Similarities between Iran and Thailand
there is a big coverage in Thai media the of current protests in Iran and especially the role of internet, blogs and Twitter as an alternative media in these events.
Bkk Post writes: Iran tweets get to outside world
With foreign media now barred from taking to the streets to report on the aftermath of the disputed election, heavy use is being made of so-called user-generated content.
Alongside reports compiled from correspondents in Iran — often under false names — newspapers and websites are reprinting emails, the contents of phone calls, and messages from Twitter and social networking site Facebook.
Back in Britain, Sky News television was using content from Twitter to complement the coverage from its foreign editor, who is in the Iranian capital.
Ruth Barnett, a multimedia producer on the channel, admitted that it was difficult to check who the Twitter users are.
there are many more reports about Twitter. while at the same time Iran is being compared with Thailand in many aspects, including the media censorship :
Iran is up there with the likes of China, Vietnam, Thailand and North Korea when it comes to Internet censorship prowess, all of which have in recent years jailed Internet users and violated the rights of online free speech…
Internet users across the globe have pledged to help Iranians avoid detection and possible arrest by attempting to make it harder for the government to track them. By using proxy servers, they are able to change their web addresses or location settings to make it appear as if they are posting information from outside Iran. This gives the Iranian Internet police a tough job in tracking down the genuine bloggers living inside the country. Sympathizers are also setting up their own proxies to help Iranians bypass government filters.
A proxy is essentially a web server or network that bridges the gap between the user and the destination website by masking the Internet address of either connection. By disguising the Internet address (IP) they can make the connection appear anonymous and thus enable access to otherwise blocked websites …
Well, I know for a fact that Thai people are not a strangers to Twitter, blogs and Proxys ! a lot of on-line browsers and commenters are now extensively using mautlitude of proxy websites and software while reading and participating in many banned and blocked websites and forums.
Jotman blog tries to analyze other similarities, which are of course too many, in his post : Thailand example a warning for Iran optimists
The comparison is very easily made. In fact, one can develop Iranian parallels with Thailand much further than one can carry any comparison between Iran and countries such as Brazil or the US… Both Persians and Thais have experienced the censorship and self-censorship of websites and the press. In both countries you can end up in jail if you criticize the wrong people… Even in terms of current political tactics there are parallels between Bangkok in April and Tehran in June.
Elites in both countries appear at times of crisis to rule through a political class that acts within a democratic arena, but is inherently expendable. Democratic systems, elites with veto power. By this arrangement, it may even be possible for the real power brokers to shed a once-favored political party as a snake sheds its skin.
I think this blog News in Bangkok has very nice comparison (I suggest read it all) of 2 countries, here are some points :
first point of comparison is to observe … it is clear that people will vote for who they want to vote for … [in Iran] there seem to be plenty of people willing to vote for him [Ahmedinajad] … In Thailand … the mass of people have repeatedly voted for the parties that would provide redistribution from the rich to the poor. Democracy means that people should be allowed to vote for who they wish.
However, both in Iran and Thailand, it appears to be the case that the will of the people is to be denied…
In both countries, the state authorities have been perfectly willing to use violence to disperse pro-democracy protestors…
In both countries, real power is wielded by extra-constitutional figures who prefer to act largely behind the scenes (or sometimes blatantly in public knowing that the media will remain quiescent)…
The attitude of the USA is different…
In Middle east section of Asia Times there are many articles in past 2 weeks about events in Iran which provide a better understanding of what’s actually going on there, as well as get the better comparison between Thailand and Iran: the behind the curtains power brokering, the “grey cardinal” Rafsanjani (as certain similar persons in Thailand) who is the Mousavi‘s protege, the “Oil mafia” (well, I guess in Thailand it is – “Rice mafia” and in general all those companies producing food and dealing with agri products ?), the political structure in the country, etc etc. and another similarity is a “coup”, as some see the current event in Iran :
My take is that the result of this election has been a very Iranian coup, and that the people in control are very much analogous to a less technocratic and unsophisticated type of siloviki – or security service types found in the corridors of power in Russia and elsewhere.
Personally, I doubt whether this faction will be able to maintain and consolidate control because its members do not have the expertise to manage an unwilling bureaucracy. They also seem to have alienated the powerful bazaaris, whose support was instrumental both for the late ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, and for Ahmadinejad more recently.
I don’t see any chance of a violent revolutionary struggle, since the Iranian military is keeping out of it. This is an economic, not an ideological struggle …
Thailand is quite famous for all sorts of coups too. and Of course, the old good clue is same : “follow the money”.
and to my big surprise, some Thai reporters, as Nation’s Pornpimol Kanchanalak, are able to deduct at least some lessons :
… the lesson here is, that apart from all the irony, contradiction and “colours” in politics,
reality will perhaps always be different shades of grey.
although of course Thai reporter is being too cautious to draw more comparisons than that, and at the same time sort of pokes the “red” and “yellow” movements.