Sunday, June 13, 2010
A Hero From Sungai Siput...
I know Shamsul Akmar, one of the six Malaysians on board the Gaza-bound MV Rachel Corrie that was seized by the Israelis last week, must have been reluctant to accept the invitation to his homecoming -- with a hero's welcome to boot.
I reckon he must have finally relented, seeing that it was his hometown of Sungai Siput, and among kin and kith, family and friends.
Shamsul Akmar Musa Kamal, 47, has been passionate about Palestine and the plight of the Palestinians. Anyone who's been with him, around him --- and not necessarily long enough -- knows that.
A journalist for more than two decades, Shamsul Akmar began his journalistic career with the NST. He later joined the Star and, much later, returned to the NST where he was made the deputy political editor and columnist.
In 2004, he left the newspaper but freelanced as a writer. He later became special officer to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Shamsul Akmar is a graduate of Universiti Teknologi Mara and holds a Masters Degree in War Studies from King's College, University of London.
He is not new to being in dangerous situations in conflict areas. He was on (NST) assignment in Iraq at the height of the US invasion and occupation in 2003, and, before that, in Acheh.
Shamsul was also with the Viva Palestina humanitarian convoy from London to Gaza via Egypt in December last year.
Welcoming their "wira" at the town centre were some 200 people, including Lintang assemblyman Ahamad Pakeh Adam who organised the event with the support of local non-governmental organisations.
Shamsul's wife Hasinah Mohd Ali, 42, and daughters Anis Syuhada, 19, and Anis Juhanna, 15 were with him but his parents Musa Kamal Jabanullah, 73, and Ramlah Mohd Dawi, 71, were unable to be there.
*Shamsul has written three instalments of his journey on the Rachel Corrie for the NST. Read them HERE, HERE and HERE.
(Caption: Top pix- Shamsul gets a hero's welcome. Bottom pix: Baca doa. Pix, courtesy NST)