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thailand political situation - Page 9 - Dhamma Wheel

thailand political situation

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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mikenz66
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Re: thailand political situation

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 20, 2010 6:59 am

Thanks Robert and Chownah for your input. I have to agree with Chownah that statements to the effect that there is no "unbreachable" (what does that mean?) gap between rich and poor does sound a little myopic, especially if you've spent any time at all in the countryside (not just passing through on the way to some beach or tourist attraction).

Ironically, I've just realised that one of the TV stations here is playing "The Beach" tonight...

Mike

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Re: thailand political situation

Postby cooran » Thu May 20, 2010 7:09 am

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: thailand political situation

Postby Pannapetar » Thu May 20, 2010 7:45 am


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Re: thailand political situation

Postby forestmat » Thu May 20, 2010 8:06 am


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robertk
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Re: thailand political situation

Postby robertk » Thu May 20, 2010 8:52 am

A pity some of the redshirts went on a riot last night, but young men get like that when they see friends being shot down and the killings seen as simply collateral damage on TV stations .

Even the PAD (yellow shirts ) whom Kasit promiya- the current Foreign Minister - was a key figure, went on rampages:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbnFPhExOTw


They admitted to having several hundred armed and paid guards, but this is now no longer ever brought up in the thai press;
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2008/12 ... 090273.php
BURNING ISSUE
Is Sondhi's PAD now a brainwashed political cult?
By Pravit Rojanaphruk
The Nation
Published on December 5, 2008



So the prophet said it over the weekend: "If by dying the country will improve, let death visit us today. It's better than being alive otherwise".
These Davidian-like words were from no other than the supreme prophet, Sondhi Limthongkul, leader of the self-styled anti-Thaksin and anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy on Saturday, as he anticipated a possible clash with the police as the government tried to re-capture Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, invaded and occupied by the protesters.


Today the PAD movement resembles a political cult. Sondhi himself was a former cheerleader of Thaksin Shinawatra but is now a repentant man on a mission to eradicate Thaksin and his proxy from power. This gives him an almost messianic aura and mission. And there are rituals PAD supporters have gone through over the past two years, in order to prepare them for their "final battle". Never mind if the expression "final battle" has been used many times by PAD leadership - like some born-again Christians who await the Judgement Day, the date can always be re-set to fit the expired deadline.


One daily ritual PAD followers and members go through at their protest sites is the highly frenzied clapping of hands and cheering, encouraged by their five leaders who appear on stage almost every evening. Co-leaders like Sondhi and Somsak Kosaisuk, and others, enter the stage and lift their hands with palms upward, exciting their followers into frenzies. There's also the daily queue for free donated hot meals at the site; and T-shirts glorifying the leaders and their cause to protect the monarchy and promote their controversial "New Politics" of governance. Daily one-sided news and analysis feeds followers through ASTV satellite television and the Manager Group of newspapers. Even plastic Swatch-like watches with faces of the five PAD co-leaders can be purchased for Bt199 at Government House.


This, along with the good and bad times, and the loss of life and injuries among fellow followers, has bonded them.


Gathering in large numbers creates a sense of what anthropologists call "communitas": a heightened bond which threatens law and order as the mob feels invincible and empowered by its sheer numbers.


This kind of ritual and experience has been fostered over the months and it's wrong to simply blame the leaders for brainwashing their followers. The supporters' frenzied response and support has created a mutual brainwashing of the leaders too. A leader like Sondhi must be heavily intoxicated by his own propaganda, as if he is capable of ordering his people to do anything and at whatever cost.


These prophets also promote the worshipping of the Thai monarchy institution. Everyone was encouraged to wear yellow, symbolising the present King. But whether people like Sondhi are true royalists is debatable. The media's inability to discuss the role of the Thai monarchy due to censorship laws and culture has hampered the analysis and understanding of the current political crisis, to say the least.


