Friday, February 15, 2008
THAI PM PUTS HIS FOOT IN IT
hailand's new prime minister (and celebrated stand-in for some guy in Hong Kong) Samak Sundaravej, has made his first accomplishment on the world stage. He is now on the video record with two international news organisations trying to change the facts of history.
I didn't bother watching last weekend for his interview with CNN's Dan Rivers for Talk Asia. As faithful readers will know, I don't much care for that smarmy pup ever since the ill-informed nonsense he was blathering the night of the coup (even more so with his fake bravado during the Burma uprising, and then sucking up to moonbats with branding irons at the Gorebal Warmening shindig in Bali). But the interview has gotten some attention in the world media, because Samak told Rivers that only one person had died during the October 6, 1976 massacre of students at Bangkok's Thammasat University.
However, I did see the al Jazzeera interview with Samak this week -- several times. He made exactly the same claim there when questioned about his role in whipping up hysteria against the students, who were protesting the return of Field Marshall Thanom Kittikachorn (a dictator who had been removed and fled abroad after similar protests three years earlier). Samak insisted to the polite lady journalist that it was no big deal, and that only one person had unfortunately been killed by a mob. The official, and almost certainly under-counted death toll was about four dozen. This came up near the end of the interview and he got extremely rude to her, accusing her of 'not doing her homework' and of making things up, and nearly shouting her down to get the last word in as she tried to close the interview.
This is not a man the country can be proud of, unfortunately. One of his cabinet henchmen now stands accused of leaning on a broadcaster to force the cancellation of a
I was planning to do some scanning of a few of the photos contained in several locally produced books I have, regarding the events of October 14, 1973 and October 6, 1976. They are very difficult to look at, but people (especially "leaders") should not lie about this. Today I see that Daniel Ken Tate has similar thoughts at the Asia Sentinel -- What was Samak thinking? He includes many of the same visual proofs I would have used, but let me tell you -- there are many images far worse than what you'll see on that page.
It was incredible to me that some figures in the October anti-dictatorship movement three decades ago later served in the quasi-dictatorial Thaksin regime -- and even more incredible that many of these same people find themselves now under Samak's leadership of the "People's Power Party." Don't they sometimes remember their lost comrades?
Read Tate's short piece, and do look at the pictures. Much of the worst violence was carried out by civilian militias, exhorted (by Samak among others) to go to Thammasat and kill "communists" (pro-democracy students) who wanted to "overthrow the monarchy" (they wanted nothing of the sort). He mentions the names of the two most notorious groups, Krating Daeng (Red Gaurs) and Navapol. Here's something readers may not know. A krating is a small buffalo-like animal that lives in the jungle, in English called a gaur. Krating Daeng is also the name of the Thai energy drink now fashionable and famous around the world as "Red Bull." I'll have an "M-150" thanks.