Giles Ji Ungpakorn
The Prayut Dictatorship’s so-called reconciliation is just a sham. It is merely an attempt at forcing the pro-democracy side to concede to a form of long term “Guided Democracy” at gun point.
The various pompous generals have been lying once again, claiming that the military is a “neutral party” in the political crisis and that it can therefore act as an unbiased referee for reconciliation.
Yet, how can the military be neutral when it was the very institution that overthrew the elected Taksin government in 2006?
How can the military be neutral when it deliberately stood by, doing nothing, and allowed the yellow shirts to take over government house and the international airports?
How can the military be neutral when it organised the unelected Abhisit Government from a military camp and imposed him on the Thai people as their Prime Minister? Abhisit’s party, the Democrats, have never won an overall majority in any Thai election.
How can the military be neutral when it deliberately used snipers and tanks to shoot unarmed pro-democracy red shirts who were demanding elections in 2010?
How can Prayut’s military be neutral when he urged people not to vote for Yingluk’s Pua Thai Party in the 2011 elections?
How can the military be neutral when they deliberately did absolutely nothing to protect the 2014 elections from Democrat Party mobsters, some led by the fascist monk “Isara”, who is close to Generalissimo Prayut? There was no attempt by the military to defend the democratic process or the rule of law. Prayut was just waiting for an excuse to stage a coup.
How can the military be neutral when the current dictatorship is using the lèse-majesté law against opponents of the military junta in order to jail pro-democracy activists? How can it be neutral if it hauled large numbers of pro-democracy activists into military camps for “attitude-changing” sessions so that they would stop opposing the military? Arrests and harassment of those who believe in democracy continues to this day.
How can the Thai military ever be neural when it has a long history of destroying democracy and engaging in corrupt practices over the last 70 years?
The true cause of the Thai political crisis is not the fault of “bad politicians” as the military likes to claim. It is because the military, the conservative elites and the reactionary middle-classes, including the NGOs, failed to respect election results and viewed ordinary citizens with contempt, claiming that they were “too ignorant to deserve the right to vote”.
Whatever we might think of them, Takisin’s parties won at election times over and over again because they were genuinely popular with the electorate for very logical reasons. The universal health care scheme was one such reason. This is why the current shower of anti-reformists, appointed by the junta, are busy crafting a “Guided Democracy” system where the views of the military and the conservatives will be more powerful than the will of the people. This is enshrined in the junta’s awful 20 year political strategy and road map.
So talk of “reconciliation” by the military is merely forced capitulation to the junta’s plans so that they can hold sham elections.
But what would genuine reconciliation for peace and democracy look like?
- The military would remove itself from politics and all the generals who have been involved in military coups would resign from the ranks, retire, and promise never to engage in politics. The military budget would be slashed and the various sections of the armed forces placed under genuine democratic civilian control.
- The Democrat Party and various anti-democratic mobsters would have to agree to abide by the results of all democratic elections.
- The military constitution would be scrapped and fresh democratic elections would be held under the 1997 constitution until that constitution can be improved at a later date. An electoral commission would be chosen from a balance of representatives of various political groups. Foreign observers might be necessary to ensure clean elections.
- All political prisoners would be released and political trials stopped. Authoritarian laws such as lèse-majesté and the military’s various censorship laws would be abolished.
Of course this is just a pipe-dream so long as a vigorous pro-democracy social movement is not present to force through such a democratic conciliation process.