The vicious farce continues

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Under the Thai military jack-boots the vicious farce continues. Red shirt activists in Kon Kan have been fitted up with dubious “weapons” charges and refused bail. Another red shirt leader has been jailed for making a rousing speech in 2010. Meanwhile yellow shirts who occupied the airports and wrecked the recent elections with violence and weapons are allowed to walk free. Mobster Sutep, now masquerading as a monk, has refused to appear in court over the shooting down of red shirts in 2010 when he was deputy Prime Minister and security supremo. No jail for him.

Ajarn Sulak Sivarak is facing lèse-majesté for making comments on an ancient king of Ayuttaya. Of course Ajarn Sulak is a veteran of lèse-majesté, having faced down many similar accusations in the past. He claims to be a royalist, only wishing to protect the monarchy by criticism and he has always been ambivalent about the two recent military coups. The two idiot generals who filed the recent lèse-majesté accusations against him are merely wishing to increase the climate of fear and to protect their own distorted version of ultra nationalist Thai history. This highlights the fact that anyone can file such charges against any citizen and that the police are obliged to follow up the case with the army breathing down their necks.

The military have also stated that military courts have the “right” to try lèse-majesté cases and try them in secret. The fate of the two students in jail for staging a play, awaiting the kangaroo court’s decisions on lèse-majesté, is extremely worrying. Also of much concern is the fate of people like Somyot and Da Torpedo. Yet another lèse-majesté case which would be funny if it were not so serious is the case of the man accused of lèse-majesté for writing on a toilet wall in a shopping centre.

But the Sulak case has new dimensions. It shows that any discussion of Thai history can now be subjected to military repression. This is in addition to the ban on all free political discussion.

But the students are having none of this. Secondary school students do not want to be part of a “society of idiots”. They are coming out and criticising the compulsory teachings of General Prayut’s “12 entrails” in schools. They are also demanding that Thai history not be taught in such a manner as to breed hatred against Thailand’s neighbours. This is the hope for Thailand today, but the military have been busy trying to victimise the students.

In many ways the progressive young people in Thailand face a similar reactionary ruling class as their comrades do in Hong Kong. The leader of Hong Kong believes that you can’t give the vote to everyone because that would mean that the majority of voters would be poor and demand wealth redistribution. Such backward ideas are also spouted by the Thai junta appointed Minister of Finance when he criticised Taksin’s “populism”.

All power to the youth!!