2 11 2013

ThaksinThaksin Shinawatra and the leadership of the Puea Thai Party appear politically deaf:

From The Nation: … relatives of those killed in the April-May 2010 crackdown and the so-called progressive wing of the red shirts reacted with a sense of betrayal and deep anger against the party and ousted and convicted former prime minister Thaksin.

Phayaw Akkahad, mother of slain nurse Kamolkaed Akkahad, said she felt betrayed by Thaksin but vowed to fight on until those responsible are brought to justice.

“What Thaksin did today was an act of betrayal against the people. Thaksin became ungrateful to the 15 million people who voted for him,” said Phayaw, sounding noticeably upset. She said she and other relatives of those killed in 2010 would soon call a press conference, and insisted that she would not give up calling for the end to the immunity even if she had to fight alone.

A group of 20 red-shirt university students led by Panitan Prueksakasemsuk, son of lese majeste convict Somyos Prueksakasemsuk and a senior law student at Thammasat University, staged a protest in front of the Pheu Thai Party headquarters. Organising a play mocking Thaksin under the title “Stepping on Dead Bodies to Return Home”, Panitan told The Nation that his feelings towards Thaksin had changed and the development demonstrated that most politicians cannot be trusted.

The red-shirt movement, said Panitan, is now divided over the issue, but the blame must be placed squarely on Thaksin and the Pheu Thai Party and not on those who oppose the blanket amnesty, he stressed.

Sombat Boonngam-anong, Red Sunday group leader, said he would try to muster 10,000 red shirts on November 10 to demonstrate against the bill. Sombat acknowledged that there was nothing opponents of the bill could do to stop the parliamentary process but added that the red-shirt movement must reform itself.

Sombat said that perhaps Thaksin knew something that the public at large did not. Some red shirts have speculated that a deal had already been struck by the elite on both sides of the political divide to ensure immunity and exoneration for all key figures.

Also from The Nation: “Other red-shirt MPs might have their own reasons to comply with the party’s resolution, but I can’t let those who ordered the killing of people to go scot-free. So, I have abstained and fear that the red shirts will lose faith in the Pheu Thai Party for letting murderers go unpunished.” Weng Tojirakarn, Pheu Thai party-list MP and red-shirt leader

“A lot of red-shirt people cannot tolerate seeing murderers go unpunished. The DAAD and the Pheu Thai are still brothers, but we are free to make our own moves … The people will take a stand on the main road, because we know that it is a dead-end soi that Pheu Thai is luring us down. We will not enter this soi, but will wait at the mouth.”

Jatuporn Promphan, a leader of the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship (DAAD)

“I am very unhappy that the House panel changed this bill because I lost my father, and others have lost their relatives. Now the wrongdoers will never be punished, so you all have blood on your hands. Nobody in this House has lost a relative other than me. I want to use this chance to try and bring the ones who killed my father to justice… I call on the panel to review the bill and bring justice.”

Khattiya Sawasdipol, Pheu Thai party-list MP

Kong Rithdee at the Bangkok Post: All exiles, or at least most of them, want to come home. That’s a given. But how they come home – sauntering down a red carpet or forcing their vengeance through the padlocked gate like rabid rottweilers – is a bigger test of courage and integrity of political exiles.

The flawed amnesty bill that would grant mass impunity to those who deserve trials and that would bring Thaksin home is now in the Senate – after the absurd marathon 19-hour parliamentary session that lasted until 4am yesterday, a proof of desperation on the part of Pheu Thai MPs who pushed the bill despite protests against it from all colours.

The ex-PM has the ball, but which narrative is he plotting for himself?

Thaksin was overthrown by unlawful forces, not at gunpoint but pretty close, but the real story is how he’s conspiring to return. That, and not the exile, will be a measure of his true self….

The scariest precedent however – I guess this is what’s on a lot of people’s minds, though no one speaks about it at the moment – is the tempestuous exile and return of Field Marshall Thanom Kittikajorn. Driven out after the Oct 14, 1973 uprising, Thanom’s return to Thailand as a novice monk three years later led to the horror of Oct 6, 1976, when right-wing factions massacred students at Thammasat University in a brutal episode that laid bare to witnesses not just the crime of murders, but of institutionalised hatred.



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