Women and political civility

9 03 2014

It was International Women’s Day on Friday, a day observed since the early 20th century.

Of course, in Thailand, this year’s observance was somewhat overshadowed by political conflicts between those who support Thailand’s first-ever woman prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and anti-democrats who are trying to bring down her elected government and to prevent elections that she has called.

The Nation reports that the Woman’s Voice group, led by Puea Thai Party MP Laddawan Wongsriwong, made a call for an end to “[rights] violation[s] and insults directed at the country’s women leaders.” She might have added threats of violence to them and their families. These threats and insults have been directed at women on both sides of the political divide.

Most notably, because it has been so high profile, the misogynist attacks on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have been savage. Laddawan pointed out that Yingluck had suffered “rights violations, insults and threats” and yet the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) had done nothing. Woman’s Voice called for the NHRC members to resign.

They are unlikely to heed the call at the NHRC, which PPT has long described as a hopeless cabal of politicized flunkies with little interest in their mandated tasks.

Woman’s Voice “wanted all agencies to ensure justice to all sides and all women to be united and co-exist despite differences in opinion.” That would seem reasonable.

Meanwhile, the fabulously wealthy Democrat Party member and anti-democrat protest high-profiler Chitpas Bhirombhakdi, who has been using the family name Kridakorn (sometimes with that royalist-linked “na Ayutthaya” added), led another event. She led women anti-democrat protesters in an appropriately feudal rally that went to Wat Phra Kaew “to vow to join fellow anti-government protesters in fearlessly defending the motherland from offences or bids to divide the country.” Apparently she “gave a speech slamming caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra for damaging the country over the past two years and accused Yingluck for causing injury to protesters who rallied peacefully without weapons, which had lead to deaths and injuries.”

That’s about what would be expected from Chitpas. An attack on Yingluck bolstered by the lie about “peaceful” and “unarmed” demonstrators.

Both sides made the expected political claims and both were focused on Yingluck. Women’s Voice attempted some conciliation. Chitpas spewed vitriol.



%d bloggers like this: