“Hitler killed jews but...” | 20.03.06

You’ve heard passing comparisons between Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the Führer before, but here Thammasat law professor Banjerd Singkaneti (see update below) actually bothers to make the case:

Mr Banjerd criticised Mr Thaksin during the meeting as a dictator, worse than Adolf Hitler.

Hitler, despite being a dictator, had contributed a great deal to Germany, especially in developing a modern infrastructure system.

“What makes Mr Thaksin different from Adolf Hitler was that Hitler did not do things for his own benefit.

“Hitler killed Jews but he did several things for his country. He was more useful for the country than Mr Thaksin was.”

Mr Banjerd said the stakes were high because the Thaksin system could bring the country to an end.

I held my nose and translated Thirayuth Boonmi’s and Perayot Rahimmula’s drivels because I thought the English-speaking world was not getting a true picture of these so-called academics. But with this depravity on full display in the Bangkok Post, will international journalists and armchair observers continue to use the “a” word as though it was a credential rather than a warning label that it is?

Yes, they most certainly will. According to The Nation, admired as Thailand’s “most outspoken” newspaper by The Economist and all conceited dimwits alike, to disdain such an “intellectual” is to be a “modern-day Pol Pot”.

Here’s a more interesting question. With Saddam, Pol Pot, and Hitler gone, what’s the next in this hyperbolical limbo dance? The Anti-Buddha?

Luangta Maha Bua already got that one covered.

Update The Bangkok Post incorrectly reports Khun Banjerd’s last name as Sinthudecha, which is in fact the last name of one of Mr. Thaksin’s rare supporters in the so-called academia, Sunee Sinthudecha. You can find the Khun Banjerd’s education background here on Thammasat’s faculty of law website. Guess where he got his advanced degree.

18:13 ▪ politics, media

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1
posstaffer 21.03.06

Only idiot Thais, with no awareness of history other than their own, could make such a hurtful remark. When I subbed it the other day, I found it hard not to take offence. F#ck it, I did take offence.

These people live in a different world, one in which I am increasingly keen to play no part.

2
Tom Vamvanij 22.03.06

poststaffer:

That’s not true. We Thais are not aware of our own history, either. But not everybody is as morally bankrupt as the “academic” cartel.

Unfortunately, although they and their disciples live in a different mental world, their words and actions have consequences in the physical world that you and I are stuck with.

3
Naphat 22.03.06

Speaking of Hitler references, another person quoted as frequently bringing out the Führer to compare with his opponents turns out to be… Donald Rumsfeld? (The Cunning Realist via The Belgravia Dispatch ).

Rumsfeld certainly did not even bring up anything remotely as offensive and hurtful as Banjerd did, but would you denounce him as well? I for one don’t see what any good this kind of rhetoric serves.

PS: I had no idea US conservatives are this down on Rummy.

4
Tom Vamvanij 22.03.06

Naphat:

And your point for bringing up Rumsfeld is? If it’s what your question implies, then you’re a jerk. And the first half of your question covers your butt only to the same extent that “Hitler killed jews” covered Khun Banjerd’s, which is none at all.

5
Naphat 23.03.06

Tom:

I didn’t mean to offend. I’m sincerely apologize if you found my comments to be so.

I brought up Rumsfeld intending to say that this Hitler-comparison rhetoric isn’t limited to Thais, who you characterised as being without any awareness of history.

6
poststaffer 23.03.06

Well, if that idiot Banjerd graduated in Germany as the website says, then his comments become even more shameful.

Still, he’s not alone in his ignorance. When I read out his remarks to a farang colleague the other night, the farang said Thaksin was indeed no better because his police killed many drug traffickers during his so-called ‘war on drugs’.

Reminded that Hitler killed innocent Jews, he retorted: ‘Well, you have to start somewhere.’

7
poststaffer 23.03.06

Sonthi is making good money out of his role in the protest movement. Please, don’t hesitate to tell your friends.

