Saturday, June 14, 2008
Lim Guan Eng, Former Prisoner of Conscience from Malaysia
Recently, Amnesty International sent me one of their letters from a prisoner of conscience, Lim Guan Eng of Melaka, Malaysia. When I read about his personal hardships to protect a young girl who was raped and the consequences, that he and others face in their lives I am compelled to ask myself:
"How am I living?" "What am I doing to demonstrate the power of love in my life?" "How might I do more?" "How might I allow Spirit to use me as a vessel?"
I invite you to read about Lim Guan Eng's life and to examine your own life.
Blessed Be! Rev. Qiyamah
To my friends at Amnesty International, Greetings from one of your adopted prisoners of conscience from Malaysia.
I am finally free after spending one year in jail for trying to defend an underage girl who was raped and instead of being protected by the law, punished and detained for three years.
The girls' rapists were never jailed because of the Malaysian government's attempt to cover up the scandal as the rapists allegedly included a senior government Minister. I find a certain satisfaction that a man can go to prison for women's rights.
During those bleak days in prison, your letters brought me much cheer.
Coming from foreign lands, it gives a whiff of exotic places far away that makes you forget the dismal situation one is in for a while. Even the stamps lend promise of a much better world outside, one that we can escape to if we can endure the adversities of prison life. These little things matter when you are a prisoner with nothing much to look forward to.
I can never say thank you enough to all of you who wrote, whether in English or languages I did not understand, especially little notes and crayon drawings from children.
Your cards and messages of support give hope not only to a better future but gave me the personal comfort when I was ill that I was not alone.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that one agets abandoned by frends when in prison eveb for a just cause. I never lost faith for I know that I have friend's from Amnesty International (AI). That is the magic of AI, its ability t gather a community of peoples all over the world for the common cause of humanity and dignity of man and woman - not only to lend hope to prisoners of conscience but also to give human fellowship and warmth.
From the scriptures, we learn the value of serving others, of raising the sould by diminishing the self. In AI, we hae seen its practical application.
I wish to share some of my experiences inside my prison where I learned a great deal of the sorrows of fighting injustice. Such sorrow endured by my family and me, painful though it may be, is expected.
What is not expected though is that sorrow can help to strengthen my resolve to endure all these adversities. Struggling on despite our sorrow serves to affirm and reaffirm the commitment to our cause and the rightness of our principles.
Even though I have lost almost everything, I am thankful for the love of my family and the moral support you all have shown. I will still continue my struggle to bring justice, freedom and human dignity to my people.
Prison bars may break our backs our backs but they can never break our spirit to demand nothing less than equality for women.
Together we can overcome, whether in Malaysia or other parts of the world. May God bless you!
Lim Guan Eng