Saturday, December 2, 2017

Translation of a letter by Watana Muangsook about a Pattern of Abuse of Young Soldiers



Below is a blog post of Watana Muangsook, member of the Peu Thai Party, translated by friends of Thai Alliance. The back story is that it looks like yet another young Thai soldier, this time a cadet, Pakapon Tanyakan died under horrific circumstances--based on the wounds on the body, possibly he was beaten to death. On top of that, there appears to be a coverup because his body was returned to the family with organs missing, including the brain, stomach, and bladder. This is the third notorious case of soldier abuse in 2017. Thai Alliance had just written an essay with recommendations on how to end solider abuse when this third case hit the news. The picture showing systematic abuse of Thai soldiers was shared by Watana Muangsook with his post.

“ดักดาน”
"Unmitigated"

โรงเรียนเตรียมทหารเป็นองค์กรของกองทัพที่ดำรงอยู่ได้ด้วยภาษีของประชาชน เป็นแหล่งผลิตบุคลากรออกไปรับใช้ประเทศชาติ แต่ทัศนคติของผู้ที่จบจากโรงเรียนแห่งนี้ เช่น รอง นรม. ที่บอกว่าการถูกซ่อมจนสลบเป็นการธำรงไว้ซึ่งวินัยและไม่ละเมิดสิทธิมนุษยชน หรือการสอบสวนสาเหตุการตายของ นตท. ภัคพงศ์ ตัญกาญจน์ ที่มิได้ปฏิบัติให้เป็นไปตามกฎหมายและไม่ยอมให้บุคคลภายนอกมาเกี่ยวข้อง สะท้อนให้เห็นถึงความป่าเถื่อนของวัฒนธรรมอำนาจนิยมของกองทัพที่ไม่เคารพกฎหมาย เป็นแดนสนธยาโดยใช้ความมั่นคงเป็นข้ออ้างเพื่อหลีกเลี่ยงการตรวจสอบ

The Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School is a joint military academy paid for by taxpayers. This institute is the first school that trains and educates new cadets, who eventually go out and serve the country. But the mindset of most alumni of this schools, such as that of General [Prawit Wongsuwon], who says that disciplinary correction to the point of loss of consciousness is necessary to maintain discipline and doesn’t infringe on human rights, or the investigation into the cause of death of Cadet Pakapong Tanyakan, which was unusual and didn’t follow the law, and outside investigators are not allowed to take part, reflects the extent of brutality of the authoritarian culture of the Armed Forces, who show no respect to the law. Thailand’s Armed Forces are a Twilight Zone who claim “security and stability” as an excuse to avoid scrutiny.

Help us End the Lese Majesty Law. Don't Put up the Picture!

จงช่วยกันล้มล้าง จงย่าแขวนรูปของเขา

Monday, November 20, 2017

Valuing the Sacrifice of Soldiers: How Thailand Could Fix a Corrupt Military System so Everybody Wins

By Ann Norman, Research by Red Eagle

If General Prayut Chan-ocha wanted to reform something and eliminate corruption, why didn’t he reform the military, which is something he was actually responsible for and is corrupt to its core?

The corruption in the military begins at the very start of a soldiers’ service. There is a draft for those young men who do not volunteer, and 1/3 of all those who go to the draft are selected for two years of service. This amounts to 100,000 conscripts per year. You can go the YouTube to see videos of the celebrations of those who are not selected and the tears of those who are. Incredibly, the rich will tell you very openly that they can avoid the risk entirely with a bribe.




I meant to write this article in April, after Private Yutthakinun Boonniam had been beaten and tortured while imprisoned in a military jail. In pictures taken at the hospital just before he died, his face was so swollen he was unrecognizable.

Then on November 12, 2017, yet another Thai conscript was beaten to death, 21-year old Adisak Noiphitak, just 10 days after he began his service. The autopsy report said he died of a sudden heart attack, but the family doesn’t believe it because when they received the body of their son, there were big bruises all over him. Pictures clearly reveal the lie by the army.

