Monday, 17 February 2014

Learning the Murderous History Lessons of Voranai Vanijaka

For some reason that completely escapes me, the Bangkok Post columnist, Voranai Vanijaka, has been continually upheld as a voice of moderation by commentators on Thai politics many of whom, quite frankly, should know better.

From Head to Ghosh, Marshall to Kurlantzick they all appear to have a bit of a crush on one of the Bangkok Post's best known pouts.


Pout pout pout

The first charge that should be laid at Voranai's door is that not only is he unprincipled but his disingenuousness is actually quite a thing to behold. His ability to claim some kind of "balanced" "impartial" view is belied by the fact that he is clearly a one man pro-establishment, pro-Army, pro-massacre and pro-Democrat Party propaganda campaign. To ignore that element of Voranai's work would take an act of wilful myopia. 

Of course being able to quote Voranai as emblematic of Thai progressive thinking may give some commentators a frisson of having an "inside line" into Thai thinking. I suppose, on some level, that is true. But only if you think calling for pro-democracy protesters to be "put down" "severely" in the middle of what was very obviously a massacre of unarmed pro-democracy protesters is an "inside line" worth championing.

I don't. 

Ironically, in one of Voranai best received recent opeds the pouting one lectured his readers on learning the "lessons of history". So, in the spirit of that I thought I'd conduct my own history lesson by re-examining an oped Voranai wrote in the teeth of the 2010 Bangkok Massacre when unarmed nurses, children and ordinary protesters were gunned down by Thai Army snipers under the orders of the illegitimate Abhisit Vejjajiva-led "Democrat" Party government.

 Voranai infamously wrote that the Army should "Put an end" to the Red Shirt protest using "swift, severe and certain" means. Unfortunately Voranai got his wish and almost 100 unarmed Thai civilians died.

If you want a history lesson start with the oped I've pasted in below which reveals, for me at least,  that Voranai was a cheerleader for the vicious murder of his own compatriots. 

It is full of falsehoods, intellectual deceits and has as vacuous a grasp on democracy, the rule of law and that most basic of human rights - the right to life - as I've witnessed this side of the Third Reich. And no, Godwin's Law does not apply in this instance. 

So, read on and if you still think Khun Voranai is a liberal  please suggest why in the comments section below. 


Put an End to this Rebellion
Published: 16/05/2010 at 12:00 AM Bangkok Post

by Voranai Vanijaka

I'm not in a popularity contest. I'm not a two-faced diplomat playing it safe and trying to please everyone. So let me say it loud and clear: It's a rebellion, so put an end to it_ with swiftness, severity and certainty.

The military coup in 2006 wrongly overthrew the then democratically elected prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. That was no democracy.

The coup council handed the power back to the people in 2007. The People Power Party (PPP) won the following election. That was democracy.

The PPP was banned by the Constitution Court for electoral irregularities and the parliament_ the democratically elected representatives of Thailand_ voted the Democrats into power. That was democracy.

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) argue against the Democrat-led coalition government's legitimacy and protest for the government to step down and call a general election. That was democracy.

And the UDD had won.

The goals of the UDD from the very start: They wanted a House dissolution. They will have one in September. They wanted a general election. They will have one on Nov 14. All within seven months and PM Abhisit Vejjajiva's term actually ends in January 2012, a year and a half from now.
They should be dancing in the streets, celebrating victory. Then we can all go to the voting booth in November. Peace and democracy. But no.

The truth has revealed itself. The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship is simply using democracy as a front in the interests of dictatorship.

Refusing the peaceful compromise, forsaking the democratic process, continuing to harm the country for the interests of one man, Thaksin Shinawatra, fighting against security forces of the rightful democratic government of Thailand_ that's an uprising, it's a rebellion.

It's criminal. That is not democracy.

If you disagree with me and think the UDD is in the right, then let me simplify it: The next time you're pulled over by the law in a traffic stop, you should just burn tyres, shoot slingshots at the cop and call him a dictator.
Anyone with an arrest warrant? No need to surrender. Barricade and fortify your home, fire slingshots and fire-crackers and call the law tyrannical.

