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Thai Red Shirts: Surrender?

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SPIEGEL online: "demonstrators capitulate"

SPIEGEL online: "demonstrators capitulate"

Oh dear. Germany’s leading news magazine DER SPIEGEL declares the Bangkok protesters’ surrender.

Thailand Flag, Bangkok

Thailand Flag, Bangkok

But you see, the Songkran holidays are over. No wonder that there are no 100,000 people protesting outside the government offices any more. After all, nobody paid them for their protests, and they have to do something for a living.

That in the first place is what makes the red shirts different from the yellow shirts.

But the likely end of the protests – for now, anyway – changes nothing about the democracy deficit – it only highlights the problem. This time, the military and aristocracy have clearly taken sides – against the people.

Bangkok may turn calm now. But the elite’s refusal to involve the poorer people, including those in remote provinces like Isaan, in politics, will pose bigger threats to the future of the country than the civil war with Malaysia- and Saudi-Arabia-backed insurgents in the South.

Another lesson from this: Germany needs media that provide news. Hard to believe that once upon a time, DER SPIEGEL’s late editor, Rudolf Augstein, called the magazine “the assault artillery of democracy”. Not that there is need for DER SPIEGEL to take sides. Some more background information explaining the events would do.

Politics isn’t sports, but they do have something important in common: After the game is before the game. I’m wondering who will keep us informed.

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