Monday, April 21, 2008

It seems that almost every day news comes in testifying to the increasing spread of anarchist ideas to areas of the world that previously have little such traditions. The following news item is from the mainstream press in the country of Malaysia, but it has been picked up by the Asian Anarchist Network because it gives an unusually fair account of the FNB group that picketed the arms fair. The internet site for the Kuala Lumpur FNB, by the way, is .

[Asian Anarchist Network] Food Not Bombs Kuala Lumpur protests Arms Showcase‏

hi there, FNB crew have done a great action in Kuala Lumpur.'
'Buy Food, not Arms' protest at defence exhibition
Azreen Madzlan Apr 21, 08 5:55pm
About 10 protesters made their presence felt at a defence and security exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, handing out brochures and sandwiches to reinforce their core message - spend the nation’s money on food, not arms.
An hour into their peaceful protest,however, several police personnel and a representative of the organisers told the group to leave the lobby of the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC)where the four-day event began today.
“It’s shameful for Malaysians to do this kind of thing at a big event. Why don’t you protest to the minister of defence?” the representative told the protesters from the ‘Food Not Bombs’ Kuala Lumpur chapter of the global movement.
The group has served vegetarian food to the homeless every Sunday in BukitNenas over the past seven years, as a way of protesting military spending by the government and to help the poor.
Its volunteers began the protest at 10am in front of The Mall shopping complex before moving to the PWTC, the venue for the 11th Defence Service Asia Exhibition (DSA), the world’s second biggest exhibition of its kind. It is organised by DSA Exhibition and Conference Sdn.
Protester Mirdza Kamal told Malaysiakini that the group’s intention was to exercise freedom of speech and raise public awareness of the current global food crisis.
“Some of the countries participating in this exhibition are poor and conflict-afflicted countries. Because of the global arms trade, the food crisis situation in these countries will get worsen,” he said.
“Malaysia is also in the middle of food crisis. I believe the large amount of money spent on militarism should be channelled towards the increase of food production to ease the price hikes for food items.”
He added that Malaysians should stand up against the arms industry and trade, as it is the root cause of such global issues such as poverty.
Another volunteer, Yew Hun Ng, said organisers of military exhibitions claim that such events are aimed at boosting security.
“Capitalists have been profiteering from the arms trade and war for a very long time. This is often the backdrop to global issues (such as poverty). People are against war, but they don’t realise who are suppliers of weapons,” he said.
“Some companies can supply weapons to both sides in a conflict. They don’t care, they just want to profit from this.”
He urged Malaysia to end its involvement with events that allow the buying and selling of weapons here.
“At the moment, this country needs more attention to social issues. We pay too much attention to defence and security which only benefit people in the industry. I also pity the soldiers who have to go through war.”

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