Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have read that I have not been a big of German journalism when it comes to Thailand. Especially during this political crisis, finding some decent reports in the German media resulted in just a few ones.
So, it is more remarkable to find a good one. NDR, a regional affiliate to the national public-funded ARD channel, which also operates the South-East asia bureau, has aired a report on the victims of the deadly clashes. They interviewed friends and families of protester who was killed during the April 10 clashes and the solider who was probably killed by friendly fire during the clashes on April 28, who were both from the Isaan region. Even though the video is in German, the pictures speak for themselves (even though I’m willing to do subtitles if there’re enough requests).
Another remarkably good piece can be read at he website of Deutsche Welle in an interview with the experienced freelance reporter Nicola Glass. She points out a few issues that have not been discussed that much before. Key excerpts:
[Asked about the importance of the month September] (…) The current Commander-in-Chief Anupong Paochinda is going to retire at the end of September and his current second-in-command [Chief of Staff of the Army Lt. Gen. Prayuth Jan-ocha] would be his successor. While Anupong repeatedly said he would not use force against the red shirts, his number two judged differently, as seen during the crackdown on April 10. And if there will be elections before September, and should the reds win, then they would not want to accept the current number two to be Commander-in-Chief. (…)
New elections are an important solution. They will cool down the conflict for now. (…) Normally the political opponents must accept the outcome of the votes, but in the current mood I’m not sure if that is likely.
There’s another point. It very difficult to conduct a new election under the conditions. Currently the political atmosphere is heavily emotionalized. The red shirts blame the government for the victims of April 10 and I cannot imagine that government personnel to go campaigning in the Northeast of Thailand, the stronghold of the red shirts. On the other side it will be difficult for the red shirts in the strongholds of the government supporters. I think it’s currently very problematic.
“Entspannung, aber kein Durchbruch“, by DW-World.de, May 6, 2010
Solid arguments here, it is the first time I have read in the international media that Lt. Gen. Prayuth has been specifically named as the next possible Commander-in-Chief. I also agree with Glass that it will be difficult to see how or if tempers will cool down coming election day.