Seeing that I am fortunate or unfortunate enough to be in Bangkok during this latest violent outbreak, I felt for a change I would talk about my personal experiences leading up to the violence that has erupted. So here is a rare personal account that differs from the norm.
for the moment my journeys have place me in Bangkok for at least a few months. This has given me the chance to interact with Red Shirt protesters for a more balanced spin on what is running through their minds. In each case there statements were clearly driven by propaganda and some can not be repeated because of the Lèse majesté laws. But just by saying that it is easy to see and conclude that the Red Shirt movement is without a doubt anti royal. The problem is many simply do not recognize it. They believe what they have been told and it was told in such a way to trick them into being anti royal.
Conversations with Taxi drivers proved to be the most interesting as their views were very passionate. They ranged from saying the military had rigged the elections that installed Abhisit as Prime Minister, to saying that the Abhisit government was secretly brainwashing people to think the Red Shirt movement was bad and evil as well as using black magic. They believed the military controlled the courts and instructed them to dissolve the Thai Rak Thai party as well as the People Power Party. There were other things about other people who Thaksin clearly sees as enemies that were completely off the wall with some based in superstition.
Clearly the most unsettling ride was in what could be called a watermelon taxi. The taxi itself was green but inside most certainly red. The driver was clearly hard core and likely of the violent wing of the Red Shirts. He was wearing green military camouflage and would look very comfortable standing armed to the teeth staring down the military. He clearly was deep in thought and looking to fight. On the passenger side sun visor there was a big picture of Thaksin wearing a red shirt and the radio was tuned to a station that was clearly stoking his anti government anger. Needless to say there was no need to ask his views.
Also needless to say they absolutely believed it to be true and were on a mission to set things right to save Thailand from the evils of the Abhisit government. When asking them a direct question like under Parliament rules Abhisit came to power legally because he was elected by members of Parliament, they fell back on the military as removing the elected government by manipulating the courts and that makes Abhisit illegitimate. It was obvious that all the hours of judges reading the courts ruling and evidence on live TV clearly went completely over their heads and their eyes probably glazed over 5 minutes into the 6 hour reading.
because of this lack of understanding and Thaksin’s cronies there to fill their heads with whatever poppycock fit their needs is what this conflict is all about. In short they are robots waiting to be programmed. Seeing that robots do physical tasks, this conflict is the result of that programming. The basic root command of that programming is clearly anyone who is not pro Thaksin must be dealt with as an enemy of democracy. Ironically they could have just as easily been programmed to be pro government. So trying to talk logic to them is over their heads or rejected because of the depth of programming. To be honest it made me think of some cults that have found the headlines in the news over the past 40 or so years. All of them ended up in some sort of tragedy.
It is hard to fathom how low a person must go to trick people into giving up their lives for a self serving lie, but that is the tragedy that is unfolding. To assign worth to a person’s life equal to cattle is going very low. Many of these Red Shirt people are nice, caring and actually are very good role models. Many I would easily consider having as close friends.
It is important to keep cause and effect in the forefront of your mind. It is easy to assign blame to both sides. Thaksin for his greed and lust for power, and past and present Thai governments for leaving an education system that is so defective up and running. Between the two of them they provided the fuel for this fire.