The struggle we are witnessing today in Thailand between the insurgent “Red Shirt” protesters and the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva saddens me… I had just passed through this beautiful part of the world for the first time last February 2010, on a trip to Siem Riep, Cambodia, to explore the temples and history of this remarkable city. Bangkok was the main hub, going to Siem Riep from Manila and back again. How ironic that the centuries-old animosity between the two ancient cultures of Thailand and Cambodia — then called Siam and Khmer — is mirrored in the bloody scenes we see today. (Siem Riep literally translates as “the City where Siam was defeated”.)
Civil unrest and discontent will always find expression among people who are unjustly treated by those in authority who abuse their power. The protests in downtown Bangkok may have been violently repressed by the Thai soldiers for now, but the people’s rage could now be channeled into guerrilla warfare. The desire for necessary justice remains unquenchable.