Sunday, September 20, 2009

Moments of nationalist stupidity

* All images copyright *
Red shirts at Government House February 24th 2009.

From the Bangkok Post titled Govt launches Thai Unity project:

"The government has organised activities to promote unity and patriotism among Thai people, and one of them is to sing the national anthem together," Mr Abhisit said.

I was going to write a post questioning what depths of nationalist stupidity that would envision that the promotion of an increasingly Orwellian nationalism would actually solve Thailand's political turmoil.

"PPT doesn’t think that Abhisit is as naive and as stupid as this all sounds. Rather, we feel that the emphasis on right-wing, conservative and nationalist strategies of the dark past is a reflection of the views of his strongest backers. His position as prime minister, and within the Democrat Party, is insecure. Hence, Abhisit has fallen back on the support of important and highly conservative and royalist backers within the party and at higher levels and they urge these measures that they believe have been successful in the past."

It is hard to fathom how the use of nationalism or even ISOC's bizarrely dumb "moso" campaign or the comically futile peace activist campaign to 'Stop Hurting the Country' are all raised as solutions to the country's political impasse.

When something is broken, it is better to address the problem rather than to preach about 'loving the nation', practicing moderation, or the waste-of-a-white-shirt campaign to 'stop hurting the country".

While 'moso' and the peace activists are simply wasting their own time and performing something akin to victimless crime, howling for increased nationalism is certainly more worrying.

PAD's violent antics at Preah Vihear are a prime example of the danger of nationalism.

Nationalism simply sharpens distinctions between opposing groups into a justification for violence.

As the government and its right-wing conservative backers sharpen their version of nationalism to exclude those who oppose them, the justification for violence moves ever closer.

So, at 8am and 6pm, the following blood thirsty lyrics in the national anthem will by passionately sung:

Thailand is the unity of Thai blood and body,
The whole country belongs to the Thai people,
Maintaining thus far for the Thai,
All Thais intend to unite together,
Thais love peace, but do not fear to fight,
They will never let anyone threaten their independence,
They will sacrifice every drop of their blood to contribute to the nation
Will serve their country with pride and prestige-full of victory.
Chai Yo (Cheers)

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