Thursday, 19 September 2019
Kampung Pictures Daily Not the last goodbye - 16th July 2011
Not the last goodbye - 16th July 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 20:13

By Farida Jivamala Ibrahim


Teoh Beng Hock : death number 1804;  died while in custody on 16th July, 2009.


He can never come back but he matters still.  His little one, growing up without a Dad – he matters too.

 

R. Gunasegaran : death number 1805; died in custody on the same  day in 2009.

 

Nothing can ever bring him back but he matters too,  like his sister, striving to redeem his name.

 

They all matter  - the 1,805 Malaysians who, between 2003 and 16th July 2009 according to a ministerial reply in Parliament, died while in the custody of the state.


We have only the names of  50, among them Syed Fadzil Syed Hamzah - death number 6; S.Hendry - death number 928; Liziana binti Mohd Kamal - death number 1330 and Chai Hong Yik - death number 1631.


What of the remaining 1,755? Who were they? What of their families, struggling with grief, waiting for a closure that will not come?


We do not know. What little we read and hear about is horrifying –  the cruel punches, brutal kicks, relentless beatings, unstoppable strangleholds, mental and verbal assaults … and more.


There must have been the screams of anguish, the pleas to stop, the indescribable pain, a welcomed unconsciousness, and then the stillness of the body and the ending of a life.


They were our own – Anak Bangsa Malaysia. They died in circumstances most questionable and from treatment most vile, in this country they called and we call ‘home’.


And because we looked away, the numbers grew.


Only we, through remembering, through vigilance, through outrage,  can do the very thing we failed to do before.


We must protect our own.

 


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As the sweltering heat of the day gave way to a gentle breeze, the faithful gathered by the river as many had done the previous year.


 

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Simple offerings of remembrance – flowers as fragile as the lives that had been lost.

 

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SABM'’s Jaya: “The latest figures revealed in Parliament in March 2011 were that there were 156 who died in police custody, 2,587 in prison. That roughly translates  to, between 2000 and 2009, something like 3 deaths every 4 days.”

 

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Chong Kok Siong,  Coordinator for the ‘Malaysians For Beng Hock’ movement:  “It has been 2 years since Beng Hock and Gunasegaran left us. We wish these would be the last. Unfortunately, the number has grown. Draconian laws continue….  As long as we are living in this kind of scenario, in fear , we are not ‘Merdeka’.”

 

 

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A poignant moment : in the silence, unspoken hopes perhaps for strength for grieving families and for peace.

 

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No rushing water carried them away. The flowers stayed, keeping  company with the flickers of life, as if to say, “Not yet goodbye. It’s not over yet.”


“We are here  to remember and it is good,” said Haris. “Then what? Think about it. Think about the little we can do. One, we bring closure of these matters to the family. More importantly, we don’t have any more deaths in custody.”

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A quiet strength, the beauty of hope, remembrance and love for our fellowmen.


The future calls and we will stay the course, no matter what it takes.

 


Topmost pic / delCapo

All other pics / Nandakumar Haridas

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