Santipong Injan, who lost his right eye during the clash on 10 April last year, has been denied visa by the British Embassy in Bangkok on grounds of the lack of sufficient fund, despite a formal invitation to attend a panel discussion held by an independent body at the House of Lords. The mother and brother of Kamonkade Akkahad, a volunteer nurse who was killed at Pathum Wanaram Temple on 19 May 2010, have also been denied visa for the same reason. However, here is his speech he has prepared for the occasion:
Correction: the event, entitled 'Human Rights in Thailand', was held by Baroness Prosser of Battersea ( Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission), at the House of Lords on 2 Feb. Other panelists invited included Elisabetta Polenghi (the sister of the murgered Italian photographer), Editor in Chief of Reuters David Schlesinger, Bangkok-based independent journalist Andrew Buncombe and Kwanravee Wangudom from People's Information Center: April - May 2010 (PIC).
My name is Santipong Injan. I appear in front of you, distinguished members of the House of Lords as well as other honorable guests, as one of the victims of the massacre that happened in Thailand in the year 2010. There are more than 90 deaths and more than 3,000 injured people like me. Our mutual goal, accused by Thailand’s current regime as crime, is to pursue the stolen democracy, tracing back to the coup of 2006 and its aftermath. The brutal suppression of the government on April 10, 2010 had cost me an eye. And the risk of losing the other still remains. I came here out of hope for a fairer, more democratic, and citizen-friendlier Thailand.
For me, Thailand in 2001 was another good start of Thailand’s democracy. We the people had enjoyed the elected government’s decisions and policies which gave us better lives. The politically-motivated protests of the yellow shirts and pink shirts were an attempt to destroy a government people like myself felt we belonged. I decided to join the red-shirt movement to battle against that. My participation is not out of love for any particular persons and not out of hope for any fringe benefits, but I join them because my rights were taken away from me in the political conspiracy around the coup of 2006. Our struggle has always been peaceful and unarmed.
However, the regime of Thailand today, the government and their aristocratic masterminds, see people like us as enemy of state. I did not believe they would dare killing their own people in cold blood. But they did. And they did it without any restraint and with no reservation. A rubber bullet was shot into my right eye and immediately blinded one side of me. They would have killed me if there was a second chance.
I ask myself to this day: why the elders of Thailand whom I have believed to have loved me so much could do such an act? In fact, the answer is almost too clear: there is no saint in Thailand’s ruling class as we were led to believe, and their grip on the ultimate political power is much more important than our worthless lives. Not only Thais who have suffered. A foreign observer like Mr. Polenghi, who was a reporter from Italy, was also shot in the chest and killed. Again, the question is why.
What I would like to see restored in Thailand are the followings:
1. Justice for the deaths, their families, as well as those who injured.
2. Respect for laws and human dignity, as courts in Thailand today are not dependable
3. A responsible government with conscience
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajeeva of Thailand, whose order had killed and maimed innocent people, is a product of the British educational system. I wonder if his fellow students and peers will take this tragedy to re-think about him and react appropriately. I believe he is a disgrace to your country and institutions.
Lastly, let me express my true appreciation to your time, devotion, and caring, Only international pressure now is our real hope.