On Legends and Enlightenment: King Naresuan, King Mongkut, and Sulak Sivaraksa

ANN NORMAN·SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2017


Legendary Elephant Battle from Mural at Wat Suvandaram. From Wikipedia

The world is shaking its head again at the Thai government. The draconian lese majesty law is being used to defend a popular movie version of a legendary elephant duel between its own King Naresuan and Burmese Prince Mingyi Swa, which happened (if happened at all) in the 1500s. Charges of royal defamation (which threaten a possible 3-15 year sentence), have been brought against a famous intellectual, 85-year-old Sulak Sivaraksa, who apparently made some skeptical comments at a seminar in 2014. Sulak Sivaraksa is standing his ground. "My point is, if you want to learn history, you have to get all facts from the past as much as you can, and I just state the facts," he said. It may strike you as ironic that Sulak Sivaraksa, the latest victim in the escalating lese majesty witchhunt, actually describes himself as a royalist.

One is reminded of Galileo’s house arrest in 1634 after the Catholic Church charged him with heresy for arguing that the Earth goes around the Sun, contradicting the prevailing view that the Earth is the center of the universe. Not everyone knows the historical detail that Galileo was actually a devout Catholic. Galileo’s interest in correcting the Catholic Church was in part motivated by his fear that the Catholics would soon look foolish insisting that everything in the sky revolves around the Earth when people throughout the world would soon be looking up through their own telescopes and seeing, as he could see, the several moons revolving around Jupiter.

I’m also reminded that in the 1800s, King Mongkut, promoted the teaching of geography in Siam in a campaign to correct the then-prevalent belief in a flat Earth. This was a religious crisis for those Siamese who thought the Buddhist scriptures described a flat Earth. It was similarly obvious to King Mongkut that flat-Earth beliefs would appear foolish and backward to the many Westerners who were then beginning to flow into the country, and so King Mongkut actively promoted science throughout the Kingdom, most notably geography and astronomy.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

APEC/ASEAN: Prioritize Rohingya Crisis Address Deteriorating Rights Situations in Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia



For Immediate Release

APEC/ASEAN: Prioritize Rohingya Crisis
Address Deteriorating Rights Situations in Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia

(New York, November 9, 2017) – World leaders meeting for summits in Asia on November 10-14, 2017, should address Burma’s Rohingya crisis and the deteriorating human rights situations in Vietnam, the Philippines, and Cambodia, Human Rights Watch said today.

Heads of government from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), including the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Canada, Australia, and Mexico, will be meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, on November 10. Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be meeting in Manila, Philippines, on November 12, along with associated ASEAN side-summits with the US, European Union, Japan, and South Korea, among others. Most of these leaders will then attend the annual East Asia Summit in Angeles, north of Manila, on November 13-14.

Since August 25, the Burmese military has carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State. Security forces have committed massacres, rape, looting, and mass burnings of homes and property, causing the flight of more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh. Human Rights Watch has determined that the atrocities amount to crimes against humanity. The campaign has led several countries to suspend military engagement with Burma and reimpose targeted sanctions and travel restrictions on high-level military leaders. Tougher measures are needed to press Burma to end the abuses, acknowledge rampant rights violations, ensure the safety of the internally displaced, and give access to independent fact-finders.

“The Rohingya crisis is among the worst human rights catastrophes in Asia in years and demands concerted global action,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “World leaders shouldn’t return home from these summits without agreeing to targeted sanctions to pressure Burma to end its abuses and allow in independent observers and aid groups.”

The United Nations Security Council should impose an arms embargo and targeted economic sanctions and travel bans on military officials implicated in atrocities, Human Rights Watch said. While the Security Council has not passed a resolution condemning the abuses, on November 6 it issued a Presidential Statementexpressing concerns about the violence and calling on Burma to cooperate with UN bodies responsible for investigating the abuses. The Security Council should now take more meaningful action, but in the meantime concerned governments, especially those in Asia, can take coordinated bilateral or multilateral actions to impose targeted sanctions and travel bans.

Leaders at the Asia summits should jointly call on the Burmese government to allow access to northern Rakhine State by the UN fact-finding mission created by the Human Rights Council in 2016, as well as other UN human rights and humanitarian staff. UN Secretary-General António Guterres will be attending parts of the ASEAN and related summits in the Philippines, and UN General Assembly members are currently debating a resolution on Burma to be adopted later this year.

Leaders gathering in Asia should also be discussing the creation of judicial mechanisms to hold perpetrators of abuses in Burma accountable, including via the General Assembly and Human Rights Council. The Security Council should refer the situation in Burma to the International Criminal Court, Human Rights Watch said.

“The International Criminal Court was created precisely to deal with crimes against humanity like those being committed in Burma,” Adams said. “Members of the Security Council attending the Asia summits should be discussing referring the situation in Burma to The Hague.”

