Protesters losing their way
Re: "Pro-govt volunteers hurry to erase graffiti", (BP, Nov 21).
Protesters have the legal right to peacefully express their opinion, even if others strongly disagree -- but not the right to damage property or people. Also, they must give all others the rights that they demand for themselves. Their goal should be to win hearts and minds for that's the only way to get sustainable change.
The protesters started out well, even hugging the police and winning praise from all. Now, instead of hurling paint and painting graffiti, they should return to using their hearts to woo even their opponents. For example, they should have rushed to help the royalists clean up the mess that protesters made at the police headquarters and not repeated repulsive behaviour. They should clean up after protests. They should also challenge opponents to debate their stands on TV programme or at universities, streamed on FaceBook Live.
Instead of throwing paint, throw kisses and roses -- and win.
Where was the fuss?
Re: "Sickening betrayal", (PostBag, Nov 17).
I share Disgusted's revulsion over the appointment of a dubiously connected former beauty queen to a political government post. What is most alarming is that the appointment passed with barely a notice and no significant objection from other officials or the general public. Thais truly seem to have become inured to such dubious business as usual.
Pressure is showing
It comes as no surprise to get the recent headline "PM issues lese majeste warning" at this time of massive public unrest (BP, Nov 21). It has been widely reported that past politicians have used this tactic to support their own interests and few have ever been under the threat to their position that the current prime minister is subject to. His penchant for authoritarianism is plainly on show.
Our right to offend
Re: "Sacre bleu!" (PostBag, Nov 21).
Ray Ban, whilst I agree that it's polite to let people get on with their personal beliefs, however fantastic, provided they not seek to inflict their incredible notions on others with laws about alcohol sales and use, abortion restrictions, marriage limitations, or whatever, I'm afraid that democracy is not as gentle as I am.
A commitment to democracy requires, absolutely, that the law not only tolerates but actively protects things that we personally find deeply offensive. This is necessary to meet the foundational democratic principle that all members of the society have an equal right to a voice in determining not only their government and the laws it makes on their behalf, but also an equal voice in determining the form of the society from which that government and those laws arise. Merely allowing all an equal vote is not enough to meet the demands of democracy. To silence a voice merely because it offends some, no matter how great a majority, is contrary to the most basic democratic principle.
Yes, it is more polite not to gratuitously mock revered beliefs, but others will and do have equally revered beliefs to the contrary. To give one example, I and most people (I sincerely hope) find the vile expressions of opinion of such groups as the Westboro Baptist Church [Kansas] repugnant as they spew such filth as "God hates fags" and worse. But their legal right to so pollute society must be protected if we are to respect democratic principle. I don't like it. I wish they would not do it. But the US Supreme Court is right to uphold the legal right of those religious zealots to grossly offend the more decent majority.
Democracy is far more than majority rule.
Re: "Sacre bleu!" (PostBag, Nov 21).
Ray Ban invokes "good sense" but what can he possibly mean by "innate beliefs"? Does he think perhaps that he was born an atheist like others are born a Muslim or Buddhist? This makes no sense at all.
He is also not very consistent. According to him, one should not mock others' beliefs but he feels free to insult Felix Qui and mock French secularism, a perfectly respectable arrangement accepted by all religions in France and indeed most Muslims and their representative bodies, except for Islamists. But this is the type of behaviour we have learnt to expect from self-righteous Ray Ban wearers.
He apparently does not understand that, yes, one is free to mock others' beliefs (like he does in his letter) but one is not free to mock or insult others for their beliefs (like he does in his letter) or to incite hatred against others because of their beliefs. This is punishable under France's laws regulating freedom of expression and hate speech.
Storms in forecast
In my opinion, the "ray of hope" as Chairith Yonpiam mentioned in his Nov 21 article, "Ray of charter hope for end to unrest," quickly clouds over and becomes the drizzle of dictatorship and economic storms and the fog of totalitarian repression.
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