The current protests have frayed the social fabric of Thailand. It has broken my family apart. You may wonder why, despite all this, despite your threats, we still remain on the streets.
Please understand that we march in the streets today because, like the giants before us, we share the fundamental belief that we all are born equal. While in practice this seems to be more of an aspiration than an attainable goal, every step we take towards it takes us to a freer and fairer society.
You seem to have lost sight of that. You embroil yourself in myriad corruption scandals. You exacerbate economic inequality. You put unelected officials that don’t represent us but represent you, into Parliament to overwhelmingly vote on matters that concern us.
You drafted a constitution and declared it legitimate through a referendum where you censor your opponents. Our acquiescence, backed by fear of an unknown alternative, to Thailand’s constitution is not the same as our authorship of it.
By doing so, you tell us the people’s voices do not matter unless they agree with you. Our livelihoods are not toys that you can play with, ignore, or discard at your whim.
Please understand that we are here today to reclaim our voice. We are here because we do not feel that you represent us. And our collective voices, umbrellas, and smartphones are the only weapons we have against your riot gear and water cannons.
You say that we are being unreasonable and that we are seeing things in a very one-sided manner. But have you ever wondered why so many people from all walks of life – from students to red shirts to street cart vendors – stand with us, echo our calls?
You say it is a more complicated matter than we make it out to be. Our rights are not complicated.
You conflate reform with revolution and you told us we are going to prison because we sang songs you did not like. You try to inspire fear, not love; but you cannot rule with fear forever.
You tell us we should love our country, religion, and monarchy. We have very different ideas about what this means. The country is not its government. The country is its people.
And I love my country, but I will love it on my own terms. Not because there is propaganda programmed in my brain. Not because a power tells us what to think and who to love under fear of death and imprisonment.
And people have died and or are imprisoned. We march today because they cannot.
We hope that, for once, you will listen to us. This battle does not have to cost our nation’s soul. There is still a chance at reconciliation. We can still mend and reweave the social fabric.
We are risking our lives and our futures for this conviction, for this higher ideal. We are moving beyond the barricades, into a democracy of thought and shared truths. And now, we wait with bated breath.
You have opened the extraordinary parliament session.
We have made our demands.
Written and submitted by a young protester who wished to protect their anonymity.