Source: Choltanutkun Tun-atiruj/ Thisrupt
Student flash mobs. Hashtags that make you chuckle. Posters that make you cringe. To understand what is happening in the chaotic mess that is our beloved country, we must analyse the issue rationally.
Put names such as Prayuth Chan-ocha, Thaksin Shinawatra and Thanatorn Juangroongruangkit inside the back pocket of our ripped jeans for the time being.
Personalities confuse the issue, because people have so much emotional investment in them – love, hatred and all the rest. Emotional investment makes even normally intelligent people succumb to the silliest perception.
How? Love is blind, deaf and dumb. We all have been there.
There was democracy, for about two minutes
Following the Constitution Court’s verdict to dissolve the Future Forward Party and ban its executive committee from politics for 10 years, some 30 university and high school campuses organized peaceful protests against the decisions.
One Chulalongkorn student offered an insight that many “poo-yai” (elders) fail to see, or do not want to see. She said, “We are united out of love. Not love for the Future Forward Party, but love for democracy. There’s also hatred, but it’s not hatred for the government, it’s hatred for injustice.”
Key words, love of democracy and hatred of injustice.
Following the 1932 Revolution, Phraya Manopakorn was selected as prime minister. There was never a national election. In less than a year, Phraya Phahonphonphayuhasena launched a coup and took power. There was never a democracy.
It began with two aristocrats, each with a lordly title, at the helm. Then the list of prime ministers are filled with field marshals and generals, with a few “Khun” (Misters here and there, and one Miss).
In some 88 years since 1932, we might have been a young-and-fragile democracy for about two minutes total. For the rest, we are either an outright military dictatorship, a civilian government under the control of the military or a sort-of-democracy plus 250 junta-appointed senators and a funny calculator.
Key words, military, dictatorship and the aristocratic title “Phraya”.
This means it was never about the people. Rather, it has always been a corrupt system that affords privilege to the elite minority, who reaps wealth and power from it.
In this, there is no fairness. There is no justice.
I’ve got 99 problems, but democracy ain’t one
What do the students want?
Well, they do not want to live under a system in which a small group of people can do whatever they want, while the rest are subjugated under arbitrary laws, state intimidations and guns pointing at our heads (ie, coups and dictatorships).
They want the road to their future paved with a governing system based on fairness and justice — good governance, if you will.
But good governance can’t be found in a system of sort-of-democracy with junta-appointed 250 senators and a funny calculator. If — as many have argued — the ruling party won the election without the 250 senators, then all the more reason to change the constitution.
Biased rules are neither fair nor just, and are the cause of social injustice.
Wanting fairness and justice is not “hating the nation”. If someone “manipulates” them into standing up and speaking out for fairness and justice, give that person a fist-bump and buy him/her a beer. Well done.
In fact, these students are demonstrating their love for this nation in its entirety. This is because they want the same standard of fairness and justice for all 69 million people, rather than privilege for the elites and leftover for the masses.
Another Chulalongkorn student said last week: “I would like to tell you; we are not innocent and we are not stupid. We are not manipulated by any one group. We are here for our future. We want our future back.”
69 is a great number, embrace it
We cannot build a country based on fairness and justice, if the rule of law (the constitution) favors the privileged few. The constitution is the body of laws that forms the backbone of a country. We either walk straight, or walk crooked. A country with a crooked backbone is a country ruled by a corrupt system.
Democracy is flawed, because as with everything else in life, it can be abused and corrupted by individuals. But as an ideology, it is noble in its intentions. Rights, liberty and equality, who doesn’t want them?
The ruling elites love rights and liberty so much, they want to keep most of it for themselves. As for equality, we would only hate it, because we want to enjoy more rights and liberty than everyone else.
Hence, the unfair and unjust system we’ve been living under for most of the past 88 years, including the current sort-of-democracy with junta-appointed 250 senators and a funny calculator.
A country’s future cannot be invested in cults of personalities or institutions that represent the minority. Sustainable development relies on investment in democratic governance — human rights, civil liberty and equality under the law — for all 69 million Thais, from the richest to the poorest. Even if there will always be individuals trying to corrupt it.
A corrupt individual can be put in jail. A corrupt system puts the people in jail.
Don’t stall or stop the future. Join the students and make it happen.