Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Whose Blood do The Red Shirts Have on Their Hands? - Their Own of Course
All morning specially set up blood donation points have been extracting claret from the arms of red shirt protesters in central Bangkok Thousands are queuing to have their vein spiked in the name of democracy. The blood will be thrown around the entrances to government buildings at 3pm this afternoon, in a symbolic act akin to scene from a Sam Raimi movie.
The political significance of this move has to be questioned. Yes I agree, a point is being made, but with the clock ticking and peoples’ patience on both sides wavering, could efforts be used more effectively to achieve the movement’s main aim? – Dissolution of the lower parliament resulting in subsequent snap election.
The last few days have seen the red shirts frustrations grow with Prime Minister Abhisit brushing away their ultimatum with typical Ox-Bridge nonchalance. The message is clear: this government is not for budging.
Aside from the obvious health risks associated with throwing blood around in central Bangkok (in a country with a high aids rate), one has to wonder what tangible political gains will result from all this mayhem?
This sadomasochistic act certainly is a graphic and original show of defiance, but its measurable political impact remains to be seen. After all, Prime Minsiter Abhisit’s government is highly unlikely to change their mind and dissolve the parliament as a result.
The balance of power seems to be slipping away from a red movement that is visibly running out of steam and resorting to seemingly more desperate measures to bolster their campaign.
Fellow Thai blogger Somtow Sucharitkul summed up the situation perfectly with this masterstroke of close reasoning. ‘I suppose that the red shirts' other measures, such as breaking a pot in front of the statue of King Taksin, calling down a curse on the government, throwing plastic bags of rotten fish, and having the ex-PM descend through the airwaves from a place variously described as Germany, Cambodia, and Montenegro, have not worked. They were all very imaginative methods of bringing about political change, but when you have the all the resources of witchcraft and the supernatural at your disposal, why stoop to such mundane devices as, for instance, lobbying one of the smaller parties to switch sides so as to shift the balance of power?’
The question is how much longer is the collective ‘jai yen yen’(Thai phrase – ‘Have a cool heart.’) going to last before all hell breaks loose, and the streets of Bangkok are once again dripping with blood – this time non-consensually.