As for Thaksin. PAD followers do not just hate his actions but deeply abhor the man, his cronies and proxies including Somchai Wongsawat. Thaksin to them is like Satan, and must be destroyed.


It's thus a zero-sum game in their view and no price is too high. Never mind the Thai economy is now reeling from the shutting down of two airports, their prophet claims they would rather die than allow the current regime and Thaksin to cling to power.


Sondhi himself told the PM to first resign, then they would negotiate. But what is left to negotiate? Such a remark reflects how out of touch the PAD leader has become.


After months of mutual brainwashing, and with the majority of Thai mainstream media nurturing and uncritically psupporting them, these people no longer dwell in rationality, law and responsibility. By now, the PAD has grown into a self-righteous semi-fascist monster propelled by its own intolerant political cult willing to ruin Thailand in order to achieve its elusive political "salvation".


Sound familar- yes it is exactly how the current media describe the redshirts...

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robertk
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Re: thailand political situation

Postby robertk » Thu May 20, 2010 9:16 am

This old article from NEWSWEEK about the Yellowshirts (PAD) -allies of the current Thai Govt. gives some good background. The fact that PAD have largely succeeded in getting what they demanded may explain why so many in Thailand are outraged enough to join the redshirts protest.

http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/ov/archi ... uggle.aspx
Bangkok's Bizarre Power Struggle
Newsweek
By Jamie Seaton and George Wehrfritz

Many Thais believe that a 100-year-old bronze likeness of King Rama V located in downtown Bangkok emits powerful magic. That is why, fully a century after it was cast in Paris, the likeness has become the object of struggle between top government leaders and a band of rightists seeking to oust them. A few weeks ago, anti-government agitator Sondhi Limthongkul, whose People’s Alliance for Democracy has occupied key official buildings for four months in an effort to topple a government he considers illegitimate, accused his opponents of employing wizardry to channel the statue’s protective forces their way. And to reverse that alleged sorcery, he deployed his own mystics to encircle the statue with used sanitary napkins (collected from the PAD’s rank-and-file) to form a shield of menstrual blood.

It’s no secret that Thailand’s democracy is embattled. But what’s less well known is the extent to which its rival camps have fallen back on astrology and mysticism as they seek to best their political foes. After deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned from exile temporarily this year, for example, he toured 99 Buddhist temples in what was interpreted as an effort to garner merit for an anticipated political comeback. A month later, unidentified vandals smashed numerous statues at Phanom Rung, one of the shrines he visited, purportedly to nullify Thaksin’s powers. Sondhi frequently denounces one of Thaksin’s allies as a “Khmer wizard” and was caught on video recently clad in priestly white robes as he sprinkled holy water at a government complex occupied by PAD demonstrators and called on Thais to resist “evil magic.” Bangkok-based political scientist Chris Baker says supernaturalism ebbs and flows in Thailand, but “at times of crisis these things bubble to the surface.”

They did so dramatically this week when the PAD, mounting what it called its “final offensive” to oust a democratically elected government led by Thaksin’s brother-in-law from power, seized Bangkok’s international airport in an effort to thwart Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat’s return from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru. Thousands of club-wielding thugs stormed the terminal and blocked traffic on the main airport expressway, stranding thousands of tourists, businessmen and triggering flight cancellations across Asia. “We sympathize with the passengers but this is a necessary move to save the nation,” PAD leader Sondhi said.

The PAD hopes its violent street actions will muster enough power to oust political opponents it can’t beat at the ballot box. Comprised mainly of conservative militarists, Bangkok’s old elite and royalists who see Thailand’s democracy as a threat to its monarchy, the anti-government coalition lost the last election but now seeks to reverse that result by claiming that the victorious People Power Party stole the contest – a claim for which there is scant supporting evidence. What really irks them is that the PPP is unabashedly pro-Thaksin and draws on his immense popularity in rural Thailand to dominate national polls. Their fear is that the party – should it ever fully consolidate power – would quickly return Thaksin to office despite his recent conviction on corruption charges stemming from his 2000-2006 rule.

