Please Keep it Straight, CNN and Amnesty International
To Amnesty International / CNN
After reading your staff Benjamin Zawacki's comment on CNN that the Thai government uses live rounds "against persons who are unarmed and present no credible threat", as a Thai citizen living in Bangkok, I have the the duty to response to your staff's distorted opinion.
If Mr. Zawacki is a well-informed person, he would have known that there are pictures and video documentations from news sources, both local and international, of armed protesters using deadly weapons (M79 grenades and M16 rifles) against military personals, using infants, children and women as human shield, destroying public properties/looting and putting the well-being of innocent people around the demonstration areas at risk by burning rubber tires. The violent nature of these protesters serve to destroy the lives of people in Bangkok and disrupt the fragile economy of our country.
You commented that the soldiers are using live rounds against the protesters, but you failed to mention that factions of the protesters are using even deadlier weapons and that the soldiers are only defending themselves! If the government is using machine guns indiscriminately, the number of casualties would have been enormous. Furthermore, many soldiers have been injured and even killed in the encounters with the so-call 'peaceful' Red Shirts. There are picture documentation of 'Men in black' stationed on the protesters' side who shot at both the protesters and soldiers in the hope of creating casualties, anarchy and draw international organization such as the UN and Amnesty International into the conflict.
The current Thai government has only shown extraordinary restraint against using deadly force and this fact is clearly apparent if you would take the time to review all the news from Thailand. The Prime Minister himself is the paragon of restraint; he didn't react to the Red Shirts even when they poured litres of (infected) blood on his house!
As a highly regarded international organization, the comments of Amnesty International, both official statement or by its staff, have to be balanced and grounded in truth. Such a statement like that of Mr.Zawacki only serves to make Amnesty International a tool of the terrorists and destroy its credibility.
I truly hope that Amnesty International will reconsider its statement.
Pavit Pienvichit, MD email@example.com
The Case Against the International Media’s Report on Thailand
"please read and share it with all your friends"
By Reungvit Nandhabiwat
This is going to be a long note, but I want my overseas friends to understand what has been happening here in Thailand. You would only see the soldiers' shooting scenes or injured people being carried away on international TV channels for 30 seconds, but never got to know about the background. The truth is, the Thai government has been too accommodating by withholding the use of force since the rally started 2 months ago (with the exception of 10th April event, when the soldiers were ordered to move in without live weapons and subsequently got slaughtered by unknown gunmen shooting from the 'Red Shirt' protesters).
The majority of us support the government in dealing with the terrorists hidden amongst the protesters. It held talks with the rally leaders and offered peace solutions to them 10 days ago. The Prime Minister publicly urged the protesters to disperse for fear of violence created by the terrorists. But the plan wasn't accepted. So, it's time to block food and water supplies entering the center of the protest. If the protesters were peaceful, they wouldn't rush out to throw rocks, firecrackers and even bombs at the soldiers' barricade -- thus, causing the soldiers to defend themselves by firing rubber bullets and live rounds.
It's very frustrating for the law-abiding citizen of Bangkok -- we even voiced our dissatisfaction at the government for its failure to uphold the laws. The situation was like Bangkok was being held for ransom. A lot of businesses got affected because it's right in the middle of the major commercial area.
Again, think what your government would do if there were a large group of protesters blocking all traffic at Orchard Road in Singapore; Times Square in NYC; Ginza in Tokyo; or Knightsbridge in London for two months. They set up barricades to search through personal belongings of everyone travelling through the area. Also think what it would do if those protesters invaded a nearby hospital, causing doctors & nurses to evacuate patients -- some of whom are newborn babies in incubators and those in ICU -- to other hospitals. And most important of all, think what it would do if the protesters were found to have large stockpile of M79 grenades, M16 & AK47 assault rifles.
Do you think your government would be as tolerable as the Thai government?
Reungvit (Ging) Nandhabiwat