Monday, December 1, 2008

History in the Making

Have I mentioned that we're living in the midst of a coup? It started just a couple of days before we arrived in Thailand but has recently escalated. The group who instigated it wasn't getting enough attention with their other protests, so they took over the airport. Actually, BOTH of the Bangkok airports. The country is losing billions of dollars. Over 100,000 foreigners are stranded here.

I think they are finally getting the attention they wanted.
But the government is in a really tough position because the Queen supports the protesters. Plus, Thai people in general are extremely passive. The general attitude here is 'subai-subai', which is kinda like 'hakuna matata'. In the midst of all the protesting, there have been some injuries but no deaths. Not much bloodshed. It kinda has the feel that it's going to get worse, though, if anything's going to be resolved. There is a lot of speculation about what will happen and when. But, we do know this: the King's 81st birthday is on Friday, which is a HUGE deal. Some think that the government is waiting until after the birthday to get the protesters under control. Others think that they'll want it taken care of before the King's birthday. Who knows? Matt was at the US Embassy the other day, and there was a Princess Cruise that was supposed to fly out last week, but now they're stuck here. He got to hear the Embassy official explain the situation pretty simply: Nobody knows what's going to happen.

Our friends who lived here during Thailand's last coup said that it was pretty peaceful. In all of Thailand's history, they've NEVER had a civil war or never been ruled by another nation. That's some pretty cool heritage and something they take seriously.
At this point, we have many friends whose lives have been affected by the airport takeover. The pastor who flew in to speak at our church retreat last weekend hasn't been able to fly home. A couple of friends from small group had business or personal trips planned that were canceled. Imports and exports have been interrupted. The economy is taking a big hit.
Our day-to-day life remains the same. We're still not wearing yellow shirts, though.
This morning, half of my class was late. So, I asked those students who were there if all the other students were protesting at the airport. I got some pretty interesting comments... then, I realized that I should probably not be talking about such things in class.

For more information:
Article 1
Article 2
Article 3

Not saying that I agree with everything in the last one, but it's perspective.
More perspective is that compared to what's going on in many other nations around the world, this is extremely minor.

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