New Mandala’s recent post “Crimes against the state: a long lost manuscript” triggered an important question: to whom do we owe our allegiance as citizens – country, the royalty, political party, our race, religion, or individual politicians? The movie Valkyrie (2008) probably answers it best – we owe our allegiance to our country – nothing else and we make decisions on what we think is best for our country – not ourselves, our political party, or our leaders.

This is a question most people in Malaysia don’t really contemplate. The recent by-election saw a disgraced former Chief Minister from Barisan Nasional win with a thumping majority (he was suspended from UMNO for corruption, but in true Malaysian style no charges were brought against him). Voters in the constituency credited Isa for doing a “good job” when he was Chief Minister of the state and therefore felt obliged to vote for him.

What then does one do, if the majority seems to be in favour of a wrong direction for a country? It was a highly civilised Germany that elected Adolf Hitler. How is it that the well educated citizens of Zimbabwe did not foresee what Mugabe would do? Or closer to home – how is it that intelligent Burmans allowed a military junta to destroy such a prosperous country?

Who do we hold responsible when this occurs? Is UMNO responsible for the state that Malaysia is in now? Or are the citizens of Malaysia collectively responsible? After all, have not Malaysians continued to support this party, directly or indirectly. Are we prepared to sacrifice for our country, like Stauffenberg did?

It may be the nature of humans to be selfish in order to survive. However, history tells us, that this selfishness ultimately destroys the very things we hold dear. Malaysians will soon face this reality, if they have not already.