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Excerpt of Dao Din Student Interview in Buruma Article

2015 May 23
by The Isaan Record

Dao Din: People need to stand up for themselves

Ian Buruma, a prominent global writer, has just published an article in Harpers entitled, “A Polite Coup.” It is behind a pay-wall, but here is an extract from an interview he had last December with a Dao Din student:

“The students who were arrested for making the three-finger salute belong to the so-called Dao Din group, a kind of informal student society whose members get together to discuss social and political issue…”

“I met one of the students, an articulate young woman from a farming family who had taken out a loan to study law at Khon Kaen University. She appeared to be motivated entirely by youthful idealism. Her goal was to become a human right lawyer. Villagers, she said, are constantly being bullied by corporate lawyers who defend the interests of mining companies or factory owners. Unable to afford their own lawyers, they are powerless to fight back. She mentioned the case of a gold mine whose pollution she and others had protested. After the coup, she had been ordered to stay away from the mine.”

“The young woman wanted me to understand that she was not fighting for any particular political party. She thought that people were placing too much hope in leaders instead of standing up for themselves. Policies and laws should come from below. “Red shirts,” she said, “wait for things to come from above.” But she agreed with the red shirts that it was essential to have the right to vote. Now that right had been taken away.”

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