Ms Chocaholic with lots of opinions and an attitude

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bangkok turns violent

Yet again violence erupts in Bangkok. Im monitoring news through so many different channels, unable to sleep or rest. CNN, BBC on TV and the net, livestream of the redshirt movements from their stage, Thai media channels, emails from journalist friends. Footage on Thai TV. None of it is good news. As of now....about 10pm - at least 7 dead, with more than 300 injured. And its all happening only less than 500 metres from my house! I feel like its 1992 all over again. A Reuters journalist was amongst one of those killed. The news agency is calling it 'Bangkok's worst political violence in 18 years.'

There is so much I want to say, but most of it is just sadness and condolences for those who died, those who got injured. Of course there are also many things I want to express on a political level, but nothing I havent been saying since the protests started by Sondhi Limthongkul in 2006, and the ensuing military coup. Back then I heard a lot of Bangkokians, including my democracy-promoting colleagues, say that sometimes anything is justified to achieve a certain result-ie. getting rid of Thaksin and the evilness that they see he has brought to Thailand. My response was simple: if you let this mob drive out an elected prime minister today, what is to stop them trying to chase out the next one if they arent happy with the next one too? or what guarantee do we have that a different crowd might not form to chase out whoever is the next Prime Minister? The answer I received then was - 'but you dont understand! Thaksin is so evil. He has controlled and manipulated the democratic processes, so it is necessary to resort to undemocratic mean to get rid of him'

And look where we are now? Four years of political unrest, the country not being managed by any government because they have to spend their time either dodging crowds, being airlifted from parliamentary meetings, Prime Minister having to move to live within army compounds, Foreign Minister having to spend a lot of time tracking one person around the world? And constant protests from Yellows, to Reds, to Blues and the latest Pink colours. And a cycle of violent clashes - now almost an annual event.

Do I have answers? Of course I dont. Do I support all these protests? Certainly not. Yet at the same time, if we are to preach so much about equality, then I say that those that were tolerant to the Yellow protests should be as tolerant to the Red protests - regardless of your political standpoint.

Who do I blame? ANyone and everyone who argued that it was ok to adopt undemocratic means and that the end of removing Thaksin would justify the means to achieving it. Another sad day. I had hoped that the 1992 violence would have been the last Thailand has to face. Unfortunately not so.


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