Updated: Truth?

15 10 2014

Readers who can get access may find this academic paper of some use:

Wreck/Conciliation? The Politics of Truth Commissions in Thailand

By Duncan McCargo and Naruemon Thabchumpon

Abstract: More than ninety people died in political violence linked to the March–May 2010 “redshirt” protests in Bangkok. The work of the government-appointed Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) illustrates the potential shortcomings of seeing quasi-judicial commissions as a catch-all solution for societies struggling to deal with the truth about their recent pasts. The 2012 TRCT report was widely criticized for blaming too much of the violence on the actions of rogue elements of the demonstrators and failing to focus tightly on the obvious legal transgressions of the security forces. By failing strongly to criticize the role of the military in most of the fatal shootings, the TRCT arguably helped pave the way for the 2014 coup. Truth commissions that are unable to produce convincing explanations of the facts they examine may actually prove counterproductive. Following Quinn and Wilson, we argue in this article that weak truth commissions are prone to politicization and are likely to produce disappointing outcomes, which may even be counterproductive.

Update: While we were looking around at recent academic articles, we noted updates at a blog maintained by Kevin Hewison. Back in April, we linked to an article by him on inequality and Thailand’s politics. That article is now available here. We also noted a link to a recent interview with him at the cultural studies blog’s podcasts.


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