War on Drugs, again?

Yingluck's brother Thaksin "had a war on drugs that left, 2,700 people dead. That's the equivalent of 30 Ratchaprasongs."

Today, an emotional letter to the editor manages to say a lot about the ongoing election campaign using very few words.

For more information on the alleged 1,300 to 2,700 extrajudicial killings of 2003 mentioned in the letter, see the US State Department 2003 Human Rights Report for Thailand and an insightful academic paper by Michael Connors on the killings.

In the photo above, Sunan Yindee, 38, looks at the body of Chakkapan Srisa-ard, her nine-year-old nephew killed by police gunfire during a drug arrest. This is the death that received the most high-profile coverage by the media.

Click button to listen to War on Drugs, Not Again and rightclick to download

Post Bag: Stop going on about 'war on drugs' (23/05/2011)


corpseOh please! Can our candidates for PM stop patronising the middle-class parents with their phoney promises of a war on drugs.

We've heard and seen it all before, the fanfare and statistics, but the drugs are always back on the streets within months.

As long as these drugs are enjoyable to some, there will always be a demand; and as long as they are illegal there will be a lucrative supply - simple economics.

This is why previous wars on drugs have not been successful here in Thailand and the rest of the world.

Khun Yingluck might recall that her brother had a war on drugs that left, 2,700 people dead. That's the equivalent of 30 Ratchaprasongs.

Many of the killed were innocent. There was never an investigation, no answers and no compensation. Not even an anniversary protest.

Ms Yingluck might want to suggest they hire Robert Amsterdam to take up their case.

Any future war on drugs is doomed to fail, too, since you're relying on the police to cut off the hand that feeds them

If you want to impress us, try something more imaginative and important like a war on corrupt politicians, on vote buying, on tax evaders and on illegal protesters.

JON WILLIAMS

(Source: Bangkok Post, Post Bag, Stop going on about 'war on drugs', 23/05/2011, link

war on drugs - a three month period in 2003 during the Thaksin Shinawatra adminstration in which as many as 2700 extrajudicial killings are estimated to have taken place, originally "The War on Drugs" was a "highly controversial campaign of prohibition and foreign military aid being undertaken by the United States government, with the assistance of participating countries, intended to both define and reduce the illegal drug trade, and to combat leftist political movements" (See Wikipedia on US foreign policy initiative)

letter to the editor - the section of a newspaper in which readers comment on news articles they read by sending letters to the newspaper, which then selects and publishes the best letters for everyone to read, since the advent of blogs letters to the editor are not as important as they used to be (See Wikipedia)

alleged - claimed but not yet proven  
extrajudicial killing - when people are killed without trial by the government, by soldiers or police, for example (See Wikipedia)

candidate - a person who is trying to win an elected position ผู้สมัคร

patronise (verb) - (negative meaning) speak or behave in a way that appears to be helpful, but is actually not sincere (may not be helpful, may just be a show of superiority)
patronising (adjective) - a person whose speech and behaviour "patronises" other people

middle-class - also known as "white-collar" and "bourgeois" เกี่ยวกับชนชั้นกลาง 
phoney -
fake, not real

fanfare - a loud short piece of music played, usually on a trumpet and to introduce the arrival of someone important การป่าวประกาศ
statistics - facts about something, described by counting them สถิติ

as long as Y, then Z -  if situation Y continues, then situation Z will continue also
demand - the need and desire to buy goods and services by households and businesses

illegal
- against the law ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
lucrative - profitable, can get you a lot of money, earning a lot of money ที่มีกำไรงาม
simple - easy to understand; not complicated ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน
recall - remember

equivalent
- the same as เท่าเทียมกันกับ

innocent - not having done anything wrong บริสุทธิ์
investigation
- the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง

compensation
- money that someone receives because something bad has happened to them เงินชดเชย
anniversary - a date when you celebrate something that happened in a previous year that is important to you วันครบรอบ
protest - a large public gathering to show oppposition to something (such as a war or a government policy) ประท้วง

Robert Amsterdam - a high-profile international law lawyer hired by Thaksin to fight legal cases for him 
high-profile - often seen in public, mentioned in newspapers, or appearing on television

doomed - certain to fail or be destroyed ซึ่งถูกกำหนดไว้ว่าจะเกิดเรื่องไม่ดี
doomed to fail - certain to fail
impress - to cause someone to admire or respect you because of something that you have done or said ประทับใจ

imagination (noun) -
creativity, the ability to think of smart new ideas, solutions to problems and possibilities (See Wikipedia)
imaginative (adjective) -
using the imagination, being creative, making something new, creative and original 
tax evaders - people who do not pay their taxes (a huge fraction of the population does not pay tax omn their income in Thailand, everyone in the so-called "informal" sector which is very large)

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer