Blowing whistles to mobilize those whose blood spills into their eyes

From Thairath, August 1, 2013
Cartoon title: Blowing whistles to mobilize those whose blood spills into their eyes
In Premier Yingluck Shinawatra’s hands: Amnesty
On death’s sleeve: 100 dead bodies
[Blowing the whistle is the Democrat Party’s MP and former deputy prime minister, Suthep Thaugsuban.]
Words in front of the whistle: Provoke a mob outside of the parliament to topple the government
Headband on man with mask: Fake Al Qaeda [refers to the video clip threatening Thaksin’s life]
On back of old man: Old soldiers
Headbands on men in the forefront, from left: Mob; freezing
Phi Nooring: Help dismiss their own cases [referring to former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s and Suthep’s cases relating to the Red Shirt protest in 2010]
Mouse: Stop committing sins

[“Blowing a whistle” can simply mean a signal to start doing something or it can be a sort of warning, calling out to everyone who is nearby, that something wrong is happening. In the Thai context it calls to mind former PM Chavolit’s threat that he could blow a whistle and the country would be in flames. This is the same sort of “dissatisfaction” threat that the Red Shirt leaders made when they threatened arson and proclaimed that nothing is illegal when taking back the country from “thieves.”

In the Thai context, people are taught to be very careful about speaking out as this might cause another to lose face. Open disagreement is not seen as a normal and commendable part of democratic life, but as the least desirable state and a signal that society has broken down. Thus, public whistle blowing is meant to cause a loss of face as a loud whistle is the ultimate public show of disagreement.

The Thai saying “blood spills in one’s eyes” means the person is left with no choice but to fight to the death.

So here, the cartoonist contends that whistle blowing protest by the anti-amnesty protesters is causing “blood to spill the eyes” of those who are incarcerated (or under legal threat) for political violence of the last few years.

The bid to block amnesty means that those in jail or under legal threat are being provoked and may have to rise up and fight violently to the death.

This entire scenario is calculated. Getting protesters to shed blood (either during the Red Shirt sieges of Bangkok in 2009 and 2010 or in response to whistle blowing) is meant to create an atmosphere in which there is an imperative for a pardon for all (as opposed to divisive finger pointing and blaming, the least desirable Thai outcome). That such a pardon would invariably have to cover Thaksin and allow him to return to politics is the underlying motivation.]

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