Piromya weighs in on the ongoing Thai political crisis – peels off
Western label of “anti-democratic protesters.”
February 9, 2014(ATN) – In Part 1, protest spokesman Akanat Promphan enumerated the grievances of his movement and attempted to correct disinformation being intentionally propagated by the Western media.
Image: Veteran statesman, a former ambassador and former Thai Foreign Minister, Kasit Piromya now speaks out against the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra.
former Foreign Minister and veteran statesman Kasit Piromya has gone
into the issues deeper – pointing out the illusion of democracy created
by the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and the paradigm shift that needs to
be made to move the people and the nation of Thailand beyond it for
good. He also examines and exposes the West’s support for the current
regime in Thailand and its use of superficial “democracy” with which it
couches its true big-money agenda.
essays also challenge the West’s labeling of the protests as
“anti-democratic.” He discusses true democracy and attempts to impart a
deeper understanding of it, its role in governance, and both its
weaknesses and strengths – as opposed to the current ruling regime who
appears to believe “democracy” is merely winning elections and cashing
in the blank check of impunity they believe has been granted to them.
Three essays, available in full on Scribd, include:
On The Democracy Thai Protesters Seek…
The wish of the Thai people from all walks of life is to change away
from corruption and dictatorship. They want justice in politics. They
are the rightful owners of their country. They now want to reform
Thailand in every important and pertinent aspect. They want reform to
occur before new elections are held. They want to experience for real a
changed and reformed Thailand without any vestige and residue of
Thaksin’s regime. Thaksin’s regime has done much damage and caused deep
sorrows and divisions for the Thai people. They want to prevent money
politics. They want to fight and eliminate corruption. They want a
democratic Thailand, of participation and empowerment, and not of
domination. They want to live with governance, transparency, and
accountability. They want to keep out old-style politics. They want the
country to observe and practice the Buddhist values of right minded
governance and the Buddhist inspired economic philosophy of His Majesty
the King. They want to ensure that those who volunteer to serve the
country are not rent seekers. They want to protect the environment for
future generations. They want to live in an inclusive and
non-discriminatory society. They want the caring of the disadvantaged.
They want to narrow development gaps. They want to ensure that Thailand
is a society with justice and equality. They do not want to live under a
Mubarak or a Marcos. They do not want to be subservient pawns who must
bow and scrape under the whims of a family fiefdom, especially one that
does not respect core Thai values.
-Kasit Piromya, We Want to Settle Our House in Order: Our Own Way
On Western Hypocrisy: Ukraine vs. Thailand vs. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela…
The case of Ukraine surely illustrates a Western desire to both undermine an elected government and lessen the influence of Russian Federation, in order to draw Ukraine into the more liberal European orbit. There seems to be a forgetfulness of democratic process and the principle of non interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of other independent peoples in order to seek geo-strategic advantage, namely eastward expansion into the Euro-Asia heartland at the expense of Russia’s dominance in its Near Abroad region. So the Western world appears to fully support the protestors. The subject matter, it seems, is not about democratic principles or people’s life and death, but about a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Ukraine.
In the case of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra speaks the West’s corporatese . He has cleverly presented himself as the Western world’s “our man”. And he was elected to office in line with Western values and his successive proxy governments were also all so elected. So Western intellectuals ignore his illiberal and undemocratic practices. They do not mind that Thaksin is a convicted criminal and a fugitive. They do not care how election victories were actually won on the ground. The Western world seems not to notice that dictatorial populism à la Thaksin was divisive and discriminatory and a means to siphon off the people’s money for the use of himself, his family and his cronies. Whereas populism à la Chavez of Venezuela was not acceptable because Chavez stood up against the Western world and capitalist corporatism, populism à la Thaksin in Thailand was trumpeted as caring for the downtrodden and not as a means towards corruption and national self-destruction. Thaksin learned how to charm the West while some of the mega-populist projects offered western suppliers the benefits of lucrative concessions and business deals.
So, protesters against Thaksin and his proxy governments are labeled by many in the West as elitists; urbanized; ultra-conservative and reactionary or even anti-Western. This is utter nonsense as well as demeaning and condescending to the intellectual capacity and integrity of the Thai people. To add insult to injury, many Western commentators, even those who have lived in Thailand – but not close to the Thai people – believe that Thaksin’s supporters, the Red Shirts who used violence and thuggish behaviour à la the Brown and the Black Shirts are true democrats and revolutionary in spirit. This is a naive and shallow view which cannot be further from the truth.
