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Just from the title of the article published on Global Voices called, “Authorities Don’t Like This Infographic Showing Why Thailand’s Royal Insult Law Needs Reform“, I’m already biased about which side I should be on.
Perhaps it’s the word ‘authorities’, which refers to something I can’t even stand here. And to think there are still authorities in a foreign lands cracking down on their own people? It rubs me the wrong way every single time I read about these cases. But, it didn’t stop me from reading further in order to solidify my distaste for this “foreign authority” called the Junta.Now, I don’t how to speak, write or pronounce Thai but I do know enough Spanish to know that the ‘J’ is pronounced as an ‘H’ which means ‘group’. So why wouldn’t Junta just be a group of thugs ‘cracking down’ on people? It makes sense to me and apparently, the right call because there’s an article by The China Post about the current relationship between Thailand and the U.S. possibly being strained due to something the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Thailand has said about those crackdowns I’ve mentioned.
So let me explain what’s going on here.
First of all, Thailand has a king who apparently isn’t doing very well right now named Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Last year there was an uprising of ‘red shirts’ against the Thai government who protested for six months. The Guardian is one of many sources who reported the military coup when it was announced, after the then prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was unable to negotiate a deal, which I will refer you to the same source for the article on that.
Here is a more riveting report from VICE news.
The head of that Junta is basically this piece-of-shit asshole named Prayuth Chan-ocha who is now Thailand’s prime minister and has since, imposed this thing called the Lese Majeste Law, article 112 of the Criminal code which is the crackdown I’ve been talking about.Alright now let’s backtrack to the two articles I referred to at the beginning, the first one from GV refers to a infographic which caused that group of thugs to show up at the news service’s building saying that it was insinuating something, which automatically means they don’t understand satire. According to some of the reports I’ve mentioned — and others I will refer to in this article, the law enforced is to protect the reputation of the king who is seen as a God and wasn’t entirely enforced until after the latest coup.
Let’s be clear by the way, that looking upon other humans as Gods is a sign of uneducated people and willing vulnerability, which is probably something Prayuth Chan-ocha firmly believes in or it’s the fact that the king is worth tons of money.
A figure thrown around on the internet is that his worth is 30 billion dollars which is unbelievable to me. But then again, apparently other numbers show that poverty is extremely low in the country due to major boosts in the economy so outside of the coup, no one can really complain.
The most remarkable reductions in poverty since the 1980s have been in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. But at the same time, Malaysia, the Philippines and China have had big increases in inequality.(Irrawaddy)
Now we come back to where I refer to the second thing, which is where the new U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Glyn T. Davies, has already been outspoken about that law saying:
The lengthy and unprecedented prison sentences handed down by Thai military courts against civilians.
The power grabber a-la-Sisi Chan-ocha didn’t like that and if you read The China Post article I already referred to above, you’ll see his response, basically threatening the trade deal between the U.S. and Thailand is in jeopardy.
The Bangkok Post talks more about that threat and the controversial TPP deal over which Thailand is snubbing the U.S. for Japan’s help.
But the United Nations has also condemned the crackdown and say what you want about the U.N. but to at least say something about it, bringing awareness of the issue is good enough these days but to condemn it is something better.
The Malaysian Insider even reports a royalist monk protesting in front of the U.S. Embassy calling for the Ambassador to go back to America and stop trying to get involved in domestic issues.
But why not go all the way with this, as Clara Herzberg has with an article she posted on Truth-Out where she takes more than several good swings at the United States for not doing enough for a crackdown on its own against the Junta.
In it she points out how the military government in place, is doing plenty to delay elections with drawing up a new constitution before rejecting it and judging from Thailand’s history of coup after coup — with these new constitutions and the sacking of their congressional members — there’s no reason to ever think at this point that the establishment of a constitutional monarch was really a serious gesture from the get go!
That delay by the way, is common practice in power grabs, especially with a former dictator we wrote about once before.
So things are rather tense because now, China has taken a liking to the military government which if it weren’t for Davies’ ability to speak and understand Thai, he would be in the awkward position of the white guy being left out of a foreign conversation.
Clara is right and so am I.
The U.S. needs to do something that shows it won’t do business or have any relationship with Thailand as long as it’s under this militant regime and shut down the embassy in the meantime.
Because when the King is gone, imagine a shoddy constitutional monarchy over a ruthless dictator? Which one will have more strength?