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A Week in Review: April 9-15, 2011

double, double standards

You see, the great thing about double standards is that they only apply to other people. Read this week’s This is Thailand to find out how you can lie through your teeth and still play the victim.

Last Sunday marked the first anniversary of the “Battle of Kok Wua” near Democracy Monument on Bangkok’s Ratchadamnoen Avenue. On that fateful day last year, the army’s attempt to break up the red shirt protest was met with increasingly violent resistance that ultimately resulted in 26 deaths.

One year on and little has changed. Despite the disruption, damage, injury and death caused by their anything-but-peaceful protests, the red shirts continue to play the downtrodden martyr card. The sad fact is that they are downtrodden martyrs. They just don’t realise who they are allowing to tread all over them.

“No more double standards,” they preach. But it is a mantra they themselves fail to practise.

Speaking to 30,000 red shirt supporters gathered in Bangkok, UDD chairperson Thida Thavornseth vowed to bring the killers to justice.

It is something we all hope for. But while the red shirts paint themselves as innocent victims, let us not forget that 5 soldiers were among the 26 dead, and many more were injured by bullets and grenades.

Yet here we are, one year on, and the red shirt militia – known as the ‘men in black’ – remain at large.

Will Thida support any investigation to uncover these murderers of Thais? Or will it be a case of double standards from the reds?

Also addressing the crowd in Bangkok, red shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan said that it was sad to see no-one had apologised to the injured and people who lost their loved ones during the protests. "How can we achieve reconciliation when nobody shows sympathy for the affected people? We cannot reconcile with people who killed our fellow Thais," he said.

Of course, no red shirt leader has ever apologised for the millions of people in Bangkok whose lives were disrupted by the red shirt protests.

No red shirt leader has apologised for the people who were unable to leave their homes, for the workers who were unable to earn a living, or for the students who were unable to study.

No red shirt leader has apologised for openly inciting hatred or for encouraging their supporters to commit criminal acts.

No red shirt leader has ever apologised for the arson attacks or the grenade attacks.

No red shirt leader has apologised for the damage, injury and death that was caused in their name.

Will Jatuporn lead the apologies to those who suffered from the red shirts’ siege of Bangkok? Or will it be a case of double standards from the reds?

Of course, the biggest lie of all was that last years’ protests and the red shirt movement were a righteous uprising of Thailand’s poor in the name of democracy. At least this myth has gradually been eroded.

In a video call to the red shirt gathering last Sunday, Thaksin Shinawatra told his minions that he wanted them to vote for Phuea Thai – not because Phuea Thai’s manifesto was best suited to the needs of Thailand’s poor, but because Thaksin could then return to Thailand without having to serve the 2-year jail sentence he received for abuse of power during his time as prime minister.

Thaksin’s cousin and former supreme commander of the military, General Chaiyasit Shinawatra, announced during an interview with the INN News Agency that Thaksin will only return to Thailand on the condition that he does not have to serve his jail term. However, the gracious fugitive will not demand that the state return the 46 billion baht of embezzled money that it confiscated from him.

That’s nice of him, isn’t it? Remember that it was the Thai court’s confiscation of that money that prompted the (allegedly) Thaksin-sponsored red shirt siege of Bangkok last year under the pretence of a class struggle and a fight for democracy.

After those bloody protests failed, the only way that Thaksin’s wish of returning to Thailand without serving his prison term can be fulfilled is if Phuea Thai wins the next election.

As such, Thaksin is doing everything in his power to maintain absolute control over Phuea Thai from his position of self-imposed exile. Although Thaksin has not yet named an official party leader ahead of the upcoming elections, his sister Yingluck is high on the list.

One person who will definitely not be contending the leadership is Minkwan Sangsuwan. The marketing guru turned politician had appeared to be a front runner until recently, but he has since lost favour with Thaksin, who now sees him as too much of a threat to his dictatorship.

Clearly worried to the point of paranoia about the growing support for Minkwan, Thaksin is reported by The Nation to have told Phuea Thai MPs during a recent phone in: "Don't do too much cheering (for Minkwan). You did so after being paid (by Minkwan). Don't I have money too? Cheer too much and the party will be damaged. Don't think that when you cheer someone on to become prime minister, you will get appointed as Cabinet members."

Minkwan is known to be upset by the snub he has received from Thaksin after working tirelessly to support him. The fact that he now counts on the support of several Phuea Thai MPs is seen by Thaksin as another threat to his autocracy.

The risk of Minkwan and his supporters breaking away from Phuea Thai is one that Thaksin cannot afford to ignore. However, it is equally a danger for the MPs concerned that they could end up in the political wilderness.

As a result, Thaksin took the bizarre step of ordering Phuea Thai MPs who will run in the election to sign resignation letters in advance as a bargaining chip to ensure their subservience in the ongoing fight for democracy.

Double standards? Who? Me?

Paul Snowdon – April 16, 2011

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Have your say...

David Donald
15 Apr 2011, 23:38
Paranoid dictators do as they like. That doesn't mean what they do is rational in the eyes of all others. Nor does it mean they have even a shred of moral perspective and decency in their quests for power, and holding power tightly in their talons.
Gary Joseph Chandler
17 Apr 2011, 19:18
Paul, The facts of your article cannot be disputed. However, it comes across to me as dyed in the wool anti=red; pro Elite blurb. It's the System that is the enemy, the system that created the reds AND yellows. On your list is missing, no asking Prayuth to resign, no apology to foreigners who were terrorised at the airports. Prayuth SAID he would arrest any soldiers who left their barracks to interfere in the elections, then what does he do??? He said 'other countries would have, also, massacred the rioters. Other, NORMAL, democracies would be demanding the resignation of a military chief who, PUBLICLY, is telling Thais how to vote. Sheesh. Anybody who is anti red, anti yellow, pro red, pro red yellow are living on the chess board, pawns.

a BP writer said something, true, a few months back, Voranai;;; 60,000,000 Thais are responsible for the riots and deaths. < HE was CORRECT. If people would listen to him and STOP pointing fingers at actors, they might get a handle on writing the script, eh. Until the swamp is drained, there is ALWAYS going to be crocs and snakes.
Naked Farang
17 Apr 2011, 19:20
The article was aimed at the reds and more specifically at their godfather, Thaksin. It was done so because they have been in the news over the last week and the yellows haven't. If you read my article every week - as I know you do - you would see that I am neither pro-red nor pro-yellow. I am pro-Tha and anti-bullshit.
Gary Joseph Chandler
18 Apr 2011, 04:28
Paul, I never said you were not 'neutral', anybody reading this Article would not know that. Yes, the reds are 2 faced, but why do they wear the ugly one? Prayuth Comments are recent and REALLY could be thrown on 'list'. 1. he promised the military would not interfere, then "he" did 2. he said Thailand was acting liking 'other countries' < if so? if Thailand is a civilised democracy, why isn't the PM calling him in for a resignation. Thaksin and Prayuth have just, clearly, drawn the battle lines I have been writing about for a 3 1/2 years.
Bangkok Dave
18 Apr 2011, 05:05
"The great thing about double standards is that they only apply to other people." -- Nicely put, Paul. I'm jealous! ;)
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