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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Syria steps up assault on Homs



Reports of dozens killed in heavy shelling as Russian foreign minister heads to Damascus to push for reforms.

A Syrian military assault on Homs has killed dozens of people, as world powers scramble for a diplomatic strategy to end the violence in the country after the defeat of a UN Security Council resolution.

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is due to visit Damascus on Tuesday to press President Bashar al-Assad to implement democratic reforms after Russia and China vetoed any UN-backed measures against the Syrian government over its crackdown on the 11-month uprising.

Ahead of his visit, Lavrov said condemnation of Moscow's veto had verged on "hysteria"

He said Moscow sought "the swiftest stabilisation of the situation in Syria on the basis of the swiftest implementation of democratic reforms whose time has come".

The Russian initiative comes a day after the United States shut its embassy in Damascus and Belgium and Britain recalled their ambassadors.

US President Barack Obam said that while the West was prepared to lean hard on President Bashar al-Assad diplomatically, they still had no intention of using force to topple him.

"I think it is very important for us to try to resolve this without recourse to outside military intervention. And I think that's possible," Barack Obama told NBC's Today show.

Activists and witnesses said the Syrian army had stepped up its attacks on opposition fighters after the UN resolution was blocked by Russia and China.

Abu Abdo Alhomsy, an activist of a revolutionary council in Homs, described to Al Jazeera an attack on Monday on the city as live pictures showed smoke billowing into the sky.

'Rockets are falling'

"It is horrible right here," Alhomsy said. "Rockets are falling. There are massive explosions that shook buildings. We don't know really what to do.

"Its a massive attack - a new massacre is happening here. Nobody can go out, we don't know how many homes have been hit or how many people died."

The UK-based opposition group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), said at least 29 civilians were killed and dozens more wounded.

But it said the death toll was likely to rise because many of the wounded had suffered critical injuries.

Syrian authorities, who have denied firing on houses, said security forces killed "tens of terrorists" in Homs on Monday morning. An interior ministry statement said six members of the security forces were killed in the clashes.

The shelling, which began at dawn, was mainly targeting the neighbourhoods of Khaldiyeh, Bab Amr, Inshaat and Bab Sbaa, the SOHR said.

Video received by Al Jazeera from opposition activists on Sunday showed the apparent devastation caused by a military offensive in the Bab Amr neighbourhood of Homs.

A video posted by activists on YouTube apparently showed a field hospital hit by the shelling in Bab Amr. Wounded patients could be seen lying on stretchers on the floor amid pools of blood and shattered glass. Bodies of dead people with horrific injuries were also shown inside the hospital.

The authenticity of the video could not immediately be verified.

Syrian state television has accused "armed gangs" of being behind the latest violence in Homs.

'Non-stop bombing'

Activists and witnesses said the army had been shelling Bab Amr "indiscriminately" since Sunday morning.

The video images appear to show people who have been shot and hit by shrapnel, including heavily injured young children.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Danny Abdul Dayem, a resident of Homs, said: "It has been terrible. There is non-stop bombing with rockets, mortar bombs and tank shells. There were more than 50 people injured in Bab Amr today.

"I saw with my own eyes kids with no legs, and a kid who lost his whole bottom jaw. It is terrible."

In the northeast of the country, army deserters destroyed a military control post early on Monday, killing three officers and capturing 19 soldiers in the process, the SOHR said.

The fighting happened in the village of Al Bara in the Idlib region, it said.

It said none of the army deserters involved was killed and that the regular army post was completely destroyed.

The death toll in Syria rose to at least 88 people over the weekend - one of the bloodiest since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad's government erupted almost 11 months ago.

Opposition groups say at least 6,000 people have now been killed in Syria.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

Pictured: Swollen face of trainee chef left for dead after he was savagely beaten 'by Asian gang in hate crime attack'

Police hunting a gang of Asian youths who battered a Caucasian teenager and left him for dead were treating the savage beating as a ‘hate crime’ last night.

Trainee chef Dan Stringer, 17, was repeatedly kicked and punched by a mob of up to eight people after he fell over as they were chasing him down the street near Manchester.

The victim and his best friend Kavan Brown, also 17, were walking down Market Street, Hyde, Saturday evening when they passed by a takeaway shop.

