We are late getting to this story from last week, but feel it is still relevant.
Leonard Novarro and Rosalynn Carmen are co-founders of Asia Media America and the Asian Heritage Society in San Diego and have authored a report at the Time of San Diego. The newspaper is said to be “an independent, online news site covering the fifth most populous county in the United States.”
They report on a conference in Las Vegas dedicated to restoring democracy in Thailand:
Not only did it call for an end to the abuse of political and human rights in that country. Many called for an end to the monarchy, a move that would guarantee imprisonment in Thailand, or worse.
The report comes up with some interesting figures: “According to several human rights watchdog groups, anywhere from 4,000 and 10,000 people, citizens and foreigners, have been jailed for speaking out against the current military regime, which has the support of the Thai royal family.”
But that didn’t stop more than 100 people of Thai descent – some like former Minister of Transport Charupong Ruangsuwan, recently exiled for speaking out against the current regime, and many attending from as far away as Denmark — from criticizing the iron rule of the current government. A military coup ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006 and his sister, Yingluck, eight years later. Both were elected to office by sizeable majorities.
The conference was said to be “hosted by the Organization of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy, which claims followers in 29 countries, 68 provinces in Thailand and nine U.S. states.”
Sukit Subaneksant, a photographer representing an Illinois-based group stated:
Our message is that we do not like the monarchy involved in politics…. The monarchy uses the power of dictatorship. The monarchy happens to be on the side of dictators…. Let’s change the constitution. Let’s go with the Japanese style [ceremonial and symbolic] so everyone will be happy.
Prachuab Charoensuk, A U.S. citizen, declared:
A lot of people in Thailand are afraid to speak out. I am not. I am not going back to Thailand…. The monarchy has too much power and the group associated with the monarchy has too many privileges…. There were 193 countries that used to have a monarchy. Now there are only 23…. The monarchy is definitely broken.
However, the monarchy is far from broken when it comes to personal wealth.
The current king, according to Randy Permpoon, is:
always above the law. He is like the mafia. That is the contradiction in the country that is supposed to be a democracy…. The king told the people they must be self-sufficient by growing their own food. That’s like Marie Antoinette, the wife of the French king who said: ‘Let them eat cake’….
Piangdin Rakhthai, one of the organizers, declared: “This is the right point in history to step down. We will end the monarchy.”
The meeting decided on the “following recommendations will be sent to the current government and to the United Nations”:
Abolish preferential tax treatment
Rewrite the constitution to prohibit military home rule
Eliminate the monarchy’s influence in state affairs
Make the monarchy a ceremonial office only
Lift bans on social media and all forms of dissent
Release all political prisoners jailed under the current regime