Monday, September 25, 2006

"But the constitution was still there..."

Here are some more excerpt from Thongchai Winichakul's statement Bad excuse for the coup -- a point-by-point rebuttal of four justifications for the coup.
His election victories were valid. No significant irregularity that would change the results of his two landslide victories. Academics, including myself, can argue against his populist policies, his horrible handling of the crisis in the Malay Muslim region, and so on. But Thai people elected his party and the “Thaksin regime.”

In the next paragraph he forcefully articulates some bedrock democratic principles as he sees them applying to the situation in Thailand:
Democracy anywhere in the world is never a rule of the educated, the smarter, the urban, or the better-informed. It is a rule by popular mandate. No matter if/ how ignorant people are, the elected government has the rights to rule. It is true that democracy does not mean only election. But election is THE ultimate and inviolable source of legitimacy to rule. The higher moral or good ethics is not. The higher education is not. The better access to information is not. Nor are weapons or any unelected aristocrats. Democracy is never without corruption and abuses of power.

He says the real and perceived offenses of the Thaksin against democracy are nothing compared to the coup, because the coup was against the constitution, the very foundation of a democratic society:
...democracy grows as the results of the unwavering struggles within the bound of constitution and rule of law. This is the ONLY SOLUTION to establish a strong democracy.... This excuse is shamelessly an elitist arrogance and prejudice that denies the rights of people who elected Thaksin as worthless and negligible. They are the majority of people but whose voices do not count. This excuse is utterly anti-democratic....
It (the constitution) was violated, ignored, and tampered with; probably similar to what Bush was doing now. But the constitution was still there to provide opportunities to fight the abusive regime. In fact many fights were successful and more were waging, thanks to the constitution....

Responding to the often heard claim that Thaksin's abuse of the media justified a coup d'etat, Thongchai Winichakul wrote:
But it was never able to control or manipulated to such extent that differing views were shut down. Critics were frustrated for being shut up but they were never being shut down. Anti-Thaksin publications were among the best selling titles.... Thaksin the Evil was not able to close our eyes, ears and mouths. The struggles against the interferences had been going on and could go on. The coup is not necessary. Who would dare to say that media freedom and freedom of expression with no fear is better under a coup regime?

Winichakul concludes by asking:
Does Bush deserve a military coup or some drastic measures to get rid of him as a necessary evil and the only solution to rescue the world? Now you may understand how those “terrorists” think as well.

There is NO excuse for the coup.

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