Red shirts launch “Blood Sacrifice” campaign

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) or "Red Shirt" demonstrators sacrificed blood during their protest in Bangkok on March 16, 2010. They vowed to collect one million cubic centimetres of blood to pour outside Government House in Bangkok.  Protest leaders said this campaign is a symbolic move to protest against the government and call for fresh elections.

This morning, thousands of red shirts lined up to have their blood drawn by medical activists, a day after red-shirt leader Nattawut Saikua vowed to collect "1 million cubic centimetres" of blood to spill at Government House on Tuesday evening. More blood will be shed at the headquarters of the Democrat Party on Wednesday and the Prime Minister's house on Thursday if the protesters’ demands were not met.

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva held a meeting with coalition party leaders at the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) headquarters at the 11th Infantry Regiment in Bang Khen district in northern Bangkok. Meanwhile tens of thousands protesters rallied from their encampment on Ratchadamnoen Road to CAPO headquarters demanding that the government dissolve parliament and launch fresh elections.

After the meeting, Abhisit told a nationwide television audience that his government and coalition parties disagreed with the protesters’ demands. “We cannot respond to the protesters’ demands.  We also have people other than the protesters to respond to", Abhisit said. He also claimed that his government is constitutionally legitimate.

After the press conference, he left the 11th Infantry Regiment by helicopter, 10 minutes before the Red Shirt protesters arrived.

After Abhisit’s refusal, Nattawut Saikua announced the "one million cubic centimetres of blood sacrifice" campaign to call on the government to dissolve Parliament.

“This is a vow of non-violence by the red shirts. We do not want bloodshed, loss of life, or violent clashes with anyone.  If our country has no democracy, every single drop of bloodshed will be the blood of serfs who have no influence, like the red shirts today,’ Natthawut said.

 

 

Now I can see direct cause of

Now I can see direct cause of ICT Block.

This is apparently a Kmer

This is apparently a Kmer black magic ritual. How regressive! If they can collect vast quantities of healthy blood, great. Donate it to the blood-bank & show that the Redshirts are socially committed & can help save lives (they'll be needing it in Songkhran). Don't make it into a stupid primitive black magic ritual.

What cretins the leaders of both sides are! (remember Sondhi L & the used sanitary napkins?) Surely this protest should be focused on leading Thailand OUT of the dark ages. Aaaaaargh! What a lot of pathetic wankers! What they need is to scrap all these silly, angry old fools & get some new leaders with a few real ideals, positive ideas, & concrete plans for the future.

The Reds will win eventually, without question. But if they keep going with their current hopeless, brainless leaders Thailand will just go back into the same cycle of political thuggery, rule by vicious criminals, repression of the poor & minorities, Thai Justice, Thai Democracy, Thai Education, business as usual in the Land of Smiles.

Michael, with such a name, I

Michael, with such a name, I suppose you are "farang" or "farangminded".
I am an european who loves Thailand and his people, and I am currently living part in Belgium, part in Phitsanulok.

Your comment is shocking, because it shows a total contempt of thai people and thai culture ! From your (supposed) occidental superiority you critisize and insult these people because they do not act as westerners...

But this is Thailand, with a different history, other customs and traditions. Please do not give them lessons ! You are not the one to do it !

This is, maybe, the beginning of a new page of thai history, with "grassroot" people challenging for the first time the traditional power of the wealthy. They do it on their way and that is great !

I don't think michael has

I don't think michael has contempt for Thai people.

I really like your idea of

I really like your idea of donating blood. There is a slight problem with that though as many provinces in Thailand do not have the facilities to screen blood.

Many children die as they are told to just go home rather than have a routine blood test for diseases such as denge and malaria. So logistically it might be quite difficult without a lot of planning.

Even some of the the private hospitals in some provinces (some completely void of patients whilst the government ones are overflowing) do not have such luxuries.

As for your insults against many of the beliefs still held in Thailand, what right do you have to dictate the beliefs of others?

Yes, new leaders would be nice, ones that the majority of the people can relate to easily and understand the needs of all Thais rather than just their ilk.

