Sympathy for Abhisit

6 01 2013

Almost a month ago, PPT expended some time commenting on a Voranai Vanijaka op-ed at the Bangkok Post. Readers can view those posts here and here. Part of the reason for those posts was to correct a schoolboyish failure to understand Thailand’s political history.

That failure is now compounded by an equally schoolboy-like failure in his latest op-ed. Voranai engages in a remarkably adolescent rant based on a false comparison.

The point of his latest save the Democrat Party (leader) diatribe is a defense of Abhisit Vejjajiva, who Voranai thinks deserves sympathy as a victim of nasty politicians. Abhisit is “bullied, scorned and scared.”

Shooting red shirts

Shooting red shirts, 2010

What has brought down the “golden boy”? What has led to a situation where such an elite star with “a high society last name,” and Oxford-educated, “good looking, intelligent and articulate,” and perceived as “sincere and honest” is now in trouble? For Voranai reckons “the answer is simple: Mr Abhisit lost…”.

For Voranai, Abhisit is a hero:

In April and May 2010, he faced an uprising. Tens of thousands marched around the capital, stormed places, including a satellite station and a hospital, and occupied a district. Bombs and shots went off, protesters, soldiers and civilians lay dead. It was chaos. It was anarchy….

He had to beg, bribe and bully the army to get its act together.

This is a pro-Abhisit account that is tempered not by facts but with a complaint. The “hero” didn’t consolidate this fantastical achievement for he “spent the following year doing everything he could to lose the next general election.”

1973

Shooting students, 1973

And the winners are after him. Things have sunk so low that some have even “called him a murderer.”

There’s a reason for that, and Voranai refuses to acknowledge it. Abhisit headed a government that sent the Army against protesters that saw almost 100 dead and thousands injured. Abhisit was the leader of the government that ordered crackdowns.

Hence, when Voranai compares Abhisit’s fate with that of Chalerm Yubamrung, he makes a false comparison. The comparison should be with other leaders who ordered the Army to action against protesters: Thanom Kittikachorn, Narong Kittikachorn, Prapas Charusathien and Suchinda Kraprayoon come to mind.

Shooting protesters, 1992

Shooting protesters, 1992

Having given orders that result in civilian protesters being killed is Abhisit’s problem. This is why Abhisit lost the election. This is why he is despised. Thanom, Narong, Prapas and Suchinda were disgraced, despite the palace’s and elite’s efforts to rehabilitate them.

Abhisit follows them.

Voranai’s false comparison not only whitewashes Abhisit but makes saints of corrupt military dictators as well. All of them are royalist heroes.


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