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Unhealed Wounds » Red Shirts

Unhealed Wounds

On April 10th, the UDD held a day-long rally at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument to honour those who lost their lives during a brutal military assault on Red Shirt protesters 3 years ago. Despite the beaming sun, thousands came out to commemorate the tragic events that caused the deaths of 21 protesters, 5 soldiers, and Japanese cameraman Hiroyuki Muramoto. The resounding message was a powerful one: never again.

[From left to right] Suwimon with husband Bunjead and Ampon's mother Nang

[From left to right] Suwimon with husband Bunjead and Ampon’s mother Nang

But for the families who lost loved ones on April 10th 2010, the damage is already done. Thai Red Shirts (TRS) met with some of the families at the rally that were torn apart by senseless violence and are still waiting for justice.

Nang Tatiyarat, Suwimon and Bunjead Phungkinchan share the horrible fate of losing a son that night. Their sons, Ampon Tayirat and Terdsak Phungkinchan, were both slain by military bullets.

Both men were completely unarmed, save Ampon who was waving the Thai national flag. To this day, their parents cannot accept what happened.

Nang said,            

The sorrow stays with me. He was a law student with a bright future who was protesting for democracy. I loved him so much.

Bunjead explained that the healing process is slow,

Today, I went to the spot where my son was killed and I was speechless. All I could do was weep. 

Kok Wua intersection where Terdsak and Ampon, among others, were killed. Arrows point to bullet holes in the sign

Kok Wua intersection where Terdsak and Ampon, among others, were killed. Arrows point to bullet holes in the sign

Their pain has been aggravated by the Thai justice system’s failure to hold accountable the people responsible for the use of lethal force against unarmed protesters.

Suwimon said,

The judiciary in Thailand is unreliable. True justice can only be achieved by the International Criminal Court [ICC]. Only then can I start to feel better. 

Even the murder charges brought forth against then-prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban have done little to ease their suffering.

Bunjead said,

Given the slow pace at which this process has been moving, it’s likely that Abhisit and Suthep will get off based on the statute of limitations (20 years). There are so many cases that the system will be overwhelmed. We need the government to give jurisdiction to the ICC. 

When asked if they could forgive the people responsible for the death of their sons, Nang said she could not. Bunjead’s response, however, was more nuanced.

He said,

I can forgive the soldiers who acted on the orders of their superiors and I am deeply sorry for the men in uniform that died that night as well. But I can’t forgive those who decided to use lethal force against unarmed protesters.

All three parents expressed their appreciation for the people that came out on Wednesday to show their support.

Suwimon said,

These events give us the strength and encouragement to keep fighting. We thank everyone, the Reds and the UDD for honouring our son’s memory and all the victims who were taken from us.

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