In his column in the latest issue of Red Weekly on 14 Aug 2009, Jakrapob Penkair criticizes some leaders of the Democracy movement, but without naming names. However, when he fled the country during the Songkran incident, it was reported that his split up from other leaders was not amicable.
He starts the piece with:
The incidents of 14 Oct 1973, 6 Oct 1976, and May 1992 are struggles for Democracy within a framework of Aristocracy, but from 2006 until present it has been the first ever fight between Democracy and Aristocracy.
Jakrapob says that anyone who still holds that ‘Bloody May’ was the success of Democracy over Dictatorship and has the wishful idea that the encounter in 2009 will end up with ‘the same scene’, will be disappointed.
The situation in 2009 has only one thing in common with that of 1992, which is the determination of the people to throw out dictatorship, but the game and the players are drastically different. And the illusion of May 92 might mislead the whole democratic front to a disastrous defeat.
Claiming that he has been involved in the anti- Aristocracy movement since the beginning and has relocated himself to where he can ‘do a lot of work in a more profound way’, Jakrapob feels the urge to speak out, citing the reason that many of the red shirts’ leaders are apparently obsessed with the myth of the 1992 event in which some of its leaders have been accused of ‘leading people to die’ in a trade-off for a victory that did not belong to the people, but was an intrigue set up by the elite.
During the May incident in 1992, Jakrapob worked for the Foreign Ministry and closely coordinated with the intelligence agencies of many countries. So, he claims, he was quite in the know about how the democracy side was made to follow a ‘script’, so that events ended up in favour of ‘them’, not of the people.
According to him, the May 92 incident was not an encounter between the conservative elite and the people as is happening today, but a conflict among the conservative elite’s own minions who dragged the people in between their battle lines.
Class 5 of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy (CRMA) led by Gen Suchinda Kraprayoon ousted the government by staging a coup in 1991, and grabbed power. The conservative elite who used them to do that very job became distrustful after the junta appeared set to perpetuate their power.
So the conservative elite brought in the junta’s archrivals, CRMA Class 7, led by Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, formerly Secretary-General to Gen Prem Tinsulanonda when he was Prime Minister, to lead the fight against dictatorship, along with pro-democracy activists who probably did not know that those who created the junta and later wanted to destroy it were the same people.
Those activists were led to believe wrongly that if they could mobilize as large a mass as possible, they would definitely win, forgetting or pretending to forget the fact that in the May 92 incident demonstrators were being killed and injured for three days without any sign of victory.
Jakrapob points out that ‘certain leaders’ deliberately led the masses to the battle field of the two Classes to make it look like a fight for Democracy.
He does not name the names of these leaders, but it becomes quite clear when he links the movements in 1992 and 2006 in terms of leadership.
‘These leaders, don’t you dare say that you’re more progressive than the masses, because you’re just underlings who serve power. The masses in 1992 had higher self esteem than you. […] And the masses in 2006 are also much more progressive than you.’
(Chamlong Srimuang was the most prominent leader in the May 92 incident, but he is now with the People’s Alliance for Democracy. Others who were active in the May 92 movement and are now leaders of the red-shirt movement are Veera Musikapong, Jatuporn Promphan and Weng Tojirakarn.)
Jakrapob warns of people who wish to mobilize people to clash with one another to repeat the May incident, and some people who lead the democracy movement to serve the conservative elite.
The pro-democracy people who have long seen through the Abhisit-Suthep government, the Anupong-Prayuth army, and the Thanin-Charnchai court have no faith in the strategy being adopted.
This war is between the conservative elite and the people. It will take as long as necessary.
He distinguishes leaders who pretend to be fools from those who are fools.
Those who pretend to be fools want to set the boat (Democracy) adrift on the water, waiting for the powerful people to throw a rope and pull the boat ashore. And the debt of gratitude would then be owed forever.
Those who are fools still have fun with idiotic games, and have not thought through how the people will win. They might bring us satisfaction in the short term, but lead us to defeat in the long run.
He says the fools can never bring the whole movement to destruction, but those who pretend to be fools and intentionally lead the movement to a disgraceful end will never be forgiven.