Photo from the Malaysian Dalits Movement. The Dalits (from India) were one of the first hard core workers who arrived in Malaysia with the British colonials. Considered the “untouchables”, their fate is worst than any other. The Dalits the world over suffer the kind of discrimination that our brothers and sisters in HINDRAF are fighting for. Says a Dalit rights activists, Dr Ambedkar:
“You must abolish your slavery yourselves. Do not depend for its abolition upon God or a superman. Remember that it is not enough that a people are numerically in the majority. They Must be always watchful, strong, and self respecting to attain and maintain success.”
To give us a REAL May DAY to its workers, Malaysia should RELEASE the five HINDRAF leaders under ISA detention in Kamunting. Sign the online petition and remember the five who Prime Minister Abdullah Ahamd Badawi refuses to release:
Historically, the REAL labour day had its roots in the Anarchist movement in Chicago. And below, lyrics of one of the most powerful songs by Joe Hill on workers struggle:
Workers of the world, awaken!
Rise in all your splendid might
Take the wealth that you are making,
It belongs to you by right.
No one will for bread be crying
We’ll have freedom, love and health,
When the grand red flag is flying
In the Workers’ Commonwealth.
Close to home, Malaysia presents us with a new law (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Bill 2007), where traffickers and those who abet them face lengthy jail sentences of up to 20 years, heavy fines and even whipping (International Press Service):
“The new law is a major change for the better. It is tough on offenders and very comprehensive in its reach. But we fear it might sit pretty on the shelf if not effectively enforced,” said Dr Irene Fernandez, executive director of TENAGANITA, a leading rights non-governmental organisation (NGO) that champions trafficked women and migrant workers. “We have demanded for such a law for a decade and now we have it…we are elated.”
“It is a real success story,” Irene told IPS. “A lot of individuals and NGOs had worked hard for this law.”