If you are thinking out of frustration that the Oct 7 crackdown shows that our country is still stuck in the same political vicious cycle, and that all the previous efforts to end autocracy have been wasted, don’t despair.
An open society is mandatory for democracy. We might be unhappy with many things in our country, but we cannot deny that ours is now a much more open society. So take heart. That the Oct 7 crackdown occurred 135 days after the anti-Thaksin protest started also shows that we have come a long way.
Three decades ago, the powers-that-be would not have wasted any time. We would certainly have seen more people killed and a lot of buildings and buses burned by a ‘‘third hand’’ to create a sense of anarchy before the military marched in.
The Sept 19, 2006 coup has taught us not to trust the military’s vow of staying out of politics. Yet, the military’s current extreme caution to appear politically correct is an important change that we cannot ignore. The rumor mills no longer can spill their poisons to instigate violence as seriously as before, thanks to the more open media environment. The media’s reports on the violence from both sides also help us to see the conflict in perspective and to form our own judgments amid the political divisiveness.
For example, we can dismiss as mere lies the insistence of the police that they had used only tear gas to disperse the crowd, because we have seen what happened to the protesters on our TV screens.
The scene when police hit the peaceful crowd in front of the Metropolitan Police Bureau with a barrage of tear gas, also came across clearly as excessive use of force, which must be condemned.
BRUTAL ATTACKS AGAINST PAD PROTESTORS.
PAD Casualty Rises to 443 and 2 Death.
One female PAD protester died from severe chest injuries sustained during the police’s tear gas attack against the PAD protesters who are gathering in front of Parliament. Another male casualty was a victim of a car bomb that went of in front of the Chart Thai party headquarters close to Parliament.
SOURCES FOR FURTHER READING