The making of a hero out of our own stupidity

By Mohd Arshad Raji
September 5, 2011

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.

  1. #1 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 - 10:02 pm

    What will UMNO and Putra do now to take care of the late victim’s family? They are responsible for his death and they should now take responsibility for the consequences.

    Empty words like the victim being a ‘national hero’ who gave his life serving the country yadda, yadda, yadda isn’t going to help the deceased’s family.

    What help and support has UMNO proffered?

  2. #2 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 - 10:10 pm

    I said it before and I will say it again and this goes to all you reporters, journalists, anybody who has something to do with the mass media. Astro gives us many channels from BBC to CNN to Al Jazeera to you name it, you got it channels. Many of their journalists were killed, imprisoned, tortured but somehow the ones who are living still go to those places. Without them we do not watch all the killings and the wars in our television. Are you the Malaysian journalists, reporters, cameramen and whatever name you go by are as persistent as they are in investigating and in reporting those news ? They report live with shootings going on at their backgrounds. Again the best thing is to videotape yourself before you go and leave probably the last message for all your loved ones. The fighters no longer care if you are from Malaysia, a peaceful nation. Mercy Malaysia is planning a second trip to Somalia. Hopefully these volunteers prepare their families, their relatives and their friends for the worst. It happened in Gaza. It happened in Somalia. Two times already. How many times before you know that it is truely really very dangerous ?

  3. #3 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 - 10:12 pm

    Hero. Well, it has something to do with saving the face. Or the ego.

  4. #4 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 - 10:18 pm

    Why is Mahathir Mohammed so quiet about this unfortunate incident? His silence is so very loud and obvious. So is his ma-chai Mathias Chang.

    He too likes to regularly send ‘humanitarian aid’ to people in the Middle east, sending civilians to war zones, trying to break legitimate blockades. They are all there for cheap thrill and publicity and are reckoned as ‘national heroes’.

    Mahathir has been lucky that so far his ‘peace loving people’ have not been harmed although they have been detained and expelled from the war zones. Next time he might not be so lucky.

    Give humanitarian aid if you must but do it properly and safely, and use organisations that have experience in this sort of work especially in war zones. Leave politics and cheap publicity out of this.

    One unnecessary life lost is one too many.

  5. #5 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 - 10:37 pm

    Mahathir or not mahathir , najib, azeez or whatever geez….

    Look, an idiot is an idiot whether in somalia, egypt or Malaysia, ok. So geez or whatever loudmouth u turn to be, if u have done wrong, say u have done wrong! Calling some poor lamb sent to the sacrifice a hero doesn’t make u a hero too, idiot!

    Like i have said….idiots venture where bravehearts fear to tread.

  6. #6 by negarawan on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 - 11:17 pm

    Abdul Azeez and UMNO have to take full responsibility for putting the lives of the “mission” members under unnecessary risks in a completely lawless and anarchic country like Somalia. This time, the UMNO publicity stunt has sadly taken its toll on an innocent reporter’s life. From the Mat Rempit expedition to the North Pole to this latest debacle, UMNO has spent millions on so-called “humanitarian programs”, the bulk of the expenditure on the traveling and living cost of its own personnel. The impact of their so-called missions is very questionable, as they are poorly planned. It is quit obvious that UMNO has spent a lot of money to bring in a large group of members from the media to cover and publicize their “mission”. Why the need for such a large group of reporters? Many other international charitable organizations work under zero media coverage because they are there to do real work and not for cheap publicity stunts. Shame on you Abdul Azeez and UMNO!

  7. #7 by drngsc on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 - 11:55 pm

    So sad.
    A reckless man who ignored warning, took unnecessary risk, was killed. A wasted life. So sad. It should teach us what not to do.

    But hero hungry UMNO makes him a hero. What a joke ( no offence meant ).

    I hope other humanitarian missions learn from this reckless, unnecessary death. Then at least his death is not in vain.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is our best chance. Failure is not an option. Lets work very very hard.

  8. #8 by Loh on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 1:46 am

    In the spirit of brotherhood, nobody makes mistakes among brothers. There was therefore no need to find out what actually happened. Since UMNO was blamed, then UMNO had to show that they did a brilliant job. When the outcome was claimed to produce a hero, the episode was not only brilliant, but it was also patriotic. It is of course difficult to explain how going to Somalia was patriotic; was it religion or way of life, take a pick. But the government can afford to dish out money to buy a cover for all mistakes. Najib once again shows what money can buy.