Michael's coment reminds me

Michael's coment reminds me of a short story by a Thai author who sees superstitution as backward and destructive to a community. I think the author is Manop Tanomsri, and the story is called 'Greenie' , translated by..Susan Fulop Kepner(if i remember this correctly) Not all Thais like superstitious practice (they can be just a minority, but still Thai). I agree with the following comment by michael:

"... But if they (the Reds) keep going with their current hopeless, brainless leaders Thailand will just go back into the same cycle of political thuggery, rule by vicious criminals, repression of the poor & minorities, Thai Justice, Thai Democracy, Thai Education, business as usual in the Land of Smiles."

That may be true... but what

That may be true... but what is the difference between the present state of affairs and "political thuggery, rule by vicious criminals, repression of the poor & minorities, Thai Justice, Thai Democracy, Thai Education, business as usual in the Land of Smiles."? The only difference is in the spin the Thai MSM gives it.

The difference is that change now, with the political process in suspension, requires extraordinary acts. With the political process restarted elections are possible and there are programmatic ways to effect change that can be undertaken by the people.

That, of course, is the problem according to putsch in power. That's why the political process has been suspended.

JFL: Agreed! But

JFL: Agreed! But extraordinary acts don't have to be silly or violent stunts.

I've seen no violent acts

I've seen no violent acts from the red shirts, and they needn't consider my aesthetic in their struggle. It is theirs not mine.

I support them and their struggle and I support whatever non-violent actions they take in their struggle. They will outlast and outclass the people who, with the gleeful connivance of the MSM, have leapt to the front of and who "lead" their parade.

Ignorant farang that I am I have just now discovered Chatthip Nartsupha and his stunning research on the foundations of Thailand. His views and research resonate with my intuition. I think he is an eloquent and elegant spokesman for the people who've now donned Red Shirts and gone to Bangkok to express their views.

Nothing is sure and they have a formidable foe at the seat of power in their country but I hope that the red shirts, the people of Thailand, will prevail.

JFL: You may be interested in

JFL: You may be interested in this
(I'm not making any criticisms one way or the other as it all goes over my head:)

btw, I agree about the reds outclassing their supposedly more 'educated' opponents.

Thanks Hobby... Thongchai

Thanks Hobby... Thongchai says..

The prominent Thai scholar, Chatthip Natsupha, has gone from being a Marxist intellectual in the 1970s to a cultural nationalist advocate of a genuine Thai essence which, he believes, is an antidote to the dominance of the Western neoliberal capitalism... The cultural nationalist Thai ex-left rejected what it called 'bad' nationalism and embraced a 'good' one. However, its ideas were significantly drawn from conservative nationalism. Such nationalism, which is widespread among the Thai intelligentsia, was an important factor in their support for the military coup which, in 2006, ousted an elected government on the dubious grounds that it was a proxy for global capitalism.

I'm all for rejecting 'bad' nationalism... 'bad' anything, in fact :)... but this sounds like the dilemma I have tried to refer to previously, concerning the so-called 'sufficiency-economy'. The right embraces it... they see it as the ultimate in paternalism and the justification of their elitism. The left then rejects the 'sufficiency economy' out of hand 'cause the right loves it so much. Out goes the baby with the bath water. According to me.

Thongchai is in position to understand better than I do the ins and outs of Chatthip's idealogical predispositions. And he's lived in Wisconsin so long that he might now think that Neoliberal Capitalism is inevitable, I don't know.

I don't think so, though. I think his criticism of what is here termed 'cultural nationalism' is of the same water as the left's criticism of the 'sufficiency economy'.

Well... if Chatthip turns out to be the Neocon cultural nationalist that Thongchai is painting him as, if Thongchai is painting him that as such... I no longer pay outfits like Routlege their rent for other people's ideas ao I don't know... poverty makes me virtuous... I still think that the ideas Chatthip has in that case appropriated are of immense value, and are in fact the answer to the problem of what comes next... of the post-industrial society.

But I don't know that any of this is true... I just got my copy of The Thai Village Economy in the Past this week on Monday :) and found that it resonated with my intuition. Ommmmm. Thanks to Chang Noi for translating the book into English.