Inside were a group of Asian men and a woman, one of whom banged on the window, produced a knife and made a threatening gesture suggesting they were going to cut their throats.

The victims ignored the gang and walked on, but moments later the group spilled outside and ran after them.
Before the attack: Trainee chef Dan Stringer, 17, was repeatedly kicked and punched by a mob of up to eight people after he fell over as they were chasing him down the street
Before the attack: Trainee chef Dan Stringer, 17, was repeatedly kicked and punched by a mob of up to eight people after he fell over as they were chasing him down the street

They tried to flee, but Dan fell over and was attacked by the gang.
Victim: Police hunting a gang of Asian youths who battered the teenager and left him for dead are treating the savage beating as a 'hate crime'
Victim: Police hunting a gang of Asian youths who battered the teenager and left him for dead are treating the savage beating as a 'hate crime'


Greater Manchester Police said he was repeatedly punched and kicked as he lay on the ground, suffering two fractured eye sockets.

He underwent surgery in hospital and is now in a stable condition. His mother Cheryl Stringer, 44, a care home supervisor from Stockport, Greater Manchester, posted a message on Facebook: ‘Been at Manchester Eye hospital all day.

‘He has damaged his nerves behind his eye we don't know the extent of this until his swelling goes down.

‘He then needs plastic surgery on the eye socket that they broke in two places. He also has several fractures to his cheek that needs plastic surgery and he also has a fractured skull.

‘It's going to be a long long battle for my gorgeous boy. Still can't understand why they left him in the road to die. What b******s do this?

‘Do they not have mums who care and poor Kav who had to stand and see his best mate left for dead. Well I hope they rot in hell.’

Dan before the attack: Police are hunting a gang of Asian youth who battered this teenager and left him for deadBefore: The teenager needs plastic surgery on the eye socket that is broken in two places. He also has several fractures to his cheek and a fractured skull
The teenager needs plastic surgery on the eye socket that is broken in two places. He also has several fractures to his cheek and a fractured skull

Kavan who suffered a broken nose in the attack said: ‘I just can't understand why it happened. ‘I'd never seen any of them in my life before but they seemed to pick us out as we walked down the street.

‘They split us up and we each had five of them attacking us, it was horrific. When they ran off, I saw Daniel on the floor, he was conscious but in a really bad way.

‘I'm still in shock at what happened to me but it's even more horrendous to see your best mate in the state he's in and now we're all just praying he'll be okay.’

A police spokesman confirmed the attack was being treated as a hate crime, although it is understood
Christmas time: Police are treating the savage beating as a 'hate crime'

there were no racist or other comments directed at either victim.

Police said there were seven or eight offenders who are described as being Asian, in their late teens or early 20s.

Det Insp Dave Moores said: ‘The hospitalised victim hasn't yet been able to give us an account of what happened and what led up to this.

‘As a result we cannot speculate on a possible motive for this. What I can say is that one man has been left seriously injured while another is nursing less serious cuts and bruises.

‘It happened at a time of night where there are usually plenty of people milling around walking between pubs or visiting takeaways in the area.

‘A large group of up to eight offenders ran after the victims and anyone seeing it would have been under no illusions of what they were witnessing.

‘Please, if you saw the incident or what led up to it, or if you have any information that could help us, then pick up the phone.

‘I completely understand why this would cause some legitimate concern in the community, but I do not want anyone to jump to any conclusions about this.

‘This type of incident is unusual in Hyde, but that does not lessen the impact on the victims, their families and the wider community.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2097330/Dan-Stringer-Picture-trainee-chef-beaten-Asian-gang-hate-crime-attack.html#ixzz1lfdhsnnw



KITA leaders to talk about party future sans Zaid

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 — Parti Keadilan Insan Tanah Air (KITA) leaders are planning to meet at the end of the month to decide their future ahead of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s decision to dissolve the party.

“If the party can be free from infestation by undesirable elements and infiltrators without dissolving the party, then it is a preferred option.

“However if the party leadership feels that the best way to prevent the party from being a vehicle to abuse the electoral process is to close the party, then that will be the decision taken,” the party’s information chief Mohamed Mazlan Abdul Manaf said in a statement today.

He said he agreed with Zaid (picture) that KITA “does not condone dirty tactics and gutter politics” but stressed that the statement was the only president’s personal view and was not entirely shared by the other members.

He said the dissolution would only be one of the options that will be discussed at its next central executive committee meeting at the end of this month.

Last Thursday, Zaid said an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) would be held to dissolve KITA following reports of members in Kedah and Penang openly attacking Pakatan Rakyat (PR), “making it clear that they are not interested in real issues and merely want to embarrass and ridicule the opposition.”

Several state leaders then held a press conference on Saturday saying they rejected Zaid’s bid to dissolve the party and called for his resignation as the proposal was”unprincipled” and “irresponsible”.

“While we welcome members who genuinely wish to contest in the elections to fight for the party’s manifesto and principles, we will not field candidates whose objective is to ‘spoil votes’, and who are being used by certain groups to achieve their political aims.

“We will certainly not allow the party to be used in that way,” Mohamed Mazlan said.

He also said the party has been “infiltrated by members whose sole agenda appears to be to contest the next general election.”

Zaid, a former Umno minister who joined the opposition PKR in mid-2009, had alleged gross abuse in the PR party’s election process during his unsuccessful campaign to be deputy president, which eventually led him to form KITA.

But the two-year-old party has been fraught with internal bickering and challenges against Zaid’s leadership by other KITA members, who have disagreed with his pro-opposition stand.

Zaid recently announced that KITA will not be contesting the coming polls and promised to offer the party’s “unconditional support” to the federal opposition.

The state leaders from Kedah, Selangor and Johor had also said they wanted former Selangor PAS chief Datuk Hasan Ali to lead the party instead of Zaid.

The former Selangor executive councillor last week said he would start a new non-governmental organisation called JATI to continue defending Islam, Malay rights and the Malay Rulers, describing it as a “third force” to help determine who should form the next government.

The Gombak Setia assemblyman was expelled from the party last month for having persistently undermined PAS’s leadership.

Hasan has also repeatedly accused the party of deviating from its Islamic cause.

RPK: There is corruption in Selangor

The controversial blogger, who claims that he is trying to save Pakatan Rakyat, vows to reveal proof and hopes that Anwar Ibrahim will act on the matter.
VIDEO INSIDE

PETALING JAYA: Controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin has alleged that there is corruption in the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government and vowed to disclose the evidence.

Following this, he expressed hope that the opposition bloc’s leader Anwar Ibrahim would act on the matter even if it meant that the heads of his close associates had to roll.

When his complaints fell on deaf ears, Raja Petra told FMT that he was forced to turn to the pro-government mainstream media to drive home the point.

“And boy, did we shake them up,” stressed the blogger, who earned fame by rattling the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition via the alternative media.

However, Raja Petra said that instead of acknowledging the problem and promising to rectify it, Pakatan chose to discredit him.

“Their reaction was ‘he has been bought, he is working for Umno’… if the best they can do is (to accuse me) of ‘mala fide’ (and) that I am out to kill Pakatan rather than save Pakatan, which is what I am trying to do, then I have to take this to the next step,” he added.

The next step, he explained, would be to furnish the evidence since Pakatan leaders had urged him to do so instead of hurling allegations.

“Sometimes, be careful what you wish for. But since this is a challenge, and people have said ‘unless you can prove your allegations with evidence, we are not going to take notice of you’…fine. This is what you want, it is not what I want, I will do what you want.



“After this (when the evidence is revealed), I hope the effect will be… that Anwar will grab the bull by

the horns. And even if he has to cut off the heads of the people he loves, he will do so,” he added.

Raja Petra warned that if Anwar chose to shield those responsible, then he should be prepared to face the consequence of Pakatan losing Selangor.

Earlier, the blogger said that when he met the opposition leader in London in 2010, he had told the latter about the alleged corruption in Selangor but nothing was done about it.

Raja Petra claimed that he was alerted about the matter a year earlier by one of his whistleblowers, who was supposed to compile the evidence.

He also made a startling allegation that this whistleblower was murdered two weeks later but declined to elaborate on the incident.

“That’s another story, which we will talk about another time,” he said.

‘Umno sharks smell blood’

Meanwhile, Raja Petra also claimed that certain Pakatan politicians in Selangor had solicited funds from businessmen for their electoral war chest.

“These people (the businessmen) are doing business in Selangor, they need approvals, they need help from the state government. Would these people dare say ‘no’? Or (say) that they think this is unethical?

“Of course they would have to give, because if they don’t give, they would be in trouble. One person had refused to give and his project is in trouble now, he can’t get the approval,” he added.

Raja Petra stressed that these issues must be brought into the open and hopefully Pakatan would act to prove to the voters in Selangor that it was serious about combating corruption.

“It worries me when people who voted Pakatan in 2008, today tell me ‘Pakatan, BN all the same, both also corrupted’. This is not a good sign,” he said, adding that the voice of discontent was growing in numbers, including among those close to Pakatan and its leaders.

The blogger said that Pakatan faced a genuine risk of losing Selangor and this had even prompted a power struggle in Umno, with regard to who should be the next menteri besar if BN captured the state.

“These are like sharks, which smell the blood…,” he said, adding that the sharks in Umno had picked up the scent because they could sense that Pakatan might be “ripped to pieces” in the next polls.

Raja Petra said that if Pakatan wanted to wait until after the election to rectify the problem, then it would be too late just like what happened in Perak.

“Do we want to wait until Selangor is also lost?” he asked.

Not everyone in Umno is happy with his meet-the-people sessions.

Not everyone in Umno is happy with his meet-the-people sessions.

By Rashid Ahmad

KUALA LUMPUR: The election fever is still around, but temperatures are not as high as they were at the end of last year, when politics was on everyone’s lips, including schoolchildren.

The fever started going down in December, when people were busy collecting the RM100 government handouts for their school-going children. This month, they are busy filling up forms for the RM500 cash aid.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is continuing with his meet-the-people sessions, announcing various new policies and trying to rebut allegations of Barisan Nasional misdeeds. The opposition parties seem to have plenty of information that even grassroots Umno leaders are not privy to.

Najib’s people claim that he is not on an election campaign trail, but merely doing his duty of seeing to it that the people get the most out of the country’s economic development.

However, voices from both sides of the political divide insist that he is campaigning, playing Santa Claus to win votes for BN.

In Umno itself, grassroots leaders liken Najib’s campaign to the United States’ presidential campaign. A Selangor-based leader said the prime minister was doing exactly what an American presidential candidate would do – moving from one state to another at lightning speed.

But are Malaysian voters ready for that kind of politics?

“Malaysian voters, if I am not wrong, do not go much for the kind of party politics that Najib is trying to promote now – vote BN because I am the chairman and I will see to it that your problems will be solved,” said the Selangor Umno man.

“Malaysians, especially the rural Malays, still want to be connected with their assemblymen or MPs on a personal basis. They get some kind of satisfaction with assurances from the assemblymen or MPs although some may be aware that they might not even raise their problems with the party leadership.

“Given that kind of attitude, I wonder how effective Najib’s campaign is although he and other leaders say it is not a campaign but a series of meet-the-people sessions or whatever name they care to call it.”

Valid question

Another grassroots Umno leader said some Malay voters were asking whether the Najib sessions were an indication that Cabinet ministers were not capable of doing what he was doing or that local Umno leaders had lost their credibility. He said this was a valid question.

“Or have MIC, MIC and other BN parties lost their influence? These are questions we get at the grassroots although we manage to get people to attend all the Najib functions,” he said.

“Najib has, one way or another, diluted the credibility of grassroots leaders. This may be bad for us or whoever will be contesting in the coming election.”

While Umno grassroots leaders are debating the pros and cons of Najib’s meet-the-people sessions, the opposition parties are grappling with their own internal problems.

Ideological and philosophical differences among the Pakatan Rakyat parties may see their performance declining, especially with more Malays who supported them in 2008 now coming out in the open with problems that have yet to be solved.

Given the current scenario, both sides of the political divide are actually in the same position – trying hard to win the hearts and minds of voters who are more politically mature than their counterparts of previous generations.

‘Give us another public holiday’

Batu Caves temple president Nadarajah asks PM Najib to consider two days of public holidays for Deepavali.

SELAYANG: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has been urged to allow the Indian community another day off for Deepavali.

Batu Caves Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam Temple chairman R Nadarajah made this request this morning during his speech at the Thaipusam celebration here.

