Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Politics of Hate, Manit Sriwanichpoom

From the Silpa Wattanatham column of Siamrath Weekly (8 - 14 July)

Whatever the people are like, their leader will be like that, too. 

Someone or others immortal phrase came up in my head after the news came out about the results of the election - definite, clear and in favor of Puer Thai and Taksin Shinawatr.

Many people in the minority (like me) who didn't vote for Puer Thai were in a state of disappointment, very sad, dejected and down-hearted because of the mistaken belief that most Thai people are capable of sorting out right from wrong, good from evil, in times when the country is in crisis.

But not so!
Despite the witnesses and the evidence and so very many facts that show that Thaksin and his followers are so corrupt.  He massively sought his own advantage while he held political office until the courts convicted him and sentenced him to two years (the Rachada Land case).  The court confiscated 46,000 million baht (from the case involving the sale of Shin Corp.).

And the abuses of human rights such as the [many extrajudicial] killings in the campaign against drug dealers, and the mass deaths at Tak Bai and Kreuseh.  But the people were not interested. 
They just stepped up and elected Taksin again.

With more than half the votes plus the support of some small parties, we are likely to experience a parliamentary dictatorship such as we had under Taksin when he first came to power.  Changing the constitution to wash away any of Taksin's crimes will be easy to do.
Citing their clear and total victory in the election polls, a vote of confident to wash away the blemished past of the former prime minister.  Then he can come back to lead the country instead of his younger sister, Yingluck, his 'spare' part.

The leaders of the Red Shirts merited a shift in status from peasant (prai) to lord (ammaht) as they have so long desired. They will have political positions, cabinet posts.  They will get officially decorated and festooned with ribbons.  Then maybe they will give up their accusations of everybody and their brother.

And this is the 'era of yearning for an elected dictator,' a dark and frightening era has returned to deceive and bewilder Thai society once more.

Two or three days before the election of 3 July, I went round to take a close look at the campaign posters along the roads on Rama 4, Kong Teuy, Bonkai, Lumpini Park, and the Rachaprasong, Patumwan and Samyan intersections as far as Suriwongse Rd.  I saw that a great many of these posters had been violently destroyed in various ways.

In some cases, a sharp blad had slashed the faces of the candidates and nothing remained but a hole.  In some cases, only the two eyes were cut out.  This happened mostly to the candidates of the two big political parties, both Puer Thai and the Democrats.

Yingluck Shinawatr and Aphisit Vechachiwa were the primary targets.  The next most attacked were candidates from those parties.  The faces of leaders of medium and small-sized parties were also slashed. Sharp blades were used to slash the plastic so that it curled up, for example, the face of เสธ หนัน, Suwit Koonkiti, Chavarat Chanvirakul and Somsak Kosyasuk of the New Politics group.  Even the 'vote no' party with the monkey face for the Alliance for Democracy was badly cut up.

Pens of various colored inks wrote crude scolding and vulgar messages or accusations voiced by rival parties against the candidate pictured.  For example, 'Burned our home, our country,' on the face of Yingluck.  Black paint was sprayed over the eyes to make her look like a ghost.  Or the words, 'Only good at talking [expletive]' along with symbols of male sex organ on the face of Aphisit and the words '91 corpses' as well.

 The violent and angry destruction of these campaign posters for candidates is something not often seen in Thai elections.  Politics which divide and separate, choosing colors, choosing sides, creating division and breaking the country clearly into two political poles.  The country is full of anger and hate, mutual disgust.  Lying, slandering, color labels overruling the minds of all.  No one seeks truth.  People are drowning in falsehoods, wrong information and prejudice, closing eyes and ears.  They listen to what they want to hear in order to confirm their preferences, holding tightly to 'me and mine.' The 'Right' - it is I!

Taksin and the Puer Thai Politicians, the red campaigners, the devilish red experts, creating conditions in society to create angry disorders and hateful upheaval in order to hasten hatred.  They begin by opposing the coup - getting people to hate the coup, but not to despise the 'elected dictator' - creating rhetoric about 'double standards' and 'peasant-lord' in order to create polar differences among classes in society - making it a longstanding and chronic problem in Thai society. 
Then they cruelly call up some of their own Red Shirt corpses in order to set new conditions that 'the Aphisit government murdered the people.'  When people are overcome by all this, it is easy to lead them along to do what is wanted, what is needed, including getting votes for themselves in the election.

Using hatred as a weapon to drive the populace is not done just by the Taksin faction, the core members of the Red Shirts and red scholars. The opposition, like Aphisit and the Democratic Party, including the People's Alliance for Democracy, uses the same sorts of things with Taksin Shinawatr and his corruption as the primary targets of their hatred.

So there now. The democratic election has finished.  Taksin for Thai and the Red Shirts have won.  If there is something you are going to do, be quick about it.  If you want your big boss Taksin back, hurry and get it done!  The red country folk are waiting.

Though another new face in the history of Thai politics begins again.  But what still waits to emerge from the past? How can it take place?  The anger and hate that has built up in society over many years - will it be washed away or not?

'Harmony' or 'unanimity' is memorized, parroted, spoken as by Myna birds during the election campaign by voters on the side of those who will form the government.  What are we to do to get the country divided into two colors: blue for democracy and red for Thailand.

Accepting amnesty for Taksin Shinawatr silently and without resistance?

And the case of Taksin Shinawatr - that remains on hold.  Will many obstructions be tested in court?

The case of two PAD people from 7 Oct. Where is that going?

The 91 Red Shirt bodies...will they get justice?

How will we handle the death of the soldiers at the Kokwua intersection on 10 Apr.2010?

The case of the PAD at the airport - Where will it end?

And the Taksin terrorists and the Red Shirt core group - Will they drop the suit or not?

Actually, we already know the answers.  People who practice lying as part of their lifestyle are not likely to lead society toward truth and justice.  ฉันใดก์ฉันนั้น  Thai society may still be stuck with anger and raging hatred with each other.  Because this is the only thing which makes people false: the villains are able to hold on to their power.

The question thus comes back to common folks like us - How much longer will be have to put up with this?

How long can fish swim in polluted water before they bloat and turn belly up?

My dear foreign friends who worry even more about the fate of Thailand sent me this brief, complaining message to my cellphone:  Goodbye King? 
Please take care of yourself.  Be safe and well.

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