Talking abt nationalism,

Talking abt nationalism, sawarin/submarine used to have a blog on this. Maybe she will be interested in joining yr discussion? I have heard of Chatthip Natsupha. We had a copy of his book ,The Thai Village Economy (cover picture is an old village woman and her "Nam ton"?? (in Thai), at home (my father somehow got hold of it many many years ago).

Jean-Marc, please... you

Jean-Marc, please... you should know that black/white magic practices, religions, and all forms of superstition are just some of the many tools available in order to keep people conveniently ignorant and subjugated. Here AND in Europe. You should know better... relativism works both ways.

I discover more and more each

I discover more and more each day that its just not the 'Thai way' to 'call a spade a spade' :)

Hobby, please kindly

Hobby, please kindly elaborate more what u meant to say here.

From Wikipedia: To "call a

From Wikipedia:

To "call a spade a spade" is to speak honestly and directly about a topic, specifically topics that others may avoid speaking about due to their sensitivity or embarrassing nature. Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1913) defines it as
“ To be outspoken, blunt, even to the point of rudeness; to call things by their proper names without any "beating about the bush".

Hello Joy, Alex, Hobby! Nice

Hello Joy, Alex, Hobby! Nice to see you. Just like old times. I've been very busy with work.

Jean-Marc: .............................(yawn!) I don't have contempt for Thai people at all. Whatever gave you that impression? I do have contempt for the powerful confidence tricksters who are using them to their own selfish ends, however - no matter what colour they wear, red, yellow, pink, blue, saffron, and ESPECIALLY khaki. But I wouldn't condemn all wearers of all those colours, because I know enough of them to realize that some are sincerely concerned to solve the problems. (They're identifiable as the ones who are not shouting angry, negative clap-trap.)

Monkey: Thanks for your

Monkey: Thanks for your comments. I'm aware of the situation re. blood screening, indeed the overall paucity of medical facilities away from BKK. My suggestion was in reference to the situation of the demonstration in BKK. I was not suggesting that the Redshirts should turn into an alternative to the Red Cross. Perhaps if more of the budget for rural medical schemes could by-pass the pockets of the greedy there would be an improvement. (Did you know that Thaksin, as one of his policy commitments, promised to LOWER corruption in the public sector to 20% of budget? He didn't, BTW, nor has anyone since.)

I don't have the right, & I'm not attempting to dictate beliefs. I do, in fact, have the right to comment on anything anywhere, however. Please read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I believe very strongly that 'black magic' comes from a belief that violent intrusion on, and the intimidation of others is OK - so it's WRONG, just as rape, armed robbery, paedophilia and other violent abuses are. Do you have a problem with that? Please tell me, enlighten me, as to where I've gone wrong.

Let me enlighten you: black magic practices aim to influence events in a way that is harmful to the victims and beneficial to the perpetrators, a violation of free-will. They do seem to work in some societies, for whatever reason, and the fact of the presence of practitioners can be a powerful inhibitory factor to the freedom of those who are vulnerable. It is also destructive to the social health of communities, since it creates fear & a tendency to look for perpetrators (scapegoats), rather than for more 'normal' or mundane causes when things go wrong. This leads to false accusations & injustice. As to the distinction between 'black' & 'white' magic, it's purely subjective.

BTW, I don't use the term 'superstition'. I believe that people have the right to pursue whatever belief system they choose, as long as they don't interfere with others' right to do so, and as long as the belief system does not cause harm or limit freedom, so I do agree with Alex to a large extent.

michael This is apparently a

michael

This is apparently a Kmer black magic ritual.

It might be and might be not. It also can be viewed and interpreted differently, depends on which perspective you're looking at. If I shed my own blood, does it necessarily mean I'm doing some kind of voodoo, black magic staffs? Squandering some blood might look idiotic in some eyes, and might look heroic in other's eyes. As long as it doesn't shed other's blood, it's fine for me.

It might look ridiculous in your eyes, but don't you admit it's at least 'non-violent'.

