Thailand, 1976

Thailand is descending into some sort of chaos again recently, it seems. I may be just ignorant, i don’t understand what pouring human blood on the government buildings accomplishes but it seems very gruesome and medieval. Since its transition into democracy in 1932, there had been 18 coup d’etats and nearly 60 prime ministerial administrations in Thailand. Yet, compared to its neighbors it is pretty democratic and stable. Sir Humphrey would have called it ‘unstable sort of stability’ I guess.

No other period in its history had been as tumultuous as the 70s. In 1973, Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn and his cadre who ruled for much of the 1960s and early 1970s were ousted by a student-led uprising. In 1976, Thanom decided to return to Thailand as a monk in a controversial act widely protested by the students. Thanks to partisans accusing student movements of being communist, the protests turned ugly. At least 46 student protesters are killed and hundreds more are wounded by the police and army which turned violent and staged its own coup.

One iconic picture to come out of this conflict was the above, taken by Neal Ulevich for AP. A leftist student was so angry that he was striking the lifeless body of a hanged student outside the Thammasat University in this Oct. 6, 1976 photo. (At least 15 persons were killed when police stormed the campus where students barricaded themselves in). Ulevich won the Pulitzer and World Press Photo Award for the photo, and he reflects on the irony: “When I won the Pulitzer, the Bangkok papers noted it on page one. They were very proud that a photographer from Bangkok had won the Pulitzer. They didn’t show the pictures.”

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0 thoughts on “Thailand, 1976

  1. 924831 47068There some fascinating points in time in this post but I don’t know if I see these center to heart. There could be some validity but I’ll take hold opinion until I explore it further. Exceptional post , thanks and then we want a good deal far more! Put into FeedBurner too 781401

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