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Generals of the elite

The Nov 19 editorial, "Anti-poverty drive needs political will", says it all.

 As we know, economic engines do not drive down poverty, economic growth and poverty seem to go hand-in-hand, yes, a sustained pro-poor programme is required. The generals represent the elite, and will only nominally provide welfare as a sop to the poorer sections of society. Whether you like the reds or the yellows it was Thaksin's party which was the first to provide free health services, and financial strategies for rural areas, some better than others. If the sufficiency economy was applied it would certainly help, but again, the generals are working against this, as has been highlighted in recent articles on the use and control of seeds.


Boot out Monsanto

That the Bangkok Post publishes from time to time articles uncritically written by heads of UN agencies on their own work can be understood. But that it opens its columns to big companies like Bayer, re: "Vision to innovate a better life with Thailand 4.0", Nov 21), is questionable. The more so as the article comes just one week after petitions signed by more than a million people were delivered to the US Department of Justice calling on the department to block the proposed merger of Bayer and Monsanto.

The article of Jim Kennelly echoes, in the Thai context, all the arguments used to justify the merger last year by CEO's Hugh Grant of Monsanto and Werner Baumann of Bayer. Except that Kennelly inserts loosely the perspective of Thailand on its way to becoming a "low inequality nation" without substantiating how Bayer-Monsanto's grip on Thailand's farmers population contributes to that. In Southeast Asia apparently this corporate propaganda can be freely spread. The European parliament however, according to the Guardian, booted all Monsanto's lobbyists from parliamentary proceedings, and closed off access to its 751 individual members, after Monsanto said it would not participate in a hearing to consider allegations that it wrongfully influenced regulatory research regarding the safety of glyphosate. In India, where Monsanto pioneered the use of genetically modified (GM) technology, Monsanto hastily sold its seeds business in order to dive under the radar of regulators with no other reason than to save its deal with Bayer; an escape which only demonstrates what both see in the words of Kennelly as "the right culture".

High standard professional judges of the civil society Monsanto Tribunal held in The Hague, October 2016, concluded that Monsanto has engaged in practices which have negatively impacted the right to a healthy environment, the right to food and the right to health. On top of that Monsanto's conduct is negatively affecting the right to freedom indispensable for scientific research.

The judges also concluded that despite the development of many instruments to protect the environment, a gap remains between commitments and the reality of environmental protection.

Hans van Willenswaard

China taking over

I asked my friend why such polite protocol was being observed in removing Robert Mugabe (BP, Nov 22). My friend told me it was China calling the shots, and China explicitly dictated no violence. It seems China is calling the shots not only in Zimbabwe, but also in Cambodia where political developments prompted the United States to announce cuts in election and other funding to the Hun Sen government. China stepped in with its usual line that it supported Hun Sen and that it was an "internal" matter.

Cambodia has been China's strongest ally in Southeast Asia for the past 30 years. China is always there and ready to fill any vacuum that is created any where in Southeast Asia, and other areas as well. Wake up Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha before your general's army cap is replaced by a green one with a red star over the visor.

General Golani

Transport nightmares

The picture of the stripped seats on the MRT Blue Line in the Nov 22 edition reminded me of the train wagons used by the Nazis to transport prisoners to concentration camps.


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