Submitted on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 - 02:02 PM
“I have no regrets, at all, that I decided not to report myself to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).” Even though many people told me to reconsider, I remain firm in my original decision.
As soon as the broadcast of Announcement No. 5/2557  of the military dictatorship of the NCPO on the afternoon of Saturday, 24 May 2014, which ordered 35 individuals to report themselves, was finished, I did not hesitate. I collected necessary items and instruments and immediately rushed out of the building where I had lived since my release from prison.
To tell the complete truth, I was nervous and a little bit afraid then. I was afraid that I would not hide myself in time. I did not know [what would happen]. All I wanted was to be safe. As for what I would do next, I would think about it again. Then I began to step out of my place. Without any hesitation.
I cut off all forms of communication, including mobile phone and internet. I was severed from the outside world completely. This was my first experience in having to flee. I did not know what I was fleeing. Two questions were constantly on my mind: “What did I do wrong?” and “So why do I have to flee?”
I waited and watched the news on Facebook. But I only read and did not dare to post anything. And one day I learned that many of my friends, especially friends with Article 112 cases, had reported themselves and been released. At one point, I thought that perhaps I ought to report myself along with them, so that I could live my life in tranquility. That was a good option as well.
But that option was tightly closed off [to me] when friends sent me news after they reported themselves and were released and said, “You chose correctly not to report yourself.” Nearly every friend was asked questions about me and [their interrogators] tried to link me with “Anek San Fran” who is in the United States. This is what they wanted from me.
Until now, the answer that I have come to is that the military dictatorship is trying to once again use the “overthrowing the monarchy mind map”! (*)
I am deeply affected and grief-stricken. The unceasing action by the military dictatorship to take revenge on and destroy me completely is like a deep wound. Even though I was already punished with three years of imprisonment on an accusation that barely exists elsewhere in the world, they still do not stop. They do this to ordinary people like me simply because they want to create legitimacy for their actions to destroy those who oppose them and think differently. They are truly ruthless with ordinary people like me.
As I posted on Facebook many times, the information of the opposite side was very speculative. Perhaps they still believed that after I came out of prison, I was still messing around in the circle of people that they called the “the movement to overthrow the monarchy.” There is no truth in this. After I got out, similar to other political prisoners who were pardoned and released, I faced hardship in my life. There was no assistance. There was no support from the people in the “overthrowing the monarchy mind map” that I was placed onto at all. In addition, I had given information to the media [while in prison] that I was not impressed with the path of the struggle of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), especially how they abandoned ordinary people and left them to face their fate alone inside the prison. I was one among these ordinary people. Later, I deiced to create the movement of the “Former Political Prisoners Group” in order to assist the people who met with political dangers, in particular people who were abandoned and did not receive assistance.
From this account, anyone would know why I did what I did. Was it related to politics? If you have a brain, think a little. You will realize that I tried to remove myself from politics by returning to stand side-by-side with the “people” and to place greater importance on “human rights.” I did this as one citizen who was awakened to human rights. I was also trying to make my way [financially] because I have a child for whom I am responsible, and I was building my family again.
If they are not prejudiced or too suspicious of me, even only this … why, I don’t know.
I participated in political activities and various seminars as I remained somewhat interested in politics since I believe that political expression is a fundamental right of every citizen. In addition, I counted myself as a person whose long experience living in prison and in a cell meant that what I faced were of value for people who wanted to learn, especially from various accounts from the prison that I reflected on in many articles and seminars.
These things that I did … how are they frightening? How are they a danger to the nation?
All right. We have arrived at the reasons why I did not report myself. What exactly were they? The first reason is that I could not accept the seizure of power by the junta, the NCPO. I cannot accept any seizure of power without the necessary agreement from the people. The seizure of power this time was no different from that in 2006. That incident caused me and many other people to become politically awakened and to come out to exercise our political rights. This is the primary reason why I did not report myself to the NCPO.
Because who are they? How conceited are they? They plundered the power from the representatives of the people. It was too easy!!
Another reason is that I could perhaps no longer trust the Thai judicial process. After I had once withstood and struggled to call for justice in a lèse majesté case in which I was sentenced to 13 years with no release on bail [for appeal], I could perhaps no longer trust the process. I fought and called for the right to bail and asked for fairness of different kinds. But I never received any compassion. What was once faith [in the system] became resentment. And I no longer placed any trust in the Thai judicial process from then on out. But that … that was in the civilian court. This would be even more [unfair] because it was military court, which is much more absolute. If they pressed charged, if they framed me in any way, I might not have any right to counter it.
If I go and report myself, there is a 50% chance I will be free and survive. At that time, I did not want to test anything at all … I wanted to survive for certain. A 100% chance is better …
If you were me, and a crowd of prisoners had stomped on you with their feet with the connivance of the wardens simply because you opened your mouth to excuse yourself, you would well understand my feelings. I was slapped and kicked simply for opening my mouth, because they did not listen. If you were me, you would well understand my feelings.
If you were me, and tens of soldiers and police had surrounded you as if you were a murderous criminal you would well understand my feelings. In 2010, when they came to round me up and arrest me, they thronged around me. They threatened me in every which way with no consideration for human rights. If you were me, you would well understand my feelings.
These are the reasons why I decided not to report myself. And today, I have again chosen loss. I have lost my family, my child, and the people I love because I cannot accept any more oppression and persecution. I blundered once already in 2010 when I was attacked under an absurd law. But this time, it is not going to happen again. I will not again allow myself to be persecuted by an inferior and unlawful authority.
I decided that I will go to a third country after this in order to begin a new life. I have left my son, who I love with all my heart, with my parents. They have been threatened every day. Police and soldiers have visited them in the morning and evenings, until my mother had to go to the hospital because of the strain. This is the depravity of the military junta that has seized the power from the people.
I realize that I have made a mistake with my family and the people I love very much. But I had no choice. I hope that everyone will forgive me.
Farewell, Thailand that I love. Today, this country is still not truly of the people, of us. When the country is a (real) democracy, when it is truly of the people, then I may have the opportunity to return and set foot in the country of my birth once again.
Tell the military junta that seized the power: you have no chance of changing our lives and spirits. All you can do is make us afraid, and flee and be motionless. This is because you have the guns and the weapons. But one day when it is time, you will see the coalescence of the people once again. And at that time, you will realize that … fate is real.
This article is written and published in Thai here
(*) Translator’s Note: The “overthrowing the monarchy mind map” (“ผังล้มเจ้า”), which dates from April 2010, was an attempt by the Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation, set up in April 2010 prior to the crackdown on the red shirt movement by the military under the Democrat Party-led government of PM Abhisit Vejjajiva, claimed that that there was a conspiracy across society to topple the monarchy. A number of different people were named on the map, including Noom Rednon. See Bangkok Pundit here for a drawing of the map and early analysis. The map, which was later revealed to be false and without any basis in evidence, was used to target various dissidents, red shirt politicians, and others. Noom Rednon was one of these people, and was sentenced on 15 March 2011 to 13 years in prison under the 2007 Computer Crimes Act. He was granted a royal pardon on 5 July 2013.
Thatawut has written widely about his experience in prison and his articles can be read in English translation on Prachatai:
Translated by Tyrell Haberkorn.