The plight of displaced Rohingya should also be addressed at the Asia summits, Human Rights Watch said. Leaders should be clear that their governments will oppose plans for displaced Rohingya that do not meet core international standards prohibiting forced returns, or returns that would result in further abuses. A discussion of the key issues can be found in Human Rights Watch’s “Ten Principles for Protecting Refugees and Internally Displaced People Arising from Burma’s Rohingya Crisis.”

Vietnam
During the APEC summit in Vietnam on November 10, visiting leaders should raise concerns about Vietnam’s escalating crackdown on dissidents and human rights defenders, Human Rights Watch said. Human Rights Watch recently compiled a list of 105 political prisoners in Vietnam, highlighting 15 cases in a campaign for their release. Dozens of other dissidents remain in arbitrary detention, awaiting trial.

“Vietnam’s abusive one-party state is hosting a major summit while more than a hundred dissidents are languishing in prison,” Adams said. “Visiting leaders concerned about human rights need to call on the Vietnam government to release these prisoners and stop prosecuting peaceful dissent.”

Prior to the summit, Vietnamese authorities have placed other activists under house arrest or summoned them for questioning, according to reports from local human rights advocates.

Under Vietnam’s criminal law, criticizing the government or Vietnamese Communist Party can be treated as a national security threat. The government does not allow independent political parties, labor unions, or human rights organizations. Approval is required for any public gathering and permission is never granted for meetings, marches, or protests that are political or criticize the government or party. Religious groups in Vietnam can only operate under government oversight. Authorities regularly monitor, harass, and sometimes use violence to break up religious groups that operate outside of official control.

In recent years, Vietnamese authorities have also been using new means to curb criticism and political activism, including physical and psychological harassment by plainclothes thugs, heavy police surveillance, extrajudicial house arrest, and pressure on employers, landlords, and family members of activists. Restriction on freedom of movement is used to prevent bloggers and activists from participating in public events or attending trials of dissidents. Outright physical assaults against dissidents continue to occur frequently.

Pressing Vietnam on human rights could help bring attention to other governments with poor rights records attending APEC, such as China and Russia.

“Why should it be a crime to criticize a government? That’s a question that ought to be asked of APEC’s Vietnamese hosts,” Adams said. “But it’s a question that will make other visiting leaders uncomfortable as well.”

Philippines
Leaders attending the ASEAN meetings and associated summits from November 12-14 will have an opportunity to raise concerns about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous “war on drugs,” a campaign of extrajudicial killings targeting drug dealers and users, whose victims are predominantly the urban poor, including children. The anti-drug campaign has also seriously harmed free speech and political space in the Philippines. The government in February detained an important critic of the “drug war,” Senator Leila de Lima, on spurious and politically motivated charges. President Duterte has repeatedly threatened human rights advocates and lawyers, and warned that he will impose martial lawnationwide.

“Surely someone from among the 20 world leaders at these summits can confront Duterte about his horrific and unprecedented ‘drug war’ killings,” Adams said. “Widespread summary executions of drug suspects are not just illegal, they are ineffectual and cruel.”

Counter-narcotics policies and addiction treatments in many countries around the world, including Canada and in the EU, have moved toward public health approaches emphasizing voluntary and community-based treatment. In the US, the federal government’s response to the opioid crisis has begun to emphasize drug dependence treatment over enforcement. President Donald Trump recently declared a public health emergency with respect to the opioid crisis, although his administration has not yet taken adequate action to implement a more public health oriented approach.

Cambodia
Leaders at the ASEAN summits should press Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to drop his government’s baseless legal attacks on the main opposition party, and demand the release of opposition politicians jailed on trumped-up charges, Human Rights Watch said.

Hun Sen has been in power for almost 33 years, making him the longest-serving head of government in Asia and nearly the longest-serving government leader in the world. His ruling party, the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), has long dominated Cambodia’s political system as the CPP-controlled police, army, and courts have used bogus legal charges, threats, bribes, and outright violence to maintain political control.

In recent months, the CPP has forced the closure of an important newspaper, stopped broadcasts of independent radio, and harassed human rights organizations. The government appears intent on eliminating the primary political opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). Only three months after the June commune elections in which the CNRP won 43 percent of seats, the government arrested one of CNRP’s leaders, Kem Sokha, on spurious charges of treason. The party’s former president, Sam Rainsy, remains in exile due to an earlier baseless case against him. Hun Sen has also threatened other CNRP legislators with prosecution. On November 16, Cambodia’s CPP-controlled Supreme Court is expected to rule on a politically motivated case whether to permanently dissolve the CNRP.

