Thailand must try democratic alternative19 August 2015 Editorial Desk
Thailand fell victim to terrorist attack on Monday when a powerful blast at a popular shrine in a busy commercial hub rocked Bangkok killing 22 people and injuring 123 others. When the Thai authorities were busy to deal with the crisis a smaller blast was reported again on Tuesday however without casualties. Meanwhile, the question that immediately hits the impassionate mind anywhere is whether terrorism can be the right way to seek justice or fight back injustices in a particular society.
The Thai government is yet to know who have carried out the blasts but the question arises whether violence can be able to bring any benefit to people who perpetrated the crime of killing so many innocent lives.
More important is the question why despite a military government in power the terrorists could blast the bombs. But in our time, in the name of fight against terrorism what we are doing, as advanced by the West, is not proving helpful. The Western policy appears to prescribe that a strong government is necessary to fight terrorism. This is a basic mistake in the policy of the USA and other Western countries. In Thailand, the people's disaffection was met with military rule. Now real terrorism is emerging in an otherwise peaceful country. But in reality the undemocratic governments are terrorizing their own people to remain in power and eventually forcing the extremists to take up terrorist acts to hit back. The people also tolerate private terrorism.
It can't be said that Thailand is quite peaceful in recent years as the nation is sharply divided in domestic politics and fighting factional clashes. But the powerful bomb blasts and terrorist attacks appear to be a new experience to suggest that criminalization of the Thai society is entering into a new phase endangering the life of a peace-loving nation where people are always smiling to visitors with open-hearted hospitality. Many fear that these are the acts of militant groups opposed to the military regime which took over in 2014 removing an elected government; some others believe that Muslim insurgents from the south may have struck. There may be some other causes as well. But what cannot be denied is that the people are unhappy, angry and divided. The solution is not a military government.
We are emphasising on the lesson to be learned. Fight terrorism with weapons targetedly, but avoiding civilian causalities. In the fight against terrorists, help the governments to practice democratic rule of law and respect human rights. Don't allow the governments to become terrorists and expect to defeat terrorism.
Nobody has so far claimed the responsibility but the fact is that someone has carried out it and so many lives were lost. News report said the Thai parliament which is hand-picked by the military regime and comprised of senior police and military officials and royalist bureaucrats is going to adopt a new Constitution for the country next month. Most democratic forces have already criticized the draft as undemocratic and intended to prolong the military's grip on power denying democratic rule and politics.
We want Thai military government to think of democratic alternative. Political solution has to be found politically. So it should begin the process of reconciliation and unity.