According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of terror is “a very strong feeling of fear; something that causes very strong feelings of fear; violence that is committed by a person, group, or government in order to frighten people and achieve a political goal”. Terror can be defined in many different ways and by many different people and is sometimes if not always, subjective. As Americans, the first thing we think of when “terror” or “terrorism” is brought up is the tragedy of 9/11, and how many countries against the US perform acts of terrorism. What we don’t think is how the US is viewed to other countries and that we can as well be considered terrorists. This is also true about government and political agendas use/coverage of terror can elevate what their mission to complete or control as well.
Thailand has been under political turmoil for quite sometime now, and much violence has happened since the beginning of this year. With Yingluck Shinawatra, former prime minister of Thailand, forced to step down, military dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha has stepped up enforcing laws favoring the royalists and going to extreme measures on the crackdowns of the Red Shirt demonstrations. Many civilians have lost their political voice and have been killed for it, if and when they speak against the Thai royal family. Although it may seem the country is going through a political crisis, it is also acts of terrorism…inversely though.
A few days ago, the premier of The Hunger Games Mockingjay part one was set to play in theatres all over the world including Thailand. In the movie the character along with rebellion districts depect a symbol against “the capitol”, the government system in place during the movie. This symbol is raising three fingers up. Due to General Prayuth’s extreme measures of keeping civilians obedient, many people chose the symbolic route to depict their political views and what they think about the military coup intheir country. Just like the movie, the people are rising against their government powers. To the Royalists and Snow (character in movie), they view the movement as terrioists attacks. It has completely affected Thailand’s socially because a symbol, three fingers, can cause an uproal that leads to arrestment of civilians and something so basic such as a movie being banned from the country. Prayuth fears that influence from a movie can give momentum to an uprising against the Royalists and overthrow his position as prime minister. He belives if his opponent party is in control, the downfall of Thailand is inevitable. What him and the Royalist members do not see is that what they view as terrorist attacks or symbols of terriorism is simply a silent protest and due to illegalizing the propaganda and the movie itself, it has elevated into a significant act that can bring significant consequences. “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear” (hunger games) but before it brings hope, fear has a way of controlling a country and potentially bringing it down.
By: Tamarind Jitnoom