Was the writing on the wall for the monarchy?

23 09 2010

Pravit Rojanaphruk at The Nation has a report well worth reading and considering on the topic of reality and denial. He refers to the thousands of red shirts who gathered at Rajaprasong on 19 September to mark the “fourth anniversary of the 2006 coup and the fourth month since the military cracked down on the movement.”

He notes that the media coverage missed “the angry messages emblazoned on the corrugated iron wall outside CentralWorld…”. PPT has earlier mentioned reporting of angry chanting here and here. Pravit says the wall outside the burned out shopping complex was previously filled with “colourful feel-good propaganda calling for national unity…”. For the red shirt rally, this was replaced “by angry messages aimed squarely at the established old elite saying things that cannot be reproduced here or anywhere else without the risk of violating the lese majeste law.”

The messages on the wall were, Pravit says, ” unprecedented.” However, “[t]he very next day, these messages were removed and life went on as if they were never there to begin with. The 25-metre long wall of corrugated iron is still there, with absolutely no sign of there being any colourful messages written on it – it’s just bare and grey.”

For Pravit it is clear that the “gap between what many Thai people want to believe about certain issues [PPT assumes the monarchy] and the reality of the beliefs held by some red-shirt Thais has never become wider…. The gap between what is spoken and admitted privately, and what is recited and dismissed publicly is widening and exacting an increasing cost on Thai society.”

Surakiart Sathirathai, “who was foreign minister under Thaksin Shinawatra … said in a speech at Siam University that ‘people who defame and attack the [royal] institution’ are ‘becoming more visible’. He acknowledged this to be one of the two root causes for the current political divide…”.

For Pravit, denying “what a substantial number of the population thinks and believes will not pull the country out of the current political impasse.”

The 2006 coup has opened a schism in society that, at least in PPT’s view, has long been there, through ebbs and flows of anti-monarchism, but has been trampled since 1976 by a stampede of propaganda and increasingly repressive lese majeste legislation and by the military’s jackboot. It is impossible to brush this rising anti-monarchism/republicanism aside or to simply repress it again. The elite has to give ground and to accept a new political era.



3 responses

24 09 2010
Tweets that mention Was the writing on the wall for the monarchy? « Political Prisoners in Thailand -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร, NEWSpace. NEWSpace said: Was the writing on the wall for the monarchy?: Pravit Rojanaphruk at The Nation has a report well worth reading an… http://bit.ly/9jm4Ru […]

30 09 2010
Anti-monarchy graffiti « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] About a week ago PPT posted on the political graffiti that appeared on 19 September. This kind of anti-monarchism, like the internet, is not at all easy to control, and is disturbing […]

8 12 2020
Memes, communism, and a republic | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] in Thailand in 2009. Nor should we forget that, in 2010, there was a spurt in republican feeling, a point obliquely made by Pravit back then. Republicans have cycled through PPT posts: Ji Ungpakorn and Rose Amornpat are examples. And no one […]

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