Those outside of Thailand may have seen in the news recently reports about massive street protests in Bangkok and wondered what it is all about. In this post, I want to give a super short summary of the background to this situation and provide some prayer points.
Prime Minister Taksin ousted in military coup, because Taksin was alleged to be corrupt.
After a year of military rule, the government has swapped back and forth between the party favorable to Taksin and the one opposed to him. The people not in power protest those who are, saying they are illegitimate. Also, Taksin was convicted of corruption, etc. by Thai court but he is not in the country. If he comes back, he goes straight to jail.
Prime Minister Yinglack (Taksin's sister) and her party (puppets of Taksin?) try to pass amnesty bill to forgive all political transgressions since 2004 (which would let Taksin come home a free man). That triggers street protests against the amnesty bill.
Here’s a video for you to see what the protests look like:
Watch on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZjZ9Lada7Y
With any conflict, there are two (or more) viewpoints. Here are the two major viewpoints in the current situation:
The government was "elected" but they bought the votes. They handed out money and used tax payer money in order to buy votes for themselves. That is not democratic, but a scam. The injustice of corruption and self-serving interests of the politicians of the current government must be opposed. The Taksin puppet regime is selling out Thailand (sweetheart deals for oil in gulf of Thailand, temple on Cambodian border, etc) in order to line their own pockets and they will keep doing it because buying votes is easy. Voting them out won't work when they are vote buying. To stand up and oppose a government who is selling out the country is common sense.
The current government was legally elected and Taksin's court conviction was rigged. Those who oppose Taksin are biased and jealous.
Now, nobody admits to buying votes, of course, and even the anti-government supporters don't see it as a case of the corrupt vs. the innocent, but rather the super-corrupt vs. the much-less corrupt.
Thai Christians and Politics
Please keep Thailand and Thai churches in prayer during this season. There are Thai Christians on both sides of the political conflict and those Christians with strong political views are many times unable to talk rationally with other Christians. There is generally very little teaching in Thai churches about how Christians should view government and political involvement.
For the situation in general, pray for peace, wisdom, and cool heads so that this will not escalate uncessarily. For the Thai church, please pray that churches and relationships will not be broken because of political differences. Pray that Thai Christians will have wisdom and cool heads to know how they should be involved or relate to the political conflict going on around them (not to mention in their own churches).