Buy a lifetime membership to the Association of Anarchists. You don't belong in a civilisation.

The UDD leaders agreed to the prime minister's terms. But instead, Thaksin Shinawatra ordered Maj Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol to step on the brake. Because in his mind, he's screaming: ''What about me!'' ''What do I get out of this entire peace and democracy shenanigans!''
Here's Thaksin's dilemma. Peace and the democratic process don't guarantee his return to power. Someone in Montenegro is kicking and screaming on the floor: ''Me! Me! Me! What about me!''

Accepting the compromise is a loss of face and may even make PM Abhisit look good in the eyes of the people, for biting the bullet and extending his hand. Thaksin Shinawatra can no longer rely on the voting booths. He can no longer rely on the democratic process.
The UDD has used democracy as a tool_ manipulated and exploited it to return Thaksin to power. Now that they are no longer confident that the democratic process will serve their interests, the UDD has transformed itself from a democratic movement into an uprising, a rebellion, a criminal organisation.

It's worth repeating: They wanted a House dissolution. They have one in September. They wanted a general election. They have one on Nov 14. That's democracy. Instead, they flushed democracy down the toilet.

So there's no negotiation other than the complete and total capitulation by the government to the UDD's every will and every whim. It's a total victory that will embarrass the government in the eyes of the Kingdom and of the world and may possibly bury the Democrat party. That's the game.

To Thaksin and the UDD, returning Thaksin to power is worth the 50-odd lives already lost. And that figure is bound to rise. More than 1,000 have been injured and that figure will rise. The billions of baht in economic damage. And that figure will rise.

It's an uprising. It's a rebellion. It's criminal.

The UDD is screaming: ''Now! Now! Now! Prime Minister resign now!'' Thaksin Shinawatra is crying: ''Me! Me! Me! I want my power back!'' That's not democracy. That's a child that needs to be put across the lap for a good spanking.

Let me repeat it again: They wanted democracy. They had democracy. We can all go to the voting booth on Nov 14. But they flushed democracy down the toilet and chose instead, a rebellion.

And when there's a rebellion, the government must put down the rebellion. Otherwise, we have anarchy. The law must be swift, severe and certain_ any student of criminology can tell you that.

I've watched television and read newspapers all this weekend. Most so-called intellectuals, academics and media talk about reconciliation. Well, that's easy and safe_ using a thousand flowery words without saying anything worthwhile.

We reap what we sow. Again, I'm not in a popularity contest. I'm not a two-faced diplomat playing it safe and trying to please everyone. So let me say it loud and clear_ it's a rebellion. To preserve civilisation, the government must put down the rebellion_ swift, severe and certain.
UDD members have lost their lives. This is unfortunate. It should never have happened. They should all be in our prayers and their families should be assisted in any way possible. But they've died in a rebellion against the rightful, democratic government of Thailand.

The security forces that have lost their lives. This is unfortunate. It should never have happened. They should all be in our prayers and their families should be assisted in any way possible.
Journalists and other innocent bystanders have lost their lives. This is unfortunate. It should never have happened. They should all be in our prayers and their families should be assisted in any way possible.

It didn't have to come to this. It shouldn't have come to this. But here we are on the brink of anarchy because of the pride, greed and vengefulness of one man, and of the indecisiveness, uncertainty and lack of leadership of another.

Let me repeat: We reap what we sow. It's a rebellion. Put an end to it, swift, severe and certain. Or step down and let the rebels take over. The longer this crisis drags on, the closer we are and the deeper we will be in a state of anarchy.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting Sam.

    I really don't understand why any principled, decent journalist would think that Voranai has anything to offer.

    He is the epitome of vacuousness, overwritten and insidiously authoritarian writing that encouraged a massacre of pro-democracy activists.

    That any Western media in Bangkok would celebrate this guy shows how very far they've fallen.

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