Opinion: Never again, never, again

Let me be clear.

I am against all kinds of coups.

Both military, and judiciary.

I was a university student back then. During the night of the crackdown on May 19, I was in Ayutthaya because my house in Pathum Thani was not far from there.

The region was one of the Red Shirts’ heartlands but that was not the reason I was there. It was because I wanted to get away from what was happening in the capital.

I had enough of seeing what was happening. A lot of people were killed for no reason and from my affiliations with journalists who were reporting on the scene and from my personal talks to the protestors, I had enough.

It was a month of shootings and killings from both sides. But, the people who were in charge and the ones with bigger guns could have done a much better job to limit civilian casualties.

The Red Shirts I have spoken to then and interviewed in the past weeks were no terrorists.

My mother comes from the Northeast. My father is German.

I am a lookreung who speaks Isan so it was easier to talk to the Red Shirts who mostly came from the Northeast.

I went there without any hatred for anyone, I was a university student who was studying politics so I just wanted to know how they think.

A year before that, I was with Sondhi Limthongkul in his trailer behind King Chulalongkorn’s statue in front of the Royal Plaza. I was an intern at his news agency as my father knew him well.

I saw what the Yellow Shirts were asking for, I saw what the Red Shirts were asking for. It was pretty similar.

The first was a struggle against the tyranny of the majority. The second was the struggle against coup and oligarchy.

Both were asking for their voices to be heard. But the mishandling by the government and the military who were in charge during the Red Shirts’s protest was unforgivable.

We can continue to talk about Thaksin and how he was involved with the Red Shirts and how he used them afterwards.

But, one thing was clear in my mind, I do not like Thaksin and coup makers that were in charge at that time because they both used the Red Shirts followers to gain something.

Thaksin can claim that the Red Shirts were on his side. The military can claim that they had to stop terrorists from overthrowing the monarchy and burning down the city. But both sides were using the Red Shirts, who were mostly poor people, to gain something.

Abhisit broke my heart as I saw that he was someone that could have led us away from the capitalism of Thaksin and the military coup cycle. But then he used both military and judiciary coups to maintain power while allowing the crazy few to kill civilians.

My half-brother is with the military and he was part of it. I am proud of him and will continue to be because of what he has done for this country.

But, what happened that resulted in 90 plus people being killed is a conversation that my brother and I can never finish. His view is that these protestors were enemies and his higher-ranking officers were running out of choices.        

My response has always been, what kind of enemies are unarmed protesters. What kind of enemies are journalists like those killed during the violence?

Those were cameras, not guns.

The hope is that such atrocities will never happen again in Thailand. We’re still allowed to hope, right?


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