From Manager, May 25, 2015
Red Shirt leaders are bowing to Thaksin who sits on a throne in the style of northern royal figures of the past. Red Shirt dogma casts Thaksin as a reincarnation of a royal figure from the north.
Nattawut: This man is committing lese majeste.
Jatuporn: How dare you insult!!
Weng: This guy thinks about overthrowing the royal family. [all of this referring to Thaksin]
The man with glasses walking away: Somsak Jeamteerasakul
Lady on the right: Thida Thavornseth
Caption: Whichever side he takes, Somsak has to face the same accusation.
[Somsak Jeamteerasakul is an academic who has fearlessly analyzed and critiqued Thai society, including its monarchy. He also has not confined his criticism to the monarchy, but has dared to publicly rebuke Thaksin as well.
Recently, in comments made in South Korea, Thaksin stated that the coup was ordered by the Privy Council. These statements were timed to be made on the day that Yingluck faced legal charges. The comments were Thaksin’s way of once again showing that he would strike back by violating taboos and openly challenging the monarchy if the junta dared to cross him by charging Yingluck.
Somsak immediately rebuked Thaksin, contending that the Pheu Thai Party had carte blanche to rule and spend as it wanted and it was only Thaksin’s order to push amnesty for himself that led to a coup. This cartoon illustrates that Somsak, who lives in exile to escape lese majeste charges, is also an exile from the Red Shirt movement that will not brook criticism of its leader.
In the Thai world, committing lese majeste is not principally seen as a free speech issue, but as an attempt by a proud or ambitious individual to break free of the “natural” hierarchy of society. This idea is that every person first judges the rank of those he deals with, and judging by their status, he knows the rules and conventions by which he might interact. Such an idea is the complete opposite of the Western conception that all are equal and wish to be treated equally.
So this cartoon suggests to the Thai reader that Somsak, thought to be trying to escape the hierarchy of the Thai world by critiquing the monarchy, cannot escape from hierarchical society even by being a Red Shirt, because the Red Shirts are also part of a hierarchy led by Thaksin.]