The PAD’s methods are extreme. They’ve turned occupied government buildings into tent camps guarded by golf club-wielding thugs. They’ve closed several airports – Bangkok International is merely the latest – and urged state-owned airlines, power and transport companies to stage general strikes. Sondhi, a media tycoon-turned political raconteur, claims his movement is solely aimed at defending Thailand’s monarchy against a secret anti-royalist plot by Thaksin and his allies (who deny the claims and profess loyalty to the throne). The PAD advocates a limited form of democracy that, in essence, would disenfranchise rural voters who Sondhi has claimed “lack intelligence and wisdom.” His supporters believe their campaign has a supernatural subtext. Sondhi “uses [mystical] ceremonies to protect people,” says one female PAD supporter who is college-educated and works in an architectural firm in Bangkok. “I believe the spirits can help us sixty percent of the way, but that we must do the rest ourselves.”

Foreign observers agree that Thailand’s political landscape is unstable. As one Western diplomat in Bangkok puts it: “The PAD obviously has effective control of the airport and this is an issue of concern. But is this a general breakdown of law and order? Not yet.” On Wednesday Thailand’s army commander said Prime Minister Somchai should step down and call new elections. The prime minister – who returned from the APEC confab via a military airport late on Wednesday – quickly refused. Robert Broadfoot, managing director of the political risk consultancy PERC, warns that today’s crisis has the potential to “upset the [political] balance in the country,” and that the damage to Thailand’s democracy could take “years to repair.”

Few dispute the claim that Thailand is moving in reverse. Its economy, which grew robustly during Thaksin’s rule, thanks to rural reforms including village-level business loans and free medical care, is back in the dumps. Its multi-billion-dollar tourism industry has been dealt a staggering blow just as it enters the all-important winter holiday season. And the return of supernaturalism in politics, one could argue, marks a sardonic retreat from modernity. Thais revere King Rama V as a great modernizer who abolished slavery, forged diplomatic ties with Western powers and prevented the kingdom’s colonization during his 42 years on the throne. Yet with little apparent irony, today’s leaders seek to channel the powers of a legendary monarch who embraced new ideas using sorcery, holy water and menstrual blood.

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robertk
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Re: thailand political situation

Postby robertk » Thu May 20, 2010 9:33 am

Just did a seacrh and found some old articles suggesting that even PAD yellowshirts - had violent elements..

The video i posted earlier appears to no longer work. It showed PAD guards shooting at civilians critical of them..
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingne...newsid=30087406

Man injured in shooting with PAD guards
A man was shot and injured early Sunday after he and his friends drove to the Makkhawan Bridge and shouted abusive words at guards of the People's Alliance for Democracy.
The guards claimed that the group started firing at them first but the five men told police that one of them simply raised their middle finger and shouted abusive words against the PAD guards and they chased after them and fired at them.
The injured man was identified as Jaroon Deetour, 22. He was shot once on his right shoulder and rushed to the Vajira Hospital.
Four other men in the car were taken into custody by police from Nangloeng Police station
They told police that they went to drink on a pub on Khao San Road and they got lost while returning home in Samut Prakan and Jaroon later drove to the Makkhawan Bridge and Jaroon lowed the window and raised his middle finger to the PAD guards.

No PAD guards were arrested.


==================================================
The Nation

'PAD guards' arrested with bombs

Police Sunday arrested two men, who confessed to be PAD guards, after a lot of bombs and other weapons were found on them.

The two - Thanit Khanurai, 28, and Watana Kijpithaksin, 22, were arrested while riding a motorcycle on the Ratchasima Road in Dusit district at 2:50 pm.

Police found a bag with 3 M67 grenades, 22 ping pong bombs, 1 homemade bomb, 4 shotgun ammunitions, a samurai sword, and three sling shots.

Police also found id cards of PAD guards on them.

