So what is going to happen in 2012 in Thailand? No one knows, but you can have a good guess on some issues the country will (still) have to deal with in the upcoming year. I am a realist; therefore this outlook will be sort of negative. Sorry about that, but in political terms realism is what is most convincing to me. Still, whatever is written here should not be offensive to anyone; I know some friends will not agree and that is okay. In politics there is no true or false; that’s the interesting part of it actually. Therefore, I am happy to receive any response, criticism, threats (only in written form please) or else. Feel free to do so, or actually I am asking you to do so. Thank you.
Don’t be surprised now but on the forefront is going to be Mr. Thaksin and his talent to grasp the minds of the Thai people and the political theatre. His future/activities/life will be covered all over the media, which as a result will not let him disappear in insignificance. The problem about this possible solution to solve certain internal issues (I mean by letting him disappear in insignificance) is that his sister is the current PM, so whatever happens in Thai politics will be co-decided by Thaksin. This guy will keep on pulling the strings in political affairs (it couldn’t be more obvious… this is the last case: http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=22685) and a good guess is that he will appear in Thailand anytime soon this year. He’s been issued a proper passport already apparently, so screw the rule of law and give internal troubles another shot in 2012. Seems like reconciliation is not first priority anymore and yeah let’s head into another year full of controversy, pain and suffering. I truly hope I’m wrong with all my guesses here.
Current developments on this topic:
“I don’t want to be part of the problem, but I want to be part of the solution.” (Thaksin)
If he were serious on this, he’d stay out of political affairs for a long time, let’s say forever. As he will not disappear from the political scene, Thailand will not come to the rest that is urgently needed to progress towards a prosperous and peaceful future.
As many criminal convicts were given a royal pardon on the occasion of HM the King’s birthday, the cabinet discussed the opportunity to include Thaksin’s conviction to be a subject of such a royal pardon. He’s not been included as far as I know but as you can read from the articles above and below, the current government is seeking ways to bring him back anyway and as soon as possible (or as soon as he wants to).
“The root cause of the problem is Thaksin” – interesting letter issued in the Bangkok Post:
What about the lese majeste law!?
Thailand has been accused of violating international human rights (i.e. freedom of expression) with the current lese majeste framework. People found guilty of violating these laws have to expect harsh punishments. The UN (http://asiancorrespondent.com/71679/un-thailands-lese-majeste-laws-violate-international-human-rights-obligations/) and Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/12/02/thailand-end-harsh-punishments-lese-majeste-offenses) are calling on Thailand to amend the concerned articles and make information of convictions publicly available in order to examine the accusations and charges.
Very interesting on this topic is HM the King’s personal standpoint: “Actually, I must also be criticized. I am not afraid if the criticism concerns what I do wrong, because then I know. Because if you say the King cannot be criticized, it means that the King is not human. If the King can do no wrong, it is akin to looking down upon him because the King is not being treated as a human being. But the King can do wrong.”
This is from the speech he gave on his birthday in 2005 and is open to interpretation. Make up your mind about the topic – but please refrain from publishing it!
“King Bhumibol, for his part, has actually called for more criticism, and usually does issue clemency for law violators; it’s important to note that the Thai government, not the monarchy, is responsible for bringing charges of lèse majesté against individuals.”
What does the public think about it actually!?
“The wrongful use of lese majeste law has also widened political conflict and curtailed the political rights and freedom of the people in democracy, causing a great loss of opportunity to solve political conflict through democratic means.”
In 2010 there were three times more convictions than in the previous year. 400 cases have been recorded, which means there is more than one person per day accused of insulting the monarchy. I don’t know yet about the number of 2011 but it is going to be interesting one. Some prominent cases just occurred around the end of the year, so very recently. One of them was an American citizen who translated parts of a banned, unauthorized biography of the King into Thai language. He ‘s been jailed for 2.5 years (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2011/12/201112844554785361.html). Another case is about a 61 year old guy, who is accused of sending four text messages to the secretary of former PM Abhisit. He’s been jailed for 20 years. Read here: http://asiancorrespondent.com/71486/thailand-end-harsh-punishments-for-lese-majeste-offenses/
“Da Torpedo”, what a cool nickname, right!? Still I do not want to change life with her. Jailed for 15 years (http://asiancorrespondent.com/72037/thai-activist-gets-15-years-for-insulting-monarchy/)
This is how far it goes: “Yingluck’s government has established a ‘war room’ to combat lese-majeste, and, following on from that regression, Information and Communications Technology Minister Anudit Nakorntab recently warned Thais not to click “like” or “share” next to Facebook postings possibly offensive to the monarchy, warning that foreigners who committed lese-majeste could be arrested if they visit Thailand.”
These two matters are in my point of view the two most pressing issues in the upcoming year. Unfortunately it seems that Thailand will not break the cycle and stick to its “old” problems. But democracy does not come over night. Democracy is a long process and it needs time to be fully implemented. Not even the old countries of Europe have a 100% record on their democratic balanced scorecard. So, we (the so arrogantly self acclaimed civilized West) are not in a position to suggest what is best for another country. Thailand will make its way, I am sure about that. That the country is not taking the way we wish for is not their problem; it’s ours and hence not of any concern to Thailand. Our role is left to cheer for “positive” developments and criticize the negative one’s; but refrain from blaming and pointing as it is not contributing in a productive way at all. Therefore, all the best to Thailand for the year 2012 (2555) and may peace, prosperity and happiness stick with the country for a long time, e.g. forever.
Sawati Pi Mai Thailand and my dear Thai people.