CityNews – Jaran Dittapichai, a Thai political activist speaking at a memorial service for the Thammasat Massacre of October 6th 1976, said that he thinks it would be beneficial to Thailand and its young students if the massacre was included in Thai high-school textbooks.
The body of a second year student from Chulalongkorn University, hanged from a tree during the massacre. The photo was famously used as the cover for the Dead Kennedys single ‘Holiday in Cambodia’. The photo was taken by Neal Ulevich.
It was reported on Thai news site Khaosod that following a memorial service yesterday Jaran and other activists expressed their concern about the massacre, known as ‘Black October’, and how the education system ignores its existence. Such an omission it was said by activists is symbolic of Thailand’s tenuous democracy.
In spite of Thailand’s ex-Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s insistence when interviewed by CNN in 2008 that “only one person died” in the massacre, a massacre that it’s said his own right-wing campaign was very much a catalyst, it’s thought that somewhere between 50-100 students were brutally killed that day. Some of whom were shot dead, and others reportedly raped, hanged and burned alive.
While it’s generally felt by a lot of people that this day is a dark spot in the Thai consciousness and should be forgotten, many modern critics believe that such an event needs to be discussed and analyzed.
Jaran was reported as saying on Khaosod that, “Thai democracy is always crushed under the boots whenever it has signs of flourishing. That is why it is not going anywhere up to this day”.
He added that many Thai people do not have an understanding of the massacre and why such a horrific event occurred. It is understanding the causes of such an event he believes that will lead to a more politically educated populace able to exert their beliefs on their government. Jaran has already submitted a letter to the Ministry of Education asking that not only should October 6th be added to school textbooks, but other ‘black’ days in Thai history such as the massacre of May 1992 be added.