Remembering 6 October after 44 years

6 10 2020

44 years after the massacre at Thammasat University, Thailand remains under a under a military-backed regime, under an emergency decree and with a monarch who cut his political teeth in the aftermath of this terrible event.

The 6 October 1976 attack on students and supporters by rightist and royalist vigilantes was supported and promoted by elements in the police, military and in the palace. The then king was pleased with the outcome.

Each year we post on this day, remembering those who were murdered, burned alive, raped and beaten. Some of our previous posts: 2018, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.6 Oct

This year we link to just a few of the stories that are available:





Twice failed minister gives advice to failed military rulers

21 12 2015

Former deputy premier in the first cabinet of the The Dictator and finance minister to the military-backed post-2006 coup cabinet, minor prince Pridiyathorn Devakula has decided to criticize and give advice to The Dictator. This is sure to spark anger and perhaps even some retribution.

He has “urged the government [… he means junta] to reveal the ‘truth’ about the country’s economic situation.”

Scenes from “A Few Good Men” come to mind.

For some reason which is entirely unclear to PPT, someone decided that this failed prince should speak “at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of reformer Puey Ungphakorn’s birthday in Chai Nat’s Nong Mamong district…”. We can’t think why a failure had an opportunity to speak about Puey, apart from the fact that both had been governors of the Bank of Thailand and both served dictators. Puey became quite a different man, and after being “branded a communist and ‘destroyer of unity’ by the political right of Thailand” lived his later years in political exile.

Pridiyathorn declared that the dictatorship “had to tell the truth about Thailand’s current financial state to help the country get through the current economic hardship.” Still wedded to dictatorship of the royalist military, he declared that “the government was on the right track in boosting investment by putting funds into the agricultural sector…”. His advice is “the government should not make unrealistic promises as it would cause people to lose faith.” And he urged that the junta “accelerate its work on economic stimulus projects.”

The criticism is the implication that the government is hiding something. The advice is to do things that he himself was simply incapable of doing.





6 October and the military coup

6 10 2014

The military dictatorship would prefer that no one remember the massacre that was unleashed in the name of the monarchy on 6 October 1976. It would prefer that the crushing of a fragile democracy not be remembered.

Oct 6Perhaps it would prefer that the long period of military domination and tutelage from 1976 to 1988 be remembered, for it seems to have a similar plan for 21st century Thailand.

Those who remember:

Kong Rithdee at the Bangkok Post

Kem Issara at Prachatai

Financial Times video (This is well worth viewing: “As Thailand’s military government continues to detain its critics, some Thais are commemorating students killed at Thammasat university on October 6, 1976. Michael Peel meets witnesses to the massacre.”)

Another video remembering the terror:

student-6oct1Prachatai on photos of 6 October

The Guardian on a brutal Thai coup

Wikipedia on 6 October massacre

Pokpong Lawansiri on demystifying and remembering

Puey Ungpakorn on 6 October (opens a PDF)

PPT’s 2013 remembrance

PPT’s 2012 remembrance and another here

PPT’s 2011 remembrance

PPT’s 2010 remembrance

PPT’s 2009 remembrance

 

 

 





Remembering the 6 October royalist massacre

6 10 2012

As we have pointed out several times in recent weeks, the royalist state is “protected” by the military and ultra-royalists. This task requires that these groups – most especially the military – repress and kill citizens seen as dissidents or an opposition.

In 1976, this protection of the monarchy saw murders in the monarchy’s name. The most dramatic and horrible event was the royalist-inspired attack on people – mostly students – damned as “disloyal.” This massacre at Thammasat University, probably killed more people than the dark events of April and May 2010, yet there has never been any state investigation nor anyone sent to trial. Impunity was the rule because the state’s troops and rightist gangs were doing the work of the royalist state. The main perpetrators of the massacre are claimed to be the Border Patrol Police who trained many of the rightist gangs in the name of the monarchy and with considerable U.S. funding. The BPP was and remains close to the royal family.

The regime that was put in place following the massacre and a coup was, like 2006, headed by a palace favorite. Thanin Kraivixien remains a Privy Counselor even today, considered “respected” because of that. Yet the fact is that his administration was one of the most right-wing, repressive and brutal regimes. Mercifully, after just a year, he was thrown out by another coup, led by General Kriangsak Chomanan, who was never forgiven by the palace for throwing out the its prime minister. Of course, this led to Kriangsak’s ouster, arranged to replace him with General Prem Tinsulanond, another palace favorite, who remains president of the Privy Council today. Just days after the bloodshed, the crown prince distributed awards to paramilitary personnel involved.

In other words, the massacre at Thammasat University was intimately linked to palace political machinations. Neither the palace nor the military has been far from the politics of the period since, and the massacres of Bangkok protesters seen in 1992 and 2010.

