Muddling the TRC report

24 09 2012

PPT saw three international media stories today that managed to misrepresent the Truth for Reconciliation Commission. One in the Sydney Morning Herald, another at Radio Australia, and the third at Pakistan’s Daily Times. The latter is listed as an AFP report, and all three, while having different names as authors/sources say almost the same thing: that the TRC called for Thaksin Shinawatra to stay out of politics.

As far as PPT is aware, this is inaccurate, although readers may want to correct us. As we understand it, the comment that Thaksin stay out of politics was made by TRC chairman Kanit na Nakhon in a personal comment at the end of the launch of the TRC report. The Pakistan report claims that the statement was in “an English-language statement released alongside the report.” PPT searched the English-language summary of the report released on that day, but there is no statement on Thaksin.

At the time, PPT commented on Kanit’s statement:

This is a suggestion that has to be read for what it doesn’t say. Kanit’s call is for Thaksin, Thailand’s most popular elected leader ever to step aside. Pro-Thaksin parties have won every election since 2000, usually by a substantial margin. Yet Kanit wants him to stay out of politics.  Kanit seems to think that Thaksin,  because the elite hates him, needs to sacrifice himself. Where’s the impartiality…? Should the king, queen, Prem Tinsulanonda and the military also stand aside from politics (not that they have been elected)?

Hence, when the SMH report states that “Thaksin, a deeply divisive figure in Thai politics…”, we can only wonder why this isn’t a point regularly made about Prem, the king and queen, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Chamlong Srimuang, Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban. The idea that only Thaksin is “divisive” is royalist nonsense.


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