Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thais to their Leader -Madam Prime Minister, please just quit!

You said two days ago that you were prepared to leave office should that be the wish of the "people". We do not know who the "people" you have in mind are, but millions of us who could legitimately be counted as "people" believe it is about time you matched your rhetoric with action.

The country has suffered enough under your stewardship, or rather lack thereof. Lest you have forgotten, the ultimate honour and dignity of a leader lies with her equally incomparable sense of responsibility and accountability. You have pointed the finger of blame at others for all of the country's woes enough now; it is about time you stopped. The country has failed because you failed in your duty. This is not to say you are evil, it is only to say that you have not done your job right.

We have become a nation of discord and lawlessness. Armed attacks, often involving bombs, against citizens of various political status and involvement have become increasingly common. The cowardly perpetrators are left loose, ready to carry out more dirty work.

You have said it is your duty to protect "democracy"; please spare the country this lofty yet empty notion, and stop treating us like morons. Democracy is not possible if laws are not indiscriminately applied across the board. Democracy is not possible when independent organisations come under armed threat and are subjected to both veiled and open intimidation and coercion by those who want to prevent them from doing their job as part of the check-and-balance mechanism necessary to a genuine democracy.

Democracy is not about elections in which ballot boxes are literally stuffed and technically rigged. Democracy is a mere pipe dream if voters are not equipped with real knowledge about their equal rights under the law and, by electing thieves to parliament, are the unwitting agents of the destruction of their own rights.

Your internal security arm - the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) - is a mockery of our sensibility. In Mafia jargon, Capo means a lieutenant who serves the family's boss - think Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in The Godfather movie series. It is perhaps an intended travesty. Nothing that CAPO has initiated and carried out is meant to serve the best interests of the country, only those of a certain few. The most outrageous suggestion came last week when CAPO declared it would seek royal intervention by asking His Majesty's advice regarding a new prime minister under Article 7 of the Constitution. Our plea to those scoundrels is, please leave your dirty hands off His Majesty. He has already suffered the absolute injustice of people who steal and cheat, of those who lie and distort truth and facts to serve their self-interest and their lust for money, power and self-aggrandisement. They are devoid of any moral scruples. His Majesty does not deserve such iniquity. He has, more than anybody, devoted his life and energy to the wellbeing of the Thai people. He is a righteous monarch, and he has given his all for the country and for us.

Madam Prime Minister, please stop your lieutenants from tampering any longer with our heart and soul. His Majesty is off-limits to both you and your people.

There must be a reason - not yet known to us, perhaps - as to why you, Madam Prime Minister, continue hanging on to your office in disgrace. The country cannot do any worse without you or your government. Whatever scares you, you should turn to face it squarely. That's the only way for you and for the country to move beyond the eclipse that has engulfed us all for too long. The country and the people have had enough of being held as political prisoners.

World history does not lack examples of leaders who have quit with honour by accepting the principle of ultimate accountability. They voluntarily left the office because they knew they had betrayed the trust of the people and thus were unfit to lead. A culture of lack of accountability for our actions is taking deeper root in our society. It is time we stop condoning such a culture.

When King Rama VII abdicated over his disagreement with certain articles in a draft constitution that promised enormous power to a small group of people, not the general public, he did so with honour and dignity intact. The then government was not kind to him and his family, but King Prajadhipok never complained. He left without fanfare, and lived thereafter without it. Trivial things do not interest the great and noble men. King Rama VII never made a single attempt to meddle in government affairs after he left the country. He led a simple life, humble in every respect, until his very last day. When his last remaining close aide asked for leave to join the Free Thai Movement during World War II, he gladly let him go, for he knew that a man's life is only worth living in service to the motherland.

During the Songkran holiday, many of us Thais closed our eyes and prayed for peace. We prayed that both the good and the good people prevail. But we must not close our eyes to the lack of accountability shown by our leader. We must not remain oblivious to the fraud that is being carried out every single day under our nose. Reform was never more needed or more relevant than now.

And quitting public office so that the reform process can start is not as scary as you think, Madam Prime Minister.

The Nation, Bangkok

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