Cry, scream, laugh

27 12 2014

Each time we read about a new lese majeste case, propaganda about monarchy and royalism or hear about official action on lese majeste, we are never sure whether to cry, scream or laugh.

Under the military dictatorship, royalist propaganda is reaching such levels that it feels like the whole country is in a monarchical straightjacket.

A few days ago, minor prince and Panadda Diskul, who was appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office by the military dictatorship, lectured 72 participants in the 8th Junior Spokesman project on “The Importance of Monarchy in Thailand.”

The minister demanded “that all the youth should place importance on the monarch system in order to understand the history of Thailand, history of the nation, as well as creating social unity.” This propaganda has been constant under the military junta.

Sounding like a 20th century throwback, the princely Panadda blathered that the monarchy represented unity rather than nasty politicians: “Thai people should love the nation, and not allow any political factors to divide the population into separate groups.” His royalism is a moralism: “Thai people should be united, uphold good morals and do good things…”.

He added the required obsequiousness before The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, when he “urged the youth acknowledge the importance of the 12 core values and inherit the good mind of ‘Thainess’.”

This all seems pretty much par for the course under the military dictatorship. Boring but predictable. Yet it links with a far nastier royalism that is repressive and suffocating.

In a series of reports, including one at the National News Bureau trumpeting that the “lese majeste law will undergo an overhaul to make it easier for authorities to proceed with legal action.”

PPT hadn’t noticed that the “authorities” were having trouble taking action on lese majeste. Indeed, under the military dictatorship, there has been a massive explosion in the number of cases, all of which involve the repression of political opponents.

Justice Minister General Paiboon Koomchaya reports that agencies have “studied the procedures and content of the lese majeste law … to have it improved.”

We guess that “improved” simply means that the military dictatorship wants to throw even more people in jail. After all, the order for this study came from The Dictator himself.

The agencies want to bring individuals charged with lese majeste back to Thailand and promote “a correct understanding of the law in the global community, to show that the law does not serve political purposes.”

Paiboon might have more success if he didn’t demand blatant lies from his officials. Obviously, no one believes lies about the purpose of lese majeste.

At The Nation, this story is further explained. The action on the lese majeste issue “was reached after Paiboon met with representatives from the Foreign Ministry, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry and the Department of Special Investigation.” The Dictator has demanded that lese majeste “be dealt with systematically in an integrated manner.”

This heralds a dark period for Thailand.

The notion of extraditing opponents from overseas, Paiboon explains that “many foreign states did not recognise lese majeste acts as a crime and would not extradite the accused.” But never fear dear royalists, for Paiboon says that “the Thai government would try to convince them that defaming the monarchy affected the Thai spirit that revered the institution.”

Yes, the world is to be told that spirit or soul of Thailand’s people is monarchist and that throwing political opponents in jail is simply about protecting the essence of the nation.

What does anyone with half a brain do with such nonsensical babbling? How will the people of Thailand be protected from monarchical madmen?

General Paiboon, like fascists of the past, manages to turn lese majeste on its head when he claims that his dictatorship’s political opponents have “used” lese majeste charges “as a tool to seek asylum abroad.” In other words, the draconian lese majeste has been used for some kind of advantage by its victims!

Cry, scream, laugh?

The committee General Paiboon is establishing is even going back to the discredited “anti-monarchist mind map” that was previously used to concoct a republican conspiracy.

The Nation’s story also explains that other ministers beat the monarchy drum. The junta’s Interior Minister, General Anupong Paojinda said “it was the government’s duty to honour the monarchy and protect it from violation.”

In fact, it is the actions of ultra-royalists and mad monarchists who are doing the work of republicans. Lese majeste repression by a military dictatorship that is self-serving and simply bizarre is doing more to destroy the monarchy than any republican could hope to achieve.

At the risk of sounding as bizarre as these ministers, maybe republicans should be cheering them on? Cry, scream, laugh? All three?


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18 05 2015
On May 1992, part II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] after 2007, who are ultra-royalists and deeply yellow. So is Prasarn. Panadda is a devoted royalist, specialized in self-promotion and a dedicated restorationist, committed to dictatorship and […]

18 05 2015
On May 1992, part II | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] after 2007, who are ultra-royalists and deeply yellow. So is Prasarn. Panadda is a devoted royalist, specialized in self-promotion and a dedicated restorationist, committed to dictatorship and […]