National Rationalization Commission | 21.08.05

Dr. Prawese Wasi, vice chairman of the much vaunted National Reconciliation Commission, has spoken up… for the Islamists:

ความขัดแย้งระหว่างตะวันตกกับอิสลาม เพราะว่าอิสลามอยากมีวัฒนธรรมของตัวเอง ชีวิตที่อยู่กับศาสนา ไม่เห็นเรื่องเงินเป็นสำคัญ แต่ว่ากระแสโลกเห็นเงินเป็นสิ่งสำคัญ เป็นความขัดแย้งที่เชื่อมโยงไปสู่ความขัดแย้งอื่นๆ จนปกคลุมไปทั้งโลก

The conflict between the West and Islam [happens] because Islam wants to have its own culture — a life that’s tied to religion — without regarding money as the important thing. [This] is a conflict that connects [leads] to other conflicts that spread all over the world.

Conflict between the West and Islam? Whatever happens to “not all muslims are terrorists”? With this asinine statement, Dr. Prawese not only endorsed the bin Ladenists’ pretension as representatives of Islam, but also anointed his Buddhist self as their spokesperson. The jihadists are probably quite torn over this; maybe they’ll kill him last.

Or second last. There’s also Anand Panyarachun, who handpicked Dr. Prawese as his deputy.

Some background: Dr. Prawese Wasi is a physician who first gained fame and recognition for his charity work. More recently, however, he was known in the Thai-language media as the “Senior Citizen” (ราษฎรอาวุโส). Note the capitals. The title may sound to you like one that gets your granny and mine cheap movie tickets, but you’d be wrong. My grandmother is decidely not a “senior citizen” in this esteemed and exclusive sense. Indeed, I’ve never seen the title applied to anyone but Dr. Prawese. (At the movie, the term “the elderly”, ผู้สูงอายุ, would be used, provided you manage to find the precious few that do give discounts.)

Earlier, perhaps a year ago, the Senior Citizen, in his venerable wisdom, urged the Thai government to follow the “ancestors’” example and triangulate itself between “America and Islam”. To anyone who’s studied in a Thai school and paid attention, the evoked ancestors were obviously none other than Thailand’s World War II leaders, who, Thai students are thought, ingeniously positioned the country to win either way. With the above quotation, Dr. Prawese apparently abandoned instinctive realpolitik in favor of his true ideology. The man has found his integrity!

Of course, there are likely NRC members that are even surer of which side they’re on. Here’s the father of one, responding to the July 7 terrorist attack in London:

In predominantly Buddhist Thailand’s troubled southern provinces, Muslim leader Sen. Den Tohmeena said that, “when Prime Minister Blair says the attacks were ‘terrible’ and ‘barbaric,’ we should ask him if when he joined bloody hands with the Americans in killing innocent people in Iraq, if it was ‘terrible’ and ‘barbaric’ or not.”

Surely the daughter shall not die for the sin of the father (just as, I should add, civilians shall not die for the sin, real or perceived, of the leader). But what if the daughter’s only qualification for the job is being daddy’s girl? From the NRC website’s staff page:

นางสาวเพชรดาว โต๊ะมีนา ลูกสาวนายเด่น โต๊ะมีนา ส.ว.ปัตตานี

Miss Petchdao Tohmeena, daughter of Mr. Den Tohmeena, Pattani Senator

And if by some miracle, this doesn’t turn out to be a case of “like father, like daughter”, you can be sure Khun Anand and Dr. Prawese have packed their commission with plenty of other people who are ready to pick up the slack.

10:15 ▪ politics

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