รองโฆษกไทยรักไทย เปิดข้อมูลรายรับของ “สนธิ” ตั้งแต่เริ่มชุมนุมจนถึงวันนี้ เพิ่มขึ้นถึงเดือนละ 215 ล้านบาท

นายจตุพร พรหมพันธ์ รองโฆษกพรรคไทยรักไทย เปิดเผยว่า ได้ส่งเจ้าหน้าที่ลงไปสำรวจรายรับของเครือผู้จัดการ ตั้งแต่เริ่มต้นการชุมนุมขับไล่ พ.ต.ท.ทักษิณ ชินวัตร นายกรัฐมนตรี ครั้งแรกจนถึงวันนี้ พบว่า นายสนธิ ลิ้มทองกุล ผู้ก่อตั้งหนังสือพิมพ์ผู้จัดการ มีรายได้เพิ่มขึ้นถึงเดือนละ 215.5 ล้านบาท

link

8
JW 23.03.06

The Embassy of Israel has a letter in today’s Post :

In the Bangkok Post of March 20, a news report compares Mr Thaksin with Adolf Hitler, quoting Prof Banjerd Sinthudecha of Thammasat University’s faculty of law: “Hitler killed Jews but he did several things for his country. He was more useful for the country than Mr Thaksin was.”

You may like or dislike Mr Thaksin’s performance and policies, but comparing him to Hitler shows ignorance or lack of knowledge of history. After World War Two, it took years for many countries to recover from the devastation caused by the Nazis. Several others have not yet recovered. It is also to ignore the actual fact that millions of people were murdered and suffered under the hands of the Nazi regime. There is no similarity between Hitler’s dictatorship leading his country to World War Two, and Thaksinomics.

EMBASSY OF ISRAEL

9
poststaffer 23.03.06

I would like to think that one day the editor of the Post will see fit to exercise enough discretion to keep such offensive comments out of a news story. Exercising editorial judgement is what his job is all about, after all.

However, we may have to wait until the day that the public is sufficiently aware just what a bunch of ratbags we have working on the public dime in this nation’s universities.

I can’t think of any cases where, as a reporter working in the West, I would elect to put a Nazi analogy in a news story…it’s just too crass, tasteless, and offensive.

Here, reporters do it without so much as a second thought, apparently because it sounds dramatic.

It’s not a question of freedom of speech; still less do we put in such analogies because of what they tell us about the people making them.

On the contrary, I am sure some reporters who write such nonsense believe the claim may in fact be true, or that it is appropriate to make such an analogy between Hitler and Thaksin.

Here, journalists seem to lack a critical capacity which allows them to distinguish between rhetoric which serves no useful purpose, and criticism which might actually further a debate.

10
poststaffer 24.03.06

Hands up anyone who’s spotted a Thai journalist who has the courage and independence of thought to stand up for Thaksin.

OK, knock out ‘courage’ and ‘independence of thought’ – that’s asking way too much. Spotted anyone who has said anything positive about him at all lately, even begrudgingly?

In today’s issue of the Post, the chief reporter opines that Thaksin is discredited, and has to go. Well, how original.

In my day chief reporters weren’t asked for their views, they were just asked to check copy and keep the staff happy. Seems this one wants to give us the benefit of her views on politics, too…and they look no different from what her colleagues in the Thai-language media are spouting.

Journalists here have such an inflated idea of their own importance, along with democracy lovers in general.

They are society’s ‘moral crusaders’ (according to one story appearing in your Post tomorrow), while Thaksin is merely a ‘discredited leader’. Who says? That motley bunch in Sanam Luang, or wherever they happened to have camped out tonight?

The same story, comparing politics in Thailand and the Philippines, says the media is the ‘cornerstone of the people’s power and democratic movement and they need to keep a balancing and monitoring role to keep corrupt leaders at bay’.

So the media is almost fated to serve up the same old dross, year after year, rarely bothering to look beyond today’s inflated, self-interested and predictable utterance by this or that NGO or democracy-lover group to what those destructive comments might mean for stable government or a healthy democracy.

