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Systematic military indoctrination of Thai kindergarteners begins

As reported in this excellent ABC News column drawing on a Matichon Online story, the Royal Thai Military has begun the systematic militarized indoctrination of kindergarteners.

Systematic Military Indoctrination of Thai Kindergarteners Begins

Perhaps inspired by a story reported on earlier by Special Circumstances (SC) where kindergarteners were trained to perform Nazi salutes and march in formation in a Khon Kaen Province community school, the Royal Thai Military is rolling out a national program of military indoctrination at boot camps for kindergarten children.

Dun Sat Community School children being drilled in practising their Nazi salutes

Thai kindergarten children wearing camouflage under netting shaping their hands into pistols and smiling (Photo from Prachaya Nongnuch's Facebook)

The children, who are four-to-five years old, are being trained in military exercises, including pushups and crawling under netting, as well as saluting, as part of the "land defender battalion" program run by the 1st Infantry Battalion of the 29th Army Regiment in Kanchanaburi Province. Their indoctrination program, which is now in the second wave, includes an emphasis on the 12 Core Values of Thai People and King Rama IX’s Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy, both of which embody relatively advanced concepts of Buddhist nation-statism, especially the First Core Value of Thai People, namely respect for the nation, monarchy and religions.

Thai kindergarten children apparently being taught how to throw a grenade, to kill people (Photo from Prachaya Nongnuch's Facebook)

At this point it should be noted that Special Circumstances supports both the 12 Core Values and the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy, the first as a guiding framework option for well-implemented holistic curricula which teach a moral education and the second as a guiding principle for a national economy as an example of Buddhist economics, especially in the field of energy and managing climate change.

However, General Prayut, the ruling dictator, would appear to support neither the 12 Core Values (as in this case where the state ruled against Andy Hall, the UK labor rights campaigner who had to flee Thailand due to concerted defamation lawsuits, as well as his defense of the state’s practice of torture) nor the PSE. The latter in particular does not lend itself to the purchase of 150m USD of main battle tanks and 1Bn USD of submarines while Thai education tanks in international rankings, nor does the PSE countenance the gross ineptitude of the Prayut Administration in ignoring the promise of solar and nuclear fusion during its failed bid to achieve a temporary UN Security Council Seat despite its chairing the G77 UN bloc of 134 mainly Global South nations.

Thai kindergarten children sitting in regimented lines in a mess hall (Photo from Prachaya Nongnuch's Facebook)

The militarization of Thai children on Children’s Day every year, a practice which dates back to the fascist rule of Field Marshall Phibul Songkram when Thailand took the side of Japan as a vassal state has, unfortunately, long been taken for granted. The question is: where is Thailand going with its military indoctrination program? This level of state-support for the indoctrination of children is unusual in its extremeness. Even the Hitler Youth did not indoctrinate as young as Thailand, and in neighboring China, the military is kept on a tight leash by the Communist Party.

But North Korea, the world’s only bona fide totalitarian state, does. Through set piece displays at venues like the Children’s Palace, very young uniformed children are drilled and regimented and displayed to the world as the defining product of North Korea. Behind the scenes, in obscene displays of street theater, children are routinely made to witness executions of dissidents by a pistol shot to the back of the head, a form of execution which maximizes the amount of blood spray and can traumatize children for days so much that they cannot eat.

We must not forget how fast the militarization of children, who were encouraged to inform on their peers and family, contributed to the rise of the Nazi state. The militarization of children was also crucial to the rise in East Germany of the Stasi, whose techniques are being openly copied in Thailand. The Stasi techniques are now being introduced into Thailand by the Royal Thai Military in order to develop a highly advanced police state, as this SC column details.

While some may take comfort in that history will surely judge the Prayut Administration for its initiating a program to systematically indoctrinate Thailand’s children and transform Thailand into a militarized society, it is increasingly likely that that history will not be available to read in the country. Civil society, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, Unicef, and the embassies of those countries which know the military indoctrination of kindergarten children to be morally abhorrent will also be judged by their actions over the coming days.

“And if ye gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche