My Thai is still rather elementary but what I learnt from
my local and expat friends, and from the media is that the Red Shirt
demonstration was more than a simple class war, pro-Thaksin, rural versus
urban campaign. Even though I did not support their cause I did foster a
certain amount of respect for their solidarity and resilience, it seemed as
though the voice of the voiceless was finally being heard.
It is difficult to judge people’s actions unless you
understand the reasons, some of which may have deep roots. When it’s based
on a long period of wrongdoing it’s understandable, but when it’s people
vandalising due to some local disturbance that’s just downright criminal.
Usually the reasons are varied for everyone and somewhere in between.
However the participation by a few farang in these actions was
The arson attacks around Thailand and in Chiang Mai on
May 19 undermined any sympathies or progress that was made. Mob attacks on
the public and private buildings are deplorable, but the symbolism of the
angry mob torching a fire truck should not be lost on anyone. The primary
role of the fire department is offering protection and safety to the public,
a sometimes dangerous task that is performed by unarmed professionals
for the greater good. Ironically the fire truck that they destroyed was red.
Whatever the colour of your shirt, your nationality or
level of indifference, now is the time for all of us to dig deep for our
beautiful and beloved Thailand.