“As ASEAN meets, democracy is failing in Cambodia,” Adams said. “Cambodia’s friends should denounce Hun Sen’s efforts to reinstate one-party rule and demand that he drop the bogus legal cases against the political opposition and its leaders.”

Thailand
Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha led the May 2014 military coupousting Thailand’s democratically elected government. General Prayut’s junta rules Thailand with impunity, having banned political activity and peaceful assembly and arbitrarily detained thousands of people for criticizing the government, military, or monarchy, even for parodies and satire. More than 1,400 civilians await trial in military courts. Lese majeste (insulting the monarchy), sedition, and other charges are routinely used to suppress free speech and threaten dissidents.

The military junta’s promises to restore civilian democratic rule have been broken repeatedly, with proposed timelines and dates passing without progress. Even if an election date is set, without substantial reforms the process is unlikely to result in free and fair elections, Human Rights Watch said. Under an August 2016 constitution adopted by a deeply flawed referendum, the junta would still maintain control, with a junta-appointed Senate serving as the largest political force in parliament and having a direct role in selecting the prime minister.

“Thailand was once one of Asia’s leading democracies, but now it is stagnating under military rule,” Adams said. “Thailand’s allies should use the Asia summits to insist that improved relations depend on the government abandoning ‘managed democracy’ and restoring civilian democratic rule and political freedoms.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Asia, please visit:
https://www.hrw.org/asia

For more information, please contact:
In Washington, DC, John Sifton (English): +1-646-479-2499 (mobile); or siftonj@hrw.org. Twitter: @johnsifton
In Bangkok, Phil Robertson (English, Thai): +66-85-060-8406 (mobile); or robertp@hrw.org. Twitter: @Reaproy
In San Francisco, Brad Adams (English): +1-347-463-3531 (mobile); or adamsb@hrw.org. Twitter: @BradMAdams
In Washington, DC, Sarah Margon (English): +1-917-361-2098 (mobile); or margons@hrw.org. Twitter: @sarahmargon



Source: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/11/09/apec/asean-prioritize-rohingya-crisis
 

Meet Thai reporter Pravit Rojanaphruk as he picks up the International Press Freedom Award at Columbia

Anyone in the New York City area should totally check this out. Fearless Thai reporter Pravit Rojanaphruk is in the US to pick up his International Press Freedom Award and you can see him oi this panel discussion."มหาวิทยาลัยโคลัมเบีย มหาลัยที่มีชื่อเสียงด้านสอนวารสารศาสตร์มากที่สุดในโลกติดประกาศงานเสวนาที่เชิญผมไปร่วมเป็นวิทยากรแล้วในวันที่ 14 พฤศจิกายนนี้ที่ World Room ของพูลิสเซอร์ฮอล - สำหรับนักข่าว ผู้ถือเป็นเกียรติอันสำคัญยิ่งอีกครั้งหนึ่งในชีวิต #ป #เสรีภาพ #สื่อ #โคลัมเบีย #อเมริกา
Greatly honoured to b a panelist next Tuesday at Columbia University. #Juntaland #Thailand #pressfreedom #IPFA" - Pravit Rojanaphruk

The soft re-opening of Music of Thai Freedom

We're BACK with lots of new songs and all the old songs of Thai Freedom!!! This one "เผด็จเกิร์ล" ("Dictatorship-Girl") also has an English language title: "No Reason." This is a slick mainstream pop song, with the criticism of the junta very thinly disguised as a criticism of a dictatorial girlfriend. YOU WILL ENJOY IT!!!!

http://musicofthaifreedom.com/dictatorship-no-reason/

Monday, October 9, 2017

On Freedom of Expression – in Thailand, Myanmar, and the World

 
by an Anonymous poster

I guess that Thais would respond:

