Friday, May 30, 2008

More lese majeste in Thailand

Last August, a former chief of staff to deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin (and now government Minister) Jakrapob Penkair gave a speech at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. In it, he criticised one of the generals who had led the 2006 coup and attacked Thailand's system of "guided democracy" and patronage:

Patronage system is problematic because it encourages unequality among individuals.

And that’s a direct conflict to Democracy.

It encourages one person into thinking of depending on the other or others.

It breeds endless number of slaves with a very limited number of masters.

It prevents Thailand from coming out of age.

For saying this, Penkair has now been charged with lese majeste and faces between three and fifteen years in prison. Three to fifteen years for pointing out the simple truth that Thailand's rich and powerful have systematically infantilised their own people in order to maintain their positions.

This is how monarchies and aristocracies remain in power. And it seems to me to be an excellent reason for getting rid of them.