FACTorial: Thailand’s hijacked king
September 26, 2010
When writers, editors and publishers are arrested, forced underground or into exile, when printing houses are shut down, when bookstores and distributors are intimidated, these, my friends, are hallmarks of a police state.
When journalists are targeted and killed and others threatened with 50-year sentences, these, my friends, are dictatorship in fact.
When police operate outside the law, using extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances to show the impunity of their power, when military troops use war weapons to kill Thai citizens in the streets of our capital, we are surely no sort of democracy.
When students are denied enrollment or hounded out of universities for their political beliefs along with their professors, we are destroying our future society.
When hundreds of citizens are gaoled for months for peaceful demonstrations, when rule of law is suspended and replaced by military rule, we have become a failed state.
Thai govt is being ruled by a seige mentality. Officials think they can hand power to the military and conduct witch-hunts over supposed lèse majesté. Bureaucrats brag to the media of blocking more than 200,000 websites.
Thailand is arresting its critical voices like Chiranuch Premchaiporn, director of Prachatai and founding FACT signer, not just once but multiple times to silence their voices. Chiranuch was returning from a European conference sponsored by Google on Internet freedom only to face charges by a Khon Kaen businessman. Facing a 50 year sentence was obviously not enough for him.
Our land is red, red with the blood of its citizens, and their anger which cannot be safely expressed, not their politics. Once Thais were a family united under the protection of the monarchy.
Govt repression and lèse majesté arrests have created a fear in all of us which has even taken our King from us. Govt has hijacked our King to serve its own agenda. And I miss him.