For so long I was out in the cold,
And I taught myself to believe every story I told.
It was fun hanging onto the moon, heading into the sun,
But it's been too long. Now I wanna come home.
Came so close to the edge of defeat.
But I made my way in the shade, keeping out of the heat.
It was fun shooting out of the stars, looking into the sun,
But it's been too long. Now I wanna come home.
Home. Where there's nothing but sweet surrender,
To the memories from afar.
Home. To the place where the truth lies waiting.
We remember who we are ..."
The above are some of the lyrics to the song "(I want to) Come Home", written and recorded by former Beatle Paul McCartney for the 2009 film Everybody's Fine. The song is sweet and the lyrics meaningful, and I love it.
Exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra just might quietly hum this song to himself every time he feels homesick, like many others of the so-called Beatles-era kids, myself included.
"Home. Where there's nothing but sweet surrender ...". The man who has said on many occasions that he is happy living in exile abroad as he can travel anywhere in the world except his own motherland has, of late, expressed his wish to return home.
But Thaksin is not an ordinary person, and his homecoming will be extraordinary. For most of us, if we are overseas and feel homesick, we can simply book a flight home. Thaksin can do likewise and fly home in his private jet anytime he wishes as his motherland is open to him as a Thai citizen. But he won't because he does not want to serve the two-year jail term from the Ratchadaphisek land scandal which awaits him.
He wants to come home not just as a free man but also as a victor or a conqueror. Hence, things such as the Constitution Court, the constitution and his jail term which are perceived as obstructions to his triumphant homecoming have to be removed by his henchmen in the parliament and on the streets.
The red shirts have been protesting for over two weeks now in front of the Constitution Court to demand the resignation of the nine judges whom they accuse of being biased because they accepted petitions from anti-Thaksin senators challenging the government's attempts to amend Section 68 of the charter. A mass protest against the court is threatened on Wednesday.
Charn Chaiya, a protest leader, accused the judges of not taking a vow before His Majesty the King before they performed their duties. Does the accusation sound familiar? It reminds me of the same accusation made by former maverick senator Ruangkrai Leekitwattana against Chat Cholavorn, one of the judges.
The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship claims it has nothing to do with the protest but says it won't stop its members from joining it because the movement does not recognise the Constitution Court.
Meanwhile, Pheu Thai MPs and their allies in the Senate, who earlier defied the court by not submitting their defence arguments against Sen Somchai Sawaengkarn's charge of breaching the charter, have been lobbying the National Anti-Corruption Commission to impeach some of the judges.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung is preparing to roll out the red carpet to welcome Thaksin home. The red carpet is actually a reconciliation bill which will absolve all the red-shirt and yellow-shirt protest leaders and protesters of any wrongdoing and, above all, cleanse Thaksin of all convictions and charges lodged by the Assets Scrutiny Committee.
Most importantly, the bill will return to him all of the 50 billion baht or so in assets seized from him and his family. It is unclear whether interest will be paid to the ex-premier.
As for the charter amendment bills which are still pending at a parliamentary scrutiny committee, pro-government lawmakers have proposed changes which will allow the spouses of House members to contest Senate seats like the good old days when the two chambers were labelled "chambers of husbands and wives".
And this is only just the beginning. The next big step is a complete rewrite of the charter in which most independent organisations such as the NACC, the Election Commission and the Administrative Court _ which are deemed as obstacles for the ruling party _ will be neutralised.
But will there be peace and reconciliation after a blanket amnesty is imposed for all, after the checks and balances mechanism is neutralised or compromised and after a complete rewrite of the charter as wished for by the Pheu Thai Party?
There won't be peace and reconciliation. All the political manoeuvring now being staged by the Pheu Thai Party and its allies _ be they red shirt or senator _ is geared toward one ultimate objective: the complete domination of the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
It is indeed saddening that both Thaksin and the Pheu Thai Party have completely ignored one key issue which will pave the way for reconciliation and peace _ that is trust building, especially by Thaksin himself.
Ever wonder why there are so many people who do not trust Thaksin and his word (although his supporters do trust him without question)?
The exiled former prime minister's habit of flip-flopping, or his failure to match his actions with his words, has affected his credibility and trust. This problem has made reconciliation difficult, if not impossible.
Peace and reconciliation can never be achieved through the introduction of the kind of reconciliation bill envisaged by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm, a blanket amnesty for all political offenders or charter amendment, unless there is mutual trust between all the major stakeholders.
Veera Prateepchaikul is a former editor, Bangkok Post.
About the author
- Writer: Veera Prateepchaikul
Position: Former Editor