Sunday, February 6, 2005

Ebb and Flow of Democracy

World History teaches that democracies come and go. Noble Savage tells of his days teaching English in Bangkok in 1992, where he almost got shot in the head, and what that day meant to him:

    "I was teaching English in Bangkok in 1992 when Thailand saw the bloody consequences of its last military coup. General Suchinda Kraprayoon had seized power and within a year had suspended the constitution and installed himself as Prime Minister. The normally complacent Thais, now tasting economic success and enjoying a growing middle class, decided not to stand for this brazen hijacking of power. In May of 1992, I went to Sanam Luang and watched as thousands of Thais protested in front of lines of soldiers. I stood at the fringe of the crowd and saw the soldiers lower their machine guns and, on command, open up with bursts of machine gun fire just over our heads. I remember running with the crowd as the bullets ricocheted off the surrounding buildings. Although it did not receive much international media coverage, those who were there will never forget the bravery of the Thais who had stood up to their illegitimate government."

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