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    Posted May 16, 2010 by
    Bangkok, Thailand
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Crisis in Bangkok

    Great Synopses of the BKK situation


    Dear BBC,

    Over the last few days, I have been going back and forth between BBC, CNN, and local Thai news following the protests, and ensuing violence, that have been happening outside of my house now for the last 6 -8 weeks.  I must say, and I can verify that the vast majority of informed Bangkok residents (both Thai and Foreign) feel disspointed that your network and its reporters are painting a completly wrong picture of what's happening, why, ,how it started, and will likely end.

    I think it is important, and just responsible reporting, to consider these views rather than airing on the side of "unarmed protesters and journalists" being shot by the army under the current gov't.  Come on.

    Please find these two excellent synopsis (not mine) of the situation from two different angles below. (one explainng why this conflict has happened and the other about the current violence).


    ONE: "I am in Bangkok and have been throughout these protests. For people outside the country looking in it is difficult to understand the situation. It is easy to sympathize with poor people protesting for a better life. That is not the case here in Bangkok. Poor people have been paid to protest and are being used as human shields to protect militants in the Red movement. These protests are controlled by former PM Thaksin in an effort to overthrow the current government which is legitimate and elected. Perhaps more so than the former PPP government which was disbanded due to electoral fraud.
    I am dismayed to see the foreign press portraying the victims of the current voilence as civilians. It is true that they have taken off their red uniforms but within the protesters there are armed terrorists fighting a guerilla style war. They are not civilians in the true sense. Everyone in Bangkok understands which streets are currently restricted by the security forces. The only reason protesters venture into those areas is to attack the soldiers. Using slingshots, M79 grenades, moltov cocktails, guns, and other weapons they are fighting with the army. If they were not attempting to breach the government barricades they would not be in immediate danger.
    Journalists have been injured, they are going into dangerous areas and are difficult to discern from the Red fighters who have no uniform. Shooting journalists intentionally and blaming the army would certainly be in the protesters interests to bring international condemnation. Journalists in the area are often under the protection of the army, and should use their own judgement as to whether it is safe to enter areas with gun battles ongoing.
    Last night with 2km of my home well outside the protest zone there was a grenade attack at the Bangkok Bank at Khae Rai, there is a secondary protest at the Thaicom offices less than one km from this attack. Even outside the downtown there is danger for the true civilians of Bangkok, and that danger will not diminish until the protests end.
    The leaders of the Red protest can at any time order the end of the protest and allow the people to return to their homes. This would be followed immediately by a ceasefire from the army. As long as they remain calling for the violent overthrow of the government people are in danger. Criminals should put their arms down first, not the police."


    TWO:  "I suspect that much of the confusion in the reports on the situation in Thailand is coming from commentators who cannot speak or understand the Thai language. So much of their analysis is simply a list of cliches copied from others. Where is the good investigative research on any of the people involved here, or on the political history in the country over the past twenty years?

    This is not fundamentally a "poor" vs "rich" class war. While there are certainly elements of this it is entirely too superficial an analysis and simply caters to western preconceptions about who the "good guys' and 'bad guys' might be.

    It is more correctly part of a phenomenon which is occurring all over China and South East Asia at the moment: - the massive growth of a vast
    new middle class - people who were once poor during the last century, but who now have access to more money, consumer goods, education, health care,mobility and entertainment than they have ever had in any previous time in their history. All across Asia the growth of this demographic is radically changing the political structure and threatening the old feudal society which has always depended on 'patronage' and corruption for its power.

    Thailand's rural population, like the  Philippines is and has been ruled by local "oligarchs", powerful families, mafia thugs, police chiefs and village chiefs at least since 1938 when it first became a military
    dictatorship under Marshal Phibul. These people are terrified of progressive democratic changes in society. But such changes are inevitable as more and more people join the expanding middle classes.

    The current revolt has been precipitated by the oligarchs - the corrupt feudal families. Thaksin is their hero - and because each feifdom controls
    its own group of rural people they have been able to make it look like (to the naive foreign press) a large crowd is clamouring for democracy. But it is their intense focus on violence that gives them away entirely. They
    have a powerful military wing who have no qualms about killing their own protesters in order to lay blame on the government. They have been
    clamouring for bloodletting since the beginning of this protest. They are fighting back tooth and nail against democracy, education, the welfare state (attacks on hospitals) and in particular the rule of law.

    If we are going to have a discussion in the press, let's have an informed discussion, please?"


    Thank you and I sincerely hope, for Thailand and the resot of the world watching, you and the other networks attempt to really take the real situation into account, rather than just cranking out news, photos, and clips that misinform the world in order to grab their attention for a few more minutes and the related revenue.

    Thank you.

    RajdamriGuy - Bangkok

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