Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ultranationalist PAD

* All images copyright *
PAD supporters in Sanam Luang on Sunday November 15, 2009.

I have been going to the street protests in Bangkok for about four years now and think I am used to the acerbic nationalism used to stoke the crowds.

Both Yellow (PAD) and Red (UDD) are guilty of this.

Yet PAD's rally on Sunday in Sanam Luang ratcheted up the nationalist nonsense into nothing short of a rallying cry for war.

War with both Cambodia and a civil war within Thailand.

Over at Prachatai they have a summery of the some of the comments on stage:

"Prasert Lertyaso called for the beheading of Hun Sen, General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, and Thaksin Shinawatra, alluding to an old Thai saying of shedding blood to wash royal feet. He banished Thaksin’s supporters to Phnom Penh and Dubai."

"Saken Sutthiwong said that Cambodia was afraid that [Thai] F16 fighter jets would miss their targets and bomb Angkor Wat and Prear Vihear instead, because they earn their living from those ‘old stones’."
"Then some students came up to condemn Hun Sen and Thaksin, the traitor. They vowed to fight to the death to protect the Nation, Religion and King. "

"...Gen Preecha Iamsuphan, who had led yellow shirts in raucous protests near the Prear Vihear site in September, spoke to the crowd that it was time to get rid of traitors, as they all had appeared before their eyes. ‘We have to quickly finish them off for the sake of our beloved King and ancestors, so that Thais stop quarrelling with one another because of these scoundrels.’"

"Sondhi Limthongkul said the nation was important because it was composed of religion and the King. When people have faith in religion, religion is strengthened and so is the monarchy. Religion and the King will never be separable."

While such rhetoric sounds bad, some of the songs they sang might have been worse:
"Two royally-penned songs, ‘The Highest Dream’ and ‘Scum of the Earth’, were played"

Hobby, commenting at Prachatai, notes that New Mandala has an interesting write up on the song 'Scum of the Earth'.

From Ben Anderson writing about the slaughter of students at Thammasat University in 1976:

"Radio stations controlled by rightists, and especially the extremist Armored Division Radio, commissioned and played incessantly violent songs such as “Nak Phaendin” (Heavy on the Earth) and “Rok Phaendin” (Scum of the Earth)."

And Thongchai Winichakul writing about the same tragic events:

"Meanwhile military propaganda had dehumanized the radical students, labeling them ‘scum of the earth’ (nak phaendin), the enemy of the “Nation, Religion and the Monarchy”"

This ultra-nationalist vitriol is dangerous on its own but it comes just before the Red Shirt announcement that they will "will make the war against the government" and plan to bring up to a million supporters on the streets during Nov 29 to Dec 3.

While it is doubtful that they will actually get a million supporters (although Nick N did give a rather high estimate of 50,000 to 60,000 at their Saturday Khao Yai gathering which he also blogged about here) it is still a highly combustible scenario.

With PAD calling for blood and the Reds about to pour into Bangkok, Thailand's national political conflict is likely to grow more and more violent over the next few weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, but you don't take any notice of Thais, they get worked up about all sorts of nonsense. Its like watching kids in a playground the way they posture and puff themselves up, and it is no surprise that Thailand doesn't have any friends.


Agree or disagree? Please comment