Pitak skipped politics 101

In his letter to ''PostBag'', ''Enlighten the electorate'', JC Wilcox displays a somewhat rudimentary grasp of the concept of democracy, claiming that Pitak Siam is ''a pro-democracy movement'', yet admitting that their leader's purpose was to overthrow the government through military involvement.

Op-ed contributor Thitinan Pongsudhirak wrote that Pitak Siam should concentrate its future efforts on winning elections. Mr Wilcox complains that the writer fails to say how they might do this.

Well, the traditional method is to craft a manifesto of policies that will appeal to a broad spectrum of voters and recruit leaders that voters trust to implement those policies.

Finally, Mr Wilcox expresses the view that the electorate cannot make informed democratic choices unless it has experienced ''enlightenment'' as taught by the Buddha, not a view likely to be shared by most of the citizens of southern Thailand.

Dom Dunn


REQUIRED READING FOR POLITICIANS

After reading Arglit Boonyai's column, ''Sexism, fame and politics boil a noxious brew'', in yesterday's Post, it struck me that in this time of degradation and lack of direction it would be a good idea to recommend some books to educate our politicians to work toward making Thailand better. Profiles in Courage by former US president John F Kennedy is one such book. Kennedy wrote it in 1955 while he was a junior senator from the state of Massachusetts. It became an instant classic and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

The book tells the stories of a number of exemplary American political figures who sacrificed themselves and risked their careers in the pursuit of good and the long-term future of their country.

An example is the story of former president John Quincy Adams (1825-1829), who served a single term and lost his chance to be re-elected because of his unwavering opposition to slavery despite his many outstanding achievements.

There are many more such stories in the book.

This book and others should be translated into Thai to attract good people into politics, and to serve as a guide to screen out the many bad elements. Awareness is not enough. Wisdom is also needed.

Vint Chavala
Lamphun


800,000 BAHT REQUIREMENT SPOT ON

Regarding the missive from ''Harrie'' in yesterday's ''PostBag'', although I agree with him about the 90-day reporting and dual pricing, I can see the wisdom of the 800,000 baht visa requirement.

Had the United States created an equivalent savings or income requirement for immigrants in order to stay in the country, the following things would be true of life in the US. Of course, I am referring to the period from World War II to the present.

1. You would be able to walk alone on the streets at night in most cities.

2.The welfare and public service programmes would not be overloaded

3. The size of the US government would be considerably smaller.

4. The level of education being taught in schools would be much higher.

5. The deficit and the national debt would be considerably lower.

6 .The value of the dollar would be considerably higher.

I could go on and on.

It often seems to me that the Thais are not very adept at running the country, but on this they are spot on.

John Arnone
Yasothon


PALESTINIAN PRIDE OVERCOMES PREJUDICE

The motion passed last week to grant the Palestinian people the homeland upgrade they have long deserved was backed by 138 United Nations member nations and opposed by nine, while 41 abstained.

It was a stirring answer to Israel's belligerent right-wing bloc, which has defiantly declared vast illegal settlement expansion in Gaza and East Jerusalem, in contravention of the Geneva Convention's mandate that occupying powers shall not move ''parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies''.

Israel's psychological warfare scare tactics, imposed to pressure opponents who have dared to speak out, are depressing, demoralising and disheartening. According to J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami: ''Many American senators and congressmen 'keep quiet' and refrain from criticising IsraeIi politics because they 'live in fear' and are 'intimidated' by pro-Israeli groups such as the Emergency Committee for Israel.''

The 575-page Goldstone Report, compiled under UN mandate, regarding the 2008-2009 assault on the Gaza Strip, concluded that Israel had launched ''a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity to work and provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability''.

Israel's impunity from international law must end _ not only to provide justice, but also to promote durable peace in the Middle East.

Now it's up to the Quartet to lay down the parameters of a civilised peace deal based on human dignity and mutual respect.

The main features should be 1967 borders with modifications, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both Israel and the Palestinians, no right of return and an independent, demilitarised Palestinian state.

Negotiations must be conducted in a non-confrontational atmosphere of progressive, fair-minded global unity with pragmatic compromises for the sake of future generations.

Charles Frederickson
Bangkok


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