Less apathy and more empathy for fellow human beings


A child from Kampung Bukit Malut, Langkawi. (Photo by Zan Azlee)

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Less apathy and more empathy for fellow human beings
By Zan Azlee

If all this while Malaysians have always been apathetic to the plight of people different than them, then what has happened in Wang Kelian, Perlis, just strengthens that even more.

The mass graves and human trafficking camps that have been discovered in the jungle along the Malaysian-Thai border shows massive torture and disregard for human life.

People were caged like animals and treated so inhumanely that they were left to die in horrible conditions, by these human traffickers, who happen to be people too.

And now with the arrests that have been made of the two police officers (previously reported as twelve) who are suspected of being involved, the plot just seems more twisted and perverted.

I know that we have to presume everyone innocent before proven guilty, by let’s say that the investigations have a little inkling of validity to it, then I am sad for Malaysia and Malaysians.

Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim was reported to have mentioned to the press that the police officers involved probably didn’t know about the killings and the torture.

Apparently they were more motivated by monetary gains than anything else and this is particularly disturbing because they failed to realise the serious implications of their actions.

They fail to realise that these people who were being trafficked are human beings just like themselves, despite being from a different ethnic group.

The apathy it puts on display is similar to what the consumption for news during the Banting boat capsize last year which involved illegal immigrants from Indonesia showed as well.

People showed so much interest in the incident before it was discovered that the victims were illegal immigrants from Indonesia. It waned when everyone knew.

It was basically saying, ‘Oh, it’s just Indonesians. Let them be then. At least it wasn’t any one of us’. But the fact of the matter is that they are no different than us – they are human beings.

These officers also failed to realise that although they might have not been involved nor realise that people were tortured and killed, they still had a hand in it.

Take for example a paedophile who consumed child ponography online without every molesting or touching a child himself. What would the implications be?

Sure, he did not indulge in the physical harming of any children, but his actions still meant that children were physically hurt for that pornographic content to be consumed by him.

The only hope that can come out of this tragic incident is that more awareness should have now been created to the plight of the Rohingya and also towards human trafficking.

These are serious issues that involves more than just a few people from a different country who need a job and are willing to pay a few extra thousand ringgit to get one.

These are people faced with a bleak future that although they know of the terrible risks they have to take, are willing to do so anyway because that is the only preferable choice they have.

It is also a realisation that the exploiting, kidnapping and extortion of these desperate people needs to be stopped.

So I do hope that the minister is right when he said that although these officers may have initially thought their role was small, they are now probably having difficulty sleeping and having nightmares instead.

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]

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