Book ban bonanza

Book ban bonanza

Two books criticising Thailand for being either democratically backward or a "deadly destination" for tourists are being published one after another at the moment.

The Telegraph last week published news of Thai police banning the sale in Thailand of A Kingdom in Crisis: Thailand’s Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century by Andrew MacGregor Marshall.

On the same day, the Telegraph published another piece of news about another book to come out soon: Thailand: Deadly Destination by John Stapleton.

This book shifts the world’s attention to the crimes and accidents that have befallen foreign tourists recently. The author accuses Thai police of playing a big part in making Thailand “one of the most dangerous tourist destinations on Earth”.

It is also noteworthy that one after another of the websites that published this news were blocked — by the Thai police.

Vint Chavala

Blair’s help not needed

Re: “Be fair to Tony Blair” (PostBag, Nov 16).

John Wells claims that, “Mr Blair has the right to attempt to solve the problems of countries with internal instabilities, if asked to”. Not only does the comment beg the question of who has the “right” to “ask” Mr Blair (or anyone else) to interfere, but it is based on the incorrect view that Mr Blair and his “diplomatic skills” were responsible for the current relative stability in Northern Ireland, which is simply untrue.

While Mr Blair did indeed sign the Good Friday Agreement in April, 1998 — unjustifiably taking much of the credit for it — all the major negotiations took place prior to his taking office while he was in opposition, starting with the Downing Street Declaration in December, 1993, and if any one individual deserves credit for the peace process it has to be George Mitchell — again while Mr Blair was in opposition.

Mr Blair did not just “collude” with George W Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan; he deliberately lied in order to get a successful “good” war such as his predecessors had had in the Falklands and the Balkans. As a result of his war-mongering and the military’s inability or unwillingness to either tell him or to convince him (and Mr Bush) that both wars were simply unwinnable, hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and the fragile balance that existed in the Middle East has been shattered.

As distinct from the situation in the former Soviet bloc and with Russia, where Russia’s actions in Ukraine and elsewhere have a direct affect on other sovereign nations and so other nations have a right to not only express their opinion but to take whatever action they consider appropriate, Thailand’s internal affairs have no effect on other nations.

That does not mean that foreign leaders should not express an opinion and a hope for a timely return to democracy as many have done, but that certainly does not give them, far less someone with Mr Blair’s credentials, any “right to attempt to solve” Thailand’s political differences.

Far too many are already suffering from Mr Blair and Mr Bush’s “attempt to solve the problems of countries with internal instabilities”. Thailand does not need their help. It needs to solve its own problems.

John C F Gamlin

Dangers of yes-men

Re: “Media must ‘respect the rules’ Prayut says” (BP, Nov 18).

It’s necessary that the junta maintains a good relationship with the media in order to achieve their goal of reform. But, unfortunately, in our society, many people go overboard in carrying out their duties to please their superiors without realising their actions make the situation worse and actually do damage to their superiors.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha should be aware of these subordinates, especially those dealing with the media. He should also mind his own speech when talking to the media.

R H Suga

Watch your language

More letters on Americans using the word “like” (PostBag, Nov 18). Has anyone noticed that Canadians finish every sentence with “eh?” How about Brits calling everything “bloody this” or “bloody that”?

I guess every country has its own little quirks, such as tie me (instead of my) kangaroo down.

Charlie Brown

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