“Tak Bai? Ohh… you have heard about that incident? Did you?”

samak-101-east.jpg

Interview with Samak Sundaravej, Prime Minister of Thailand

101 East, Al Jazeera, 9 February 2008

Part 2

Start: 3:41

Your predecessor, Thaksin Shinawatra, was criticised for a pretty brutal campaign against Muslim fighters in southern Thailand. Many people who were innocent were caught up in that violence. Do you support his policies in southern Thailand?

Actually, he doesn’t mention any policy. The wrong that he committed, somebody says that… ahh… he says that it… ahh… it’s not quite so important mandate, and that’s all. That is what he mentioned.

But if we refer to Tak Bai, the Tak Bai incident, when many young Muslim men were beaten and rounded up and their bodies were stacked into trucks, many of them suffocated and died…

Where?

At Tak Bai.

Tak Bai? Ohh… You have heard about that incident? Did you?

Of course, we’ve seen the footage.

Ahh. There’s a group of them make a violence there in the south. Thirty-two of them. And they fled to live in the mosque. And then the military asked them to come out. They doesn’t come out. So the military must get in. So the mosque is a clean place, that the dirty man, any kind of weapon, cannot get in. But they just going there, so they just killing from outside. So… 32 of them die. And then that is in the Krue Se. And in Tak Bai they just come to make a shouting. To make a shouting and then any kind of thing to bring six people out from jail. So the whole day, this is the time of the, they don’t eat anything, they don’t eat in the daytime. So, thousands of them just going there around the police station and something like that. So they end up with the… they say that, ok, we’ll let them have the preparation to bring them back, the six people, but they don’t, they, in the evening time, so they make a roundup (cough) for all those people and put in the truck.

Many of the families would suggest that there were very innocent people rounded up there amongst the…

Aww, the innocent people. When that type of movement, around that thing, is innocent or not, I have no idea, but those people going fled in the truck, if they strong enough when they standing in the truck, it’s ok. But they spent the whole day, doesn’t eat, doesn’t drink water, doesn’t even swallow any kind of thing, because in the month of that thing, so, they just fall on each other. And 78 die, from so many truck, loading, running by… [?] So that’s it. It’s a tragedy. It happened. Nobody intend to kill them. They die because of their physical. But they has been caught just to get into the barrack. So, so what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with that? What is the execution of that? What is it?

What is wrong with innocent people dying?

What is the incident that had happened? Everybody in the country know what had happened. And seventy… they fall down on each other. And then 78 died.

So you’re saying they died because they fell on top of each other?

Yes. Nobody kill them. Everybody knows it was…

Not because they were packed into trucks without enough air?

When people get in the truck, in the good shape, and running, actually nobody think they will be like that, but if they people happen not to eat, not to drink, not to swallow, and then somebody fall down the other on the top… So 78 died, out of 1300.

Ok. I’d like to go back to 1976 and the Thammasat University protests, where hundreds of students were beaten, shot, lynched and burned. Historians…

Yeah, where did you get that report?

Historians suggest that you on your radio programme urged mobs of people to turn out and attack the students…

How old are you at that time?

(Pause)

How old are you?

Let me refer to…

Do you born yet?

Do you deny that…

I haven’t got any concern. They write some dirty history to me. I brought the case to the court, so many of them, all time to time. The three incident of that time, only one guy died in Sanam Luang, because somebody beat them and burn them by the… by the… by the… by the wire, uh, by the… by the… by the tire. And this only one. Three thousand student is in the Thammasat University. So they were caught there, and then the military would like to bring them out. So they take the shirt, and like this, like that, uh, like the, bring the shirt and put it on [gesturing to tie hands behind back with opened shirt]. Three thousand lying on the ground of Thammasat University football field. So that they bring all the truck to bring them, put in the shirt and put them on, and then going to let them out to the barrack. Then the only way not to let the people being harmed. Three thousand of them. And then they going out there and so many afraid they fled into the jungle, so many go back home. And then, nobody die in Thammasat University. And the student try to go to the barrack… [?] just to bring the… Nobody die, not…

Well with all due respect, historians refer to it as one of the worst atrocities in Thailand’s history.

That is a dirty history. Somebody did it. Somebody write something dirty like that.

Well with all due respect, I’ve actually watched the footage…

What the footage?

Of that incident…

The killing?

Yes, I have seen…

It’s impossible.

I have seen people being beaten…

Yes, true, in Sanam Luang, yes.