“I propose for an additional day of public holiday for Deepavali to enable all Malaysians to celebrate this festival more meaningfully,” said Nadarajah.

“Only then we can really call ourselves 1Malaysia. The Chinese community gets two days for Chinese New Year, Malays get two days for Hari Raya but the poor Indians only get one day.

“Make it happen and prove to the country and the world that we are truly 1Malaysia,” he told Najib, who was seated on stage during Nadarajah’s speech.

Nadarajah had earlier heaped praises on Najib and the BN administration and said if the government did more for the Indian and Hindu community, he would get more political support.

“We all like you. Definitely support you if you do all you can. I am a BN man. Live or die also we are with you, Najib. These people will definitely support you,” he said.

Nadarajah also called for the government to build an auditorium and a cultural centre at Batu Caves, besides granting more allocations for the temple and other temples around the country.

Hang Li Po dan Hang Tuah: Benar atau dongeng?


Winston Churchill (Wiki commons)

“HISTORY is written by the victors” atau “Sejarah ditulis oleh orang yang menang atau berkuasa”.
Ungkapan yang begitu terkenal namun tiada orang yang tahu siapa yang pertama kali mengungkapkannya. Ada yang kata Winston Churchill tapi ramai yang meraguinya. Soalan yang menarik untuk kita adalah jika kita tidak tahu sejarah asal-usul ungkapan itu, dan tiada dokumentasi tentang siapa yang sebenarnya telah mengeluarkan kata-kata itu, maka apakah kita boleh mengatakan bahawa ungkapan itu hanyalah suatu dongeng?
Baru-baru ini, Emeritus Prof Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim telah melontarkan kenyataan yang mengejutkan. Beliau mendakwa Hang Tuah dan Hang Li Po tidak pernah wujud dan hanya mitos belaka.
Beberapa ahli sejarah telah menolak dakwaan Khoo dan tetap mempertahankan kewujudan Hang Tuah. Senator Dr Syed Husin Ali pula telah membidas kenyataan Khoo tentang sejarah Partai Kebangsaan Melayu Malaysia dan Ahmad Boestamam. Sementara menunggu komen balas dari Khoo, patut kita bertanya apakah kriteria untuk sesuatu itu diiktiraf sebagai sejarah sahih? Dan sejarah siapakah yang dianggap penting dan benar?
Barat dan Timur
Oleh kerana saya kini di Indonesia, saya pun meminta pendapat Pak Agus Sunyoto, seorang ahli sejahrawan dan budayawan serta pensyarah di Universitas Brawijaya, Malang, Indonesia.  Menurut Pak Agus, sejahrawan harus berhati-hati agar tidak terjebak dengan kaedah pengkajian sejarah positivistik yang terlalu memberi keutamaan terhadap dokumen rasmi bertulis dan bahan fizikal dalam mengakui kewujudan sesuatu. Yang mereka anggap naskah historis adalah yang berupa deskriptif, laporan dan catatan-catatan seperti yang lazim ditulis oleh orang Barat.
Pak Agus mengingatkan bahawa tradisi pemahaman sejarah di timur sangat berbeza sekali kerana ia juga banyak diungkapkan dalam bentuk-bentuk lain seperti naskah-naskah sastera dan secara lisan. Malahan, sejarah di nusantara ini banyak ditulis dalam bentuk penceritaan seperti hikayat atau bentuk-bentuk kakawin, kidung, tembang, dan pantun seperti syair, gurindam dan sajak.
Pak Agus (Sumbangan Norhayati Kaprawi)
Pak Agus (Sumbangan Norhayati Kaprawi)
Naskah Sulalatus Salatin iaitu Sejarah Melayu adalah salah satu contohnya. Karya sejarah yang ditulis sendiri oleh orang Melayu di Melaka pada abad ke-15 atau ke-16 menceritakan tentang kebangkitan, kegemilangan dan kejatuhan Kesultanan Melayu Melaka. Naskah inilah yang menyebutkan bahawa Hang Tuah ialah nama yang diberikan oleh Sultan Mansur Shah kepada seorang pemuda dari Makassar.

