CHIANG RAI – In Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and many other Northeast provinces, the red shirts’ sense of empowerment is such that that they do not feel they have to obey any law or tolerate anything not to their liking. This gangster mentality has been encouraged by certain politicians for their own personal gain.
These demagogues have been indoctrinating the vulnerable masses through community radio while at the same time buying off local politicians or threatening to evict them from office or take away their stipends. Day and night, the community radio stations spew warped information about injustice, double standards, exploitation and the unsavory conduct of the so-called ammart, or elites. Listeners mind’s are nurtured on a spoon-fed diet of hatred. They become the victims and then agents of Thailand’s dirty politics.
If you ask them why they believe everything they hear, they will have no answer, simply saying it “ain’t false”. Then they might turn angry at you. And after that? Well, you simply do not want to go there.
Lost in the propaganda is the fact that none of the red shirt leaders are poor. They have managed to gobble up massive sums of cash, our tax money, from under the table. They are the real elites, because the law cannot touch them. They are the upholders of the double standards, as they believe no set of rules could apply indiscriminately across the board. They are the exception to many rules – and in their own minds, deservingly so.
Hatred has been carefully cultivated in the minds of UDD followers for so long that it will be hard for Thailand to become whole again. The result of the growing hatred is evident in the type of savagery on full display with the beating of the monk.
Democracy is not possible without two conditions. First is the rule of law, which applies universally, not tribally nor arbitrarily. Second is the need for quality education that enables citizens to fully understand fully what the representatives who they elect to run the country are really doing. With proper education, people have a better chance of distinguishing between truth and the lies and rhetoric that are pumped out everywhere in this information age. It is the rule of law and education that have the power to tame the savage in us.
Alas, the brutal and unconscionable beating of an innocent monk, unarmed and apolitical, tells a tale of our own failure on the ladder to civilization. But hey, we can take pride in being a front-runner, well ahead of the pack, in the reverse evolution process described by Charles Darwin. “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.”
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