The new year 2011 is already more than 24 hours old here in the fair Melayu Islamic Republic. Events in 2011, unfortunately, seem decidedly 'old year' with an Islamic-inspired church bombing in Egypt. The new year looks a lot like the old year, but what else could we expect?
On television here in Malaysia today there was a programme I saw with a brief scene involving a phone call between an American character and an Israeli one. The dialog certainly involved nothing objectionable--the characters were discussing their wishes for the future and expressing their hopes for a peaceful world. And the scene wasn't long--maybe two to three minutes at most. But I discovered another thing that the Malaysian Guardians of Morality (i.e. the Muslim censors) do not want people to hear or see, besides the usual and profanity, violence, or nudity.
What horrible word did they remove from this conversation? It was the word "shalom", repeatedly and consistently removed, in that brief scene on television. I could read the lips of the actors, and considering the context, there was no doubt that this was the 'offensive' word in question.
So, what is so terrible about the word "shalom" that the Malaysian authorities don't want us to hear it? "Shalom" has multiple meanings, such as 'peace' and 'hello' and 'goodbye', and is used in the same way and meaning as the Arabic word "salaam". What could be so terribly offensive about any of those meanings? The only conceivable reason why the Right Honorable Islamic Censors would want to omit this word from a TV show is solely because it is a Hebrew word. Hebrew must be a language that the anti Semitic, Jew-hating Malaysian government wants to erase from our collective memories. There can be no other explanation. This thought is almost as disturbing as the carnage freshly wrought by the Islamic bomber(s) in Egypt. I am against censorship in general, but this degree of censorship is particularly appalling. We cannot and must not let these people have their way.
So let us always remember the word 'shalom' and especially remember the meaning of this word, for our world so desperately needs it. Let's all use the Hebrew words that the Malaysian government so desperately does not want the world to hear.
Shalom and Shana Tova -- peace to all and a happy new year.
Sunday, January 02, 2011