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Thailand political crisis or peoples crisis by Thongchai Winichakul


Received as forwarding email on 5 September 2008

To the human rights activists and lawyers in Thailand,

I assume you see the news below. The comments below are to everybody but not applicable to all of you. Whoever deserve criticism, you know it yourselves. Do you feel injustice yet? Do you feel the injustice that human rights activists and lawyers in Thailand have helped created? Is it yet the time for all of you to feel shame and look at yourselves in the mirror. Then, either wake up or shut up!

While many human rights lawyers are doing everything to defend people who acted above the law, using violence in the attack on the govt media, and so on, IS THERE ANY HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST OR LAWYER HELP THIS WOMAN? IF NOT, WHY NOT? IS IT BECAUSE HER BROTHER WAS A No. Po. Cho.?

Despite all the photos showing the yellow people attacking the red jersy people, is it enough evidence that IMPARTIAL JUSTICE IS URGENTLY NEEDED? I don’t care who really started the fight or who were more or less wrong. There is enough evidence that justice must be served IMPARTIALLY.


Every one has political opinions. I have too. After all, we are human. But all of us who care about human rights are committed and obliged to IMPARTIALITY in human rights actions. Without the principle of impartiality, do not talk about human rights. Put aside one’s own partisanship; the first and foremost professional ethics and passion as a human rights defender must be for justice.

If any of you cannot do this, I suggest you put on yellow or red jersy and quit the human rights cause. Go fight for PAD, 70/30 or Thaksin, whatever as you want to. But please do not say you are working for human rights.

Evidence of impartiality are astronomically abundant.

– Jaran Ditthaapichai showed up at the No.Po.Ko. rally, he was forced to resign. Look how many MPs. and Senators show up at the PAD rally? Why isn’t there a call for their resignation?

– Those demonstrators at Prem’s house were arrested and severely condemned by human rights people. The PAD attack at NBT and the Govt House … where have all the human rights people gone? Oh! oh! They show up in defense of the violent attack!

– The whole section of the human rights at the Lawyer Council are devoted to the PAD cause. This is DISGUSTING.

– Human rights activists and lawyers in Thailand also do not understand the distinction between violence and non-violence. One example should be enough. A lawyer/ legal scholar friend of mine wrote to me recently that if people carry baseball bats to a baseball game, it is not violence. If people carry those bats ready for use in a demonstration, those bats are WEAPONS! Thailand’s human rights lawyers and activists SLEEP WITH THESE WEAPON CARRIERS DAYS AND NIGHTS.


For a human rights activist and lawyer to violate the principle of impartiality themselves, it pushes back the conditions of human rights in the country for decades.

I urge the human rights activists in Thailand to clean up your business. Those who acted blatantly impartial in human rights mission (not in personal opinions) MUST BE PUNISHED, AT LEAST THEY MUST RESIGN FROM ANY POSTS IN THE HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS.

I can no longer trust any of them to defend human rights for people. I cannot trust them any more if my rights are violated or if I got into trouble because of my conscience, I would receive attention from any human rights activists in Thailand or not. How can I put my fate in the hands of people (human rights activists and lawyers) who hate me because of my views? I believe that lots of people share this distrust of the human rights lawyers and activists as well. Without this trust, the human rights cause in Thailand is OVER, DONE, DAMAGED BEYOND REPAIR. Please do not talk about freedom, human rights, non-violence, or those kind of noble farce any more.

If the sister of Khun Narongsak refuse your service because she does not trust human rights activists, YOU DESERVE IT!

Part of the crisis in Thailand right now is the failure of the entire system/ institutions/ mechanism for justice: from police, all levels of the judiciary system, to the human rights activists. The failure to uphold the principle of impartiality is responsible for the bankruptcy of justice.

May I also ask for the email addresses of people in charge of the AHRC, Human Right Watch (I know AI people in London)? As an individual with no authority whatsoever but who cares about human rights in Thailand, I will write formally to those international organizations, explaining to them why the human rights groups in Thailand cannot be trusted, telling them how those groups care more to win political battle than care for justice, telling them human rights lawyers in Thailand defend and helped the violent law breakers but leave the victims with no care.

(I feel so dirty to ever have association with those sham human rights activists in Thailand. I will wash my hands and body tonight to get all the dirtiness out. Then I will mourn.)

