Friday, July 31, 2009

Petition highlights hypocrisy

*All Photos Copyright*
One of the many boxes containing signatures petitioning the king to pardon Thaksin. This box, obviously, has 23, 168 signatures. Sanam Luang, July 31, 2009.

The Red Shirt's royal petition to pardon former PM Thaksin certainly seems to have the Establishment running scared.

The government has responded in Orwellian fashion and will host a TV program on NBT to "improve public understanding of the issue of a royal pardon for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra" with the goal of informing people who "already signed in support of the petition could always withdraw their names once they have a better understanding".

While the government's awkward and fumbling efforts are reminiscent of recent moral panic campaigns aimed at karaoke bars and internet cafes or the simply bizarre MOSO campaign by the Internal Security Operations Command, the real problem is that it highlights the hypocrisy so ingrained in this Red vs. Yellow conflict.

Those who disingenuously preach that the king is above politics are the same people who draw power and use the throne to advance their own interests.

Aptly put by the Bangkok Pundit: "Needless to say the same people outraged today are the same ones who petitioned HM the King under Article 7 in 2006 to remove Thaksin. But of course that was a "good" petition unlike this one is "evil""

If some people can create a royal petition while others can not, one might ask; who does the palace really represent?

While it might be best to leave that as a rhetorical question to avoid running afoul of lese majeste laws, the Red's petition certainly does expose the fundamental hypocrisy that is a core problem in this conflict.

* Also, dont miss Nick Nostitz's post at New Mandala...simply great reporting!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An elephant named Suwicha

Suwicha Thakor at trail, photo from Reuturs.

Over at New Mandala there is a great idea to help name a baby elephant at Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo:

"How about we have a campaign to name the young boy Suwicha (สุวิชา), after Thai political prisoner Suwicha Thakor? Most of you will remember that Suwicha Thakor was sentenced to 10 years in prison for posting digitally altered images of the king on the internet. It is an outrageous sentence, and would have been even longer if Suwicha had not pleaded guilty."

To read more about the rational from New Mandala click here.

To read about the Suwicha Thakor at Political Prisoners Thailand in Thailand click here.

And most importantly, click here to cast your vote to name the baby elephant Suwicha.

In addition, PPT has these suggestions to protest against Thailand's appalling lèse-majesté law.

PPT urges protests against the use of these draconian laws and Suwicha’s harsh sentence:

1. Write a letter to the Prime Minister of Thailand, Abhisit Vejjajiva, Government House, Bangkok, Thailand. Fax number +66(0)29727751.

2. Write a letter of concern to the Ambassador, The Royal Thai Embassy, in your country of residence about Suwicha’s case.

3. Write to your local member of parliament and your minister for foreign affairs, drawing their attention to the lèse-majesté law in Thailand and Suwicha’s case.

4. Urge Amnesty International internationally and at your local branch to take up Suwicha’s case and others charged under the draconian laws that protect the monarchy and police cyberspace.