In 1963, Gene Stoltzfus went to Vietnam as a Conscientious Objector with IVS (International Voluntary Services.)  Six months later, when Gene unintentionally wandered into a Special Forces camp, he was welcomed as a fellow American.   He asked two men who had come in from patrol where they had been.  When they would not tell him, except to brag that they had made several kills, he found himself wondering, “If I speak some Vietnamese but can’t tell who are the VC (Vietcong), how can these men, who speak no Vietnamese, tell?”

THAILAND LETTER: Lessons learned

I have been musing on the Thai nonviolent movement lately.  When the entire senior leadership of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) surrendered peacefully to the Thai authorities, that was nonviolence in its highest form—taking responsibilities for the cause you believe in rather than fleeing to the countryside or abroad and leaving the flocks for the slaughter.  The Red Shirt movement was able to assert its moral superiority to the beast.  At the same time, it rendered the entire Thai mass movement orphaned.  But not for long—whenever two or three people are gathered in the name of the Lord of liberation, a seed of liberation is in their midst.

THAILAND REFLECTION: A Thai prince from B612

The father said his boy was an alien.  A girl from a youth group said she did not like him before and never thought he was cute until today.  Many people gathered here today at a temple in Bangkok to say goodbye to this little prince from B612.

THAILAND LETTER: A day in the Buddhist Peacemaker Team camp

The Buddhist Peacemaker Team camp was located in Sunam Luang Park in front of the Thammasat University.  It was a big camp manned by at least thirty monks, the majority of the monks coming from the Buddhist Temple in Pattaya under the leadership of The Venerable Rev. Doctor Tuanchai, rector of the Buddhist college in Pattaya.  They were doing their morning Buddhist worship joined by at least two dozen Thai Red Shirts, feeding the Thai people who chose to stay in the monks’ Peace Tent.

THAILAND LETTER: Toto is nowhere to be found

My friend Toto, the tuktuk (tricycle) driver is missing after last Friday's bloody encounter between the Red Shirts and the Thai army at the Banglangphu district near the Fang Fa bridge where the main stage/central command of the Red Shirts was located near the democracy monument.

THAILAND LETTER: Letting the genie out of the bottle

A typical day in a Red Shirt camp in Bangkok starts when a few of the Red Shirts—mostly peasants, day workers, and members of hill tribes—wake up for kitchen detail.  They start the stove burning and heat water to brew coffee for everyone.

THAILAND LETTER: “The critical stage of the battle for Bangkok is approaching.”

Guys, you are missing a very important stage in Thai history.  The Thai Prachachon (people) are out of the bottle.  Nobody can force them back in the bottle that confined them for so many years.

…I am glad I kept the small bottle of alcohol, vinegar, and cotton balls that was given to me by the Red Shirts.  Vinegar easily removes the sting from the eyes from the tear gas that smells like garlic. 

Hey, they are shooting real bullets now.  I have to go since the e-mail cafe I am using is very vulnerable to stray bullets.

THAILAND LETTERS: CPTer Rey Lopez reports on the situation in Bangkok

[Note: CPT-Philippines authorized CPTer Rey Lopez to travel to Thailand as a peace observer and document how the historic Red Shirts nonviolent movement is playing out in Bangkok.]


April 4, 2010

I am not alone as a farang (foreigner) walking with the Red Shirts.  There are a lot of tourists joining in …There are also a lot of Thais residing in the States joining the demonstration.  A Thai Red Shirt in the California diaspora was interviewed this morning on the central stage.…

The Thai Red Shirts are ordinary people from the rural areas who are now demanding in a nonviolent way to take part in the Thai banquet table of economic prosperity.  They are not a…  “red mob” as the mainline Thai papers called them but a well-disciplined non-violent army demanding no less than real Thai democracy, including having their fair share of the Thai prosperity.  More important is the spirit of nonviolence, which seems to be taking firm hold of the Red Shirts’ mass membership.