PPT doesn’t usually read the letters columns of the newspapers. However, a recent and grossly disingenuous letter in The Nation caught our attention for its defense of the Democrat Party. We thought it deserved some discussion.
The letter is signed by Borvorn Sripaurya, who claims to be a member of the Democrat Party, a statement confirmed in other newspaper articles. The Chiangmai Mail describes Borvorn one of Chiang Mai’s “favorite sons” and suggests he is a cultural guru.
His letter is apparently prompted by one of The Nation’s regular correspondents, Eric Bahrt who is said to have “expressed the belief that the Democrat government took advantage of the coup and used the lese majeste law against its political opponents to cling to power.”
For most PPT readers, there would be nothing controversial in this. A Democrat Party member like Borvorn might react and defend his own lot. But Borvorn goes a lot further.
First, Borvorn claims the “Democrat Party is the oldest political party in Asia, established in 1946.” He’s wrong. We can point to several older parties, including the Chinese Communist Party, the Kuomintang, the Japanese Communist Party, and the Liberal Party and the Nationalista Party in the Philippines. The Indian Congress Party claims to have been founded in 1885.
More egregious, Borvorn claims that the Democrat Party “has never supported any coup, directly or indirectly. In fact it has always been on the other side of the road of the military.” We can assume that Borvorn is either as thick as a brick or is a propagandist lacking the skills of a skilled liar. It is a fact that, almost from the day it was born, the Democrat Party supported a coup, and provided the political groundwork for the 1947 coup.
We won’t bother going through teh other coups supported by the Democrat Party, but skip to the modern day. We know only too well that the Democrat Party was fully supportive of the 2014 military coup, having provided the backbone of the anti-democrat movement that literally begged for a coup.
If you check carefully, you will see that no Democrat government ever brought lese majeste charges against an opposition party. The police and private citizens were the only ones who brought such charges during its tenure in power and they were directed at individuals who committed wrongdoing.
But Borvorn thinks it is wrong to be “mixing up the Democrats and the People’s Democratic Reform Committee led by Suthep Thaugsuban.” He displays a remarkable scorn for his readers, apparently believing they are all idiots or amnesiacs when he states: “… party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva never expressed support for the Suthep committee.”
Borvorn then turns to lese majeste.
He begins with a statement that “[t]he lese majeste activities of the red shirts were well known, and yet the government at that time took no action.”
Sadly, this is another untruth. The Yingluck Shinawatra government did arrest and imprison people for lese majeste. This might have been at the behest of the military but the Puea Thai Party has a sad record on lese majeste.
The Democrat Party doyen then states that it was the “military government [that] has since clamped down, but Democrats have nothing to do with it.” He’s right that the military dictatorship has been frantic in its use of lese majeste against political opponents.
However, the Democrat Party government led by Abhisit was remarkably active in arresting and jailing people accused of lese majeste. In fact, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has stated, referring to Joe Gordon’s case: “Gordon’s case is only one of dozens of lese majeste cases currently underway in Thailand. Nearly all of the present slew of lese majeste cases began during PM Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Democrat Party rule…”.
Again, Borvorn is making stuff up for political purpose.
He then careens off into a racist rant about how it is “Westerners” who are unable to “see that the lese majeste law does not constitute denying anyone’s freedom of expression.” This is utter nonsense and many Thais know all too well that they cannot speak on the monarchy because of Article 112 and royalist fanatics like Borvorn who hunt them down for any kind of “transgression.”
The culturalist crap that these royalist deal in is recycled: “Throughout our long history we have regarded the King as our father and our god, and no one has the right to denigrate him.” Historically, this is horse manure, but it is the royalist rant.
(For some reason he then embarks on a claim about “Western values” and “lax American gun laws that have led to so many deaths.” Perhaps he should look at the data on Thailand’s lax gun laws and deaths there.)
Clearly Bovorn is concocting a history. It isn’t the first time. Not that long ago, when there were some complaints about the exploitation of Thai workers in Israel, it was in the Bangkok Post that Borvorn appeared, again concocting a story. This time he was listed as “a Democrat Party member and owner of Thai Overseas Manpower Association, a firm that recruits labourers to go to Israel and other countries…”.
His story was that there were “no problems with living conditions of Thai workers in Israel…”. He blathered that “Israeli employers have no control over Thai workers and they are granted too much freedom…”. He claimed that more than 80% of the 26,500 Thai workers in Israel were “drug addicts…”. Still, we are sure that Bovorn makes a tidy profit plowing the backs of Thai workers.
You get the picture.