It’s now about a month ago the military took control in Thailand.
I’ve been following developments closely, and they remind me of my own experiences during the aftermath of a military coup I had experienced in another country.
In fact, military coup scenarios are basically the same everywhere. One could simply write a recipe book for them with the title stating: How to take over a country in 10-steps.
Anyway, the basics are: one takes control over the media, one suspends the constitution, locks down the former government, installs a nationwide curfew, shows abundant military presence, and doesn’t accept any resistance in whatever form.
After that, one immediately starts to give away nice presents to the people—better roads, better pensions, free cinema, free this and free that, tough exemplary anti-corruption trials, and so on.
It happened and happens in Thailand, it happened and happens everywhere, at some point in history or the other.
Now, I’m not at all against a military coup. I’m not in favor of it either, just as I’m not for or against so-called democracy. Even democracy can become horrible. We all know that it isn’t about the tools we use, but it’s what we do with them which determines the outcome.
Today the military junta in Thailand presented the road-map to elections: next month a preliminary constitution, July next year the final constitution (for a constitutional monarchy) and in October 2015 new democratic elections.
It’s exactly what military juntas in other countries promise. They claim wanting to reform the constitution and organize democratic elections when the people are “ready.” But the people are of course often “not ready yet,” giving the military the justification to prolong a state of emergency or dictatorial control. And sometimes things take too long and a country ends up in a guerrilla or civil war.
Yet, I don’t think the scenario of a civil war is very likely in Thailand. The Thai have had about 20 coups in the last 80 years (forgive me for exaggerating) and always managed to steer back into (their own special form of) democracy, economic growth, calm, prosperity, and well-being. Besides that, the history of Thailand is very, very different compared to that of other nations.
One could object that every country has a unique history, which is of course true, but the fact already that Thailand is the single Asian country never (really) occupied by the West gives you the basic idea of its extraordinary make-up.
Anyhow, Thailand really is unlike anything, and often things there go way above any comparison. It’s a resilient, tough, and incredibly smart-ass assembly of human beings, fearlessly designing their own future and destination. A nation boosting a stunning mix of modernity and tradition, showing the world that “It can be done—their way!”
And to make myself unambiguously clear—I’m not hoping, no, I’m convinced the Thai will come out stronger again. Soon enough. Like they always do.