The poison of Thai nationalism

Numnual  Yapparat

There is a video clip that was recorded on the day when advanced voting took place. We see a woman who wanted to vote, accompanied by her five year old son, being blocked by Sutep’s mob. Those thugs tried to intimidate the poor woman by asking her “can you speak Thai?” and “are you Thai?” The question is soaked with the blood of extreme nationalism.

When the woman gave up and walked away, those thugs shouted at her “don’t forget to eat grass!” In Thailand if you want to call someone stupid, you can insult them by comparing them with buffalos. The yellow shirts and Sutep’s mob love to call the red shirts and villagers buffalos.

Today one piece of news in Matichon newspaper, tried to create a rumour about an armed force entering Thailand from a neighbouring country. It claimed that they are based in the Burmese migrant workers’ areas. The reporter tried to link this news with the death of one of Sutep’s thugs a few days ago. However, even General Prayuth denied the connection between the two events. Migrant workers from Burma are always convenient scape-goats.

When the red shirts were gunned down by the military in 2010, some people tried to spread false rumours that the red shirts were killed by Cambodian soldiers. Many people swallow the nationalistic nonsense that Thais do not kill Thais. Actually, Thais are killed by the Thai military and the Thai ruling class, not by foreigners. Thai bosses exploit Thai workers. The Thai elites and middle classes have only contempt for fellow Thai citizens.

In 1976 the military and their right-wing allies encouraged people to kill students who protested against the return of the former dictator Tanom Kittikajorn, in Thamasart University.  They alleged that the students were not Thai, claiming that they were Vietnamese who wanted to turn Thailand into a communist country. The violence at the time was absolutely appalling because some students were brutally hit and burned alive.

Thai nationalism poisons the minds of the population. It obscures the brutality and exploitation by the Thai elites. We need to smash the myth about the beauty of “Thainess”.