Monday, May 17, 2010
RED SHIRT PROTEST LEADER JATUPORN PROMPHAN ON THE RED STAGE AT RATCHAPRASONG, BANGKOK ON MAY 16, 2010
(published in the Asia-Pacific Journal on May 17, 2010 as "The Long Winding Red Road to Ratchaprasong and Thailand’s Future")
PHILIP J. CUNNINGHAM
The sniper shooting of Seh Daeng, Maj. Gen. Khattiya Sawasdipol, on May 13, 2010 by an unknown assailant while chatting with foreign reporters has brought to rupture the standoff between Reds and Yellows in the heart of Bangkok and signals a new stage in the movement and its repression. Seh Daeng, whose nickname means “red commander”, was the reddest of the red shirts, while his daughter, now at his side in the hospital, is a staunch supporter of the yellow shirts, illustrative of the convoluted politics of the era. To better put in context the convoluted politics of the present day, and to identify some of the key heroes and villains and historic reference points being talked about on both sides of the barricades in Bangkok, a brief review of Thai social activism follows
The road to the red-shirt takeover of the Ratchaprasong intersection in the heart of Bangkok’s busiest shopping district is a long and winding one. Political activists are not unlike historians in that they frequently point to events in the past to understand what is happening in the present. For the sake of context, a few milestones on Thailand’s bloody road to democracy will be introduced to better understand the democratic and revolutionary claims and pretensions of the red and yellow shirted activists today.
(to read the entire text, please click here)
Posted by philip j cunningham at 1:17 AM