Who was the real Jit Phumisak? The gifted linguist, willing to risk his college career arguing over a single archaic word? Co-translator of the Communist Manifesto? A radical historian who subversively upended centuries of received knowledge with a bold new history of Thailand? Poet? Composer? Loving son? Jungle fighter?
A bronze statue of socialist intellectual Jit Phumisak recently unveiled by the Jit Phumisak Foundation to mark the 47th anniversary of his fatal shooting. The statue will stand at the site where he was shot dead by villagers in Sakon Nakhon’s Ban Nong Kung in Kham Bor sub-district. APICHIT JINAKUL
Craig Reynolds, who profiled the work and life of Jit in Thai Radical Discourse: The Real Face of Thai Feudalism Today wistfully noted the elusiveness of a stable identity and the distortions of narrative in biography and legend. Much of Jit's life remains shrouded in mystery; even the circumstances of his tragic death on May 5, 1966 are not entirely clear. The stirring ballad Jit Phumisak as written and sung by the group Caravan suggests that Jit was killed "under the shadow of the great eagle", and it has long been rumoured, though not proven, that US forces somehow had a hand in hunting him down, much like Che Guevera would meet his fate the following year.
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