i've been trying to closely follow the situation in thailand. i'm always interested in protest, whether i find it effective or justified or not. the situation in thailand is interesting because it sits at a strange interstice of justified and effective. is the current prime minister somchai wongsawat's associations with the past prime minister thaksin shinawatra reason enough to oust him from his position? it's hard for me to understand the differences in perspective between the urban thai and the rural folk. i do think however that if a people is seriously concerned and unhappy with the process in which their government operates, it must do everything in its power as a collective to change that government. the protests in thailand, the takeover of the airports, have paralyzed the country. these people are affecting a response from their actions, they have affected their own agency. while the desired response from the government has arrived for the thai protesters yet, i think it remarkable that such a group effort could be effective in this way. taking over an airport seems to be what it takes.
so here's the response from our government and the european union as quoted in an article from the new york times this morning:
"The United States State Department called the airport seizures 'not an appropriate means of protest' and urged protesters to 'to walk away from the airports peacefully.'
"European Union ambassadors in Bangkok issued a statement that called the seizures of the airports 'totally inappropriate.'
"'We urge the protesters to evacuate the airports peacefully without delay in order to avoid a major consular crisis and its economic consequences for Thailand,' the European ambassadors said."
i read this and was appalled. inappropriate? certainly the international community should be concerned that thailand, the government, society, and commerce, has been paralyzed and the protest could potentially be economically devastating. but a people must do whatever it takes to affect change. and who are we to call this effort inappropriate when we invaded a country to change its governmental regime for that country, democratic philanthropists that we are. i think this statement by the state department is completely inappropriate. who ever issued this statement could not even offer a solution or a constructive comment in regard to the situation. he or she just offers this chiding comment directed toward the citizenry of thailand.