“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
When I read that, amongst the people that I know, I can only think of Anwar Ibrahim who would be deserving of such words to be said of him.
For too long I have not shared with you my admiration for this courageous shabat of mine. True I have been critical of him when I thought that he could have done better. There have been times I have asked that he exercise caution and care in dealing with the internal affairs of PKR and at times that of Pakatan Rakyat - but always I know what pressure he is under because all this he has to do under intense public scrutiny!
Everything seems to revolve around him. If he seized the moment and make political capital of a situation than he is the better for it. But if he falters he falters in full view of those who are with him and those who are not.
He does not lack for courage in his fight with the goons from UMNO and Barisan Nasional. Nobody relishes a good fight better than Anwar. It is always when he stands up to be counted and takes the full force of an avenging UMNO does he come into his own. For DSAI there is no PLAN B. There is only the present. He lives, breaths and will do all that he needs to survive the present. When he does this he knows that the future will take care of itself.
A caveat. I am writing this as a supporter of Pakatan Rakyat and of Anwar Ibrahim! I do so knowing that Anwar has his failings. Nor do I believe unconditionally that Pakatan Rakyat will be better that Barisan Nasional in government. Far from it. I know too well their weaknesses.
I do so because we have given UMNO and Barisan Nasional all the goodwill, the opportunities and the time they has asked to make good their promise to us of being responsible, accountable and open in government. In return UMNO has failed itself, failed our nation and failed us. Now we must be rid of them. They deserve nothing less!
Now we owe it to ourselves to allow DSAI and Pakatan Rakyat to do government – even if it is only to allow UMNO to regroup and come back to be the government we aspire too just in case Pakatan Rakyat and Anwar fail us! But meantime Pakatan Rakyat has the floor.
And now back to saudara Anwar Ibrahim. Today it would seems that all roads – the good the bad, the pave and the unpaved, the tolled highways and the freeways - they all lead to Anwar. Somehow he is the initiator, the instigator, the implementer and the intended target of all things political in Malaysia. Is this good? Is this a fair assumption?
Leave aside the incoherence rumblings coming from a desperate UMNO. Ignore the accusation of sexual impropriety. Take away all the possible intrigues and dubious activities he has been accused of fermenting, managing and executing. What do you have left?
What we have is a man after our own image (flawed but trying to do the right thing and sometimes failing).
We have a man after our own heart. Putting others and our nation before self – again with good intentions but sometimes stumbling and grasping at straws.
We have a man with whom we can identify with and empathize with – a man capable of riding the ups and downs of life that we too have at one time or another also experienced. While we do so in the privacy of our own space Anwar does so in the glare of public acclaim or censure.
He is burdened by all the advantages that should have really helped him – chief of which is the high regard we have of his potential to do us and our country good, the reverence that many give him because of what he has undergone and achieved in his life and most demanding of all, the expectations we all have that he would be our saviour from the horrific corrupt past that we have endured under the UMNO led Barisan Nasional regime.
For any individual these are already a big asks. For Anwar these are the gauntlets he has to face everyday!
Running the gauntlet is a phrase meaning "to endure hardship or criticism from many sources at once" or "to endure a prolonged test".
Have no fear Anwar is up to it.
Do you know Anwar? Have you met him? Has he offered you his time to listen to and to hear your musings on things politics and of life? Have you sat down to share a meal and conversation with him? Have you heard him speak or watched him from afar on his meet and greet walkabout? Are you able to call him a friend?
I have been privilege to do all of the above though I suspect that he may demurred on the ‘friend’ bit but we will sort that out when we next meet!
To anyone he knows Anwar is a good friend. He has the time of day for you and is comfortable in shooting the breeze on matters that interests you both – be it national politics, world affairs or Paul Anka (especially Paul Anka!). He puts on no ‘airs’ and expects nothing more than the common courtesy that friends and acquaintances accord each other – in other words he is as common as you and me. Somehow I cannot see Najib being able to do what Anwar can do so effortlessly – relate to you and me.
And because Anwar is all this we are drawn to him as our leader. For as much as we want a leader to lead us it is more important to us all that a leader is one of us. Anwar is one of us!
And so I say to Anwar go and do your work for us. Go and do battle with Najib, with UMNO and with the whole damm Barisan Nasional. I will be with you and so will many others. We ask is that you make the effort and take the fight to UMNO for us and never forget the trust we place in you to do so without regard for anything else but the good of our people, the betterment of government and a promise that once again there will be decency and honour amongst our leaders. Amen.