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The Making Of A Hero Out Of Our Own Stupidity (Resent)

I received this distressing email from a colleague regarding the death of Bernama’s cameraman Noramfaizul Mohd Nor who was shot while on UMNO Putra’s humanitarian mission in famine stricken Somalia. For those Malaysian soldiers that had served Somalia during the troubled period of the early 90’s would know the dangers fronting them, and UMNO Putra’s humanitarian mission in that god forsaken failed state is to my mind a total waste of time and effort. Noramfaizul’s death was in vain and there is no denying this, and to declare Noramfaizul’s a hero now is the making of UMNO Putra’s own stupidity.

DEATH OF BERNAMA CAMERAMAN by a retired soldier

I write with two emotions – one of sadness and the other of anger. I was just watching the news and am taken aback at this sad episode. One life – a father, a husband, a son an employee and a citizen just gone……….like that.

Now, allow me to point out a few things. I am well aware of being in an environment of civil war, or a state of anarchy. I served at the UNPF HQ during the Balkan War. I have a few questions:
1. Why were our media people travelling with a Somali government military vehicle? The Somali government military is one party to the warring factions and is surely subject to military attacks by the rebels.
2. Were they wearing bullet proof vests and clearly identifiable as media representatives?
3. Were our media people adequately briefed, trained and deployed with safety and security as uppermost principles?

I ask all these questions simply because I notice recently, political parties behaving like NGOs and political personalities behaving like kampong heroes, and of course wanting maximum media coverage at home. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE TO PUT THIS POOR CAMERAMAN IN HARM’S WAY?

We (the Malaysian soldiers) were different – as we were operating under the auspices of the UN and we were simply duty bound to the MAF. There were adequate training sessions and preparations for us to fit the assigned role.

I was a desk officer for Sarajevo and had to go in and out of that place very often. I insisted on being unarmed, kept faithfully my helmet and flak jacket and always anticipated the situation and made no sudden moves whatsoever. All these came with training and understanding our position and role. There was always “fear” in my mind and I am not ashamed to admit this as a soldier. This fear was not one of cowardice, but a sense of rational thinking that keeps one alive. Correct reaction to every situation is critical for survival.

I am not accusing this poor victim of stray bullets in a firefight of anything. I am accusing the organizers, the government and any other agency that contributed to this sad episode. If the Putra fellows went in with the Somali government, then they did it wrong as a humanitarian agency. You simply tie yourself to other “INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED AGENCIES” who are experienced, logistically well supported and have the legitimacy to exist in the war zone for example, UNHCR, MSF, ICRC etc.

Our politicians are a bunch of fools!!!!!!!!. I was watching on TV how this Azeeeeeez fellow demanded from a Somali (official I suppose) that the President of Somalia should initiate a thorough investigation and report to our Prime Minister. Helloooooo Azeeeeez! Firefights and sniper forces are a norm in war zones and the Somali military is subject to attack by rebel forces. What arrogance and lack of understanding of international protocols! These goons are responsible, and now I want to watch the drama of “situating the appreciation” and how these UMNO boys will absolve themselves of responsibilities by spinning stories of how the poor cameraman died for “Bangsa, Agama dan Negara”. What a pathetic lot.

Finally, my heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased; may God bless his soul.

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