Thursday, April 24, 2014

Murder of a Thai Poet

photo: Kamol Duangpasuk

Maineng Kor Khuntee” or Kamol Duangpasuk was a radical Red Shirt poet who wrote for a weekly Thai-language magazine. He was gunned down Wednesday in cold blood by assassins as he left a Bangkok restaurant. He died later in hospital.

Mai-Nueng opposed the military coup in 2006 and had been active in the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement ever since. Unlike the Pheu Thai government and the mainstream leadership of the Red Shirts, he also took a principled stand against the draconian lèse-majesté law. Lèse-majesté has been used by the military and the conservatives to imprison and exile many pro-democracy activists. Mai-Nueng was also a tireless campaigner for the release of Thailand’s political prisoners. His poems were hard-hitting and upset the establishment.

In recent days right-wing royalist extremists set up what they called the “Rubbish Collection Organization” to deal with people who oppose the royalists, the military and the conservative ruling elites. They are responsible for their first death. They have blood on their hands.

Others with blood on their hands include all those who have systematically supported the destruction of democracy and supported the use of lèse-majesté. This includes the military, the judiciary, the establishment politicians, the right-wing academics and the yellow shirted NGO leaders.

This is a grim day for Thai democracy. While the fanatics hunt down people who dare to criticize the elites, accusing them of lèse-majesté, those who commit violence on the streets against pro-democracy activists continue to enjoy impunity.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn is a Thai exile living in the UK who faces lese majeste charges if he returns to his home

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