The content in this page ("Held hostage" by PRAVIT ROJANAPHRUK) is not produced by Prachatai staff. Prachatai merely provides a platform, and the opinions stated here do not necessarily reflect those of Prachatai.

Held hostage


I have become one of the thousands who have been held hostage by the self-styled People's Alliance for Democracy indefinitely shutting down Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport. After arriving at Seoul's Incheon Airport to board a flight via Hong Kong to the Thai capital on Wednesday, I was told by the Cathay Pacific staff that it was impossible because the connecting flight from Hong Kong had been cancelled indefinitely, along with all other flights to Bangkok.

Indefinitely? Subject to the mercy of the PADmob or people like Sondhi Limthongkul.

This is a most irresponsible action by the PAD. It's wrong to target an airport in any civilised society. It will have far-reaching consequences, not just for this writer but for thousands of Thais and foreign tourists who have been held captive. It will adversely affect the already suffering tourism andtravel industry. Thailand's reputation as a reliable air traffic hub and as a tourist destination has been severely tarnished. The action will surely not win the PAD any more sympathy as it increasingly turns Thailand into a banana republic.

Why didn't the PAD surround the houses of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and all the cabinet members instead? And the 111 banned former Thai Rak Thai executives, as well. Better still, dispatch a vigilante squad to kidnap thaksin Shinawatra back to Thailand, James Bond style.

What the PAD is doing is hitting at the wrong target. But more importantly, it shows its disregard for other people's rights. I have wasted time and money due the PAD action. Bus fares, extra hotel bills, meals, work disruption - and I'm not alone. I guess the PAD couldn't care less.

The PAD leaders and followers, after spending months brainwashing each other with propaganda and a simplistic view of Thai politics, have become so intoxicated that they must think everything they do is right - whether others like it or not. Sad to say, what began as a protest attended by many well-intentioned citizens has turned into something bordering on a political cult centred around a few non-accountable leaders.

But please think for a second, PAD members and supporters, whether what you're doing will really bring about democracy and law and order.

My hunch is that it will not. Shutting the country's main airport will not bring democratic reform. It will terrorise the Kingdom, scare away tourists and visitors, and disappoint the public, who may once have been sympathetic to your concerns about rampant corruption and the recent deaths of and injuries to PAD supporters.

As for the Somchai administration, if it cannot ensure law and order and re-open the airport in a civilised way, or disperse the protesters at the airport with regard to the safety of all, then it should resign or call for a fresh general election.

 A lame-duck government doesn't deserve to run the country. It simply cannot run it any longer.

I told the airline staff at Incheon that the Thai government must be trying its best to re-open the airport. Perhaps that was wishful thinking. Perhaps the staffer was more realistic when she told me that she, and nobody, knew when I would be able to board the flight.

Thousands have been held hostage by the PAD. But how can we hold the PAD leaders accountable?

PS. As my extra expenditure goes up, including the use of this computer facility, can I bill it to thegovernment or the PAD for reimbursement? Well, I guess not.

PSS. Writing this on Thursday as an update on day two of the indefinite cancellation of all flights to Bangkok, I realise that the whole country has been taken hostage by the PAD. How much longer will this go on? And what is the real reason behind the current political conflict? These are questioned that all Thais should ponder - and do something about.




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