On the 5th October the Tank Corps Radio station called for a mobilisation of right-wing forces to “deal with” the students. Announcers urged people over the radio to “kill.. kill... kill” studentswrote Prof. Ji Giles Ungpakorn in an essay. A massacre on the campus of Thammasat University -- in which dozens, perhaps hundreds of students were killed -- followed the next morning.
Sounds like something out of Rwanda. But that was Thailand in 1976. Two weeks ago, a popular announcer at a military radio station back in 1976 was sworn in as prime minister of Thailand. His name is Samak Sundaravej. And last weekend, in interviews with CNN and Al Jazeera, the new Thai prime minister emphatically declared the massacre at Thammasat did not happen. A recent news report* on Samak states:
As Thailand's interior minister in the 1970s, the ran a wildly popular anti-communist radio show. In 1976, his show helped convince an angry mob to storm a student protest in which dozens of activists were burned to death. Samak claimed the massacre was the work of Vietnamese communists. His evidence? There were burned dog corpses among those of the students. The Vietnamese, he claimed, liked to eat dog. He was also quoted at the time as having said that "it's no sin to kill communists.It seems that at one time Samak was telling a fanciful tale about the massacre, and now he denies that the event occurred. It not necessary for a person to have been at the scene of the massacre for him to be culpable for what transpired. Although Samak was not interior minister at the time of the massacre, the question remains: Did or did not the prime minister of Thailand run a radio show that helped to incite the massacre of 1976?
* Asia News Weekly, Vol. 2, Issue 5.
Note: See my previous posts on Samak's big lie -- here and here. Giles Ji Ungpakorn's "Marxist political writings about Thailand" text repository is here.