Opinion: The government can no longer rewrite history in the internet age

Moving monuments, stealing plaques, banning books, and redacting facts from history books; these are just some of the dirty tactics that military governments have used to try and erase the people’s fights for democracy in this country.  

It has not worked.

The latest attempt by the Prayut Chan-ocha administration to try to change the collective memory were its efforts to use the Covid outbreak as an excuse to stop the October 6 Massacre remembrance ceremony.

It will not work.

“We are arranging these activities because we believed that the ideology of the youths in the past is still not realized and the reason why we have to remember the fallen and study what happened is to prevent it from happening again,” said Krissadang Nutcharas, a human rights lawyer and director of the memorial organizing committee.  

“The October 6 people did not die online, they died in real life so we cannot arrange the activities online,” he said.

“It will not be crowded, at least there will not be as many people as Prayut’s entourage when he went to visit the flooded provinces”

One of the main student-led pro-democracy protest groups, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, also announced that they will organize activities at the university on October 6.

We will have to wait and see if any of the speakers and organizers will be prosecuted for violation of the emergency decree since there is a ban on assembly.

Having seen their threads fall idly, now the government is pressuring the university to act to stop the ceremony.

The university’s action, to block access to the monument that commemorates the event, has been roundly criticized by many people on social media and offline. It is a pathetic cowering for an institution whose students were massacred by right wing actors on October 6, 1976.

Still, it will not work.

But this is not the move of a government that is all powerful but a bunch of dinosaurs afraid of new ideas. It also shows the power of a digital world where state actions cannot be done in silence or isolation anymore. Attempts to censor and change history will be called out.

These green nets will not cover up anything and only exposes the state’s folly.

Photos via “Ball Chanin Wongsri” (a member of UFTD) on Facebook

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