Thongchai Winichakul


Sister of slain government supporter files complaint against PAD leaders. The sister of a government supporter killed during a clash with protesters early Tuesday filed a complaint with police against six leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy. Chaba Singhaklangpol, 70, the sister of Narongsak Korbthaisong, filed the complaint at the Nangloeng police station.

She accused the six leaders of organizing protests, leading to the clash and death of her brother. The six are Somsak Kosaisuk, Somkiart Pongpaiboon, Pipop Thongchai, Chamlong Srimuang, Sondhi Limthongkul and Suriyasai Katasila.

The Nation

Replied by email on 5 September 2008

Please do not scream if you are the one that don’t do such things by yourself and only use pens and mouths talk about freedom, human rights, non-violence, or those kinds. Please be more specific who/ whom you are screaming at, not generalized all human rights activists in Thailand or in this world. Many are also in their respective field defending for “Human rights” and in equality & non-discrimination. Many are taking risk and insecure of their own lives and liberties. The view that is very narrow-minded and planted to attack a group, individuals but cursing all human rights activists in Thailand is disgusting.

Sorry to say this in the morning of Friday 5 Sep 2008 when peoples always asked us to take sides.


Pornpen Khongkachonkiet


Replied on 5 September 2008 (By Email)

Khun Pornpen (to name specifically),

In the first paragraph of my message, I wrote,

“The comments below are to everybody but not applicable to all of you. Whoever deserve crtiticism, you know it yourselves.”

I criticise the actions, judgments, statements that were made in public. In most cases, I don’t know the names of people who did such actions, made such judgments and statements. How could I know? Many “statements” were made in the names of groups, not individuals. Most of the human rights activists are not public figures. How can you demand me to address to specific individuals. It is YOUR task to sort out who did right and wrong on what acts. My criticisms are clear and specific enough.

— If you want me to criticise particular people whom you think deserve the criticism I made, please tell me those specific names? I will write to every one of them specifically, based on your referals. If you don’t give me a single name, but demand me to specify the individuals who are targets of my criticism, it is simply an avoidance of any criticism.

May I make another suggestion? Instead of demanding me to be specific about who I criticise, you should look into the actions, judgments and statements that have been made in public. Do your work responsibly, that’s what you should do.

May I make another suggestion? A reaction that a critic doesn’t do anything — only use mouth, writing, and do nothing else — is a thoughtless reaction. Have you ever be a Prime Minister, the PAD leaders, the UDD leaders, a killer, a mass murderer, and so on? If not, are you legitimate to make a criticism of them?

Pipob Thongchai, a PAD leader said yesterday that those critics never spend a night with people ay the PAD rally, do not understand people, never get hungry, exhausted, scared, and so on like people who dedicate their lives for the PAD cause. Pairot Polpetch made a similar remark recently too — that he sympathizes people at the PAD rally. I have got similar reactions so many times. All of these reactions only show how shallow, simple-minded, and unsophisticated these people (specifically named above plus others who think like them) are. I would dare to suggest that they should take a step back, looking at what they are doing right now from a little more distance. In the academic world, we call it, a “critical distance” in order to see things more objectively. Whenever we are so much consumed by anything, we tend to become too subjective, too obsessive, and lose a fair look at ourselves.

If you want to shut the door from the oursiders, in economics it is called “protectionism” that more often than not leads to the demise of such economy. In biology, it is called “in-breeding” that normally leads to the end of a specie. For an organization, it is called “in-breeding” too because it normally leads to the same result as in biology, i.e. extinction.

Last but not least, although I am now an academic, a critic, I beleive that I am qualified for not accepting such a reaction that I never do anything, never involved or engaged with the activities that you are doing. I believe I know a little bit about political activism and movement. I think I know a little bit about human rights too. But even if I do not know as much as you do, your expertise is not a ticket for you to deny criticism from a non-expert in human rights.

Does a critic take a risk too? How many critics in the world who only use mouth and pen are under threats and the human rights organization have to involve? It is unbelievable to hear a human right activist dismiss people who only use mouths and pens as doing nothing or doing easy, non-risky business.

Your reaction confirms to me the poverty of the human rights activism in Thailand.

Here again, why shouldn’t I reply this message to Khun Pornpen alone? Because my criticism is NOT a personal matter. I don’t care how right or how wrong Khun Pornpen is. What I do care is the acts, judgments, thinking, statements by the human rights activists and lawyers in public. I do not criticse personal matters; only public matters matter to me.

Thongchai Winichakul