Watana told police that he was hired by another PAD guard, identified only as Nok, to carry the bag from a spot under the Rajawat Bridge to put into a garbage bin in front of the Rajdamnone Boxing Stadium.

Source: The Nation - 10 November 2008

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Re: thailand political situation

Postby Pannapetar » Thu May 20, 2010 10:56 am


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Re: thailand political situation

Postby gavesako » Thu May 20, 2010 11:46 am

The worrying thing is that the supposedly "safe zone" of Wat Pathum Wanaram in Siam Square, where mainly women & children from the red shirts protest zone took shelter, turned up not to be safe at all:

- 600 women & children in Wat Pathum when fire took place and 9 people died/As this time no help or assistance because CRES has not allow anyone to take them to hospital
- The remaining protesters inside the temple were in fear of being shot by snipers. Official report 6 people were killed last night in the temple, where it’s supposed to be “no firing zone”.


Also a Western journalist was shot at inside the temple:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/wor ... le1575108/

Ironically, it was at this temple where Ajahn Mun wrote his "Balland of Liberation from the Khandhas".
( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/mun/ballad.html )
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: thailand political situation

Postby forestmat » Thu May 20, 2010 12:07 pm

I was one of many re-tweeting when we realized Mark was stuck in the temple. We RT to many newswires.

His article makes great reading in the Globe and Mail:

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Re: thailand political situation

Postby forestmat » Thu May 20, 2010 12:29 pm

Good news that Chandler Vandergrift is improving

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Re: thailand political situation

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forestmat
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Re: thailand political situation

Postby forestmat » Thu May 20, 2010 12:40 pm


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Re: thailand political situation

Postby christopher::: » Thu May 20, 2010 12:47 pm

Very sad, the situation now. It doesn't sound like either side is more right or wrong.

Is this what comes from holding too tightly to views?

:toilet:

Hope all of you in Thailand now (((stay safe))
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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gavesako
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Re: thailand political situation

Postby gavesako » Thu May 20, 2010 1:32 pm

Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

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gavesako
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Re: thailand political situation

Postby gavesako » Thu May 20, 2010 6:28 pm

Some photos of the red protesters including monks being arrested. Below more disturbing photos of those who were shot dead including the wounded Canadian journalist.

http://rajdumnern.ownforum.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=836


And here is the report from Wat Pathum on Siam Square:

Eyewitness: Under fire in Thailand

Andrew Buncombe reports from the streets of Bangkok which have become a lethal battle zone


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 77647.html
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

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Re: thailand political situation

Postby robertk » Fri May 21, 2010 2:57 am

As I have said I live on Rama iv (where much of the action was over the last weeks) and often work on Silom which is across from Lumbini park where the redshirt leader was shot by a sniper while giving an interview. I have to say I haven't seen one gun amongst the Redshirts but everywhere I go see armed solidiers who are ready and permitted to fire their guns.A bank was burned down about 100 meters from where I live on the wednesday night.

I was reading wednseday bangkok post edition today (unable to read it wednesday) and on the front page they had four large photos of one of the dreaded blackshirts (who the Thai govt. identify as terrorists ). The Thai media have been saying these blackshirts are ex-army special forces and heavily armed.
So it was big news that we had finally had close ups of one of them - . And what a sight he was: about 18years old, and had a slingshot in one pocket and what looked like a counterfeit japanese sword on his back. He also had a handmade petrol or fireworks bomb that he was going to lob over the tyre barricade (to what effect one wonders as army positions at that time, as i understand it, were about 500 meters from the barricades) he dropped the 'bomb' and it went off next to him and he had to leap away (uninjured). The real special forces in thailand must be cringing if people really think they are that incompetent.

An editorial in The Bangkok post is telling. They rant about the incompetence of the foreign media who are so biased against this Thai government and who don't properly explain how terrible the redshirts are. They then cite a comment on a website from an anonymous British resident who lives in the general area who says he was told by Redshirts that he would he would be killed if he tried to leave . (Kind of hilarious when right up to the last few hours before the protest ended- you see people leaving the protest site and being searched by soldiers). The Post doesn't seem to see the irony of excoriating the Foreign media while relying on internet comments for their own info.