Cheng Ho (Wiki commons)
Pak Agus maklum bahawa ramai ahli akademik gemar bergantung pada dokumen-dokumen rasmi kerajaan sahaja seperti dokumen kerajaan Cina di zaman Dinasti Ming. Menurut beliau, pendekatan sedemikian membuatkan ramai sejahrawan akademik sehingga yang bergelar profesor dan doktor telah menolak sejarah tentang kedatangan Cheng Ho ke Semarang, Jawa Tengah atas sandaran hujah tiadanya catatan dalam dokumen rasmi kerajaan Cina.
Namun, Pak Agus berhujah bahawa tidak semua perjalanan Cheng Ho dilaporkan secara formal. Ini terbukti kerana walaupun tiada catatan rasmi tentang persinggahan Cheng Ho ke Blambangan, Jawa Timur, namun terdapat laporan sejarah tentang kematian 170 orang askar Cheng Ho di Blambangan semasa peperangan dengan tentera Majapahit. Maka, ia jelas menunjukkan tidak semua persinggahan Cheng Ho dicatatkan secara rasmi oleh kerajaan Cina.
Pada Pak Agus, jika catatan rasmi bertulis sesuatu kerajaan sahaja yang mahu dijadikan sebagai parameter, maka ia akan mengakibatkan sejarah bangsa lain mungkin sekali menjadi tidak teriktiraf kesahihan dan kewujudannya.
Syed Husin juga pernah membuat kritikan serupa di dalam bukunya yang diterbitkan pada 1978, Orang Melayu: Masalah dan Masa Depan.  Beliau menolak kaedah dan perspektif ahli sejarah Orientalis Barat yang gemar merendahkan dan menuduh orang Melayu sebagai tidak mempunyai sejarah.
Menurut Syed Husin, ahli-ahli sejarah tempatan telah berjaya membuktikan bahawa masyarakat Melayu mempunyai sejarah yang lebih tua dan gemilang berbanding penjajah Barat. Dan sekiranya sejarah orang Melayu begitu tua, apa lagi sejarah orang asli dan orang asal yang pastinya jauh lebih tua walaupun tidak bertulis?
Peringatan ini penting untuk jabatan-jabatan kerajaan Malaysia. Tuntutan dokumentasi bertulis sebagai bukti terhadap pemilikan tanah atau status kewarganegaraan telah banyak mengakibatkan orang asal dan pribumi di Malaysia teraniaya dan kehilangan hak mereka.
Di mana herstory pula?

Hang Li Po (Wiki commons)
Dari ungkapan “History is written by the victors” juga ada satu kata kunci yang ingin saya komentar. Perkataan “history” selalunya memang secara literal bermakna “his story” – pencatatan sejarah yang disampaikan oleh lelaki dan biasanya juga tentang lelaki.
Menurut Pak Agus, konteks masyarakat pencatat sejarah sangat penting diambil kira. Sikap patriaki yang melebihkan kekuasaan lelaki dari perempuan terbukti sangat besar pengaruhnya. Lalu menurut beliau, tidak tercatatnya perkahwinan Puteri Hang Li Po itu memang boleh difahami memandangkan betapa kuatnya nilai patriaki dalam tradisi Cina.
Oleh kerana keturunan berdasarkan jalur darah ahli keluarga laki-laki, dan pewaris kerajaan mestilah dari keturunan lelaki, maka kerajaan Cina mungkin saja tidak melihat perkahwinan Puteri Hang Li Po sebagai sesuatu yang penting untuk dicatat secara rasmi. Malahan, dengan pernikahan itu, sang puteri dan anak cucunya dianggap telah kehilangan nama keluarganya.
Seperti masyarakat Cina, masyarakat Arab juga sangat kuat tradisi patriakinya. Begitu kuat sehingga kekayaan budaya penulisan tarajim (kamus biografi) masyarakat Arab masih tidak dapat membantu dalam memperkenalkan sarjana-sarjana dan ulama-ulama perempuan Arab bukan sahaja pada dunia, malah pada masyarakat Arab sendiri. Ada keengganan di pihak ulama dan pendakwah laki-laki untuk mencatat dan menyebarkan maklumat mengenai kewujudan dan kehebatan sarjana dan ulama-ulama perempuan di zaman silam.
Ahli sufi perempuan terkenal, Rabiah Al Adawiyah, diragui kewujudannya kerana berkurun lamanya, nama Rabiah hilang dalam catatan sejarah.  Namanya tidak didokumentasikan oleh ramai ulama lelaki walaupun nama anak-anak muridnya dan ahli-ahli sufi lelaki yang hidup setelah Rabiah dicatatkan dengan terperinci.
Pada bulan Januari ini, sebuah buku berjudul Syahadah Cinta Rabiah Al Adawiyah telah dilancarkan. Penulisnya, Mohamad Guntur Romli, merasa perlu menjelaskan mengapa berkurun lamanya, nama Rabiah Al Adawiyah hanya dicatat secara remeh di dalam sejarah, dan namanya tidak disenaraikan dalam barisan ahli sufi.

