A dedicated reader pointed PPT in the direction of a lese majeste story from the feudal sultanate of Oman. Wikipedia tells us that “Oman is an absolute monarchy in which the Sultan of Oman exercises ultimate authority but its parliament has some legislative and oversight powers.” So in terms of government, Thailand’s political and social system should be far less feudal. But not, it seems, when it comes to lese majeste.
A recent report explains that:
One of the ten Lèse-majesté detainees was released on bail today by the Muscat Primary Court in al Khuwair, according to an activist. Last month authorities in Oman clamped down on a number of Netizens for slander against Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed.
So far 10 activists, accused of defaming the country’s ruler by writing slanderous articles on social media or various web-based forums, have been sentenced by the Muscat Primary Court but released on bail pending their appeal in the higher court.
Of course, under the royalist Abhisit Vejjajiva regime, far more activists were locked up in order to “protect” the monarchy and the system of privilege and wealth that the royalist state manages. Abhisit’s political police attacked opponents with the same vigor and determination as Oman’s feudal rulers. And, they hardly ever bailed those accused of lese majeste!
Just like in Thailand, when family of the detainees tried to get help from the National Human Right Commission, that body turns out to be nothing other than a protector of feudal privilege.
In reading the report, PPT has the impression that the ultra-royalists in Thailand are protecting a feudal-like monarchical system that is an anachronism. Despite its (modern) corporate wealth and the remarkable sums it receives from the state, the system of status, privilege and wealth is an anachronism that works well for the royalist elite but not for others, who are the vast majority.