ETN received this letter from a known member of the Thai travel industry. ETN respects not to disclose the identity of this long-time eTN reader.
Thaksin is responsible for the horrible things that happened lately in Thailand.
He is in the same league as Bin Laden – Thaksin’s behind-the-scenes financing of the terror attacks should be punished the same way as Bin Laden would be punished.
77 deaths. Over 1,400 injured. Hundreds of billions of baht in losses. Our country’s image stained with blood and smoke and flames.
The Red March — which rapidly grew into the Red Crisis — comprised of many elements. There were those who genuinely and passionately felt that for so long they had been abused. They believed — erroneously — that Thaksin Shinawatra had a magical elixir that would cure them of their of inequality and injustice, perceived or real. So heated was their passion they were prepared to fight and to die for it in the name of “democracy.”
Then there were the opportunists, who selfishly and without care of the results of their actions, acted on Thaksin’s behalf. Some felt the time was ripe to overthrow the Monarchy and usher in a new regime. Others marched due to lingering resentment of the 2006 coup.
If there is anything we must learn from the nightmare of the past five years, it is that it will take years, if not a generation, to tend to the wounds, right the wrongs, and reduce the gaps that have so divided us. Let us never forget — for Thais do easily forget.
But just as we should not forget the task ahead, we also should not forgive. The actions of some among the Red Shirts of the past several weeks were unconscionable, actions taken with full knowledge of their leaders and tacit approval by Thaksin to wreck havoc and destabilize the government, the country’s image, and economy for their own aims.
Red Shirt leaders have repeatedly, and conveniently, said they had no control over the unruly elements. But as leaders, they cannot deny responsibility for the protesters – whatever faction they belong to.
While it may be argued that some of the violent incidents can be attributed to inflamed passions over principles and beliefs — the torching of buildings, the shootings to prevent rescue operations, and use of war weapons are heinous acts which are planned — someone organized it, someone funded it, and someone supported it. And they must be punished.
The terrorist connection:
Watching the news in Thailand and seeing part of Thailand’s pride burn to the ground, one cannot help but see a connection with the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC on September 11, 2001. The only difference between the two is where the terrorists come from.
Walk into any post office in the USA and you will find a picture of Osama bin Laden on the wanted posters being labeled the mastermind for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the USA. The attacks served Osama bin Laden on both and ideological level and a personal level. Although Osama never personally carried out the attacks, many did so in his name.
Fast forward to May 19, 2010 in Bangkok Thailand, and you will see similar attacks on many levels. Seeing that Thailand is a country driven by tourist revenue, attacks on the shopping sector are no less significant than the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. In this case it is the followers of Thaksin Shinawatra seeking out his political enemies and the news media who would dare hold up a mirror for him to see himself as he really is.
For many people now, Thailand has become another victim of terrorism, and in this case, domestic terrorism. But when looking at this it is very important to look beyond the face value of double standards. The issue of double standards was just a convenient Trojan cause Thaksin could use to advance his personal goals.
It now becomes difficult for Thaksin to distance himself from being the Osama bin Laden of Thailand, there are just too many parallels between the two men. In fact the only significant difference is one prefers staying in caves while the other prefers 5-star hotels. Perhaps the most significant parallel is neither have respect for human life be it children or adults. They simply are pawns or tools to be used as needed. The remaining question is will the governments of other countries that host Thaksin see it the same way?
It should not take too long for the media and some governments to make the connection and start applying some pressure to Thaksin hosting governments. This is particularly so when the connection between Thaksin and children human shields becomes an instinctual motivator, as well as a political one that could re-power a faltering re-election bid.
The reaches of this go far beyond the borders of Thailand. Businesses from Japan are already seeking some compensation for financial losses, as well as other countries. So in short, Thaksin has started to hit the wallets of the rich from other countries, and they do not approve.
What will come of this in Thailand is yet to be seen. Some say this may be the start of a civil war, and others are hopeful that this is just a short-lived temper tantrum. In any case, the next few days will tell as the acts of terrorism seemed to have moved upcountry as government offices have been burned to the ground in several provinces. That upcountry violence will be short lived, as there are few government buildings, and the self-inflicted wounds will be felt far sooner than in Bangkok.