Rabiah Al Adawiyah (Wiki commons)
Hasil penelitiannya terhadap kitab-kitab Islam klasik, maka terungkaplah bagaimana pengaruh patriaki dan sikap diskriminasi terhadap perempuan memberi pengaruh terhadap pencatatan sejarah. Akibat kurangnya ulama yang mahu mengiktiraf ketokohan Rabiah Al Adawiyah, maka sejarahnya banyak bercampur mitos. Malah, seperti nasib Puteri Hang Li Po, mungkin ada yang justeru menolak kewujudannya dan menganggap beliau sekadar mitos yang tidak pernah hidup bernafas di muka bumi ini.
Kini semakin banyak penelitian yang mengungkap kewujudan sarjana dan ulama-ulama perempuan. Dr Syeikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi, seorang sarjana di Universiti Oxford, telah menulis buku Al-Muhaddithat: The Women Scholars in Islam yang menelusuri kitab-kitab klasik dan menemukan lebih dari 8,000 wanita perawi hadith. Ulama-ulama perempuan itu didapati sering mengajar di masjid-masjid besar dan di madrasah-madrasah serta mengembara jauh untuk menimba ilmu.
Hang Tuah (Wiki commons)
Hang Tuah (Wiki commons)
Ramai ulama lelaki yang dianggap ulama besar sebenarnya telah belajar dari ulama-ulama fiqah perempuan, dan ulama-ulama lelaki itu sangat memuji-muji kebijaksanaan dan ketinggian ilmu guru-guru mereka yang terdiri dari orang perempuan. Menurut kajian Dr Syeikh Akram, ulama-ulama perempuan tersebut mempunyai kuasa dan pengaruh yang agak besar di dalam masyarakat mereka, dan itu merupakan suatu kebiasaan, bukan sesuatu yang luarbiasa.
Siapa yang menentukan?
Sejarah itu penting sebab ia dapat membantu kita memahami keadaan semasa. Lihat sahaja sejarah mahasiswa-mahasiswi tahun 1960an dan 1970an di Malaysia kalau kita hendak memahami asal-usul undang-undang hari ini seperti Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti.
Sejarah juga penting sebab sejarah memberitahu kita siapakah yang berkuasa pada zaman dulu dan sekarang, dan siapa yang ingin mengekalkan kuasanya.
Seorang tokoh sejarah seperti Khoo memang mempunyai hak untuk memberi pendapatnya mengenai Hang Tuah dan Hang Li Poh. Namun, apa yang lebih penting adalah cara apa yang diutamakan dan cara mana yang diketepikan dalam mengiktiraf sesuatu itu sebagai sahih dan wujud.

Swapping Post Of Perak MIC Chairman Benefits Party, BN - Veerasingam

IPOH, Feb 5 (Bernama) -- The decision by MIC president Datuk G.Palanivel to take over the Perak MIC chairman post would give benefits to the party and Barisan Nasional (BN).

The former chairman, Datuk S.Veerasingam said the swapping process was a normal practice in a party.

He believed that Palanivel's influence as party president would strengthen the MIC's position in the state.

"I will be fully committed to the party. My love for the party comes first. I will always be there for MIC and the BN," Veerasingam said, adding that members of the party should give full support to Palanivel to lead the Perak MIC.

Veerasingam was commenting on the announcement made today that Palanivel had taken over the Perak MIC chairman's post, effective immediately which aimed to strengthen the party's position in the state.

"Who is the chairman not so important. Here the chairman is the president himself. He does not appoint another person and abandon me," he said.

Meanwhile, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said the state BN accepted the decision made by the MIC leaders.