Monday, April 13, 2009

Lawlessness, Censorship, Spin and not much Common sense

Where I am it's been raining all Easter break, so the Thai political crisis has served a purpose in keeping me from getting bored, but now I'm just sick of it.

The mainstream media is hopeless - it either has no news or just reports government spin.

The reds leaders are doing their own media management, and there seem to be hundreds of bloggers, twitters and youtubers also adding layers of their own spin.

Neither side seems to be able to admit any wrong doing by participants on their own side, and always blame the other side.
(I could insert something about thai culture and aversion to loss of face here, but the very people who need to take note don't want to know about it anyway)

To date I have seen no real sign of reasonableness or compromise from either side, both still going for winner take all after more than 3 years of conflict.

It's very frustrating to this observer (who can sympathize with the genuine grievances of both sides).

Whatever happens now, whoever is the victor in the current battle, all I can hope is that you learn some humility and show some compassion to the loser, because if you don't, then be sure that blowback will happen.

Broker needed?

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday offered himself as a mediator to broker peace talks between the government and the People's Alliance for Democracy.

Abhisit suggested that Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat personally enter into talks with thestarting last night upon his return from Peru. It is deemed necessary that Somchai should try to negotiate a settlement as soon as his plane landed, Abhisit said."I don't want to see bloodshed. More importantly I don't want to see the demise of democracy," he said, alluding to the dire situation relating to the besieged Suvarnabhumi Airport.He said he feared for the worst if Somchai failed to take prompt action by continuing to ignore the demand for his resignation.He said he conveyed his message via Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul, who was the acting prime minister during Somchai's absent.Although Chaovarat was receptive to the mediation, Somchai has yet to give a formal reply whether to accept or reject the talks, Abhisit said.

The country is suffering from irreparable damage and not in a position to withstand a prolonged shutdown of the airport, he said.

The fight between the government and the PAD is spiralling out of control and society has become a hostage trapped in fractious politics, he said.

The Democrats have condemned violence involving rival crowds and the airport blockade but found it futile to assess blame, he said. The urgency is to restore normalcy in order to limit the damage, he added.

He voiced optimism that it was not too late to start talks. The political turmoil would not end even if a civil war broke out because political differences would not be reconciled by armed clashes, he said.

"Somchai owes it to the country to reason with his opponents," he said.

Should the PM be reluctant to respond to the PAD's demands, he is always free to keep his telephone open for instructions from abroad, he said alluding to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is seen as having decisive influence over the government. Abhisit warned the rival camps to settle their differences in a speedy manner, otherwise the country might risk international intervention. The prolonged disruption of international flights might be the ground for the UN to take action, he said.

from The Nation


Now that the crackdown appears to have started can we expect Thaksin to arrive as promised to lead the charge?

I think he would be better served calling for a tactical retreat so that the reds can regain (maintain?) the moral high ground - they can always regroup if the current government refuses to acknowledge that political reform is an imperative and cannot be delayed.

Update: As the DTV communications seem to have been cut, I'm not sure how a retreat could be organized in any case, and who knows where the other leaders of the reds are right now.
(actually, for that matter who knows where Abhisit, Suthep, Newin & Co are right now???)

If they choose the other route and abuse their position of power there inevitably will be a backlash.
(this applies to whichever side has power at any point in time)

ASTV - Disgusting!

Anyone else noticed the difference in demeanor of the ASTV presenters between yesterday (Sunday) and today (Monday)?

Yesterday: The thing they most reminded me of were the election night tv shows - THE ASTV presenters looked just like those representatives of the losing party as they realize they have lost the election.

Today: They are positively gloating, beaming, smiling, almost jumping out of their seats.


If they think this is all over they are deluding themselves - Thailand and the world has changed and the choice is either more Democracy or become a Burma.
(if they want a Burma, then why dont they just go live there, and leave Thailand for the sane & sensible!)

All media is biased to some extent, but I absolutely abhor completely biased media that refuses to present the other side of the story and instead tries to distort it.

UPDATE: One of the best examples of controlled spin in the blogosphere is Political Prisoners in Thailand where they continually put their slant on political happenings, without even allowing any comments to present a different viewpoint - they would better served sticking to the political prisoners & LM side of things otherwise that will be undermined by their blatant bias in their political agenda.

On the reds side, Jakrapob is also a master of spin and distortion.