Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Abhisit and Giles at Oxford

Over at the New Mandala there is thorough coverage of Abhisit's speech at Oxford. And Thanks to New Mandala reader, Somsak Jeamteerasakul, for providing the link to the video above.

Also, at the Times Online, Richard Lloyd Parry makes some interesting comments about the exchange between Abhisit and Giles and the lack of open debate in Thailand:

"And such an open, unfettered and fearless debate could never take place in Thailand at the moment. Giles Ungpakorn wouldn't be there, for a start: he'd be locked up, for writing a book. And no Thai who wished to stay out of jail would dare to stand up and ask the frank questions about lèse-majesté which the Oxford audience put on Saturday. Abhisit may have said that he wants to promote democratic debate in Thailand, but whether he really intends to, or even has the power to do so, is another question yet to be settled. Perhaps his hands are tied by his PAD/military supporters; perhaps, having achieved power, he now finds that a certain amount of fear and hesitancy on the part of the population is an advantage."

1 comment:

  1. Abhisit certainly does not have the power to give the green light for public consideration of untouchable issues like lese-majeste in Thailand. To even suggest that he might, or even that he intends to, is absolute naivety. Abhisit is no renegade who plans to push for the reform of Thailand's power-structure at the expense of his bright future in Thai politics, although I do not deny that he might have once desired to. Abhisit knows what he is - a well-spoken, foreign-educated figurehead who was brought on board to lend an air of progressiveness and respectability to the current administration, if they can even be called an 'administration' at all.

    My advice to Abhisit - do your job. Consider bringing the PAD leadership to account for their crimes and stop dreaming about being some sort of 'campaigner for democracy' in Thailand - that you are not.


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