January 16, 2014 00:00
By PRAVIT ROJANAPHRUK
ACADEMIC SAYS BANGKOKIANS MUST BE READY FOR A LONG STRUGGLE
THE ANTI-GOVERNMENT People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) should be prepared for a longer and more protracted fight than it imagined – but its supporters should be willing to endure, renowned scholar Thirayuth Boonmee said yesterday.
Thirayuth acknowledged that |the PDRC consists of a minority in Thai society, mostly from the Bangkok-based middle classes and people from the South. But he argues that the those who voted for the Yingluck Shinawatra administration have forfeited their rights by accepting a corrupt and dictatorial government, which would have to be removed through a “people’s revolution”.
Asked by The Nation what he would do if the “revolution” succeeded and pro-government red shirts in turn staged a huge de-|monstration to oust the new regime installed by PDRC, Thirayuth said |he would beg the red shirts not to |do so.
A plea to the red shirts
“I would apologise. I would prostrate and apologise to them and tell them that [Yingluck and her older brother, ousted and fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra] are really abusive and corrupt, though they were elected.”
Thirayuth said civil war was still a possibility although he believed Thais were not that violent. “I hope it won’t happen.”
He urged the PDRC to recruit more grassroots people to join their struggle, adding that elites tended to be selfish fence-sitters and would only come out when the conflict was over.
“I admit that we’re not the majority voice, that we are not the voice of the whole nation. But no revolution is ever carried out by the majority,” said Thirayuth.
The scholar who himself came from a humble background also acknowledged a class dimension in the current crisis but played it down as a minor factor.
“I admit there exists discrepancies among the various classes. This is a sensitive issue but we shouldn’t use it to create a discourse that city-dwellers look down on provincial folks.”
Thirayuth didn’t specify how long the struggle would continue, but said perhaps PDRC leaders should also think about taking a break for themselves and their supporters and resume the fight later after the Bangkok “shutdown”, since it has so far failed to remove the caretaker Yingluck administration from power.
Thirayuth, who held a press conference at the Thai Journalists Association, said the chance of military intervention is slimmer this time as even some members of the PDRC made it clear they would not go home if there was a military coup. He said the chance of His Majesty the King intervening to end the crisis was also very slim due to His Majesty’s advanced age, adding that it would be best to leave the Palace out of the feud.