It would seem people in Thailand are caught up in a blur of propaganda, spin, and reality about what is likely to happen as a result of Thaksin’s court case. The government is predicting violence while the violent prone Red Shirts say there will be none. So Connecting the Dots decided to have a look.
Looking at the events in Thailand, if you have not been following along from the start you could easily get a big headache while testing all of what is going on to some form of logic. The problem is what may appear illogical outside of Thailand, somehow seems to apply inside Thailand.
To sum it up, there is a rich convicted fugitive who was once Prime Minister of Thailand. Because he tended to a neglected and very poor segment of Thai society, he is seen as a bit of a Robin Hood. As a result the people he helped tend to want to support him. The glitch is this group of people tend to be under educated and for the most part can not see the bigger picture.
When brain power lacks, muscle power takes over. In this case violence tends to be the expended muscle power from this group who follow the convicted fugitive. To keep things simple the followers of the fugitive have chosen the color red and wear red shirts to show their allegiance. Hence the name Red Shirts everyone can connect with.
With a building drama to the expected February 26 court ruling there is a lot of questions as to what will happen. That ruling will for the most part drain 76 Billion Baht from the fugitives bank accounts if a guilty verdict is handed down. There is a sense of anxiety as to what the violence prone Red Shirts will do in the days leading up to and perhaps past the verdict. Sorting that out is what we look to do in this entry.
First off the government for the most part is making it very public that they expect violence from the Red Shirts even if the Red Shirts say they will not misbehave. There word has been compared to that of the person they follow and he tends to be a chronic liar who consistently says exactly opposite of what the truth is. Simply yes means no and no means yes, in means out and out means in and so on.
The second bit of evidence is not all the Red Shirts are prone to violence. Some for that fact are well on in years and would prefer not to get involved in a violent protest. So by the government saying they expect violence is a message to the non violent Red Shirts to stay home and watch it on TV. This is certainly psychologically designed to keeping the Red Shirt mob small.
Another factor to consider is based on rewards. In this case rewards means some personal gain from being violent. It is well known and painfully obvious that the Red Shirts are in the game for personal gain and are not truly looking for democracy as they claim. So a big consideration is have the rewards been disbursed yet or are they still pending. Seeing that significant sums of money have been transferred into the bank accounts of Red Shirt leaders over the past month or so, it does leave open for debate what will become of that money. The amounts are significant no matter what currency they are counted in being roughly 30 million US Dollars.
So Connecting the Dots concludes the following. When it comes to the chance of violence, unfortunately the numbers are well stacked in favor of violence. It only takes one spark or in this case one person to set things off. As so many people are involved, it becomes impossible to say absolutely yes or no. It may all come down to how much Thai whisky has been consumed in the hours leading up to the verdict, so we would not be a bit surprised if a ban on alcohol sales is put in place for the 48 hours preceding the verdict as an extra precaution. That ban would be announced as immediate so as to avoid stockpiling.
The Thai government is taking the wise precaution of planning for the worst but hoping for the best. All the announcements of expecting violence are not just a psychological ploy, but in fact a warning to the Thai people to be ready as well as show how predictable the Red Shirts have become. This will go a long way when the Red Shirts get to court for their own trial and have to stand in front of the judge. It will lend to the prosecutions case of premeditated violence. So if treason or other such charges apply, it could mean a potential death sentence. The fact that the government made a point of saying that they will seek traitor / treason charges tends to support that will likely be the case. However as Thais are not known for thinking things out to conclusion, that little reality may be a few too many steps down the road.
On that note, that particular road may be very short. There is little doubt the court will let it be known that any challenge to their ruling will be seen as contempt of court. So rounding up the rioting trouble makers and tossing them in jail on the same day is very possible. While they are in jail the traitor / treason charges can be filed and they will likely be in jail until their case is heard. If a death sentence is handed down as a result of that trial, the phrase that we often say of dancing with the devil will once again be heard.