…their limp bodies on the ground

Yes, that’s true, that is one guy.

You’re saying one…

Yes.

Human rights groups would suggest it was dozens of students, possibly in the hundreds.

For me, eh, for me, eh, if I am dirty, I am concerned with many thing, I cannot come this far. This dirty history always come. I just have a, a lady like you come from far away, asking this question. Even the Thai, they dare not ask this question to me. If I am a dirty man like that, I cannot get, when I run as the governor of Bangkok, somebody bring this case again. “Oh, a murderer with the blood in the hand cannot run as a governor.” I bring the case to the court. So the judge says that, “Khun Samak, we are going to run, eh? Please forgive them, that misunderstanding, just forgive them and withdraw the case and then a good thing to you.” So I just think, I agree with the court, with the judge, so I withdraw the case. And when I ran, eh, I got over million vote in Bangkok. Never before. The highest anyone get is 700,000. I got over one million. And then, how about a man, a dirty man like that being elected? The ward is two million something. I got over one million, and the rest, somebody got one hundred, uh, five hundred thousand. And, is not a proof that the people of Bangkok, educated people, four million voters, they come to vote with two million, one million, over a million voted for me, and the rest, chose a small fraction for others.

Alright, you are facing corruption charges over your term as Bangkok governor…

And then the corruption charge, can they do anything to me yet? So it’s a dirty trick that they… [?] I sue the chairman of the two court. So until now the case run for two years. Why two years cannot bring me to the court yet? Not the, the case is not to the court yet. Any case, bring, three years ago, with the putting a garbage, anything. The cost may be 9000 but that last for ten years. But it finish for three years until now. It’s nothing wrong with it, but they want to destroy me. Somebody, I call it a dirty hand, a black hand nobody sees, an invisible hand, want to destroy me. Now, you must stay long enough. Even for anywhere in the world, can you, can see that, must I be in jail with this case or not? It’s a dirty trick to Samak to put it in. If a man like I says that, “You, this reporter, you are lousy girl, you kill someone, you are [?]”, will you be like that? No. No.

Alright, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for speaking…

No, do believe me. Frankly speaking, you must [?] like that. Someone put a dirty [?] on someone. If I’m a dirty man like that, if I’m corruption, why I was elected?

Alright, we have to leave it there…

Why this party get 233 seats? Why? Why the one who is very clean get 165? Why? Just ask me the question… just answer the question to me.

Alright Mr. Prime Minister, we have to leave it there. Thank you for talking to 101 East.

Thank you for coming, but please, uh, do some homework. Don’t get some information and ask the question. If I am not real, uh, I cannot come this far. Thank you for coming. That’s enough.

Thank you.

End: 12:58

See also: Samak’s disgrace (New Mandala); Only 1? (Bangkok Pundit) & What was Samak thinking? (Asia Sentinel)

Related news:

Chirmsak radio show shut down (Bangkok Post, 14 Feb 2008): A radio programme contradicting Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s controversial remarks about the Oct 6, 1976 uprising was taken off the air yesterday in a move that sparked fears about government attempts to silence critics…”

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8 responses to ““Tak Bai? Ohh… you have heard about that incident? Did you?”

  1. She did a good job of letting him dig the hole deeper and deeper. Her follow-ups were clearly bait, and he took it without fail. I can’t tell if he really believes it (seems unlikely) or if he really thinks people can’t check their facts against other sources.

    I think it’s the latter–he’s the guy who told the Japanese press that he would be the Defense Minister, and when the news broke in Thailand, he said he thought the Japanese would only report about it in Japanese. Do we chalk this up to his old age? That seems too charitable, frankly. He’s taking more than one page from Orwell–“We’ve always been at war with Eurasia.” Only he forgot he can’t change the historical record with only bullheaded insisting.

    Clearly he thought he was winning the “argument” towards the end there, interpreting the interview time limit as a retreat on the interviewer’s part. I wish she had had more time.

  2. INTERVIEW / SAMAK SUNDARAVEJ

    New prime minister speaks his mind

    Tells CNN only one person died in 1976 student uprising at Thammasat University

    The following are portions of a recent interview of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej by CNN Talk Asia correspondent Dan Rivers.

    The conversation was edited for length and clarity.

    The two met at Mr Samak’s residence in Bangkok.

    Dan Rivers: Prime Minister Khun Samak… you came to power really on the back, many would say, of Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister, who was exiled in the coup a year and a half ago. You haven’t really hidden your allegiance to him. Explain now how you intend to go forward. Will Thaksin play a role in your government?