A major event was organized to remember this 1976 event. It is in Thai and can be found here. Prachatati released new pictures from the period last year, and the BBC has a 10-minute documentary worth accessing. So is Puey Ungpakorn’s account of the events around 6 October.





Updated: Remembering 6 October

3 02 2012

PPT thought readers might be interested in this post by PPT a year or so ago. Given the fanning of hatred and threats associated with lese majeste and Nitirat, it seems to require re-posting:

The remembrance of the horrid events of 6 October 1976 has come around again. Readers might be interested to know about the commemoration at Thammasat University.

In that story, for some, the events at Rajaprasong and 6 October were brought together: “Prab Rakchailai, 19-year-old secretary general of Thammasat Community Against Dictatorship, said his group has joined the  Ratchaprasong, Sept 19 coup  and Oct  6, 1976 commemoration as it would like to remind   society of this hidden side of the history.” It is uncanny how state officials who murder citizens never seem to be brought to justice.

Readers are also reminded of articles about this tragic event that we have on our site with permission from Critical Asian Studies. These articles are from the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars Special Supplement on “October 1976: The Coup in Thailand” as it appeared in Volume 9, Number 3, July-September 1977:

  • Cover, contents and introduction  to the Supplement by Jayne Werner (bcas_9-3-1977_cover_intro)
  • Puey Ungphakorn, “Violence and the Military Coup in Thailand” with an Introduction by David Millikin (bcas_9-3-1977_puey)
  • Ben Anderson, “Withdrawal Symptoms: Social and Cultural Aspects of the October 6 Coup” (bcas_9-3-1977_anderson)
  • E. Thadeus Flood, “The Vietnamese refugees in Thailand: Minority Manipulation in Counterinsurgency” (bcas_9-3-1977_flood)
  • Carl A. Trocki, “Boonsanong Punyodyana: Thai Socialist and Scholar, 1936-1976″ including an interview with Boonsanong from the Far Eastern Economic Review (bcas_9-3-1977_trocki)
  • Also of interest is Puey Ungphakorn’s a “letter” written after he was chased out of Thailand during the events of 6 October 1976. It was published as a pamphlet by The Union of Democratic Thais in the U.S.

Readers will also be interested in a series of YouTube videos on the event. Start here and here and for the latter, look for several parts. Be aware that they are graphic and violent. For 1973-76 see here.

Update: PPT notes the seeming contradiction on the part of Thammasat University administrators in announcing a ban on Nitirat from activities on campus. Double standards and prejudice were mentioned in an earlier post. Oddly, within a day or so of this announcement, “a group of current and former students from the faculty of journalism and mass communications” held an anti-Nitirat rally.

A Nation photo

Even more bizarre than the fact of a double standard, was the choice by these royalists to gather:

at the monument of Thammasat’s founder Pridi Banomyong to announce their opposition to Nitirat. The group, who called themselves “Journalism Faculty against Nitirat”, were led by film director Yuthana Mukdasanit.

We cite more in detail to show the nature of the rally:

Yuthana read a statement that the monarchy had become a target of people seeking to overthrow the institution and that allowing amendment to or removal of Article 112 was to pave the way for them to achieve the goal. The group said they agreed that Nitirat’s campaign was not purely academic, but rather politically motivated with the hidden goal of undermining the monarchy.

The anti-Nitirat group also made a five-point call for all elements in society to come out against any efforts to bring down the monarchy. Their petition was handed to deputy rector Pornchai Trakulwaranont, who accepted the document on behalf of the rector…. The group members, facing Siriraj Hospital across the river where His Majesty the King has been staying, also sang the Royal Anthem before leaving.

While this is in the context of a bit of a backdown by the university authorities, it is clear that double standards are at work.

Thammasat administrators need to forget ideas about limiting debate and discussion and be even-handed. That doesn’t mean banning every political group but being open.





Thammasat administrators bury Pridi’s legacy

31 01 2012

According to The Nation, Thammasat University administrators are reported to have banned Nitirat from using university facilities to campaign against coups and the lese majeste law.

Insulting Pridi

PPT agress with human rights activist Pokpong Lawansiri who is quoted as saying it was a “sad and embarrassing” event for the university. He added:

The university – every square inch of it – has been the battleground for freedom for a long time, he said.

Why don’t you just destroy the statue of university founder Pridi Banomyong, former rector Puay Ungpakorn and the heroes of the October 14/October 6 incidents altogether?” he said.

Recall that this is the same university that allowed the People’s Alliance for Democracy to begin its renewed “anti-Thaksin” campaign there on 28 March 2008. When mildly criticized by the government, then Thammasat rector Surapol Nitikraipoj

maintained that since Thammasat University is a public ground, the university must allow all kinds of events to be staged that comply with university regulations without prejudice (Bangkok Post, 5 April 2008).

Double standards and prejudice seem to be at work amongst Thammasat administrators.





