Well-Composed Composer VS Devil's Advocates
( Last edit 2010-06-03 )
An Open Letter to the Red Shirts
quoted by permission of the author Somtow Sucharitkul (S.P. Somtow) May 21, 2010
I am writing you this letter because in the past six weeks I have often been angry. I've often been disappointed, disillusioned, and frustrated. But there was only one moment in this entire agonizing sequence that moved me to tears. That was when your leader, Veera Musikaphong, surrendered to the authorities, and spoke of his dreams, his disappointments, and his enduring hopes.
As the smoke dies down, you are going to be told that you were lied to, duped, tricked, bought and betrayed; that you were tools of evil men who did not truly care about your fate; that you are terrorists, arsonists, destroyers of our culture, king-haters. It will be said that you destroyed the country's international image and obstructed its economic recovery. Worst of all, you will be told that you are all ignorant people who have misused your political voices because you didn't understand democracy.
I am afraid that in many cases, the people who say these things will be telling the truth. The instant rebirth that you wanted for our country has turned out to be more of a false dawn. Many crimes have been committed and both sides have hidden important facts from each other.
Even though these things are in many cases true, I want you to know that they have not invalidated other truths: the truths that you carried in your hearts when you set out to air your grievances in a peaceful demonstration.
The doors that should have opened for you years ago, when this country became a democracy, have opened too slowly. The education that you need to become equal participants in society has been withheld too long. The voice that you have always had has been discovered too late, and because it was so long pent up, it is been expressed destructively. And the worst destruction was not that of a few shopping malls and banks; it was the destruction you wreaked upon yourselves.
But I want you to know that when it comes to the liberation of the human spirit, history is on your side. The road towards a more perfect democracy may be difficult, but it is unstoppable. You did not lose this war. But I hope you will have learned from it. The question is not whether the war will be won, but how it will be won: through mayhem and bloodshed, or through slow, painful discussion and compromise — through evolution — the civilized way.
It may be hard for you to believe this, but many people who have been painted as your enemies share your most cherished dreams. For example, I sincerely believe that the prime minister, K. Abhisit, comes philosophically closer to those dreams than a number of your leaders. If he did not — if his mindset had been that of some of the military dictators Thailand has had in the past — the carnage of the last few days would have been unconscionable.
I also believe that many of your leaders, like K. Veera, share the hopes and dreams of those not affiliated with your movement, because they are, by and large, the hopes and dreams of all Thai people: to live in peace, not to spend your life in a mindless struggle to survive, to have the same chance as anyone else at realizing your aspirations and becoming fulfilled human beings.
It may be too soon to hope for this, because the mutual anger and distrust are still too great. If K Veera is found guilty of any crimes, justice will have to be served, just as much as if K Suthep were found to have abused his authority. But it would be a beautiful thing to see idealists like K. Veera playing a role in an Abhisit government. Such a compromise occurred in Italy decades ago, and it saved their country from a potentially disastrous internecine struggle.
You have changed Thailand for ever by discovering, and showing your fellow citizens, that you have the right to think, and to speak, and to act. I urge you to go further. Keep thinking. But think for yourselves. Don't think what you're told to think. Speak what you think, not what you are told to speak. And act with your minds as well as your hearts, and in the interests of all, even those whom you disagree with.
Not many people in Bangkok would feel grateful to you at this moment. But I do want to thank you. What you did was really important, though perhaps not for the reasons you think. And I want to explain why.
When you build a road, you will sometimes come to a mountain. To get to the other side, you may have to go around it. You may have to dig a tunnel. Or you have to blow up the mountain.
Thailand has come to that mountain. But for at least two decades, no one has been willing to go around, dig a tunnel, or blow up the mountain. Yet everyone knows we must get through. The mountain is in the way. Some past governments have stolen your money to build golden hot-air balloons so that a few individuals could get across, not caring if the rest were stranded. Others have talked and talked and talked, but the mountain is still there. Of course you are impatient.