    Samak Sundaravej: He ran the country for five years very successfully and then there was a coup. It’s okay. They say a coup is a coup. And then they want to destroy Thaksin. It’s okay, it’s up to them. But he says that the party is killed. He just asked me if it was possible to set up a party and bring leftover MPs to enroll in the party.

    Rivers: So Thaksin asked you to set up your People Power party?

    Samak: He said is it possible or not? I said I can do it because I lost my opportunity, too. I was in the senate, five months, and the coup d’etat group kicked me out.

    Rivers: What kind of role will Thaksin play now that you are in power?

    Samak: Oh, he’s the owner of the former party. He might give some support by giving ideas to this or that. Five years, such a success, so why not give some advice?

    Rivers: So you will take advice from Thaksin?

    Samak: Not myself, but others, especially the economic group. They might consult, and I think there’s nothing wrong with this.

    Rivers: Because people say you’re merely a puppet of Thaksin.

    Samak: You can say anybody is a puppet of anybody.

    Rivers: So you deny that you’re a puppet?

    Samak: I am myself. I’m the leader of the party. I run this country; it’s me, I have my own thinking.

    Rivers: Not Thaksin?

    Samak: Not Thaksin.

    Rivers: (As defence minister) how can you guarantee there’s going to be no more coups in Thailand?

    Samak: I cannot guarantee. Last time when they staged a coup, there was no reason. Rebel without a cause.

    Rivers: Well, the reason they gave was that Thaksin was hugely corrupt.

    Samak: Sixteen months, there is no proof. Not a single case. They set up a committee to see to it, and until now just two cases have gone to the prosecutor, not to the court yet.

    Rivers: Do you think he’s guilty?

    Samak: Oh, anyone can be guilty of something if it can be proved.

    Rivers: You don’t think he’s guilty?

    Samak: I don’t think anyone can do something wrong if they don’t think it is wrong… So ask Thaksin, or ask his wife; they don’t think they ever committed anything wrong.

    Rivers: But should prime ministers be allowed to make money? Shouldn’t they be concentrating on the job of prime minister?

    Samak: It’s his business. He did the business and got rid of the shares he held. To be or not to be right or wrong is up to him.

    Rivers: Well, is it right or wrong?

    Samak: I think it’s right because it draws investors to come, that you can own 49%… so you can run the company.

    Rivers: Will Thaksin come back and, if so, when?

    Samak: It’s up to him. His wife just mentioned in court that he will come in May. He will come or not, it’s up to him. But one thing is that he must come back to face the charges. It’s not dangerous for him.

    Rivers: How much damage was done do you think to Thailand by the coup?

    Samak: Oh, I cannot say. It can’t be measured by figures. It comes through the feelings of the people. I’m not an economic expert, but from the grassroots to the top, they have problems. Restaurants say business is down by 50%.

    Rivers: If the country was so damaged by the coup, what will you do to those who led the coup? Should they not be punished?

    Samak: No, no, no.

    Rivers: Why not?

    Samak: Do believe me. We can call for revenge, for reprisals. We have no need to do that. They must feel ashamed of themselves, that is enough.

    In October 1976, soldiers killed dozens of left-wing students during a frenzy of anti-communist fervor. Mr Samak was at the scene, as deputy interior minister. His enemies accused him of playing a role to provoke the violence.

    Rivers: Some people are very critical of your past in Thailand.

    Some people have even said you’ve got blood on your hands. What would you say to that?

    Samak: Oh, I deny the whole thing. I had nothing to do with that at all. I was an outsider at that time.

    Rivers: Would you like to take the opportunity now to condemn what happened in 1976?

    Samak: Actually it was a movement of some students. They didn’t like the government.

    Rivers: But dozens of people, maybe hundreds of people, died.

    Samak: No, just one died. There are 3,000 students in the Thammasat University.

    Rivers: The official death toll was 46, and many people say it was much higher than that.

    Samak: No. For me, no deaths; one unlucky guy being beaten and being burned in Sanam Luang. Only one guy died that day.

    Rivers: So there was no massacre?

    Samak: No, not at all, but taking pictures, 3,000 students, boys and girls lined up, they say that is the death toll: 3,000.

    Rivers: People say that your very right-wing rhetoric inflamed the situation.

    Samak: What’s wrong to be right wing? The right wing is with the King. The left wing is communist.

