KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — It might have been a wet, rainy workday, but this did not put off the thousands who made their way to the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil for the Malaysia Stands with Palestine Rally last night.
People from all walks of life, races and religions began to gather from as early as 5pm, well ahead of the event’s official 7.30pm start time, in a determined show of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
People hold placards during the Solidarity with Palestine rally at Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur on October 24, 2023. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Many in the crowd were clad in white and held the Palestinian flag as well as the Jalur Gemilang high above their heads.
Although chants of “Allahu Akbar” could be heard amid the steady chorus of “Free Palestine”, many whom Malay Mail spoke to didn’t think that the ongoing Israel-Hamas war was a religious one.
Siti Baizura asks why world leaders are quiet in response to the conflict in Gaza. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Siti Baizurah, 46, for one said she thinks that Israel is using religion as an excuse to take over Palestinian land.
Clearly frustrated by the current state of affairs, she asked, “Why are the world leaders all quiet?”
Echoing the same sentiment was Thiruselvam, 50, who called for the United Nations to intervene.
People stand during Maghrib prayers at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, October 24, 2023. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
“The UN must open their eyes. Are they sleeping? The UN must be very strict on this. The UN is doing nothing.
“I pity the innocent people. I hope the war will stop,” he said, noting that ordinary people can only go out and rally in support of the Palestinian cause.
It was apparent that this sense of helplessness had prompted many present tonight to go out and rally.
“There is not much that we can do other than show our support.
Gerald Jethro speaks to Malay Mail during the Solidarity with Palestine rally at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur October 24, 2023. — Picture by Hari Anggara.
“This is the best time for me to be among people who are standing up for what is wrong in this world,” said 24-year-old Gerald Jethro.
Last night, the rally commenced with mass Maghrib prayers and solat hajat to pray for the wellbeing of the people of Palestine.
This was followed by a series of speeches on the history and developments of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including by Palestinian ambassador to Malaysia Walid Abu Ali.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim waves to the crowd after delivering his speech at the Solidarity with Palestine rally at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur. — Picture by Hari Anggara
At approximately 9.30pm, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim arrived at Axiata Arena to address the rally, fresh off a flight from Egypt following a two-day working visit to the country.
He gave an impassioned speech denouncing the apparent hypocrisy of the West in their attitude towards the conflict.
“The level of aggression has reached the level of insanity. Women and children are butchered, hospitals and schools have been bombed. Where is the justice, humanity, and democratic rights that the west is talking about?
A man holds a placard in support of Palestine at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur on October 24, 2023. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
“Palestinians need to be treated as human beings too!” he said.
Yesterday, Anwar issued an invitation to all Malaysians, calling for them to rally in support of Palestinians amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
The recent clashes in Palestine involving Hamas, the ruling authority in Gaza, and the Israeli regime have resulted in the loss of thousands of lives on both sides since October 7.
A man reacts after watching a performance at the Solidarity with Palestine rally in the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur October 24, 2023. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon