Only some truths

17 03 2012

The royalist King Prajadhipok’s Institute, which ironically celebrates the supposed “gift” of democracy to the Thai people, came out with a report recently that bothered a few of their supporters for including supposedly “pro-Thaksin Shinawatra” notions on reconciliation.

The Nation now reports that the Institute has “clarified” its position. While its deputy secretary-general can whine about “the need to achieve national reconciliation” and the “need … to create a climate for understanding,” there is something missing.

The KPI study “commissioned by the parliamentary subcommittee on national reconciliation” stated that:

there is a need to not just discuss the legal and judicial aspects of the conflict, but also to discuss its root causes, including a “reflection on power relations in Thai society”.

The report also stated that “two long-term issues that need public debate – a future Thai ‘democratic’ regime with His Majesty as head of state and laying the foundations for social justice.”

In addition, “a member of the research team, warned that it would be dangerous for society if people did not have the space to express their political dissatisfaction.”

But, it seems only some of those relations and issues are to be discussed and political space will be limited:

The researchers said they do not support discussion about the role of the monarchy and politics over the past 50 years, though they are urging people to stop posting defamatory remarks online. They also do not recommend granting amnesty to those charged under the lese majeste law.

In addition, the deputy secretary-general told “people to ‘abandon the idea’ of punishing the 2006 coup-makers…“.

The idea that power and political regime structure can be discussed in an atmosphere where the 800-pound gorilla that is the monarchy (and the repressive laws that “protect” it) is not even in the room is ludicrous. A discussion of power must include the largest capitalist conglomerate in the country and the (usually) behind-the-scenes power of the monarchy.

Even this week, the king has been ordering government officials about, calling into question the notion of a constitutional monarchy.

Any discussion of democracy that deliberately leaves out the monarchy is yet another act of censorship and repression.

That no military general should ever be held responsible for his illegal acts, even if at the direction and in the name of the monarchy is, simply, nonsense.



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