Randomness (r_ness) wrote,
Randomness
r_ness

I've been frustrated by coverage in the Western media about the coup in Thailand.

As I commented in someone else's journal--I think a little too forcefully, in retrospect--this has been Exhibit A for what I dislike about Western media coverage: a tendency to view all events as if Western conditions apply, and a readiness to make the story fit a simple narrative.

In response, I share excerpts from today's editorials from the two English-language dailies in Bangkok. (Reading them brings back fond memories; I used to read these papers over breakfast each morning before heading over to work over at bookly's.)

From the Bangkok Post (http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/21Sep2006_news21.php):

"A measure of the national distress was taken yesterday by a quick poll of 3,000 Thais by the Suan Dusit Poll. More than 80% said they approved of the coup by Army commander Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin. While this was only a quick straw poll, it indicated how deeply the former government had dug the country into despair. Only desperation could account for the approval of such undemocratic means as a military coup. The leaders of the anti-Thaksin People's Alliance for Democracy and several leading senators were among those who approved, however reluctantly, of such a previously unacceptable action against democracy.

"The reason for the coup, and the reason for the national despair over a political, democratic solution has a name: Thaksin Shinawatra. No person in Thai history has let down the nation like Mr Thaksin. Elected as a new-breed, populist politician in early 2001, Mr Thaksin lived a meteoric political career. He won the greatest vote percentage in Thai history, the first parliamentary majority ever. Then he proceeded to plunge his country into a divisive, insoluble hell of corruption, intolerance and, above all, cronyism.

"The coup d'etat brought down the Thaksin meteor because Mr Thaksin and his closed band of political allies had left little choice. On the one hand, Mr Thaksin and his favoured Thai Rak Thai leaders had polarised the country far beyond reconciliation. The coup came just 16 hours before the resumption of PAD street rallies, and possible _ likely _ violence between pro- and anti-Thaksin groups. Mr Thaksin and his favoured few ignored or denied attempts by both opposition figures and concerned Thais to bridge their differences."

And from The Nation (http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2006/09/21/opinion/opinion_30014183.php):

"Thaksin was a seriously flawed political leader who tried to propagate a culture of corruption and deceit that threatened to undermine democracy as we knew it. Throughout his five and a half years in power, the former prime minister was exposed as a greedy politician who was driven by self-interest at the expense of the public good.

"The Thai Rak Thai Party leader proved to be a tyrant who sought to roll back civil liberties, suppress dissent - not to mention his flagrant violation of human rights. All of this was part of his sinister design to dominate and then monopolise political power so that he could indulge in his corrupt practices unimpeded.

"Nobody who loves democracy will be sorry to see him gone."
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