-Kasit Piromya, Biased Because of Misplaced Priorities
On Thailand’s Support for Occupy Wall Street…
In Thailand’s case we see unfolding before us a people’s undertaking
through freedom of expression and participation, with the principle of
inclusiveness, and rejection of extractive political institutions and
Occupy Wall Street in the US rejected financial dominance and control
over politics. The danger of money running politics is
international. No one is safe from the corrupting power of big money.
Thai people share the sentiment of this movement to bring ethics to
Wall Street and wish them further success, because their success
would help minimize the misbehavior of their government abroad.
-Kasit Piromya, Biased Because of Misplaced Priorities
On Overcoming the Illusion of Democracy…
We want to make a point that if you want to break through the Matrix,
this illusion of democracy, then we need a fair and transparent
electoral system devoid of interference and violence.
That is also why I and fellow members of the Democrat Party felt it
justified to boycott this THB 3-billion election. We did not stop anyone
from exercising their rights, but we want to make a point that if you
want to break through the Matrix, this illusion of democracy, then we
need a fair and transparent electoral system devoid of interference and
violence – frankly in the past the Democrats could not campaign in
certain provinces because of death threats.
The people’s fight is a demand for electoral reform and accountability
from the government. We wish not see the country plunge further into the
abyss. For we will be stuck in a black hole where totalitarian abuses
of power will be accepted under the guise of democracy, where one man
reins with complete disregard for check and balance.
I do not wish to paint a dark and dystopian picture for the sake of
scaremongering, I shall leave that to Thaksin Shinawatra’s proxy the Red
Shirts, nor am I dreaming up a utopia, but this is the reality. In
modern Thai history, I have never seen any parliament majority defied
and defiled the rule of law by brushing aside the judiciary and other
independent anti-corruption bodies as if they are some flies, necessary
nuisance, as they made a mess of the country.
So what shall we do for now? Like Neo in the film we may have doubts and
may have even been deceived by the distorted reality perpetuated by the
mainstream media. But we must not lose heart. We must break through
from the world that prevents pluralistic civic engagement, a world
filled with hatred, a world where a supermajority is propagated to be
the panacea for all social and economic grievances. I believe the time
is now. It will not be easy as we are being engulfed by the Thaksin
machinery, but through patience and open-mindedness, I believe our cause
to redefine democracy, as a viable and fair system for all – where all
votes are equal and respected – will succeed.
-Kasit Piromya, Break Out of the Illusion
Image: The Western media claims the ongoing protests in Thailand
are “anti-democratic” and “elitist,” however, the words of protest
leaders and a growing faction of forsaken rice farmers joining its ranks
contradict that portrayal. Kasit Piromya’s essays encapsulate the
democracy protesters are seeking – giving it the substance the Thaksin
regime’s version lacks.
Clearly, it would be very difficult to take Kasit Piromya’s sentiments
and label them “anti-democratic.” The picture he paints of the
protesters conflicts entirely with that which the regime of Thaksin
Shianwatra and its many Western backers have attempted to portray.
The dishonesty of the West in labeling the protesters as
“anti-democratic” and “elitist” match a pattern of deceit many should
recall at least as far back as the Iraq War and tales of non-existent
“weapons of mass destruction.” The same self-serving deceit that paved
the way for a deadly, protracted, and astronomically destructive war is
now sowing political instability across the globe, including in
That a veteran statesman like Kasit Piromya cannot get his work published on CNN, while paid-propagandists caught mocking disabled people can
– illustrates the decline of the West and the crumbling of its
institutions. As those institutions crumble, they are taking with them
the lofty ideals that have perpetuated their credibility and legitimacy
for so long. Kasit’s words, as a leading member of the protests himself,
are a reflection of the will and aspirations of the people in the streets who have risen up against the Thaksin regime, now for many months.
This is the true face of the protests – a face the West has spent an
inordinate amount of time and resources to disfigure through deception.
Pleading for them to tell the protesters’ side of the story will
ultimately be fruitless. We must build the platforms necessary
to get the word out ourselves. In the end, media serves the interests
of those who create it – and in the West it is clear those interests and
that of the Thai people could not be further apart.