Jonathan Head, A BBC's Correspondent: Jonathan and Thaksin's Struggle Not A Class Struggle
( Last edit 2009-06-09 )
Jonathan Head, A BBC's Correspondent: Jonathan and Thaksin's Struggle Not A Class Struggle
Comments by Ronayos
This article of Jonathan on Thai political crisis is biased and without originality. It would have been called a paid- advertisement on BBC, since it was a piece of creative work rather than facts in the name of the long-trusted world renown BBC.
Thai crisis exposes class struggle is obviously intended to mislead international community as it was ABSOLUTELY FALSIFIED in order to claim for its righteousness to overthrow whatever posting threats to the convicted fugitive Thaksin.
The baseless suggestion of Jonathan that PAD is backed by the army is easily disproved on October 7, 2009 when the army was peacefully hibernating, leaving a PAD girl brutally killed with police's explosive teargas while seven hundreds more were injured and nearly a dozen limbs avulsed and in critical injuries. In sharp contrast to the military in power, only a handful of retired and powerless but patriotic Generals support PAD.
PAD fights the crook Thaksin's corruption, the civillian dictator proxies and the electoral frauds which Jonathan did not mention. However, Jonathan did not write about Thaksin's corruption and PAD's major objective to fight corruption. Jonathan did not mention electoral frauds which happen to be most in the northeast and the north according to the well-documented statistic by Electoral Committee. Jonathan did not mention the crises after such a fake democracy which are PAD's major objectives to fight. Instead, he conveniently describes Thaksin as only a "Controversial Prime Minister". It is another copy of the arbitarily twisted English wikipedia.
By the time Jonathan wrote this report, he must have known that Thaksin used his overseas-hidden seven billion bahts to buy the Manchester City football club. By international civilized standard, such prime minister hiding billions overseas are no longer "controversial" but a definite crook! So, please tell me BBC, what Jonathan's standard is.
Jonathan showed no original idea in his article. He is projecting what Thaksin always wants to express himself as a hero for class struggle and a democratic leader, which is a simple fabrication of lies with which Jonathan too easily complied.
There is no such ideological fight in this campaign nor in any Thai political history. People from all classes join PAD to get rid of corruption, bad politicians and fake democracy. It is between RIGHT and WRONG. Not the POOR and the RICH.
Actually, the champions of the poorest in Thailand at all time are in the three southernmost provinces of Thailand, Narathiwas, Yala and Pattani. A little better are some arid provinces in the northeast of Thailand, situated far from main rivers, particularly Mek Khong river.
Certainly, less arid Udon by Mek Khong, a stronghold of Kwanchai, Thaksin's head of red army in the northeast, and much better-off Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north, strongholds of Shinawatras/Wongsawats' red-shirts supporters are not among the poorest provinces.
Yet, people from Narathiwas, Yala and Pattani never join red-shirt supporters of Thaksin. They even voted against Thaksin's proxy party in 2007 general election. As well, the enlightened from Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Udon joined PAD to rally against Thaksin. Workers, farmers and unionists also joined PAD's rally. Ms.Saneh Hongthong, an activist labourer from textile industry and Mr.Terdpoom Jaidee, an activist labourer and an ex-communist, were frequent speakers on PAD stage. Somsak Kosaisuk, one of the PAD core-leaders who used to be a railroad worker, is a railroad unionist leader.
Please CLICK to see more detail of the peaceful rise up of PAD in Udon and Chiang Mai against Thaksin regime. How PAD were brutally beatened by the red-shirts which Jonathan did not mention!
Therefore, it is not a class struggle. It is a business hiring of Kwanchai, the head of thug gangsters with a local radio station as an instigating mouthpiece. Whereas in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, more cronies of Thaksin also did the same thing, search to destroy, to suppress the local PAD.
How about the red-shirts elites and the richs like Jakrapop Penkair, Kantathi Supamongkol, the officially richest Minister after Thaksin, Somchai Wongsawat, an ex-judge, and his very wealthy Wongsawats, Manit Jitjanklad an ex-highcourt judge. They are all better-off cronies and accomplices of Thaksin, not ideological class fighters. Army generals are also suppoerters of Thaksin such as the red General Katiya Swasdipol who always publicly posts serious threats on PAD.
Therefore, what Jonathan wrote is simply reiteration of what Thaksin had lied. I never believed that BBC would hire any reporter who finds himself struggling to help such a liar Thaksin.
Original Ariticle : Thai crisis exposes class struggle
By Jonathan Head, BBC News, Bangkok, November 8, 2008
For weeks the yellow-shirted protesters of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have hogged the limelight in Thailand.
Pro-government supporters are fighting back with their own rallies With the backing of powerful military and palace figures, they have helped unseat one prime minister and two members of his cabinet.
The embattled government, led by allies of controversial former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has in vain protested that it was popularly elected less than a year ago.
