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National reform in a divided society?

People are expressing concern that sustainable national reform cannot take place in a divided society filled with hatred. But we must ask ourselves, "When did our society become so divided by such hatred?" Since Suthep began to organise the PDRC? I doubt it. This is just the last-stage symptom of what has gone wrong with our democracy.

Some may argue, "Isn't it normal in a democracy for the voice of the majority to prevail?" Not if that majority stops listening to the voice of minority altogether.

If Thaksin and his allies are sincere about democracy, they should have gradually developed communities at the grassroots level instead of gaining support through populist policies, which can be compared to steroids that build up short-term strength but weaken the body in the long run.

Those protesting against the PDRC say it is undemocratic in using extra-parliamentary means to force change.

But all the PDRC is proposing is that there should be some space left in the middle for the two sides to iron out their differences.

One of the problems in finding a compromise in the current political stalemate is the lack of trust between the two sides. If the government is sincere in initiating real reform, it should have agreed to set up a neutral national reform committee acceptable to all parties. It should have unconditionally agreed to abide by its recommendations after the election. Instead it used people who lack neutrality and credibility. No wonder it failed to gain widespread support.

Both sides should realise that, if the conflict ends in bloodshed, no one will gain anything and it will make the task of national reform much more complicated.

Anan Pakvasa

Bangkok


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