God, someone bring us some real news, and put these people out of their misery. Their craving for attention is tiresome, and turning everyone off.

As Thammasat University’s Pichit Likitkijsomboon says in his excellent piece for Prachathai, these people seem set on taking us back to the past, time and time again.

No sooner do we take a step forward with a new constitution or election, than we have to take two back, because those politicians were just getting too comfortable.

Those rascal politicians, even with a constitution and independent bodies in place, just can’t be trusted, can they? Military dictators, bureaucrats with their own fiefdoms, on the other hand – ah, those were the days.

ฉีกมันก็ฉีกได้หลายวิธี เอาทหารออกมา แล้วประกาศยกเลิกเลยก็ได้ แล้วมีธรรมนูญการปกครองแทน เหมือนสมัย พล.อ.สุจินดา (คราประยูร) มี 19-20 มาตรา โอเคจบ นายกฯ จะเป็นใครก็ได้ เป็นทหารหรือเบื้องบนจะส่งลงมาก็แล้วแต่ จากนั้นก็ตั้งคณะกรรมการร่างรัฐธรรมนูญฉบับใหม่ทั้งฉบับไปเลย ใช้เวลาอีก 1-2 ปีแล้วก็ยุบสภาเลือกตั้งใหม่ อันนี้ก็ย้อนยุคไปสมัยสุจินดา ทำมา 14 ปียังเหมือนเดิม ถ้าตอนนั้นผมมีลูก ลูกอยู่มัธยมแล้วประเทศไทยยังเหมือนเดิม ซึ่งมันก็จะเป็น Pattern เดียวกับหลัง 14 ตุลาเหมือนกัน 20-30 ปีก็ยังเหมือนเดิม ร่างรัฐธรรมนูญกันอยู่นั่นแหละ รัฐธรรมนูญดีแต่ได้นายกฯ ไม่เป็นที่พอใจก็ฉีกมันทิ้งเลย

11
poststaffer 24.03.06

Oops. Forgot this bit, from the same withering article:

พวกนี้เกลียดทักษิณ จะเอาออกให้ได้ โดยไม่ดูว่า กติกามันมีรึเปล่า ฉีกรัฐธรรมนูญทิ้งก็ได้ เอานายกฯ พระราชทานก็ได้ แต่ขอโทษที ต้องรบกวนเบื้องสูงอยู่เรื่อย ไม่อายกันบ้างรึไง พัฒนาการเมืองมาตั้ง 40-50 ปี แก้ปัญหาด้วยตัวเองไม่ได้ทุกที ประชาชนไทยเหมือนเด็ก 3 ขวบ ทะเลาะกัน ชกกัน แล้วแก้ไม่ได้ ร้องไห้บอกพ่อลงมาช่วยห้ามมวยด้วย ร้องหาพ่อทุกที กฎกติกามีก็ไม่ทำตาม พ่อก็ต้องลงมาช่วยทุกที

http://www.prachatai.com

12
Tom Vamvanij 24.03.06

Post Staffer:

I covered that interview in the thai version and plan to do the same here.

JW:

What a shame the embassy was condemning a non-existent guy, isn’t it?

13
poststaffer 24.03.06

Thank you, Tom. Shall take a look.

Further to the above, here’s one democracy group whose sense of history spans more than the last five minutes. From your Post tomorrow:

A pro-democracy group yesterday laid a wreath and tied a black cloth around the Democracy Monument in protest against PAD’s appeal for a royally-bestowed prime minister.

Led by Passakorn Atthasit, 20 people known as the relatives of people who died in the October 1973 uprising marched from the October 14, 1973 Monument at Kok Wua intersection to the Democracy Monument.

`We don’t care if Mr Thaksin remains in the post. All we care is that the prime minister is elected. Asking for a royally bestowed prime minister is akin to ripping the charter apart,’ he said.