Eerie parallels between two Octobers
Justice or impunity, amnesty or licence to kill, reconciliation or oblivion, the numb comfort of forgetting or the sour, endless curse of remembering. Take your pick, for the parliamentary push for the “blanket” amnesty bill that could cleanse the legal sins of everyone from the military to snipers to protesters to ex-PMs – Thaksin Shinawatra and Abhisit Vejjajiva – has raised the political temperature and confirmed the social cracks we still have to brave.
To recap: Thaksin, pushing the bill that would help him return to Charan Sanitwong, said the country needs to be reset. The anti-Thaksin camp is fuming that the bill would constitutionally absolve the Dubai resident and even pave a tricky path for other corrupters to escape punishment…
From Thairath, March 16, 2013
Cartoon title: Just chewing, when will it be broken?
On the headband: UDD [United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, or the Red Shirts]
Man biting chain says: Amnesty… amnesty… amnesty… amnesty… amnesty…
On shorts of giant man: Victims of the April-May 2010 incidents
On chained ball: Ambushing suppression; chasing to kill; putting in jails; false accusations
Sign carried by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reads: Take our friends out of jail.
Man mouse: Release political prisoners.
[This refers to those arrested in connection with the 2010 Red Shirt protest in Bangkok (as well as those arrested in previous incidents). Since the People Power Party government in 2008, Thaksin-aligned governments have been insisting the nation was in crisis and could only be calmed by amnesty for all. Those opposing Thaksin believe that such amnesty is only aimed at pardoning Thaksin.]
Earlier this month:
Human Rights Watch: No to the Pheu Thai Party’s Blanket Amnesty
Amnesty push risks conflict, govt told – Rights advocate blasts ‘overt’ bid to aid Thaksin
Worachai: committee has own reasons for changes
From Manager, May 23, 2012
Words on the car: Aristocracy
[This refers to Thaksin’s political positions in 2012 that appeared to abandon Red Shirt causes and prepare the way for an amnesty for himself. Thaksin refused to support amending lese majeste laws, supported the court decision disqualifying Red Shirt Jatuporn as an MP, had PM Yingluck meet Privy Council President Prem, and asked the Red Shirts to “forgive and forget” their protest dead.]
The context of Thaksin and amnesty
2003: The perils of ‘doing a Thaksin’
2007: Injustice for Thaksin? The drug-war dead must weep
2007: Thaksin’s war on drugs kin still wait for justice – Mass killing of tribesmen remains unsolved
2012: Red Shirt deaths: Should we forgive and forget?
2012: Thaksin lobbies to forgive and forget the deaths and political events of recent years
2012: Back to the brink in Thailand
2012: Cartoon: Thaksin Decides He Needs the Red Shirts Again
2012: War on drugs: Thai police compensated for committing murder in the line of “duty”
2013: Cartoon: Why won’t the Red Shirt families back amnesty? They were paid 7 million baht…
2013: Cartoon: Amnesty brings justice back to the people
10 Years Ago: Thaksin’s ‘war on drugs’
Also: These earlier analyses from June and August still hold true. Now is the best and perhaps last chance for the government to accomplish the only thing that it was formed to do–dismantle the institutions that prevent Thaksin from returning to political prominence.
August: Analysis: The strange editorial about Thai politics in the New York Times
June: The Wheel Begins to Turn: Weekly Rallies and Disapproving Academics