Thailand… Where even the “People’s Revolution” is Fake . . .
We are all immersed now in the news, reading and watching stories about the Thai rioters and protesters who have now effectively brought Thailand to its knees simply by shutting down the airport.
Revolutions are not neat and tidy, and they are perhaps viewed as “Heroic and Glorious” only by the sons of the soldiers who write tales idolizing their fathers. “Patriotic Wars” ain’t all they are cracked up to be.
Thailand is in the throes of a political realignment that will evolve slowly, as only Thais can do it… Slowly, slowly, ebb and flow, two steps forward, one step back… Thai style.
As an American, I reflect on all that I was taught about the American Revolutionary war, and the American Civil War. The words of the patriotic songs haunt my mind, as I watch Thai men fight, brother versus brother.
“…We were young and bound for glory, Itchin’ for a fight like you, Bringin’ Hell and purgatory, To the boys who wore the blue…”
Not unlike America’s Civil War, the Blue versus the Gray, brother versus brother, fighting for reasons that they did not always fully understand, the Thai people fight now, the Thai-Chinese elite of Bangkok versus the Thai-Lao rice farmer. City versus rural, North versus South. The polarization really seems that simplistic.
Tonight, as I write this from the comfort of my condo, Thai men prepare to fight and perhaps die. Yellow versus Red. Protester versus police.
The PAD. They wear the yellow shirt, the color of the Monarchy. They oppose the return of the fallen Prime Minister Thaksin, (ousted by coup d’état in 2006). They seek to end the current regime, currently run by Prime Minster Somchai, the now-disgraced bother-in-law of the previously disgraced PM Thaksin. It has been charged that the PAD is controlled by the Thai-Chinese elite.
The UDD. They wear the Red Shirt, the Chinese color of war, and rage, and hatred, and they support the current regime. Odd about their Red symbology, since many of these people are Thai-Lao, and their natural enemies are Thai-Chinese, and the Red Color coincides with the superstitious nature of the Isarn people, where anything written in the color red symbolizes death. Perhaps this is death, simply the death of innocence for the simple Isarn people of Ubon and Sisaket. The UDD claims to represent the common man, the Thai-Lao peasant, the Isarn rice farmer.
But, it may be the Yellow Shirts who will surely lose their innocence, and perhaps their lives, as the Royal Thai Police move in, and fight brother versus brother, to retake the Bangkok airport. The knives and sticks and rocks and slingshots of the PAD protesters will be no match for the American-supplied M-16-A3’s carried by the Thai soldiers and police.
“…I got shot and lost my rifle, When the first wave hit the rise, And the guns rolled out like thunder, And the black smoke burned my eyes…”
This is supposed to be a “People’s Revolution”, and surely it would be a glorious and honorable death for an illiterate Isarn peasant to lose his life in the “good fight”, and surely his village would mourn for him, and write songs and poetry in his memory, and light incense at his altar, and worship his spirit, and give whisky and rice offerings to the Gods…
Wrong. This is Thailand. The widow of the fallen protester will sue the political organizations. His father will petition the government. His sisters and brothers will plunder his possessions.
My eyes have surely been opened over the last few days. I have been walking for exercise with Nuy, my little errand girl, and our usual route takes us near a large construction site.
Wednesday, at the height of the insurrection and the airport takeover, I observed that there were no workers on the construction site. But on Thursday, they were all back, laughing, and joking, and smiling, and waving to us as we walked by their work site.
“…And the soldiers kept a comin’, ‘Til the ground looked like a sea of blue and gray. And I watched it from a distance, Wonderin’ if I would’ve fought or run away…”
On Wednesday, these construction workers were soldiers, in the massive siege of the Bangkok airport. But on Thursday, they were simply back on the job, as if nothing had happened, while only a small percentage of their number, but still a few thousand men, hold the airport, and wait for the inevitable.
While we walked, and as if reading my thoughts, Nuy smiled up at me, and she made me understand, even further, the total fakery of all things Thai . . .
Her explanation, quite simply, is that the entire event is somewhat staged, even if some of the “actors” don’t quite understand that fact. Nuy asserts, that at the highest levels of Thai society, there are approximately 30 Thai-Chinese families who essentially control everything. These families compete in all things and cooperate in only a few things. Perhaps a few are Thaksin supporters, but most are not. Opposing the disorganized ruling elite are a few emerging political parties, power brokers of the equally disorganized common people.
When we walked by the construction site on Thursday, (after the return of the workers), Nuy could hear snippets of the workers’ conversations. They were laughing, saying that life was good, and that while their menial construction trade paid only 200 THB per day, that their political parties paid much more, paying sometimes as much as 500 THB per day to each protester. Nuy said they laughed, when they recognized each other, and realized that the day before many of them were on opposite sides, opposing teams, in a great and grand staged struggle.
Everything in Thailand is fake – – CDs, software, watches, transvestites, diplomas, passports, any document. Thais are masters at copying anything and everything; they can produce fakes better than anyone.
The Thai people have now produced a fake revolution. Many, if not most, of the Thai protesters (who you may have seen on your sanitized Western television news), were paid by the various Thai political parties. They do not fight for revolutionary beliefs. They have no political beliefs. They fight for rice money while the power brokers divide up the real spoils of war… The puppet masters and the plantation owners control the soldiers and the slaves. It has always been this way, and some things do not change.
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Lyrics – – "The Day The Sun Stood Still" – – by Travis Tritt (Great piece, loved by USA Civil War buffs) – –
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It is a sad fact that so many of the people involved in this protest are there because they are paid. It's just so incredibly damning that you just don't want to dwell on it.