Beloved Friends and Relatives,
As always, it is my heartfelt prayer that you and your beloved ones are in the very best of health and happiness.
This was shared with me by a very well informed source that I have known for many years and who I love and respect very much. She is a truth teller. I wanted to share this with you because it provides a perspective of the political complexity of current events in Thailand that is not being well reported in the Western Press. I have great faith and respect for the Thai peeple and have complete confidence this will all be resolved in their own way. Remember Thailand was one of the few nations in the world that was never colonized.
I leave in the morning, May 25, for Jakarta, to attend ASEAN related meetings. I return to Canada on Friday, May 28.. On Monday, May 31st , I will travel with my beloved wife, my son Tiger and my sister Deloria,to the International Indigenous Leaders Gathering. I am looking forward to being with all the relatives and having a hot Sweat. Thailand's heat has prepared me well!
Warm Love and Greetings,
Maybe the burning of Bangkok is a signpost to point us all in a new and different direction---away from the firmly entrenched positions of yellow vs. red and towards a new way. The situation here in Thailand is fluid, dangerous and important. We are at a crossroads. What is taking place now, and will continue to take place for a few years (in my opinion) will set the course for this country for the future.
The burning and trashing of Bangkok by paid professionals (please do not think that outraged villagers took torches and matches and burned down Central World --formerly called the World Trade Center!) is appalling but had such planning and reason behind it. I am quite in awe of the intelligence behind this. I am hopeful that the facts and evidence will be brought to light and also hope that the western media, which has been mainly one-sided in its reporting, will come to understand the underlying realities of the situation and the immense funding behind it.
I have attached links to WSJ and Economist latest articles....interesting new viewpoints. Thaksin has just released a blog statement that denies his involvement (of course) and stresses the government actions "against" the poor and "abuse of human rights". He also stresses that the gov't needs to treat the "jailed" protestors with decency. Plan A failed. On to Plan B!
Apparently Thaksin failed to see the cell phone footage smuggled out showing the protest leaders in air conditioned housing having a party with supporters at the VIP police guest houses near Hua Hin.
This "human rights" angle has also been written about (same wording) by one of Thaksin's foreign ministers Kantathi (see the Huffington political bog in the US entitled "Thailand falling into the Abyss"). A perfect match in wording and point of view.
On a positive note, I have to say that those topics which used to be "under the radar" and not open for discussion (what one columnist called the 'elephant in the room' that everyone pretends not to see) are now being spoken of openly and this is for the good. Unfortunately there has been and continues to be a huge amount of skillful PR created in and for the west).
No matter what happens I do think the economic fundamentals are still pretty good despite the ruination of the tourism market.
Here in our little village where we have taken refuge people are in shock and some are beginning to turn away from the reds because of the lack of tourists and therefore the lack of work. Only 2 weeks ago they were sending supplies from our local outdoor market (an economic bonanza for the sellers) into the Bangkok red protestors' group and a big sign on the highway advertized "Red Transport and Meeting Point" (the area where people could board free pick-ups and vans to take them to the protests inside the city).
Personal story: Our cook's brother-in-law's relatives from a village near Khon Kaen signed up to come into the city a month ago. They were paid a sum of Bht 1,500 each (a huge cash sum to a rice farmer) so they brought the kids, too, to increase the payroll to a total of nine persons and came prepared for a great time.
Once at the protest camp their national ID's were taken away so they could not leave. [We can confirm this as we were in Bangkok just before the latest violence and burning took place and we went into the protest encampment and spoke with one person ---a shoe seller---in the tented city who told us she had been told that she would stay 2 months. She told us she wanted to stay...but she did not look like she wanted to].
After the leaders "surrendered" our cook's relatives were given back their ID's but were not given the money promised to return home. They said they had used up all their funds....inside the camps unscupulous person were charging money for them to take showers, buy water, etc. The mother was ill from dehydration (she reported she had not had a bowel movement for 5 days) and the children were ill. She called her relative who had to hire a van to drive into an area near the protestors and pick them up....sick, abandoned and very very afraid. The relative was not happy with them and told them never to come back because next time he would not help them.
These nine people, by the way, could have boarded a bus parked just outside the area and gone back home at government expense but their ID's would have been recorded by the soldiers in charge. I do not know if that is why they fled separately or not.
After returning to their village the mother reported that several people who had gone to the protest had failed to return to the village. Now the village is afraid of reprisals (maybe from both sides but especially from the reds)....and the word is out in many areas (such at the village where we are....and I am quoting actual conversations) that once you become one of the reds you can't leave.
On the other side are the waiters and cook at our favorite Italian restaurant in Bangkok who came from the Northeast and who cheerfully attended the protests every night, at least initially. They told us no one had cared for them like Thaksin and they wanted him back. These were well paid and trained persons. Now they are out of work.....but probably only temporarily. We spoke with them before the restaurant closed three weeks ago and do not know how they feel about things now.
A great deal hangs in the balance and is dependant upon the "proof" that the arsonists were paid by and working for the Thaskin-supported reds and that the reds actively instigated violence (the government PR) or that the arsonists/assassins were "an independant group" and the army intentionally killed the poor protestors (the red PR). What is quite enlightening is to watch footage on the NBT (Thai public TV) of interviews/speeches by many of the Thaksin or red persons calling for burning two years ago. I just watched Chaturon (one of the banned politicians with Thaksin) call for this....and of course at the red protest we also heard it ourselves as we listened to the red radio all the time.
I guess this will prove to be a learning experience for us all and many people on all sides are talking about the underlying problems that have led to this sorry state. It will be a positive outcome of this if we can all somehow really address the problems that need correcting at the same time that the miscreants are punished for burning Bangkok. If there is punishment meeted out that will be a much needed turning point for social justice in this country.
And so ends the first battle. I wish I could say it will be the last one.
With love from Bangkok