Families honour protest victims
Reconciliation can only be achieved when the truth is told and rival parties accept their guilt, not by pretending to let the past go, said survivors and relatives Tuesday at the five-year commemoration of the bloody crackdown on red-shirt demonstrators in 2010.
Payao Akkahad, mother of the volunteer nurse Kamolkade who was killed on May 19, 2010 inside Wat Pathumwanaram, held the annual religious rites for her daughter in the presence of plainclothes police and military officers who asked her not to make comments critical of the government.
A dozen other families who lost loved ones during the demonstration against the Abhisit Vejjajiva government and other red-shirts who were at the 2010 protest joined Ms Payao at the temple in the Pathumwan area.
Swiss embassy deputy head of mission Viktor Vavricka also attended the prayer rites.
Members of the National Reform Council's committee on reconciliation also turned up at Wat Pathumwanaram but some families of the victims felt uneasy with their presence and did not greet them.
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"Is this a proper place to talk about reconciliation? We're here to remember our families but they're here to do a big PR job by joining the commemorations and taking pictures with the photos of our family members," said a red-shirt Bangkok resident who lost her husband on April 10.
She snatched away the photo of her husband after the reconciliation panel members took a photo with Ms Payao near the altar where photos of the victims were displayed.
"We were not informed the reconciliation committee would come here. But we don't mind them as it's a merit-making ceremony. However, they take the opportunity to tell the public to forgive and forget, and that is disrespectful of the dead.
"If they want to discuss reconciliation, better invite all of us and not just one or two people," said another relative who lost a family member on May 14, 2010, on Rajprarop Road.
Ms Payao is a member of the reconciliation committee which is chaired by Anek Laothammathat, a member of the Constitutional Drafting Committee.
Mr Anek, who showed up at the temple together with Adul Khieuboribun, chairman of the Relatives Committee of the May 1992 victims, told reporters his panel has been trying hard to come up with a proper proposal to mend the rifts in society.
"We hope all colour-coded groups on the spectrum will reconcile without having to abandon their ideologies so our country can move on," said Mr Anek.
His group plans to present the details of its reconciliation proposal on May 28.