    Rivers: So do you think Thailand was in danger of falling to communism in 1976?

    Samak: Well, a guy called Lomax, he wrote a book called Thailand: The War That Is, The War That Will Be. And he said that this is a domino theory. He said that there will be 10 dominoes in this area. So if Cambodia will be, Vietnam will be, Laos will be and Thailand will be number four domino. And from Thailand, it will be Burma, it will be Malaysia, Singapore. Small islands like Singapore. So many islands like Indonesia and later big islands like Australia and even two tiny islands down under. Ten countries will be communist. We are domino number four.

    Rivers: Do you think it’s excusable to kill innocent students in the name of defending the country from communism?

    Samak: Oh, who kill the students? If the fighting is between the military, the military is to defend for the country. Somebody tried to bring communism into our country, it’s up to (the military). The casualties… you must go to check what happened.

    In 1992, an estimated 200,000 people took to the streets of Bangkok to protest against the appointment of a military coup leader as prime minister. Unrest escalated – a state of emergency was declared and troops opened fire on crowds.

    Dozens of people were killed, and thousands arrested. Mr Samak was deputy prime minister at the time. The army eventually retreated, ushering in a period of civilian rule, but the event is forever known as “Black May”.

    Rivers: Again protest against the military government, again your name is linked to the bloodshed that followed. What would you say to that?

    Samak: I was deputy prime minister three times. When I resigned, I ran as governor of Bangkok. (People say) “oh, it’s a murderer with blood on his hands. You cannot be governor.” So I brought the case to court. And when the vote come, I got one million-something votes. Why?

    Rivers: But that doesn’t answer the question. Were you involved in 1992?

    Samak: No. Not at any time. I had no involvement.

    Rivers: Your conscience is clear?

    Samak: If I do something wrong, I cannot come this far. I think my hands are clean and I can live with it. The people of this country know me, who I am, so I am not afraid. But why do they put a stamp on me? Because I don’t like the press. I don’t like the media. I think actually when they talk good to me, I talk good to them. When they slash out at me, I just slash back at them. When you punch me, I punch back. There is no written document that says the prime minister should be a good guy, should talk soft.

    Rivers: I mean, are you a good guy? How would you describe yourself?

    Samak: Somebody must describe me, I cannot describe myself. But for me, if I have done something wrong, I cannot come this far. But some people hate me, yes, but I don’t hate them. I just feel pity that they have ill feeling for me.

    Indulging in a lifelong passion, cooking, Mr Samak became a celebrity chef with his show Tasting While Grumbling in 2000, extolling the virtues of Thai cuisine and trips to the local market. He immersed himself in the show after losing office in the 2006 coup but it’s currently off-air after its broadcaster was taken over by the previous military-appointed government.

    Rivers: You have a lot of passions in life, not only politics. Cooking is one of your great passions, interests.

    Samak: Actually I have a normal life. I started with a little bit of difficulty. I cannot say we were poor. We managed, but my father and mother had nine children. I’m number seven.

    Rivers: So you had a poor background to start with?

    Samak: I did the cooking at seven years old. That’s why I cook, from that time on, and I think it’s right. And I think cooking is an art. So for the family first, and then for my own family afterward, and then now. Ten years ago, when I was an MP, they gave one hour on Saturday evening just to talk politics. I did that for two years. It’s a bore, politics is a bore. I said politics is a bore, why not talk about cooking? So I just start talking about cooking.

    Rivers: Your image is very much a man of the people, very down-to-earth, very outspoken, some would say acerbic. Would you agree with that?

    Samak: I always say that a man who speaks his mind, you can go along with him.

    Rivers: I want to ask you one last question because we’re running out of time. The kind of central theme of much of the criticism against you is simply that you are not statesman material, that there would be better leaders of Thailand than you. For example, Khun Abhisit, the leader of the Democrat party here. How would you respond to people who say you’re simply not diplomatic enough to be prime minister?

    Samak: No. No. Why did the ambassador come to see me? Ten ambassadors came to see me – I had no position then. Ten came already, then the American ambassador. Why? The American embassy here must report who I am. He can come to talk to me.

    Rivers: And would you say that the people like you?

    Samak: The people, one million voted for me. Why? Because they know who I am. When I became leader of PPP, they said it was because of Thaksin. It might be for some reason, but you cannot make anyone the leader. What would happen to the PPP? So it’s a combination, the best of everything that I have done and how they performed five years ago. But it must be a quality leader, like myself, who can lead the party, who can come this far. So I was accepted by the people everywhere, but not the media. This is okay, it’s up to you. You do your duty, I will do mine.

