Saturday, October 25, 2008
Let Shirin Ebadi speak at Universiti Malaya!
Foreign Minister Rais Yatim is right - Iranian Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi should be allowed to speak at the campus. There is no reason why the invitation to the outspoken human rights activist should be withdrawn. She is a guest of a Malaysian university. So why should we worry if a small group of Iranian students grumble. This is Malaysia, not Teheran-lah. If they do not want to listen to her, then they should just stay away. Since when does Universiti Malaya and the Foreign Ministry take orders from Iranian students? A university is a place where intellectual discourse must be allowed to take place and the divergence of views must be encouraged. To stifle the freedom of expression and to submit to the demands of a small group is surely out of line. There is no place for the tyranny of the minority. Rais must be commended for saying the letter from the Foreign Ministry was made without his permission. Diplomacy and maintaining good relations is what Wisma Putra does but they should not let these envoys boss them around. Ebadi, a lawyer, and her daughter have faced death threats for their views, which does not conform with those of the Ayatollahs. Liberals must never let the conservatives and religious right drown their voices and rights.