Thanks for that article Ven. Gavesako:
There was nothing for us to do but take cover, as the incoming fire sprayed and hissed. People lay flat, terrified, crouched behind cars, tried to squeeze themselvesinto the meagre protection offered by the wheel hubs. They took cover frantically, diving behind not just cars, but trucks, trees and even flower pots.


And then things rapidly changed. From the west, we could hear loud firing as troops advanced towards the temple area. Some reporters who had been outside said that a small number of Red Shirts were firing back with sling-slots, hand guns and petrol bombs. A photographer said he saw a man shot in front of him as he ran away from a line of soldiers, two bullets hitting him in the back and apparently exiting from the chest. The image that photographer had taken did not look good.

Suddenly the firing intensified. The explosions grew louder and appeared to get nearer to us and the crack of weapons became more frequent, their cap-gun noises giving no clue as to their deadly capability.

A bare-chested young man ran in. He had a large, ugly hole in the lower back. Was he struck as he ran or had he already been wounded when he came in? It was too frenetic, too chaotic to be sure. Either way, as soon as they became aware of his injuries, a group of medics ran to his aid, dragging him to what they hoped was safety. The medics turned him over on to his stomach, pressing down with bandages and towels. One woman in particular appeared utterly fearless.

Soon afterwards, another victim was rushed in through the entrance to the temple. He appeared older, frail. It looked as if he had been shot in the shoulder. Once again, the volunteer medics rushed to his help. The man's moans were soft amid the ongoing clatter of gunfire.

That's when I – one of just a handful of journalists still present at the temple – was hit in the outer thigh by what appeared to be several pieces of shrapnel. They later transpired to be large pellets from a shotgun that buried themselves deep – perhaps three inches – into the flesh. Where had this shooting come from? Were soldiers now deliberately firing at journalists or did they simply not care? The medics dived over, pouring cold water on the burning wound and pressing down bandages to stop them. It was effectively just a bad flesh wound but the fragments of lead burned and stung. There were countless people with wounds, but the medics – who had set up a pharmacy and emergency clinic amid the temple's lush, exotic foliage could have done no more.

Precisely which positions the firing was coming from was unclear and why the troops would be shooting so widely, with so little caution, was unclear. Was it coming from snipers or from the regular troops? It seems almost certain it was coming from the troops. And who within the chain of command was ordering troops to fire so recklessly, so close to so many people, the vast overwhelming majority of whom were unarmed, unthreatening and who – as they had been asked by the authorities – had just left their place in the city centre. Had they had an opportunity to leave, safely, then they would have. Everyone recognised this was the end of their struggle, or at least this stage of it. Pressing, vital questions need to be answered by the highest levels.

The terrible irony was that a well-equipped police hospital – where staff had supposedly been preparing for this day for months in advance – was located just yards from the entrance to the temple. The road outside – now a deadly shooting gallery – was simply too dangerous to cross.

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Ben
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Re: thailand political situation

Postby Ben » Fri May 21, 2010 3:22 am

Hi Robert

You seem to be particularly close to the action.
Look after yourself!
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Re: thailand political situation

Postby Pannapetar » Fri May 21, 2010 3:46 am

Things are a lot more complicated. It's not just red versus yellow or good versus evil as some try to tell us. There are many people drawn into this, and each one has a different story. Take the red shirts, for example. Some are in it for the money, some are idealistic, some are reasonable nonviolent people, some are violent and crazed by propaganda, some are naive, some are wannabees (like the "black shirt warrior" that Bangkok Post photographed). Once the bullets fly, who can tell who is who? There is only one constant: Violence leads to violence.

Cheers, Thomas

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Re: thailand political situation

Postby robertk » Fri May 21, 2010 7:00 am

double post
Last edited by robertk on Fri May 21, 2010 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total.


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