Friday, April 23, 2010

Do you hear the people sing?

As some of you must've heard, there were a number of explosions in the business district of Bangkok last night, killing three and injuring scores of people who were probably just on their way home from work. This is yet another bloody episode in the ongoing political standoff between the red shirt protesters and the government, which has thrown some parts of Bangkok into a virtual war zone.

(Photo credit: Global Post)

At the moment, there's really no end in sight and everyone is just hoping that violence will be kept at a minimum, especially with another crackdown looming this weekend. It is obvious however that even if the reds get their way of a dissolution of the house, or the government finally getting rid of the reds, the political rifts in Thailand will not conveniently end either way.

The Bangkok Post has an insightful column today, written by Suranand Vejjajiva entitled No other option but to a deal to end conflict. The writer argues... 

But for a deal to be made, assumptions of the root causes of the problem must be agreed upon.

First the establishment must not view the red shirts as terrorists, or that they are nothing but former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's lackeys. A majority of them have real concerns and have identified their plight with the existence of injustice and double standards in the system. Democracy and the return of the 1997 constitution are not just political rhetoric. Economic opportunities that come with political freedom are what they yearn for.

The grassroots rural and urban poor who now sit and sleep on the hot concrete intersection surrounded by modern shopping malls and high-rise five-star hotels feel they have been taken advantage of for decades. Resources of the nation combined with their blood, sweat and tears have built tremendous wealth for the capitalists which has barely trickled back down except in the form of meagre wages.

 It's definitely refreshing to read something not anti-red from the English newspapers for once. Anyone reading The Nation for instance can clearly tell that it is flagrantly yellow through and through. In fact, I heard that the Thai media in general, especially during this tight political situation, had hardly been objective, making it difficult for outsiders like myself to find out what the real deal is.

It does not help of course that the government propaganda machine is in full force, such as these lies. This is worsened by the fact that there are just many things that cannot be discussed openly, otherwise the censors would block websites and TV stations.

Observers, including the media, are currently focusing on the Silom/Sala Daeng area, the most obvious clash-point between government forces and the protesters.

(Photo credit: Global Post)

(Photo credit: Thai-Blogs)

I saw the barricade in the Silom intersection a couple of days ago. A pile of tires, supported by bamboo scaffolding, covers the width of a wide avenue in central Bangkok. Men waving red flags sit atop the barricade while loud music blasts from the demonstration site. Across the street are the police in full riot gear. Hanging from their chests are pellets that can be used anytime against the mob.

The barricade looks like it's straight from a theater set. In fact, the first thought that came into my mind as I emerged from the subway to be greeted by such a dramatic sight was: Les Miserables. Not to undermine the cause of the red shirts, and the political standoff in general, the scene in Silom that morning was a sight to behold.

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!


toxic disco boy said...

i hope things will get better there.

mel beckham said...

juice ko, iwas muna sa runway Ate G.


clarinda said...

Thanks G for this insight...Somehow everyone should see clearly why these are all happening before accusations are thrown to parties coz for sure there are more people who suffered and will continue to suffer if only political cracks are filled. Angry men will perennially emerge, used and abused by a few who are way ahead of the race called free economy.

Anyhoot, you take care there.

Was Once said...

Found quote in the news that sums this up:
"But what really fuels the protesters — and makes reconciliation difficult — are not legal decisions and political wrangling, but deep-seated anger at a Bangkok-based elite they say treats the rural poor as second-class citizens while it fails to alleviate their poverty."
Until this class division ends somewhat, democracy will never happen.

kawadjan said...

Toxic: Korak, same tayo ng panalangin.

Melanie: Korak, ate. Off-season muna ako.

Clang: Tulon.

Was Once: Indeed.


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