Updated: Army declares royalist rebels “democrats”

25 06 2020

The 24 June anniversary has come and gone. Acknowledging that there has been an insidious and creeping rollback of the 1932 revolution, led by the king, the murderous Royal Thai Army celebrated the 1933 royalist restorationist rebellion, effectively declaring war on 1932. In essence, the Royal Thai Army has finally returned to being the King’s Royal Army. It has declared full-scale war on 1932 and democratic government.

It did this, Khaosod reports, with a religious propaganda show for the royals and royalists who led the failed restorationist rebellion. This on the day that the very same Royal Army was actively preventing pro-democracy activists recognizing the 1932 revolution and the role of the people in opposing it and protecting the People’s Party revolution.

At Army headquarters, “monks held merit-making in memory of two rebel leaders Prince Boworadet and Phraya Si Sitthisongkhram [Din Tharab].” While the report states that the “ceremony was … held in private and attended only by a few military officers, the Army released details.

Earlier, the two failed royalists had already been “honored” by the Royal Army with two rooms at the Army headquarters being emblazoned with their names: “The rooms were inaugurated in October by PM [Gen] Prayut Chan-o-cha and army chief [Gen] Apirat Kongsompong.”

The Royal Army released a statement, which we have loosely translated:

The Royal Thai Army merit-making ceremony for Gen His Serene Highness Boworadej [พล.อ. พระวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้าบวรเดช] and Col Phraya Sri Sitthisongkhram [พ.อ.พระยาศรีสิทธิสงคราม], 24 June 2020

Today (24 June 2020) at 3:00 pm at the Royal Thai Army Headquarters Gen Nataphol Narkphanich [พล.อ. ณัฐพล นาคพาณิชย์], Deputy Commander in Chief of the Army presided over the dedication ceremony for Gen His Serene Highness Boworadej and to make merit for Col Phraya Sri Sitthisongkhram as a memorial to the virtue of these military officers who are loyal to the institution [monarchy] and who were also democratic soldiers.

1932 brought the change of government that is considered a major turning point in Thai history, moving from the absolute monarchy to a democratic system. The group of people who called themselves the People’s Party carried out a coup [รัฐประหาร] to bring down the monarchy. In 1933, the first rebellion [กบฏ] following the change of rule in 1932 occurred.  Led by Gen His Serene Highness Boworadej and Col Phraya Sri Sitthisongkhram, it is known as the Boworadej Rebellion. They disagreed with the administration of Phaya Phahon [พระยาพหลฯ] which was dictatorial. They called on the government of Phraya Phahon to: preserve the monarchy; make the government more democratic by giving parliament more power and oversight; and prevent the People’s Party government from being a dictatorship. But, in the end, the rebellion was not successful with the government suppressing the rebels. The brave heroism of Gen His Serene Highness Boworadej and Col Phraya Sri Sitthisongkhram must be seen as and act of loyalty and as sacrifice for the royal family, protecting the monarchy. They truly intended for the nation to uphold democracy.

Public Relations Division Office of the Secretary
24 June 2020

The factual inaccuracies don’t really matter. What matters is rewriting history in the regime’s/king’s preferred manner. It is in the manner of making democracy equal Thai-style democracy with the king as head of state.

Readers might peruse some writings on the royalist rebellion here, here (with a video), here and here.

Update: There’s some really interesting stories in the media regarding activist responses to 24 June. These include: Prachatai reporting on “[r]epresentatives from the People’s Party for Freedom (PPF), the 24 June Democracy Movement and the Greater Rangsit Area Labour Union Group submitted a petition to the House of Representatives demanding that the government declare 24 June as Thai National Day and reserve 23-25 June for celebrations as previously designated by the People’s Party”; Prachatai also reporting “the Committee Campaigning for a People’s Constitution (CCPC) on Wednesday 24 June in remembering the 1932 People’s Party’s declaration and demanding amendments to the 2017 constitution”; Khaosod reporting on young activists: ““We believe that what the People’s Party did was correct…. Things that society told us aren’t always the truth;” and The Nation reporting on pro-democracy groups in the Northeast gathering to mark the 1932 revolution, where “Khon Kaen University students marched to the province’s Democracy Monument wearing white clothes and carrying mops and signs with the message ‘June 24, Siamese revolution, Clean democracy’, and ‘Will you excuse us? We’re practising to be democratic’.” In “Ubon Ratchathani, a ‘Run against Dictatorship’ at the Democracy Bridge was held to commemorate the turning point in Thai history…”. It is noted that the revolution was also marked in “Nakhon Ratchasima, Maha Sarakham, Surin, Sakon Nakhon, Udon Thani and Roi Et.”