May 20, 2010

Violence Erupts in Bangkok: A Firsthand Report from a Current Resident.

I look at the soldiers—boys, younger than me…and I thought I was the child!

They have rifles, bigger than their bodies. They’re ready to fire. Fear consumes all of our thoughts. I walk past, embarrassed. No. I don’t care.

I look a soldier in the eyes. He must be like a baking potato in that suit; sweat like cheese melting down the cracks under his arms and at the backs of his knees. The black boots like a ball and chain to his baked potato outfit.

Does he even know why he’s here? (Do I?) I turn my head up at the hell of a sun that’s causing my brain to throb inside my hat. Everything seems to melt together.

A member of the Thai marine forces stands guard around 5 miles away from the city center, where most violence is taking place.

The afternoon fills up with raindrops of silence. Emptiness is when the bucket is full. Everyone is hiding out, enveloped in their respective cocoons, away from the chaos of burning tires, choking rubbery smoke, a red hornet’s nest colliding with green and black flies.

“Red shirt” protesters outside the Government Complex in April 2010

The city is on hold, the conventional financial center shut down. Shopping malls, usually areas of retreat, no longer blast megawatts of electricity. Shops are shut, mouths too. Fear lingers like inextinguishable birthday cake candles.

In my overheated stupor, I inch my way down the road of cooking cement. Even at this distance from the war zone, I pass threads of razor wire and images of flesh, red and infinite red dripping from beakers on the pavement, not evaporating but coagulating in gutters, the stench causing one to retch.

I am not hiding out. I share the afternoon heat with a fellow solitary nomad. We partake in the act of being lost in translation. We translate our confusion in the form of a guided meditation book. Living out—camping out—of our suitcase and backpack, we have no home to retreat to.

In this chaos, one life can become relatively meaningless—what difference does it make who dies? Life can be lost at any and every moment and it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference if it’s gone.

Those who hide away—those who fight—me and my solitary nomad companion—each of us, our lives, will continue to the next once it’s lost here.

This is a battle that can’t be won. Fighting with this philosophy, nothing is destroyed, nothing is created. It—like the blood in the gutter—simply coagulates and emits a putrid stench.


The current political situation in Thailand is currently rearing its head in a violent form in Bangkok, with the “Red shirt party” (so-called because they wear red shirts; they are not affiliated with the Communist Party) protesting against the present government set up under Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiv, who has been in power since 17 December 2008.

The “Red shirts” or the “National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD)”, led by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, believe that the election was conducted in an undemocratic process, and their ultimate goal is to dissolve Parliament and call for new elections.

The generally peaceful protestors have turned violent and many deaths have been reported, both from the U.D.D. side and the military side. The P.D.D. has established their headquarters in the center of Bangkok where the financial district is located, as well as surrounding numerous shopping centers. This area has been “off limits” to locals and tourists as it is considered a virtual “war zone” where violence has erupted.

At present, the situation remains uncertain and life is on “standby” as major forms of public transportation (the “sky train” and subway) have been shut down over the past few days, and many offices have closed until further notice.

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Camille Ward  |  Contribution: 740