Rewriting history

As we have pointed out previously, the death of the king and the beginning of Vajiralongkorn’s reign has seen an effort to rewrite history. Such a process is not new or even unexpected as the military dictatorship “manages” the early period of the new reign.

We mentioned a network of tame authors and journalists who mythologize the monarchy.

We also noted the propaganda work of political commentator Thitinan Pongsudhirak. Then, we pointed to one of his recent op-ed at the Bangkok Post as an attempt to rewrite history. In that post we pointed to Thitinan’s developing royalist credentials in his pathetic ode to the dead king.

He just gets worse. Thitinan’s latest op-ed cobbles royalist lies. Or you might think that Thitinan has reverted to a pre-1932 mindset, aligned with the thrust of the military dictatorship.

For some reason, Thitinan decides that the most significant feature of Thailand’s modern history is the dead king’s reign. Ditching military rule, constitutionalism, elections, capitalism and much more, he hacks out a royalist lie:

the period that has run its course stems from King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s long and remarkable reign that shaped the country’s socio-political setting and economic development over 70 years.

Yes, that’s the dead king having shaped everything.

He praises the dictatorship as “popular” and royalist:

Thailand … has had a government from a military coup that the vast majority of Thai people — as measured by the Aug 7 charter referendum which passed by a convincing margin with a large turnout, for example — have more or less accepted during their once-in-a-lifetime royal transition.

He praises the dictatorship for its monarchism:

As the coup-makers under the National Council for Peace and Order [he means the junta] have successfully facilitated the royal transition into the new reign…

Thitinan rewrites history as king’s history in a way that justifies decades of monarchy-military political domination and repression:

For 15 years after Thailand’s political change from absolutism to constitutionalism in 1932, for example, Thai politics was topsy-turvy and swung wildly until King Bhumibol’s reign got under way and became consolidated in the 1950s-70s. Thai politics was never smooth thereafter but it spawned a political order that people accepted, embraced or became accustomed to.

This is errant nonsense and ignores the thousands of Thais who were jailed or killed for opposing authoritarian regimes. He babbles about any political transition in Thailand being in the hands of dead king and his successor, where cremations and coronations determine political events.

No, this is not 1868 or 1629. This is Thitinan conjuring a royalist future.

Like other flunkies, Thitinan does the junta’s propaganda by “justifying” and “election” in 2018 based on royal events and junta “road maps.” We can only guess at the rewards that result from such obsequious servility.


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