Friday, September 05, 2008

Students being students

Part of student life is finding an identity for yourself and giving yourself a reason to exist. For some (like me) that can mean attaching yourself to a certain type of music culture. For others it can mean finding a cause to support, often a perceived moral cause so you can imagine you have some high ground. This is a natural stage that we all go through and in any country, student politics can be a powerful and important movement.

That said, the latest student protests in Thailand have a farcical ring to them.

A look at the photos on the home page of The Nation tells the story. In the last week we've seen student group after student group melodramatically protesting the state of emergency, comments by the education minister and now a wave of protests calling for Samak to resign. This bandwagon has been jumped on now only because the international media are watching and Samak is under pressure. The students have decided they want some attention now, but when the PAD protests first began, the student response was minimal. The student shootings were tragic, but the wave had begun just before this happened.

What's more, inviting school children up on stage to tell Samak to resign seems in bad taste.

Here's one more thought: if you were a person of influence watching the events in Bangkok, what would you tell the people? If you supported democracy you could tell the PAD they were wrong and things should be resolved peacefully. If you were neutral, you could say the same thing. But what if you supported the PAD, but could not be seen to be condoning their actions? I guess you'd have to stay quiet.

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