Dr J, your comments are

Dr J, your comments are completely missing the point of my post. How is a hypothetical scenario of you shedding your own blood relevant to the discussion? It's about the intent of the participants, not about how you as an educated person who is keen to give the impression he doesn't believe in magic interprets it. You must know that even amongst 'educated' Thais the belief in magic is rampant. I've heard some absolutely ridiculous stories about Someone Who Must Not be Named having magic powers, and from people with high education, including a Central Thai family where the father has post-grad qualifications from the best Medical faculty in the world & the mother has a Doctorate in Chemistry from a prestigious US university.

Black magic, which is practised in many areas of rural Thailand is an attempted violation of the free will of the victim, an unwelcome intrusion, & therefore it's violent. Even if it doesn't work (and apparently in many places where it's practised it does seem to), it's feeding a desire for violence. It's also socially unhealthy. Read the stream at:
http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2010/03/16/crispin-on-thailands-bloody-feud/#comment-683626

How does black magic differ

How does black magic differ from advertising?

...black magic practices aim to influence events in a way that is harmful to the victims and beneficial to the perpetrators, a violation of free-will. They do seem to work in some societies, for whatever reason, and the fact of the presence of practitioners can be a powerful inhibitory factor to the freedom of those who are vulnerable...

Here in Thailand the advertising media, aka the "news" media, have been engaged in practices which aim to reduce the struggle of the Thai people against the "elite" to their own struggle against the magical powers of one bogeyman. This is certainly harmful to the victims and seen to be beneficial to the perpetrators.

In my country, the US, the same advertising media have been engaged in practices which aim to reduce the US' serial aggression against Islamic countries to a "war on terror", a war against a host of bogeymen. This is certainly harmful to the victims and seen to be beneficial to the perpetrators.

Antagonists everywhere and at all times seek to cast the other as the bogeyman and themselves as the bogeyman's victim.

I think that the Red Shirts are and have been the victims of the "elite" and are trying to organize to end their victimization and to gain sympathy for their cause.

I think that the regimes in Thailand and the US are wolves who've donned sheep's clothing in their attempt to justify their treatment of their victims and to gain sympathy for their cause.

The "magic" only works if it resonates with the sympathies of its target.

I think Thongchai made an insightful remark at your Australian site :

A voodoo? In what way isn’t singing a national anthem or the royal anthem (to honor a — fascist — imagined community or a semi-god on earth) not a vood00 (sic)? The royal anthem is probably the most voodoo since it commands people to act the same silly way that they are not supposed to question, and it can get people in prison for not singing it when everybody else does. These are voodoo effects.

Imagine The Day By Jon

Imagine The Day
By Jon Taylor

    Imagine the crowd
  In a football stadium remaining seated
On the announcement of the singing

  Of the national anthem
  The notes dying
    On the lips of the singer
The bewildered staring of the coaches
  And rushing of the teams off the field
  The mid-sentence cutoff
     From the broadcast booth
To a string of commercials

  Then crime show and sitcom reruns
  The M-16s dropping from the hands
    Of soldiers in forty overseas countries
The president fleeing in his helicopter
  Imagine the day

Imagine the day the voodoo loosens its grip.

I don't think the magic or

I don't think the magic or voodoo ritual is part of the pulling of this blood protest. The campaign has a fantastic theatrical quality, pulling the Europeans, and the Americans, to what is seen as the 'sacrifice act' of red shirted donators. Blood was a symbol of patriotism during the 18 Century American and European revolutions. I think its the sacrifice or the nationalist devotion, not black magic or Brahmin ritual, that caught the eyes of the Americans and Europeans.

The Thai media reported that the idea came from one of UDD key leaders, Nattawut Saikua. With due respect to Nattawut's dedication on campaign, I doubt that none of UDD leaders can come up with something as dynamic as this. Charnwit Kasetsiri, a leading historian of Thailand, and former rector of TU university called it 'symbolic and dynamic'. I totally agree. This blood sacrifice raised the profile of the demonstration overnight. The global media has turned to Thailand.

