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In slightly over 3 hours, the Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur will begin. I'm reading updates across international and local newspapers online about the blockades around the city centre; the arrests -- now up to over 200 people; the 91 restriction orders against people deemed connected to Bersih, including most of the coalition NGOs' leaders; and the police searches of tour buses and hotels.

I regret that I didn't call up my parents yesterday, one or both who may likely be in Kuala Lumpur. Based on the maps I've seen of the roadblocks, I think they will be fine.

It's not an emergency. That requires another royal edict, and the King has already spoken. There will almost certainly be a lot more arrests later today. I feel like I am watching my beloved Kuala Lumpur hurt itself, but truthfully, many of these events have happened before. The arrests, the roadblocks, the water cannons, the riot police, the strongly-worded warnings to university students about political participation and the detention without trial of social welfare NGOs -- all representatives of civil society, not political parties -- have all happened in some capacity within my lifetime. It's all just bigger and brighter this time around.

Tomorrow morning, those Malaysians among us in San Francisco who will march will be among the last around the globe to participate with our fellows. We will doubtless ask each other what we've heard from back home. I am still mostly scared.

Comments

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resonant
Jul. 8th, 2011 11:27 pm (UTC)
*hugs hugs hugs*

I know it's not the same thing, but we went through G20 a year ago. Pre-emptive arrests, police smashing into people's homes at 3 AM without a warrant to arrest dissidents, hundreds of people locked in cages without charge or trial for days. It actually made things mildly better in the long run, as the backlash scared the authorities.
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