“Look at Myanmar and what they do with Rohingya! So what do you want from us when its our country anyway, and at least we have peace now?”
It hard to believe what Thailand went through over the years. The situation there is already more than difficult enough, but compared to Myanmar for example, we should be maybe glad to see a ray of light given that the whole situation in Thailand is much more relaxed than in a country of Rohingya-killing freaks. This coming not only from military, but even from Buddhists civilians who appear to be working work together hand in hand, but at the very least agree with each other to perform such an inhuman horror scenario over their biggest minority population!
And yes, the lack of freedom of expression in Myanmar is of course not the major problem, as we are now seeing that genocide, but we surely must realize from where it comes from – not only from the fact of cultural and religious differences, but from the fact that the communication between both parts was not only limited naturally, but also restricted artificially by oppression over all those years, which has led to such misunderstandings, hate, frustration, violence, and pure blind enemy feelings that we have arrived at an inquisition-like medieval or fascist state, where genocide is even widely understood as a ‘normal’ ‘logical’ solution.
IT IS PURELY DISGUSTING, how lack of and oppression of free expression in this country has led to this maldevelopment, where even the positive democratic change was obviously not enough to help find a better way for the biggest(!) minority. It is the result of saying the Rohingya don’t belong to the country!
Right now, suffering people of Rohingya must stay the main focus of attention, but attending to the speech by David Kay (UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression), on October 6, the world must understand once more what deep and huge impact and danger the lack of freedom of expression can have for societies, which do not care enough about this, and what can it mean for those countries where this freedom is granted officially but is sometimes not valued enough–that this could even turn to some nightmares that nobody could foresee in time to prevent.
The whole world is moving and let’s hope into a right and MORE
COMMUNICATIVE direction and not to its self-destruction!
PEACE HAS TO BE PERFORMED BY OPEN AND HONEST COMMUNICATION & CONVERSATION NOT BY IGNORANCE, LIMITATION OF EXPRESSION OR EVEN CENSORSHIP, OPPRESSION AND ARMED EXTORTION !!!

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Truth of October 6, 1976: A Student Massacre that Still Waits for Answers



By Ann Norman
FIRST POSTED NOVEMBER 6th, 2016;

Truth is a thing that doesn’t die ความจริงคือสิ่งที่ไม่ตาย—as the saying goes. And one day we may know the truth of the Thammasat University Massacre, of 50 to 100 student demonstrators on October 6, 1976. That day college students were killed by an army, police, and vigilante mob in ways so gruesome you can’t ever “unsee” the images. Not only were the students butchered in various and unusual ways, but their dead bodies were desecrated and even raped. The iconic picture from this event is the bloodied and lifeless body of a young person, hanging from a tree, being beaten with a folding chair, while a circle of people watch, some smiling. In addition to the dead, thousands were arrested and were made to strip to the waist and crawl on the ground as a form of humiliation. The event was instigated by accusations that the students were communists and that they had insulted the Crown Prince. In fact, the students had been protesting the return of an exiled dictator to Thailand as well as the assassination of a labor activist. Many of the demonstrators, who had not previously been communists, were radicalized by the shocking turn of events and fled into the jungle to join the communists for several years. A day after the massacre, a coup replaced the democratic government with yet another dictatorship. No one was ever prosecuted for the massacre; everyone involved was granted amnesty.

What makes this tragedy especially difficult to understand or accept is that only three years earlier, on October 14, 1973, a similar pro-democracy student uprising had ended in victory for the demonstrators, and that event continues to be celebrated today. Songs are still being written for the heroes of October 14—while those who died three years later on October 6 are ignored or regarded with suspicion, as if they possibly share some blame for being attacked by a bloodthirsty mob.
What exactly happened October 6 and why? The facts are still discoverable: it occured in modern times, the victims were from the educated middle class, there were thousands of witnesses (now only being in their late 50s or early 60s), and the whole thing was filmed. (The images are distressing and you may not want or need to see them. But if you need proof, just google.) Because so many progressive Thais were there that day, it is unsurprising that I happen to know several of them, just as most Americans know someone directly affected by 9/11. Yet despite the opportunities to discover the truth about October 6 and learn from it, no consensus has emerged as to what happened, how it happened, and or why. And this is due to an active and ongoing campaign to silence the questions before they are even asked. How many died? Who is responsible? How can we prevent it from ever happening again?


This year, just prior to the 40 anniversary of the event, The Nation ran an article with a promising title: “Lessons to be learned from the October 6, 1976 heartbreak.” Such lessons presumably come from an examination of history, so I was surprised when the article began with attempt to shame and discourage those planning memorials for the 40th Anniversary: “Next week, several groups are planning to commemorate the tragedy of October 6, 1976. Indications suggest a large sum of ‘mysterious’ money has been made available to finance any group that can organize provocative commemorative projects.”