I agree with you. The voodoo

I agree with you. The voodoo or black magic spell undoubtedly got carried away by media and academic analysis. dr J is probably right, only the brains behind UDD's demonstration know what they were getting at. Whatever their intention was, they brought the world to Thailand man. Btw, yesterday Saikua said in TV interviews that the hire of a Brahmin wasn't initially part of UDD's blood demonstration. I like their river of blood anyway. Salute to whoever gave them the idea. It has been a relatively peaceful demonstration, that's the fact nobody (apart from the skeptics who're only good at criticizing others) can deny.

I think you and

I think you and 'superanonymous' are 'both' right 'vac'. Are you neighbors in Birmingham South? Do you know each other?

Anyway, thanks for the perspective of a Brit in Britain.

michael Now that you'd made

michael

Now that you'd made your 'point' quite clear, which I failed to grasp on my prior comment( sorry). Quite agree on the popularity of the 'belief' in black magic, supernatural staffs among Thais(elite and also commoners). And also quite agree on your comments that some rituals are based on 'violent' intention. I honestly have no idea as whether the red shirts deliberately deployed 'the bloody protest' as part of any black magic or not. And if there's any voodoo things involved, were they with any violent intention? Only the perpetrators know.

So calling the red shirts actions voodoos might be right as well as wrong. My impression for their week long protest is generally 'peaceful' and show no overt intention towards violence. This is something to be encouraged among active political participants. This is something so different to PAD reckless protests in the past.

Hopefully today's rally will end up peacefully, let keep fingers crossed.

JFL: You are likening

JFL: You are likening advertising & mass-media bombardment to black magic. On the NM thread, Thongchai, a social scientist with considerable expertise in the study of Thai culture, likened black magic to the repeated compulsory ritual of the national anthem. Actually, he rather promiscuously uses the term 'voodoo', which as a social scientist he must know is entirely misleading, since that is a specific practice in a specific part of the world. However, as he also knows it is a word commonly used by non-believers to rubbish any practices involving a belief involving the supernatural.

The examples you & Prof. T have used have more in common with each other than with black magic rituals: They rely on repetition of a message which, if successful, becomes embedded in the mind of the target audience. You can call it 'enculturation', 'brain-washing', etc. (We all go through similar processes as children) They do not rely on the active participation of supernatural forces or beings, even though, in the case of patriotism, they may refer to god(s), etc., as a part of the process of validation (e.g: the US 'Right', with their fundamentalist Christian ideas about the Middle-East, quoting the bible literally).

Black magic rituals are performed and 'work' in quite a different way, although they do, of course, rely on belief or fascination stemming from enculturation. They are believed to work through the intervention of supernatural forces or beings in a destructive way in the lives of the targets. They do not rely on repetition of a message, and they are usually performed covertly. Given that the target does not invite them into their life, that they are attempts to violate individual free-will, and that they are intended to be destructive, they are violent acts.

good.... cure of black

good....

cure of black magic
http://blackmagicremoveswithquran.blogspot.com/

Updated: Reaction to reds and

Updated: Reaction to reds and talks

PPT quotes the Bangkok Post on the cabinet meeting and "divine intervention"...

Apparently, the cabinet is to “discuss national affairs before a statue of Phra Phutthachaisirinimitpatima [also called Luang Phor Cherd]. A government spokesman said it was hoped the move would boost morale among MPs disheartened by the continuing political turmoil.” Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban “said it was the first time he would attend a cabinet meeting in the presence of a giant Buddha statue.”

Readers may notice that when the government resorts to ritual and religion, it is termed “historic,” but that when red shirts do the same thing, albeit far more spectacularly, they are rounded on as superstitious Neanderthals. Weak-kneed, middle-class academics wince and cry foul because the pouring of blood is “gruesome” and they consider it some kind of “violence” against people’s state of mind. Perhaps this government ritual is meant to show the difference between black and white magic.

"Divine intervention" is certainly a Western description of "white magic". It's the kind of thing the CIA, I mean the Bangkok Post, prints all the time.

The Buddha of course is not divine, never claimed to be divine, viewed "divinity" as just another superstition... he wouldn't be appalled by the giant statues made to represent "him", be he would be amused, I'm sure.

White magic, Black magic... Mumbo Jumbo... Magic Johnson, David Copperfield, Pann Jillette... sleight of hand, bona fide skill... none of it is magic.