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His Majesty's words versus Dr Rienthong's

Our monarchy must be rigorously protected, but the way we are enforcing our lese majeste laws goes totally counter to His Majesty's clearly expressed wishes. Consider the Rubbish Collection Organisation of Dr Rienthong Nana, set up to "exterminate" those who "insult" the monarchy.

What would Rienthong think of somebody who broadcast this: "The King is a human being and as such should be subject to criticism. Charges against those accused of lese majeste should be dropped, and those held in jail for lese majeste should be released. The use of the lese majeste law ultimately damages the monarchy." That's Grossman and Faulder quoting His Majesty. Would Dr Rienthong think that the speaker was insulting the monarchy, and, if so, what does the doctor propose to do with the speaker? Who makes more sense to you - the doctor or His Majesty? To me, the King makes total sense.

Consider the case of Amphon Tangnoppakul, aka Uncle SMS, then 60, sentenced to a staggering 20 years in jail for allegedly sending four SMS messages to Democrat Party leader Abhisit's secretary that were deemed defamatory to Her Majesty the Queen. He was sentenced while Yingluck was prime minister. The case aroused much controversy in Thailand and overseas, especially since it was far from clear that Uncle SMS had, in fact, sent the messages. Both the Democrats and Thaksin & Co have been of one mind in not only ignoring, but going directly contrary to His Majesty's wishes, as has Dr Rienthong - while expressing the utmost love and devotion.

I suggest that if our King thought the message important enough to broadcast during his birthday address, we should carefully consider what His Majesty means, debating the issue the length and breadth of the land. If what he says makes sense, we should change our laws accordingly. Or, if we decide that His Majesty has overlooked some points, we should show where he was in error.

Let's not let our leaders so consistently be hypocrites with one whom we love so much.

Burin Kantabutra

Bangkok


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