Today, the day of the Royal Ploughing Ceremony which has been a part of Thai culture for centuries, the Thai government decided to get serious on the Red Shirt protestors.
In the morning, there were specially selected white buffaloes and a rice growing ceremony with Brahmans looking at signs for this year’s harvest. Once finished, farmers, whose livelihood depend on the outcome of their rice crop, rush to get a few grains of rice used in the ceremony as a token of good luck. Some manage to get enough to sell. Its a big event that symbolizes our past and our future.
In the afternoon, the government’s patience was worn thin and a serious of safety measures were announced. Almost exactly 2 months since the protests first began and a government holiday, people nearby to the protest sights were asked to go home early. At 6pm electricity and water supply would be cut off to the protestors, and roads nearby would be cordoned off. No one could enter without permission, but people were more than welcome to leave.
All remained quiet and normal until around 7pm. A series of sounds similar to bombs were heard, and then a leader of the Red Shirt protestors was shot in the head. He was rushed to hospital.
Whether he survives or not, we don’t know. Who shot him? We don’t know. It has yet to be proven if it was a “third party” or not.
Its been 2 hours since the news and all remains quiet. The news reporters are cautious about what they say. It is rumored the protestors will disband. No deaths are wanted.
So far, no announcements.
This round of protests lasting 2 months will forever change Thailand. Thailand is at a turning point in its history with people learning about democracy and how to handle the rights that come along with it. It is a normal process for a developing country like Thailand. European countries have had democracy for hundreds of years and have long sorted out its kinks.
We all have a right to our opinion, but we must know how far we can go. Discussions must be constructive for there to be a favorable outcome.
My Thailand as I know it is forever changed. It will no longer be the same as it was. Deep down inside our hearts, we all know that. We know who is ‘red’ and who is ‘not.’ We are more cautious about what we say or do.
I pray that things will turn out for the better for my country.
I pray that we get pass this impasse intact.