to the Palestinians. Do you know why people commit suicide? It is that dreadful feeling of being all alone on your own. That there is no brighter tomorrow. And nobody cares.
But we are here tonight to show the people of Palestine that they are not alone. We are here tonight to show the people of Palestine that we care! We are here tonight to show them that there are millions of people around the world that support them! Do not give up! That is our message to them!
You serve a purpose by being here; you give them assurance, you give them hope, and you give them the courage to carry on.
In conclusion, this is a human rights issue that deserves our attention and we the citizens of the world play a very important role in giving hope and courage to the people of Palestine. This is not a one night fight. This fight will not end when you go to sleep tonight. You must be committed and have the stamina to continue to support this cause for as long as you can.
Just remember that this is not an impossible dream. The blacks were once widely discriminated, but people like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela keep fighting. And when the world recognized their fight, freedom reigns in their lands.
So let freedom reigns in the land of Palestine. Let freedom reigns in Gaza. Let freedom reigns in the holy city of Jerusalem. And one day when we let freedom reigns, the world shall see Muslim children, Christian children, Jewish children and people of all parts of the world joining hands together and we can finally say to the the people of Palestine, “free at last! Free at last! Thank God al-mighty we are free at last!”
* A speech by Brother Ooi Kok Hin,
2nd year Student,
Taylors University Colledge Subang Jaya.
Brother Ooi read this speech on 30th March 2012 at MyGMJ Stadium Malawati Shah Alam.