Fearing Somsak

15 02 2014

In reading an op-ed by Kong Rithdee at the Bangkok Post, we at PPT were reminded that lese majeste is about something more than the display of loyalty-expressed-as-hatred that is usually associated with ultra-royalist responses to what they define as an attack of the “revered institution.”

Bombings, shooting, threats, stalking, social media campaigns and long jail sentences have all been associated with those considered to have trespassed beyond the invisible yet  constantly moving boundaries of what is “acceptable” on the monarchy for royalist extremists. Kong refers to some of these nasty witch hunts in the context of the recent attack on historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul, led by the Army and then followed up by gunmen in support of the military and/or unknown royalist fascists.

Kong refers to “thoughtcrime in the land of crooked smiles…”. He observes:

It’s a cruel irony that while everyone — of all colours and inclinations — is parroting the true worth of democracy, we’re also living in a time when thinking and writing can be a crime. Hit-and-run suspects get bail (remember the Red Bull heir?), suspected murderers get bail (remember Kamnan Poh?), but thinking aloud on highly sensitive topics, like Mr Somsak did, could get unknown thugs firing at your house, or get you thrown in jail without bail — like Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was after he was convicted under Section 112.

Why is this? We think it is because Somyos, Somsak and other like them generate tremendous fear in their opponents.

The fear is that the emperor will be seen to be naked.

The fear that if the monarchy is seen for what it really is – a dysfunctional family that has been politically and economically rapacious – will quickly undermine the hierarchical system where the monarchy is a keystone institution. If it is undone, politically or ideologically, they fear that the royalist system will also collapse.

They fear that their regime of control and repression is brittle.

Protecting against these fears requires fascism, horrendous repression and hatred.

This is a fear that makes for a royalist elite nightmare. It is a nightmare they deserve.






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