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Showing posts from December, 2009

The Thai King and Lese Majeste

The literary magazine ‘Granta’ published a series of essays, probably in 1998, by noted media commentators expressing their immediate reactions upon hearing the news of Princess Diana’s death in a car crash. As I recall, many of the articles were suspicious of the British Queen’s possible involvement in the accident. The writers expressed that their initial reactions ranged from “a fortuitous event for the monarch” to; to my own personal favourite; “did the Queen fix her brakes?”

In the UK and many other countries, we have the freedom to criticise our leaders. For the most part, those occupying privileged positions are not protected from public censure, freedom of thought and the ability to voice those thoughts is considered to be an essential human right.

Not so in Thailand. Sixty three years after the murder of his brother, Rama VIII behind closed doors in the palace where the only other occupant of the room was the present incumbent, any free discussion, albeit in private, as to the …