Sunday, November 30, 2008

A follow on from my Peasant's Revolt post.

So I'm thinking of a country that was divided across borders and by ethnic identity and income and lifestyle. That might sound very different to Thailand but if we think carefully, is it really so different?

One group felt oppressed and ignored by the government. They pressured a nationalist politician who sympathised with their cause. He organised rallies to intimidate other factions. On one occasion he organised a huge rally to make demands for his group. The rally stopped outside the president's office (Government House) where the nationalist politician told the president: "Give us what we want or address this group yourself!". In other words: "Hands up or this lynch mob will be set on you!".

A smaller state in the nation published magazine articles criticising the group. The group responded by organising a "Rally of Truth" to intimidate the small state and its people. It wasn't too hard for them to do that, because by then the military were clearly on their side.

Another state elected their own prime minister, but amazingly he was rejected by the police force in the region who had already decided they sided with the nationalist politician in our story. The police helped to whip up a rebellion against their own regional prime minister.

The nationalist politician decided to go about amending the constitution to crush critical press and remove regional assemblies (so that he would have more power). His followers became increasingly violent and bigoted. They often organised rallies under various guises and through proxies. Each side began to viciously ridicule and mock other sides, often with dangerous propaganda.

It descended into a bloody and miserable war that lasted until NATO intervened.

It is a recent event that has many similar elements to the Thai situation: misplaced nationalism, resentment amongst citizens based on income, ethnicity and values, factional squabbles and politicisation of the military and police. However, there are differences. Thailand is a long established country and has the guiding light of a monarch, something the nation I refer to lacked.

Ian knows what I am talking about, he met the founding father of this republic.
Can anyone else tell name the nation and people involved in my tale?


fall said...

Good one.

Anonymous said...


Red and White said...

Close but no :-]

FFScotland said...

I think the nationalist politician is Slobodan Milosevic.

I see strong historical parallels with the situation just before the Spanish Civil War: A populist and divisive government came to power on the back of agrarian reforms. They were opposed by a reactionary elite based around the Catholic middle classes. A standoff developed as both parties refused to accommodate each other and turned to judicial shenanigans ti impose their will. At that point a general in the army, which itself was split, launched his coup ...