I was sorry to read this story of casualties in demonstrations in Bangkok – two dead and 113 injured.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva imposed a state of emergency in the capital, but was claiming by last night that the unrest was almost over. I hope he is right.
Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has a lot to answer for.
I don’t mean allegations of corruption while he was in power. Whether those allegations are true, and if so, whether those negatives were outweighed by the good his government did alleviating rural poverty and implementing universal health care, are questions too complex for discussion here. It is certainly true that the military acted questionably in ousting his goverment in 2006, and that the court appointed by the military regime probably acted wrongly in outlawing his Thai Rak Thai party.
Thaksin Shinawatra could easily have responded differently to allegations of corruption at the time. He could have acted differently in response to the massive protests which led the military to act as it did. He could have called elections for example. He could have stayed and faced the charges of corruption. He could have refrained from calling for revolution in communications to his supporters.
He is saying now that he wants a peaceful resolution to the unrest, and a return to true democracy.
If that’s true he should stay out of Thailand and Thai politics completely, and urge his followers to express their concerns through the ballot box. Or he should return, face the charges of corruption pending against him, and then, if innocent, stand for office again.
But encouraging violence, then saying he wants peace, then saying he will come back to lead a coup himself, then saying he doesn’t want any more coups, is not helping either himself or the Thai people.
In the mean time, if you are planing a holiday to Thailand, you might be safer putting it off for a while. Or come to Kangaroo Island instead!