… and while we’re already on the subject of my itinerary: my first stop (after the two day stop over in Abu Dhabi, where I’ll visit my uncle and his family) on the trip is going to be Bangkok. As you’ve surely have heard, Bangkok has been the victim of political riots. Here’s the hasty run-down on why people are actually protesting, stolen from BBC News:
Many of the protesters come from Thailand’s rural north and northeast. They benefited from the populist policies Mr Thaksin framed during his five years in power – such as on health and education – and many of them want him back.
Others are urban intellectuals who want to see more democracy and less military influence in the country.
These various constituencies make up the anti-government United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), and are known for wearing distinctive red shirts.
The red-shirts say Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva came to power illegitimately and is a puppet of the military. They want Mr Abhisit to resign and call fresh elections.
As for my travel plans, well, I’m sure as hell not going to change anything about my decision to see Bangkok. I am a bit worried that the riots will have escalated by October into a grown up civil war, but I guess I won’t be able to change anything about it right now. I am hoping that it will go back to normal by the time we’re there. Fellow travelers have been posting pictures and articles about the current situation- though it apparently doesn’t make for a relaxed family vacation right now, it should be relatively safe if you don’t go into the red zones.
That said, the US embassy (and probably most other embassies) have issued a travel warning. The embassies in town are closed down (though I just read that they have opened up emergency locations), so if you lose your passport you’re all on your own. The firings are deadly and even foreign media has been affected. Be careful should you defer your
travels to other places in Thailand: most of the north seems to be occupied by the riots. Here are the regions that have been listed in the above mentioned travel warnings:
The Big Picture released some stunning photography in todays issue. It seems very unreal and intimidating- kind of like what we watched when the protests in Iran rose up. I keep telling myself that it probably can’t get worse than the First of May protests here in Berlin, but seeing those pictures I might just change my mind about that…