Of course, there is a longstanding tradition in Thailand of condemning October 6 memorials as “provocative.” In 2013, to mark the October 6 anniversary, a group Thammasat students staged a play called “Wolf Bride.” Two students Patiwat ‘Bank’ Saraiyam (a man) and Pornthip ‘Golf’ Munkong (a woman) went to jail for two and a half years for lese majesty for putting on that play, and several other young actors had to flee the country to avoid lese majesty charges.

Commemorations for the anniversary in 2014 were cancelled because of the ban on political gathering in the wake of the coup. This year, for 40th Anniversary of the massacre, Thammasat students invited Joshua Wong of the 2014 Hong Kong Umbrella Protests to come speak. But Wong was prevented from entering the country by immigration officials who surrounded him as soon as the plane landed. When he demanded to know why he was being detained, one warned him, “You know this is Thailand, it’s like China. Not like Hong Kong.” (Recall that in 1976, the Thammasat students were massacred after being branded as “communists.” Forty years on, Thai official now SIDE with communists to suppress the speech of Thammasat students trying to commemorating that massacre! The whole geopolitical context can change, but nothing changes for Thai students demanding democracy.)

And why can’t we talk about October 6? The strong message from the powers-that-be is that talking about the event will be unpleasant and messy, and make it harder for the country to come together around national symbols of the monarchy.

That much is true, as rabid royalists played a lead role in the events, and US diplomatic cables report that King Bhumipol at first appeared to treat the massacre as a necessary cost of doing business (in the war on communism) rather than a crime against humanity. The cables are shocking, but not all that shocking. US leaders have been equally accepting of “collateral damage” at certain points in history. Lots of horrible, ugly things happened in the 60s and 70s, both in Thailand and in America, during the war on communism. It was a time of social unrest, student protests, anti-communist fervor, war atrocities, secret undercover government activities, and yes even massacres.
This year, in reading an article (that I can no longer access) on the October 6th event, I learned that the worst of the atrocities on October 6, such as the iconic hanging, may have been committed by a small group set up by the Thai equivalent of the US CIA. Reading Wikipedia, I learned that that secret Thai organization was funded by the US CIA to fight communism. A serious investigation of October 6 is likely to dig up a lot of dirt that is uncomfortable to personal and national self-perceptions in either or both countries. It could lead anywhere. So why not reconcile, move on, and just forget the ugly past?

This is why we can’t give it up: Because, in Thailand, 40 years after the massacre, Thais are STILL living under dictators; students are still trying to speak out about democracy, and they are still being shut down by those who brand them as dangerous troublemakers who disrespect royalty. There are still hysterical witch hunts. Leaders still look for scapegoats on which they can lay the blame for all of Thailand’s troubles. And there is still a culture of impunity, that lets the well-connected get away with literally ANYTHING.

And this is why tragedy of October 6, 1976, still haunts. This is why those who were affected cannot just forgive and move on. I asked someone who was there what I should write for this article. They said “Tell them we were just trying to speak up; the students had no rights to speak.” And the students still cannot speak freely; they are still bullied and abused at the whims of the powerful. It is difficult to fix a problem if we can’t even acknowledge that problem. When I practice my new-found Thai saying, “Truth is a thing that doesn’t die” on my Thai friends, twice I have twice gotten the reply, “Truth is a thing that doesn’t die. But in Thailand, people who say the truth might end up dead.” Similarly, one Thai human rights group commemorated the 40th Anniversary by selling black T-shirts that say, “I think, therefore I am dead” and the date: “40th 6 October, 1976.”

Isn’t it time to start fresh, and build society on a new foundation of truth and human rights? A society that is built on a foundation of happy myths is vulnerable to truth; and it must brutally and continually defend its inconvenient secrets by suppressing the human rights of students and others interested in pursuing facts where they lead. This month a representative of the Thai Alliance for Human Rights will be going to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to report on this massacre and other massacres in Thai history that could be labeled crimes against humanity. Neither Thailand (nor the United States) is a signatory to the Rome Treaty establishing the International Criminal Court, and crimes cannot be retroactively prosecuted even if Thailand does in the future decide to sign on. But at least, our organization will have a chance to report the crimes and be heard. And it indicates a method that Thai people could plausibly use in the future to hold even its most powerful people accountable, to end the culture of impunity, and so discourage future crimes against humanity.