Sinking farmers

The junta is now playing navies. It isn’t sinking ships, it is sinking farmers, all in the name of  protecting its Bangkok-based supporters.

Readers may recall that the giant 2011 floods were all blamed on Yingluck Shinawatra and her government. Some of those criticisms were fair, especially regarding initial coordination of agencies. Many were politicized attacks, essentially blaming Yingluck’s government for the weather.

The junta has been saying for a couple of months that floods were not likely to be a problem. This was narrowed to assure Bangkok and some of the industrial estates (flooded in 2011) that there was no likelihood of flooding in 2016.

In fact, there is widespread flooding this year, as there has long been in Thailand’s wet season. As in 2011, it is unfair to blame the junta for the weather. That said, the junta can be chastised for making stupid claims that there won’t be floods and for poor coordination and for its lack of concern for farmers.

The Bangkok Post: has decided that farmers in Ayutthaya can be flooded up to their necks as authorities “divert flood water in riverside communities to water-retention areas [sic.] to reduce the impact of the floods.” They mean reduce the impact for Bangkok and surrounding areas.

The flooding of rice fields to about 1.5-2 meters follows the “advice” of the king on how to flood farmers and protect Bangkok, called kaem ling.

Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has declared that “the government has tried its best to prevent run-off from the North from flowing into Bangkok.”

He “urged affected farmers whose farmland is being used for retaining flood water to understand the need to divert water into their paddy fields.” He seems to be telling them to understand that Bangkok and its people trump farmers, their houses, stock, crops and families. That is, after all, the political message to rural people since the coup.


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