"Protesters leaving PM office
Supporters will now move to Bangkok's airports to reinforce a crippling week-long blockade. -Mon, Dec 01, 2008 AFP
BANGKOK - ANTI-government protesters started on Monday to abandon the prime minister's offices in central Bangkok, which they have occupied since late August, a spokesman for the demonstrators said.
Supporters will now move to Bangkok's airports to reinforce a crippling week-long blockade, said Ms Anchalee Paireerak, a spokesman for the People's Alliance for Democracy protest movement.
'It's too risky to stay at Government House because of repeated attacks against us,' Ms Anchalee told AFP. 'All of us have started to move now, we expect to complete the movement this evening.' "
I have been observing the unfolding of this uniquely Thai anti-government rally and blockage and what-have-you without commenting a word until now. It is another friendly neighbour's internal politic and it is inappropriate to comment. However, as the protests moved to include inconveniencing foreigners who visit your country with friendly intention, it gets a bit too real. In addition, there are clear sign of escalation of violence being used by SOME of the participants. This is forced upon MANY MORE participants who are just INNOCENT and PEACE LOVING Thai patriots.
The game has been hijacked by some people bent on getting their way even if it meant sacrificing some innocent lives! This is disturbing.
Lessons for me are:
1. as leaders we need to articulate clearly the rules of the game. Thailand is a democratic society. The government is democratically elected by popular votes. Though there were contentious issues involving the last poll, the findings by and large had shown that when complaints were investigated and the culprits did commit fraud or any other illegal election laws, they were removed and trialed and punished accordingly. So, it is a legally elected government by the election law! We have to acknowledge this fact;
2. as leaders we need to put the life of other ahead of our motives. When our motives put our people's lives in danger, we have to be very careful. While some will say that in any 'worthy revolution' bloodshed is inevitable, I do not think leaders should make that decision frivolously and selfishly. Unless you are willing to be at the front and risk your life, you have no right to ask other to risk theirs!;
3. as leaders it is critical that we rein in some of our people who break the peace-at-all-cost rule we set. We cannot accept excuses that they reacted that way because they were provoked or they were simply trying to protect our rights! There can be no excuse! This must be made clear to our people on rules of engagement!
I am not saying we respond in a cowardly manner. I am saying as a strong leader, the overall situation is more important than just 1 selfish motive of removing someone we don't like!
May Thailand finds the balance and be a country that bring stability to the whole of South East Asia region!