Now it has started fighting back with a series of mass rallies by its own red-shirted followers. This is a dangerous contest between two power-hungry political factions who see it as a zero-sum game, in which they either win everything, or lose everything. But it has become much more than that. The rift has split Thai society, along regional and especially along class lines.
'Dress in red'
It is Monday morning, in a quiet backstreet in Udon Thani, provincial capital of a north-eastern province bordering Laos and a known Thaksin stronghold. Radio DJ Kwanchai Sarakam is taking calls. He is a firebrand Thaksin loyalist who already faces criminal charges over his involvement in a clash with PAD supporters in July. But his callers are just as fired up.
The first is an old lady, with a warning for the military. "Listen to me, soldiers," she shouts down a crackly phone line, "if you dare try another coup, forget about getting roses, because I will dress myself entirely in red - red hair, red panties, red bra, red fingernails - and jump in front of your tanks. You will have to run over me, a grass-roots woman, and crush me to death." Other calls follow in a similar, if less melodramatic, vein. The show finishes with a rousing song, scorning "educated people" for their ignorance and lack of manners.
Kwanchai threatens to bring a red-shirted army to Bangkok to declare war on the PAD. He says there will have to be bloodshed before Thailand can get through this crisis. He almost seems to relish the prospect. But the sense of being engaged in a class war is commonplace on both sides of this struggle.
"You see these people here - they are all educated people," one man told me at a PAD gathering in Bangkok. "But the ones who support the government party, they are all uneducated, especially from the north and north-east." This is a typical comment from the PAD, implying that the millions of rural people who consistently vote for pro-Thaksin politicians are either bribed or do not understand what they are doing.
It is the justification the PAD gives for demanding a parliament which is part-appointed. Such an attitude infuriates Ankham Ratanasingha, who runs a small farm with her husband just outside Udon Thani. She had to leave school at 10 years old, but takes pride in having educated her two children to university level. "If the PAD cannot convince me that their version of democracy will help grass-roots people like me, then I will fight them to my last breath," she said. "They should treat us with respect, not as people they can just squash under their feet."
"The problem of Thai political crisis is a class struggle", says Attajak Satayanutak, an academic from Thaksin's home town Chiang Mai. "We have a wide gap between rich and poor. The poor did not receive anything from the state for a long time. Then, for the first time, Thaksin gave this opportunity for them." The affection for Thaksin Shinawatra has held up remarkably well in the north-east, a poor and arid region known as Isaan.
Local people say his populist policies, like universal healthcare and the village loan scheme, brought big improvements to the quality of their lives.
But time and again they cite something else - dignity. They told me he offered them the hope of improving themselves, without making them feel small, or humble.
If the military mounts another coup, this time the country will split, and there will be civil war Thaksin supporter His darker sides - abuses of power, human rights violations, arrogance - were brushed aside as less important. Isaan has long been the butt of jokes in Thailand. It has a culture and language closer to that of neighbouring Laos than the central plains around Bangkok. It supplies much of the cheap, migrant labour to the capital. But it has one valuable asset Thaksin Shinawatra identified as he began planning his bid for power in the late 1990s - voters, around one third of the total.
He was the first politician to court them directly, with appealing policies, rather than relying on the local godfathers to deliver their support. In doing so, he has awoken a new political self-awareness in a previously passive region. And Isaan people are furious about the comments they are hearing from the PAD in Bangkok.
"Those who think Isaan people blindly follow Thaksin Shinawatra have an outdated image of our region," I was told by Puttakarn Panthong, a local politician who is not affiliated with Mr Thaksin's party. "They have better education now, and they understand who and what they are voting for."
Stuck in exile
So at the first of the big rallies in Bangkok, the former prime minister's phone-call, from somewhere overseas, was the most eagerly awaited moment of the night. Politician Chaturon Chaiseng on stage at a pro-Thaksin rally. Politician Chaturon Chaiseng's song made the link with past class struggles.
A huge roar went up from the 60,000 red-shirted faithful as his voice came over the speakers, asking: "Have you missed me?" There were more than a few tearful faces in the crowd. But this was also a carefully-choreographed event, intended to send out a signal to the PAD and its royalist backers, that they face formidable opposition. The crowd was far larger than any the PAD has managed to attract this year.
Aside from Mr Thaksin, the highlight of the night was a song sung by Chaturon Chaiseng, one of the most respected politicians in the Thaksin camp. He was also once a left-wing activist who took up arms against the military during the communist insurgency of the last 1970s.
And the song he chose was written by one of his comrades-in-arms, which tells of the sadness of a young rebel unable to return home. The reference, or course, was to Mr Thaksin, stuck in exile, facing a two-year prison sentence if he comes back.
But it also connected his poor, rural followers today, with the class conflicts of Thailand's past.
Behind Mr Chaturon they held up the words "NO MORE COUP" in bold red letters. It seemed more of a warning than a plea. One man turned to me and said: "If the military mounts another coup, this time the country will split, and there will be civil war."