Saturday, March 19, 2016

MALAYSIA: What Might a Yellow T-Shirt Signify?

Supporters of pro-democracy group Bersih gathering outside the Dataran
(Photo credit: REUTERS/Edgar Su )

I've been interested to read about a yellow t-shirt that's been stirring things up in Malaysia.

The Malaysian government has banned supporters of the Bersih ("clean") movement from wearing their signature yellow shirts in public. I had not been paying attention to what Bersih has been up to -- but I sure will be now!

Bersih leader Maria Chin (Source: Astro AWANI/Shahir Omar)
Bersih has a 5-point platform:

1) A transparent government

2) Clean and fair elections

3) The right to demonstrate

4) Strengthening the parliamentary democracy system

5) Saving the economy of Malaysia

Clearly, threatening stuff.

Perhaps part of what makes Bersih so threatening is that they know how to organize -- globally:

In August, 2015, Bersih 4.0 demonstrations took place globally.

I think it's important for us to be in solidarity with people working for peace, justice, and human rights around the world; to be informed about what they are doing, learn about what they're doing successfully, and walk with them.

(To be continued . . . . )

Related posts

Can you think of a concrete symbol of a social protest movement that has gained as much traction?

(See HONG KONG'S UMBRELLA: An Icon for the Ages )

The resistance art on the West Bank wall has become iconic for the movement to resist the Israeli occupation of Palestine. As a part of our preparation for this prayer justice walk on Good Friday, we created some sign boards that replicate art found on the Wall (also known as the Separation Barrier) in Israel. Palestinians and visitors from throughout the world have added their own street art, graffiti, and public art to the Wall, as a sign of protest, an invitation to peace, and a critique of the lack of global intervention. We are posting pictures of our recreations of some of these sign boards in honor of those amazing artists (some known and others anonymous). These signs should help each of us consider what our own role could be in ending the injustice in the Middle East – whether gaining further personal awareness about the Wall, writing to a legislator, reading more about the plight of Palestinian people, or supporting a justice organization working in the Middle East.

(See Completed "Wall" sign boards - for Good Friday event)

It seems to me that that folding cranes -- and folding cranes together with other people -- is very similar to prayer. It's a simple, discrete activity that anyone can participate in. It can be very brief. It can be very private. But it can also open up all kinds of possibilities.

(See FOLDING FOR PEACE: How many uses can you think of for a crane?