Saturday, 2 June 2007

Worries for a beautiful country

The British, well British backpackers at least, are in love with Thailand. I've been there three times in the past two years and there is a lot to like about the place. Known as The Land of Smiles sums up the country pretty well; welcoming, tolerant and progressive.

As a committed democrat I was sad to hear about the coup just before my visit in 2006. I felt it was a step backwards. However, on the streets it didn't seem to change much. There were no visible police or soldiers and it wasn't a topic of conversation. The locals didn't seem too bothered.

No government is ever popular with all of its citizens and all governments pass the odd piece of duff legislation. In many aspects the military junta isn't that bad. However, they have passed a number of laws restricting press freedom and some internet sites have been banned. This week the junta appointed Constitutional Court banned the largest political party Thai Rak Thai headed by the ousted Prime Minister Thaksin. The committee appointed to write the new constitution has inserted a number of suspect articles.

The Economist
has a thoughtful article concluding that a return to liberal democracy must be step further away after this week's ruling.

I don't like Western Imperialism, but I do believe in democracy and I hope Thailand returns there soon.


  1. It does seem to me as an outsider to be a backward step, but you have to consider that perhaps the previous government wasn't particularly "democratic" in the sense that we know it.

    I confess to not knowing enough about it to comment sensibly - but I think the King knows what he's doing and if whatever government does something "too far" he will make sure it is undone!

  2. The Economist article suggests that even the King was against the banning of a political party!

    Agreed that is is dangerous to meddle in another country's politics and most Thai's don't seem too bothered and it is their country.

    I guess that is the joy of a blog, posting some thoughts and seeing what other people think.