As I stepped out of my home on the morning of the 9th of March, it felt like I had been holding my breath for a lifetime and there I was, suddenly, drawing breath. Perhaps it was the adrenaline, still surging through my veins, the few hours of sleep unable to extinguish the exultation of victory.
And it had been a victory.
It was not just about the fact that the Barisan had been given the trouncing it rightfully deserved. It was also, perhaps more importantly so, about the many personal stories, the sacrifices, of those who had helped change the course of destiny in their own ways, big and small.
We had been involved in a war without even knowing it. Two wars. The first, a war on democracy waged by those who saw only the value of their own empire, to whom the language of democracy was merely a useful means by which to distract from the glint of the weapons as they came hurtling down at us. The arbitrary detentions, the brutality, the perversion of justice, the muzzling of free expression and the subversion of the institutions of state kept us in a constant state of shock that left us blind to all that was being taken from us.
There were visionaries however, those who were our compass stars. They showed us, in their own ways, the true north. They showed us that for us to reclaim democracy, we had to go to war for it. They showed us the way into that war, that second war, the war for democracy.
I saw it as thousands marched for free and fair elections. I saw it as thousands marched against marginalisation. I saw it as thousands marched for justice. I saw it as people stood up in defiance, stood up to be counted. I saw it as people said “No More!”.
And I saw it in the campaigns of truth that spread across the blogs.
Raja Petra, like Haris Ibrahim, and many others, were, are, visionaries who have continued to show us the way through courage and tenacity. These patriots, standing up in defence of their motherland, are the mirrors in which we see ourselves and all that we stand for, all that we should be.
March 8th was a decisive victory for all of us. But it was not the only one that we need. We may have won the battle, but it is the war we want to win. Let the deeds of those who have paved the way with their sacrifice become the standards under which we march. For this time, we march to win. This time, we march for Malaysia.