I have taken the liberty of putting together a selection of key quotes from academic commentators who have turned their attention to Thailand’s political standoff in recent days. If New Mandala readers find other useful insights please feel free to suggest them as comments.
“The People’s Alliance for Democracy is not a pro-democracy movement…The present crisis is in part a real conflict between two very different classes in Thailand, the urban middle class and the working class.”
– Professor Charles Keyes, University of Washington, quoted in Seth Mydans, “Thai protestors target utilities”, The New York Times, 1 September 2008.
“The PAD has no legitimacy anymore. It has become a very right-wing, conservative and intolerant group…They say they are pursuing direct democracy, but if so they must accept and obey the rule of law. This is direct anarchy.’’
– Dr. Naruemon Thabchumpon, Chulalongkorn University, quoted in Marwaan Macan-Markar, “Politics-Thailand: Talk of Anarchy”, IPS News, 1 September 2008.
“If this crisis ends in bloodshed, regardless of the cause, the prime minister must leave office.”
– Associate Professor Panitan Wattanayagorn, Chulalongkorn University, quoted in Simon Montlake, “Thailand’s political stalemate deepens”, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 September 2008.
“The government has the upper hand; the PAD has broken the law and lost some legitimacy…Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has the court orders, a close relationship with the military, and access to the King. Time is on the government’s side, but it will be a prolonged stand-off.”
– Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak, quoted in Nirmal Ghosh, “No sign of way out”, The Straits Times, 29 August 2008.
“I don’t think the parties can sit down and talk this out because it’s past that point…We’ve already been here 100 days and we can keep going.”
– Kanjanasit Chinnapha, Assumption University, quoted in Rattaphol Onsanit and Daniel Ten Kate, “Samak Rejects Call for Election as Protests Continue (Update1)”, Bloomberg, 1 September 2008.
“I think the military will support Samak to the point that he doesn’t crack down on the demonstrators…To crack down on the (pro-royalist) PAD would not be well received by the military.”
– Associate Professor Panitan Wattanayagorn, Chulalongkorn University, quoted in “No quitting”, The Bangkok Post, 30 August 2008.
“This is a political struggle and it is only natural that the PAD had to violate some laws. But it has not committed any crime against human beings. Mahatma Gandhi also broke many British laws during his struggle.”
– Professor Sombat Thamronthanyawong, National Institute of Development Administration, quoted in Achara Ashayagachat, “Playing the foreign card”, The Bangkok Post, 29 August 2008.
“Samak’s government is far from perfect. Nevertheless, it is the product of an electoral and parliamentary process. That warts-and-all process provides the best hope for stable and peaceful political development in Thailand. The People’s Alliance for Democracy don’t just want to change the Government, they want to overrule the electoral system itself.”
– Nicholas Farrelly and Dr. Andrew Walker, “Raising heat in hope of a crack”, The Canberra Times, 2 September 2008.