Remembering 6 October 1976

6 10 2011

PPT joins with others in remembering the terrible events of 6 October 1976.

An AP photo

We have mentioned this before: The BBC has a program in its Witness series on the October 1976 events in Thailand, with  archival audio footage of reporting from the time and Ajarn Puey Ungpakorn, and a present-day interview with Ajarn Thongchai Winichakul. Read Puey by following the links here.

PPT has Ajarn Puey’s famous “letter” that he wrote following the 1976 military coup and published as a pamphlet by The Union of Democratic Thais in the U.S. Our post from last year deserves attention again.

Prachatai has published a series of gruesome new photos from the horrific events.





Witness: 1976

7 10 2010

The BBC has a program in its Witness series on the October 1976 events in Thailand, with  archival audio footage of reporting from the time and Ajarn Puey Ungpakorn, and a present-day interview with Ajarn Thongchai Winichakul. Read Puey by following the links here.





Remembering 6 October 1976

6 10 2009
Thai Rath Newspaper

Thai Rath Newspaper, from 2Bangkok.com

PPT readers will be interested in this picture of a front page of events in Bangkok on 6 October 1976.

Readers are also reminded of articles about this tragic event that we have on our site with permission from Critical Asian Studies. These articles are from the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars Special Supplement on “October 1976: The Coup in Thailand” as it appeared in Volume 9, Number 3, July-September 1977:

  • Cover, contents and introduction  to the Supplement by Jayne Werner (bcas_9-3-1977_cover_intro)
  • Puey Ungphakorn, “Violence and the Military Coup in Thailand” with an Introduction by David Millikin (bcas_9-3-1977_puey)
  • Ben Anderson, “Withdrawal Symptoms: Social and Cultural Aspects of the October 6 Coup” (bcas_9-3-1977_anderson)
  • E. Thadeus Flood, “The Vietnamese refugees in Thailand: Minority Manipulation in Counterinsurgency” (bcas_9-3-1977_flood)
  • Carl A. Trocki, “Boonsanong Punyodyana: Thai Socialist and Scholar, 1936-1976″ including an interview with Boonsanong from the Far Eastern Economic Review (bcas_9-3-1977_trocki)

Readers will also be interested in a series of YouTube videos on the event. Start here and here and for the latter, look for several parts. Be aware that they are graphic and violent. For 1973-76 see here. For a recent account, see this at AI USA.





New historical documents at PPT

21 03 2009

PPT has been posting historical documents related to lesé majesté, the monarchy, human rights and general items on Thailand’s history and politics. The latest additions are posted with permission from Critical Asian Studies.

PPT is pleased to make available the content of the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars Special Supplement on “October 1976: The Coup in Thailand” as it appeared in Volume 9, Number 3, July-September 1977:

  • Cover, contents and introduction  to the Supplement by Jayne Werner (bcas_9-3-1977_cover_intro)
  • Puey Ungphakorn, “Violence and the Military Coup in Thailand” with an Introduction by David Millikin (bcas_9-3-1977_puey)
  • Ben Anderson, “Withdrawal Symptoms: Social and Cultural Aspects of the October 6 Coup” (bcas_9-3-1977_anderson)
  • E. Thadeus Flood, “The Vietnamese refugees in Thailand: Minority Manipulation in Counterinsurgency” (bcas_9-3-1977_flood)
  • Carl A. Trocki, “Boonsanong Punyodyana: Thai Scoialist and Scholar, 1936-1976″ including an interview with Boonsanong from the Far Eastern Economic Review (bcas_9-3-1977_trocki)

Earlier posts related to political history include:

  • U.S. State Department, declassified cable on how the U.S. Embassy and the palace worked with the international media to ensure the king’s good image, 30 March 1973: palace_nat-geog_1973
  • U.S. State Department, declassified cable on protecting the king from criticism, 7 December 1973: king_sweden_1973
  • U.S. State Department, declassified cable on “creative” intervention, 22 December 1973: king_const_1973
  • U.S. State Department, declassified cable on attempts to censor negative reports on the queen, 11 February 1975: queen-1975
  • U.S. State Department, declassified cable on claimed links between the CIA and Palace Guards, 25 February 1975: palace-guards_1975
  • E. T. Flood (compiler), “Village Scouts: The King’s Finest,” Indochina Chronicle, No. 54, 1977, p. 19: indochina-chronicle_1977.
  • Phoo Phaakphoom, “The Last Thai King,” Southeast Asia Chronicle, No. 60, 1978, p. 6: se-asia-chronicle_1978
  • UCL, “Case of lèse majesté at Chiangmai Province,” UCL Newsletter, Vol. 2, 1985, p. 7: ucl_1985
  • Mong Doo, “ How deep are the cracks in the kingdom? Reflections on a king’s birthday”. This is a paper proabably written in late 1987 or early 1988 and circulated privately: Mong-doo_cracks







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