  9. #9 by yhsiew on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 7:34 am

    ///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.///

    The President of Somalia is not under obligation to initiate a thorough investigation and report to our Prime Minister because the Malaysian media team VOLUNTARILY SIDED with the Somali government by getting into a Somali government military vehicle. I believe the Malaysian team knew the risk of taking sides in a war.

  10. #10 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 7:38 am

    What is even more tragic is the family, initially wanting accountability of the death, the father, a retired civil servant, ultimately toed the party line and demand no accountability. The broken spirit of ordinary Malay for political purpose, the act repeated across a vast majority of Malays because of UMNO’s politics is what holds them back and what allows UMNO to keep messing up again and again..

  11. #11 by dagen on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 8:33 am

    Ni dia cara umno orgy. Sentiasa shiok sendiri. Orang pun dah mati kerana kecuaian umno. Alamak sekarang umno bagaikan simati tu hero. Hero kerana mati ditangan umno. Tu hero yg sebenar. Kalau begitu, benghock pun hero juga kerana dipaksa bunuh diri oleh macc errr umno.


  12. #12 by undertaker888 on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 8:36 am

    The reason one guy got killed is because of Abdul Azzzzzzzzzzzzz. Typical of umno people. When something went wrong, the blame game starts. Now it seems like the Somali president is at fault.
    How stupid can they be.

    Balik Malaysia jadi hero kampung la. Pistol sana semua ada peluru bukan pancut air.

  13. #13 by k1980 on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 9:04 am

    Abdul Azzzzzeeee must now send the bolehsia air force bomb mogadishu to ashes and capture the President of Somalia to bring back to putrajaya for trial. Also demand the african union behead its soldier who supposedly fired the fatal shot. And demand indemnity of 500 tonnes of gold from the mat somalis

    hidup bolehsia!

  14. #14 by k1980 on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 9:08 am

    Mercy Malaysia is planning a second trip to Somalia.

    This time bring all the millions of starving somalis (10 million?) back to malaysia, register them as voters and then sure to win all the seats in the 13GE! Then exile all the pakatan rakyat supporters to somalia to starve there.

  15. #15 by boh-liao on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 9:28 am

    Will d Azeeeeeez fellow n NR demand dat d President of Somalia declare NMN a national hero of Somalia?

    Cameramen in war zones must realise dat when they r there 2 shoot, they r also shot at
    Wearing an UMNO Putra badge would not make them CANNOT DIE 1

  16. #16 by monsterball on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 9:33 am

    I fail to understand why our journalist need to cover news in war zone areas.
    Can’t we rely on first hand news from reliable sources.
    Our country is so small and can do nothing to help. …and when one cannot help…one tends to be insignificant.
    Let the Malaysian Muslims go and conclude.
    Whatever their conclusions my be…it is a point against the government for sure.

  17. #17 by cskok8 on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 12:20 pm

    More UMNO stupidity: demanding that Mat Sabu return the expenses for his medical treatment. I don’t know what his contract says but most companies would cover their employees 24 hours/day, whether they are working, commuting to work or buying roti canai for their grandmother’s supper.

    So while on this subject, I would also like Najib to refund MY money that he spent using govt vehicles while campaigning during the last GE. He was definitely representing UMNO and not the govt during this period. You want proof? There is a photo in the STAR showing him dozing off next to his daughter in a govt owned private jet.

  18. #18 by k1980 on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 12:52 pm

    Welcome to the 19th safest country in the world, but where hideous crimes occur as frequently as in somalia.

  19. #19 by dagen on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 1:28 pm

    Jibby Jib.

    “He knows no fear.

    He knows no danger.

    He knows nothing.”

    He parachuted an untrained and unprotected cameraman into somali.

  20. #20 by k1980 on Thursday, 8 September 2011 - 2:00 pm

    Jibby Jib.

    “He knows no fear.

    He knows no danger.

    He knows nothing.”

    BUT HE KNOWS HOW TO C4, and that’s very important

    the family of NMN who was killed by a mat somali has received thousands of ringgit in compensation, insurance plus a monthly pension of rm2,000.

    how come the family of tbh who was killed by 3 mat macc
    has not even received 2 sen from jibb?

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