    Rivers: So the country is safe with you?

    Samak: It must be and this is my opportunity. Actually, to run the country there are all the permanent secretaries of all the military. They have done their job. We (the government) just to drive the engine. Now we know how to do that. But one good thing is there is no corruption. For me, if I am corrupt, I cannot come this far. If Thaksin did it, he must go to the court, and you must prove.

    Rivers: What will you say will be your top priority in government?

    Samak: Just bring the country back to normal. When they staged the coup, the United States turned their back to us, the EC turned its back to us, China turned by the side, Japan turned by the side. So now, when we have an elected government, so they must turn back and then everything will come back to normal.

    (Bangkok Post, 11 February 2008)

  3. Rikker — As you know, the new PM has a history of speaking, contrary to what the Bkk Post suggests, with or without his mind. Now a wider audience is getting a chance to hear him, meanwhile he continues to make no apparent distinction between speaking as a private citizen versus speaking as the head of government.

    By the way, I am now armed with U Htoke Sein’s Pali-Myanmar dictionary, which is considered the Pali language reference in Burma, with which one of these days I’m going to get back to you on pati- and anu-

  4. THAILAND: Without criminal justice history too is lost
    A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC-STM-038-2008, February 15, 2008)

    On February 9, the new prime minister of Thailand made a number of startling statements before international television audiences that expose the huge impediments to protecting human rights in his country.

    In an interview broadcast on CNN, Samak Sundaravej claimed that only “one unlucky guy” was beaten to death in a brutal rightwing militia attack at Thammasat University in Bangkok on 6 October 1976 in which 46 were in fact confirmed dead; hundreds more went unaccounted for. Samak has been implicated in inciting the violence of that day.

    In a less-publicised interview with Aljazeera, the prime minister repeated this claim and also denied that there had been anything wrong in the handling of a protest outside the Tak Bai police station in Narathiwat on 25 October 2004 in which over 85 persons died; 78 of them in army custody. He claimed that they had “just fall(en) on each other” due to weakness caused by fasting during Ramadan, when it is known from video footage and the findings of forensic scientists that most died as a result of asphyxiation from being packed on top of each other in trucks. (The interview can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuoqLiLSgnI)

    There can be no excuses for these statements of the prime minister. They are much worse than lies. They go far beyond simple dishonesty. They are gross insults not only to the victims, not only to people throughout Thailand, but to all of humanity.

    How is it possible for this prime minister to have made such comments without any apparent sense of shame or regard for accuracy? While Samak has a reputation for right-wing rhetoric and perversion of facts, there is an enormous difference between making offensive and patently false comments when a private citizen as opposed to when head of government. If he were an actor in a theatre of the absurd, we should be entitled to congratulate him on a good performance. However, he is a prime minister, and he does not appear either to care or comprehend that in making these comments he has spoken not on his own behalf but on behalf of his country and its citizens.

    But there is much more to these comments than a brazen personality. Behind them lie the heavy institutional obstacles to human rights in Thailand, to which the Asian Human Rights Commission has alluded on many previous occasions.

    The struggle against power, Milan Kundera has famously written, is the struggle of memory against forgetting. But this struggle cannot succeed by memory alone. It depends ultimately upon the struggle of law against criminality, and for institutions through which memory can be stored and used.

    Without the maintenance of law and recording of crime, crime itself is no longer understood as crime. When the worst offences are trivialised, it not only guarantees impunity but encourages further criminality in all parts of society. If people can be killed without any consequences for the perpetrators, or even acknowledgment of the offence, the path is clear for other similar acts to follow, large and small. Society is not shaken by stories of wrongdoing because the notion of crime itself has been diminished. Ordinary murders, thefts and rapes too can be made to disappear, or look like something that they are not. The culprits may just as soon be jilted lovers, local businesspeople or small time drug dealers as powerful politicians, army officers and their cronies; every type of criminal benefits when the crimes of the state are trivialised or made to disappear, because every type of law disappears along with the crimes themselves.

    Obviously, this does not mean that laws literally disappear, or along with them, judges and lawyers, but rather that the fair operation of law becomes less and less visible. There may be many crimes in the penal code, and many other laws to affirm people’s rights. There may be big buildings called courts and people in them with grand titles and clothes attesting to their authority. However, when blatant crimes have been committed and are then denied there is a dramatic failure in criminal procedure. The crimes exist and are known, yet there is no acknowledgement or investigation. There is no attempt to make an authentic record of criminality, let alone prosecute it.

    When the state denies responsibility to recognise and address crimes, as it has done in Thailand repeatedly in recent years, it reduces criminal prosecution to a legal ritual that for the most part is performed only against the poorest and least powerful. Once law is reduced to this, rationality is lost, and with it, history–not as a result of simple forgetfulness but for want of agreed references upon which it can be said that wrongs have been committed about which something must be done.

    In this respect the current government of Thailand is not, as many have posited, a break from the military regime that preceded it but rather, its extension. It is further setting back the nascent movement for genuine constitutional government and the rule of law that was begun with the abrogated 1997 Constitution, and so also notions of law and justice. The current prime minister is not the antithesis of the military dictator that preceded him but his continuation.

    While the Asian Human Rights Commission joins in the widespread condemnation of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s recent comments on the events of Tak Bai and Thammasat, it hopes that they will be an opportunity to recall and reinvigorate debate over these events and their respective places in the history of Thailand, especially the deaths in Narathiwat, which remain under investigation and for which three army officers have been identified as responsible but who have not been prosecuted.

    Beyond this, it hopes that his remarks will give rise to deeper discussion among persons in Thailand on why after many years of effort they have been unable to build up a widespread debate on criminal justice reform with which to break down the dominant rhetoric of the perpetrators of abuses and their supporters, and to build a culture of human rights.

    Thailand’s lack of an authentic narrative on its past is deeply connected with the long-term denial of the rule of law, the displacement of its constitutionalism and the growth of violence there. Persons concerned by the current prime minister’s comments must come to terms not only with his denial of history but also with the failure to build institutions for justice and defence of human rights. Otherwise, their lives will in coming years be made increasingly miserable, their society increasingly damaged by conflict.

  5. Thai Journalists Outraged at Samak’s Misspelling of 1976 Victim’s Name
    (NOT The Nation)

    BANGKOK – In a move being hailed by Thai journalists and historians nationwide as a necessary defense of truth and accountability, the Association of Thai Journalists has unanimously slammed the recent interview by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on CNN as “wholly inaccurate and misleading” due to the PM’s incorrect pronunciation and subsequent spelling of the name of the single victim of the October 1976 uprisings.

    According to CNN’s transcript of the interview dated February 10 with reporter Dan Rivers, Samak identified the single victim of the brutal suppression of left-wing student protesters at Thammasat University as “Manas Singhsien,” an artist who was beaten and burned by thugs and police on the grounds of Sanam Luang. According to the Association’s members, this is inaccurate and reflects a willful attempt at distortion.

    “His name was Manas Siensingh, not Singhsien,” said Pusadee Keetaworanart, the president of the group, which acts as a watchdog over the Thai news media to ensure accuracy in reporting. “This is a very well-known fact that is a matter of peer-reviewed historical record. For the Prime Minister to get this information wrong is absolutely shameful.”

    Other journalists were quick to add their agreement, including editorials in the Bangkok Post, which read in part “the leader of this nation must set an example for truth as well as reconciliation, and to butcher the name of the sole victim of that dark period in our history is to commit the crime all over again.” The Post made no mention of its own role in publishing the doctored photo of the mock-lynching performed by the students, altered to show an effigy of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, which sparked the crackdown and led to the killing of Manas.

    Even members of Samak’s PPP Party, who happened to be former members of the Thai Communist Party who were the targets of the right-wing crackdowns appear to be splitting with their leader over the controversial issue of correctly remembering the events of October 1976. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one former Communist-turned-TRT-turned-PPP member noted that “Having been there myself and witnessing the horrors of a bloodlust melee by the Red Gaurs, I can say with 100% certainty that the once victim was named Siensingh. I know this is controversial to say but I am old now and must think of my soul and make a stand for truth.”

    Samak himself shrugged off the outcry, insisting that the way he remembers the events was accurate enough. “Whatever his name was, he was a Communist, an anti-royalist, and a troublemaker, and thus deserved whatever happened to him,” the PM said at a press conference intended to highlight his new mass-transit initiatives, when a reporter asked him about the misspelling. “Names are not important, as long as we basically agree on what happened.”

  6. Pingback: A dirty history « Rule of Lords

  7. Pingback: What's the DUMBEST thing you ever heard from a Thai politician? - Ajarn Forum - Living and Teaching In Thailand

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