THE social fabric that keeps our nation together appears to be fraying at the edges. In recent times, the voices of extremism seem to have been amplified beyond acceptable norms.
While it is convenient to blame one side or the other, the truth is that for every extreme view articulated, the response has oftentimes been as heated. Anger begets anger, hatred begets hatred.
Granted that the free and open articulation of certain issues, even sensitive ones, is a sign of our maturing democracy, unfortunately, there are those who see this as open licence to spew hatred and create fears among the citizens of this land.
And in the cacophony of noise that follows, we get the usual refrain – Where are the voices of moderation? Why is the silent majority keeping silent? Why do we allow the fringe minorities to get away with their divisive posturing?
Our saving grace is that the majority of our citizens are moderate. We love our country, and we will always look out for one another.
Even if certain individuals or groups want to accentuate our differences and build walls that divide, there are more of us who rejoice in our diversity, and continue to build bridges that connect.
This has always been, and will always be, our greatest strength.
Today, we at The Star have launched a campaign to remind our readers that The Star has always been, and will always be open to Brave Views and Bold Ideas – but tempered by the voice of moderation.
We are a light even in the darkest of times. We keep our discussions open, rational and moderate. And we are proud to showcase to you the many liberal, moderate and balanced voices that have found space in this newspaper over the years.
Our columnists, both internal and external, have been the collective voice of a moderate Malaysia.
We can be critical, sometimes even harsh, but at no point do we ever venture beyond the borders of decency and fair play in any public issue debate.
As Prof Emiritus Shad Saleem Faruqi, one of our columnists, puts it, “Differences of opinion are a fact of life. It is not differences that cause disunity. It is intolerance of differences that leads to disunity and violence.”
Too many of us have remained silent, while democracy is being trampled upon, echoes another columnist Zainah Anwar.
Through this campaign, we want to make it clear that we will be at the forefront to nurture and ensure the resounding triumph of moderation and reason over extremism and insanity.
And we know we have the support of not only the common people, but also the movers and shakers, opinion leaders, in this campaign because all of us cannot and do not want to see this country head downwards so badly that there is no turning back.
So join us in this campaign and believe that that there is a place under the cosmopolitan Malaysian sun for every citizen who calls this blessed land home.
Let us together be brave in our views, and bold in our ideas. And let us always keep our discussions open, rational and moderate.