Becoming Fascist

8 07 2010

When can we start to really call a society Fascist rather than use the term as some kind of throwaway epitaph? Perhaps it is when its rulers use right-wing nationalism to shape children into warriors for the cause. We know that the Thai state has done this for many decades, most closely Fascist in the 1910-20s and late 1930s.

We wonder about the report in the Bangkok Post, that says that “Ayudhya Allianz CP, in collaboration with King Rama IX, The Great Foundation, and National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (Nectec), is running the Thailand Animation Contest 2010 to boost animation skills in the younger generation.” State, private sector and monarchy getting together for this. Sounds reasonable enough, but there is more: “Patchara Taveechaiwattana, Chief Officer of Market Management and Corporate Affairs of Ayudhya Allianz CP Life, said this year’s topic is ‘Be grateful, treasure, and give back to our motherland’ to encourage young Thais to express their patriotism via animation.”

Patriotism. How’s that going to be expressed? Patchara says: “It is time for Thais to share ideas about solving problems peacefully. The basic idea is the importance of appreciating that Thailand is our motherland and has always been our place of happiness. The winning entry will be published on CD and distributed to schools nationwide.” They are asked to be creatively patriotic. Dr. Goebbels would easily recognize this.

And, to round off the sorry story, it seems only appropriate that the winners should “receive the trophy of Her Royal Highness Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and scholarships worth a total of 250,000 baht.”

If it isn’t Fascism, it’s on the road to it.



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