The Nation has put up an article that can only be described as simply astonishing.
The international community is showing varying degrees of understanding concerning the political situation in Thailand. There are two groups – those who reside outside the Kingdom and are looking in through a somewhat distorted lens, and the Bangkok-based foreign community, who have to suffer through this turmoil on a daily basis like the Thai people.
The first group, including some media outlets, has only a superficial comprehension of the crisis. Comments are mostly narrowly focused; they see the turmoil simply as a righteous struggle between the haves and have-nots. Moreover, they see it solely as a cry for democracy. These two key messages dominate their discourses. (…)
But one thing is missing here. The role of fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as the main culprit is seldom being mentioned by the international community and international media. Obviously, it is beyond their imagination to conceive that one person could be responsible for such massive civil disobedience. But this is exactly the point. Thaksin has channelled his money, via his divorced wife and crony associates, to finance the demonstration. (…)
Certainly, there are red supporters on the streets who are genuinely crying for a real democracy and who want to highlight and remedy all the social ills of Thailand. (…) There is no denying that extensive reforms are needed.
But these issues are symptomatic of all developing countries. The disparity between rural and urban areas – even in the most developed countries in the world – is a dichotomy that we continue to struggle with. What is strange is that nobody reacts like this in other countries. In Thailand this issue has been manipulated by certain people for their own interests.
Inside Thailand, for those foreigners who have gone through the same experience as Thais in the past several weeks, there has been a strong sense of anger, sadness and bitterness. They feel the same way as many Thais. (…)
It is imperative that the international community gains a thorough understanding of the situation. Both the media and all governmental organisations have to do their job more effectively.
“Do They Really Know What’s Happening Here?“, The Nation, April 30, 2010
In a related news story, foreign minister Kasit Piromya is at it again.
The crisis spilled into the diplomatic arena Thursday, with Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya censuring some foreign diplomats for meeting last week with Red Shirt leaders.
“We do not want to see that happening again,” Kasit told reporters during a visit to Jakarta, Indonesia. Kasit said he had earlier met with Philippine Ambassador Antonio V. Rodriguez, dean of the Bangkok diplomatic corps, to express his concern.
In a note to other diplomats based in Thailand, Rodriguez said Kasit accused some ambassadors of voicing opposition to the constitutional monarchy and criticizing the government’s handling of the crisis. Kasit was a public supporter of the Yellow Shirt movement before becoming foreign minister.
“These actions have gone beyond the limits of diplomatic practice and were unacceptable to the Thai government,” Rodriguez summarized Kasit as saying. “The envoys’ opposition to the government and to the monarchy was inappropriate and will not be tolerated.”
“Thai protest rivals want military to end ‘anarchy’“, Associated Press, April 29, 2010
New Mandala has some excerpts of the memo that has been passed to the diplomats, worth a read.
Do I sense a theme here? It seems that the “being a foreigner and not in Thailand”-talk is still a legit argument for some Thais and also a convenient one to shoot down foreign criticism. Also, there is an ongoing fascinating fixation on Thaksin by Kasit and The Nation, especially since rumors of his death are persistently popping up this week again.
And don’t get me started on who should do a better job…
P.S.: Remember Kasit’s rant in Washington against several countries that have let Thaksin from a few weeks ago? Well, one of the countries ‘strikes’ back.
In a separate development, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Thai Ambassador Chalermpol Thanchitt to accept a diplomatic protest in response to Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya’s remarks on Russia’s role in sheltering Thaksin.
“Thaksin, family dispel rumours of death, coma“, The Nation, May 1, 2010