Thursday, June 01, 2006

Men Are Not Made For Safe Havens

Men Are Not Made For Safe Havens”.

I doubt many of you know who said these words. Perhaps I should give you some hints.

He was a popular US politician who was assassinated in June 1968 when he was only 43 years old. His killer was a Palestinian by the name of Sirhan B. Sirhan. Sirhan confessed to the shooting, claiming he acted against this US senator because of his support for Israel in the June 1967 Six-Day War.

Nearly four decades after his death, the conflict in the Middle East rages on, albeit in different forms; and has in fact spread to other places.


Despite all the scientific and technological advancements, the world has become an even more dangerous place. If you do not believe me, just do a quick scan of the news for the past few days. Here are some of the big news items:

To our South, the death toll from the S. Java earthquake exceeds 5,000 and the rain adds to the misery of the survivors. Meantime, the volcano in Gunung Merapi threatens to erupt anytime. And things do not look too bright on the horizon. On the first day of the week, TODAY greeted us with a headline which said; “Ring of Fear Bubbles – Experts suggest Java quake could be a sign of things to come”. Anybody dare to say for sure we in Singapore will not be next?

To the East, our friends in Timor Leste are fighting each other so soon after gaining their hard-won independence.

To the North, another landslide crushes 43 homes in the Malaysian capital, just a stone’s throw from the scene of the 1993 Highland Towers disaster. People just don’t learn do they?

And further up, in North Thailand, thousands are still coping with the destruction brought on by the recent massive floods. According to TODAY, “Experts blame the unseasonal violent storms on the rising temperatures from global warming. …The climatic extremes are believed to be related to the cyclical La Nina weather phenomenon”. Not sure what they mean, but it sure doesn’t sound promising does it?

Meantime, the Islamic militants of Southern Thailand seemed to be taking a break. Or maybe the killings have become so regular, they don’t warrant big headlines and so I missed it.

Finally, to our West, in places like Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel and off course Iraq, there’s no need for me to elaborate. Shootings and bombings have become so commonplace many of us don’t even want to read the details anymore.

Even back home, in one of the safest countries on this planet, there is no escape from the fear of terrorism. “Don’t be complacent. Be psychologically prepared for a successful attack”, our government never tires of warning us. And they are right of course. If our JI friends are determined enough, and if they watch enough Hollywood movies, why not? And so they are installing surveillance camera in our public places, trains and buses. They want private enterprises to beef up their security systems. And occasionally we hold terrorist attack drills.

So Robert Kennedy was right when he said, “Men are not made for safe havens.”


Let me end with a quote by another famous politician of that era. Golda Meir, the former prime minister of Israel once said:

"When they will love their children more than they hate us, then there will be peace"

1 comment:

chuck said...

You forgot to mention that the biggest cluster of bird flu cases was recently found in Indonesia. Experts fear that if ever the bird flu pandemic were to break out, our immediate neighbour will be one of the likely places from which it will start.