Yesterday, I started a Facebook campaign to ask people to change their Facebook profile pictures to stop the unfair persecution of our children.
To be part of this campaign, send me a note to my Facebook at Roy Ngerng Yi Ling or to The Heart Truths’ Facebook page if you have changed your profile pic or if I have missed your profile, or send me a screenshot if you have changed your profile picture on any of your other social networking sites.
The Singapore government has persecuted Amos Yee for making a video to criticise Lee Kuan Yew.
In addition, Amos’s lawyer, Alfred Dodwell, found out a few days ago that Amos was being ill-treated in prison and wrote to the judge to highlight his ill-treatment.
I was shocked to hear that Amos was being strapped down to a bed in prison.
Dodwell posted the letter on his firm’s website. The Online Citizen also posted the letter and wrote an article about it.
However, very swiftly, the government’s lawyer, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), demanded that Dodwell remove his letter and also demanded that The Online Citizen did the same. The Online Citizen wanted to find out which part of the letter the AGC took issue with but the AGC even asked The Online Citizen to completely remove the article.
In effect, the AGC wanted to stop Dodwell and The Online Citizen from highlighting about Amos’s plight in prison, and to even stop any reporting about it. Needless to say, none of the state-controlled media reported about Amos’s ill-treatment. However, a Hong Kong media outlet and a Taiwanese non-governmental organisation did report on it.
As I have explained, whether or not we agree with Amos’s video or his actions in his personal capacity, what Amos has done does not justify the persecution that he is currently facing from the Singapore government. He certainly does not deserve to be strapped to a bed. It has been several days now and there is still no explanation from the prison authorities or the AGC as to what actually transpired in prison.
Also, Amos was arrested, charged and jailed for a “crime” many do not consider to be one, but to date, he has already been imprisoned for more than a month. This is disproportionate and excessive.
There is no need to keep Amos in prison any longer. He has to be duly released.
But there are wider implications to the persecution of Amos by the state. First, we cannot allow the Singapore government to unfairly persecuted a child for making a video. If the Singapore government would punish one child for making a video about Lee Kuan Yew, then our children are also in danger of being bullied by the government. We cannot tolerate such bullying at all.
Second, even as Amos should seek help or support, he should not be treated with state violence. A compassionate state is one that will protect our young, and which will provide a conducive environment for our children to learn and grow in. It is wrong for the government to imprison Amos and to want to send him to reformative training, for a non-starter “crime”.
As such, I started this campaign to advocate for the release of Amos. But more importantly, this campaign is to really highlight that the state’s abuses and transgressions cannot be tolerated by its citizens.
To the Singapore government, Singaporeans are watching your every move and action. There is no need to further persecute Amos, for more than what has already been done towards him.
As Singaporeans and parents of children, we are sending a message to the government that we will not allow our children’s lives to be threatened by unfair and unjust state persecution. It is also a signal that we are sending to the government to behave appropriately and to treat your citizens with respect, and our children with kindness and care.
Below are the screenshots of the Facebook profiles which have changed their profile pictures to the campaign photo. If I can get at least 40 to 50 of the profiles, I will be able to compile the screenshots into a collage to send to the government, before Amos’s next hearing. Dodwell is seeking to move the hearing forward, pending which, will be held on 23 June.
As of this morning, more than 30 Facebook profiles have changed their profile pictures. If I have missed out on your profile, please send me a message to my Facebook at Roy Ngerng Yi Ling or to The Heart Truths’ Facebook page. If you have changed your profile picture on Twitter, Google or on your other social networking profile sites, please do take a screenshot and send them to me as well on my Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This campaign is really about stopping the unfair persecution of our children and to prevent further mistreatment and the miscarriage of justice from being afflicted onto our children by the state again.
Free Amos Yee. Protect Our Children.
(The images below are arranged in alphabetical order, according to their Facebook profile names.)