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Thongchai Winichakul: A simple and straightforward solution

During Sept 1-2, 2008, there were 17 press releases from groups of various kinds of individuals trying to put forth solutions to the current situation.  I received two more drafts circulated via email loops, totalling 19.

Of these, 11 want the Prime Minister to resign, 3 call for a House dissolution, 2 for either dissolution or resignation, and 3 have no proposals.  These ideas come with different reasonings, of which political enthusiasts could reckon the pros and cons of each solution, according to their own prejudices.

Fortunately, no one has put forward what has probably been on some people’s mind, but cannot be said: that is, a coup.  There is still some shame, at least.

Fortunately, no one has come up with another option which many may have in mind, but dare not bring it forward.  There is some inhibition, at least.

Yet, it is alarming that just a few people have proposed yet another solution which is probably the easiest and the most legitimate way out (Kasian Techapira has proposed it in his article, but has been attacked by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD)’s intellectuals.  A handful of academics also recently proposed it at a meeting at Chulalongkorn University before the clash occurred.): i.e.

The PAD leaders should turn themselves in to the police to enter the justice process, while the anti-government rally can still continue in appropriate places.

This solution requires the courage and responsibility of the PAD leaders.  They are brave to take action, to resist, so they should be brave to face civil law.  Only by doing so is the PAD’s protest considered civil disobedience.

If not, what the PAD has done would only amount to outrageous acts of political bullies who, no matter how forceful they are, are just disgusting.

In Thai society where even the king is under the law, who do the PAD leaders think they are, so they can be above the law?

They hate Thaksin, but they cannot do the same as what they have condemned Thaksin to have done.               

I would like to see the Army Commander-in-Chief or someone of a similar stature go to the protest site barehanded to ask the protesters to allow their leaders to give themselves up, and let justice take its course.

The PAD leaders should be brave enough to take responsibility for their faults—or who thinks they have no faults?—and should not risk their supporters’ lives for themselves.

This kind of courage may turn the PAD leaders into instant heroes.

Some might argue that this is unlikely, because the PAD leaders would not cave in.  But, the other options are not likely, either, as the others would not yield.  Who do the PAD leaders think they are, to be always pleased by others?

Some might argue that this solution does not radically get rid of the current conflict.  But, the other solutions—House dissolution or the PM’s resignation—also do not fundamentally solve the problem.  We are just trying to avoid confrontation and cool down the political heat.  All solutions are meant for immediate results.

Some might argue that the PAD supporters would not yield.  But it is up to the PAD leaders to have the courage to explain to their crowd, who are mature and educated.

The other solutions would also be unacceptable for people who are against the PAD.  I do not see any intellectuals and academics having any qualms about that.

This solution is also a way to uphold democracy, and not damage the credibility of the judiciary.  On the contrary, the PAD’s defiance of the law harms the judicial power which it has promoted.

If the PAD desires the ‘new politics’, it would have to be patient and wait until the people give their consent, not push it by force, coercing people into it.

This simple, straightforward and legitimate solution is overlooked due to the partiality that is so awfully prevalent.  No one listens anymore.

It is alarming that intellectuals, academics, media, lawyers, and human rights activists have abandoned the principles, and become militants who want victory at all costs and no matter what.  They pander to unlawful disobedience.  They hate Thaksin to the point of being partial, inconsiderate, discriminatory, mindless, and destructive to anyone standing in the way.

Threats made by people on their side are patriotic acts, aggression is freedom of expression according to the constitution, and carrying weapons is non-violence, all combining to constitute ‘some flaws’, quite acceptable.  But when people on the other side do wrong, that would be utterly intolerable.

Many dare not say or make comments because they do not want to risk being cursed or vilified.

For tens of millions of people watching the PAD and the intellectuals, what does democracy mean to them?  They would think that the country is not theirs, but belongs to those Bangkok people who are selfish, self-willed, and childishly irresponsible in the pursuit of their own ends.

They would feel utterly repressed, and would someday burst out, asking if they are only peasants, inferior citizens to the PAD and Bangkok people.

This dismissed solution is a common practice in civilized countries where the rule of law reigns, to prevent protests from escalating to bloodshed.  It is among the first options anybody would think of as a common sense.

How is Thailand so uncommon that this simple and forthright solution can be overlooked?  Or is Thailand so uniquely civilized that it holds the rule of law as disposable at will?

Or how are the intelligence, integrity and consistency if Thai intellectuals so uncommon that they could not think of a simple solution, using common sense.

I have found that there are many people who admit that they are partial, and see the necessity of their discrimination and arbitrary rule of law, because their cause is too critical.

They thus deliberately overlook this simple solution, because they hope to achieve the victory that is greater than the rule of law.

The political conflict of the past 2-3 years has taken us to the brink of disaster, because of such short-sightedness.

In conclusion, House dissolution or resignation? Or turning themselves in to the authorities, and continuing the rally in other appropriate places?

Please consider it with sobriety.  Refrain from the urge to win at the expense of others, and do not let hatred take hold.

Now it is too late for a thorough solution, leaving only a choice between more or less destructive solutions for immediate results.

I am so tired of these press releases.  But if anyone comes up with this proposal, I will be very grateful, and give my name in advance.                                     




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