You didn't blow down the mountain, but the tragic events that have unfolded have convinced everyone that it is time to move on. Your people — and the soldiers, too — did not suffer and die in vain. Though we seem to be in darkness and chaos, a fuller democracy is closer today than it has been at any time during the Thaksin administration and all its successors. There will come a time when people will realize that you opened their eyes, that you all contributed to this major turning point in Thailand's history. In time, the rest of the nation will understand it, and come to acknowledge it, and even embrace it. For in embracing those we thought our enemies, we really embrace ourselves.
Bob Amsterdam, misinformed lawyer
Below is a piece of one of Bob Amsterdam's statements circulated to media in response to the announcement that the government of Thailand had issued a warrant for the former Prime Minister.
Robert A: LONDON, May 25, 8.00 AM (BST): Thailand's Criminal Court a short time ago issued a warrant for the arrest of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on "terrorism" charges.
JOE THAI: I hope he is misinformed and that Thaksin failed to mention the 2000 + people killed, as it were executed without trial, during Thaksin's time as PM or his gross corruption and the billions he stole from this country.
If Amsterdam knows these facts and yet still agreed to take Thaksin on as a client he will surely be barred and if he not he deserves to be.
Amsterdam is passionate about democracy, the law and human rights. Why then is he being paid by Thaksin who has little, if any, respect for these important aspects of a civilized world. Could it be Amsterdam represents anyone who pays him enough ?
People say he is a shyster. I do not know enough about him to comment but what I do know is he is representing a greedy, devious, manipulative man who stirred up a mob in an attempt to topple a government, who sacrificed his own people for his own ends.
Maybe Amsterdam genuinely believes Thaksin's lies and does not understand that it is was never about Democracy for Thaksin but more crudely and simply that Thaksin wants his money back and will say and do anything to get it.
e.g. On March 14 Thaksin was on vid saying 'that wealth needs to spread around'. Yes it does so what did he do during his 2 terms as PM ? He corruptly amassed a huge fortune.
So now he is a socialist? I don't think so.
Amsterdam does not help his cause by not allowing comments on his blog. What happened to free speech and democracy ? You cannot even attempt to leave a comment that a moderator could review, edit or reject.
Below is another Amsterdam statement, well one of them, about Thailand. No doubt many more to follow unless he wises up and dumps Thaksin like a hot potato.
Robert A: Today the mask is off the junta in Thailand. Lacking legitimacy and fearing being held to account for the brutal murder of their countrymen, the military-backed Abhisit regime has perverted justice through the laying of a charge that violates logic, law and any claim of hopes for reconciliation.
JOE THAI: Hold on! The Thai government have already called for an independent inquiry. How can you write they fear being held to account ? Your client Thaksin does for sure. There have been 5 arrest warrants issued for him since he refused to face justice and fled abroad and would not come back to serve his initial 2 year sentence. The subsequent warrants were issued as the scale of his corruption while in office emerged.
Robert A: Those who killed the civilians, journalists and onlookers cannot evade judgment, whomever they falsely accuse and whatever evidence they fabricate. The Orwellian organs of the junta and their extra-legal behaviour will fool no one.
JOE THAI: What sensationalist drivel ! I live here and know what is actually happening unlike your brief appearance to talk to Thaksin's puppets during the demonstration. I think your client, Thaksin Shinawatra, planned, instigated and funded the events. He hoped the Thai government would not use force and would back down and agree to his demand that he be allowed back with all charges dropped against him and presumably get the money back.
It was win win. If the government backs down he wins : if they use force he can stir up the world's media using people like you to say what a bad government they are. Shame on you you sucker. Haven't you done any homework ?
Please stop writing things like 'Thaksin is the most popular man in Thailand'. That is your opinion not fact. I think at this moment Thaksin is the most hated. You, as a lawyer, surely must know the difference between opinion and fact. If you do not get another job. Opinion needs to be prefaced by 'I think' or 'In my opinion' so that it is clear it is opinion.
Yes, you state that your blog it is your opinion in a side note but it is all too easy to read your blog as if it is fact. People will believe you being a lawyer in a respected profession serving society and upholding the law...
Thaksin Shinawatra has announced the hiring of Robert Amsterdam, the western news media to be in his global movement. On top of that, The Times, BBC and CNN have been spreading biased, misinformed, misleading, inaccurate accounts of what has been happening here in Thailand.