Important Dates in Thailand


1351 Legendary foundation of Ayutthaya
1569 First fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese
1767 Second fall of Ayutthaya
1782 New capital established at Bangkok; King Yotfa, Rama I, accedes
1822 First trade treaty with Britain signed, negotiated by John Crawfurd
1851 King Mongkut, Rama IV, accedes
1855 Bowring treaty signed
1863 French protectorate of Cambodia established
1868 King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, accedes
1872 Chulalongkorn visits India
1874 Front Palace Incident takes place; Anglo-Siamese Treaty over
Chiang Mai signed; edict abolishing slavery issued
1885 Prince Prisdang’s memorial on a constitution prepared
1890 Privy Purse Bureau established
1892 Ministerial council formed
1893 French gunboats threaten Bangkok (Paknam Incident); Ministry
of Interior founded
1897 Chulalongkorn makes first visit to Europe
1901 Ubon phumibun revolt takes place
1902 Revolts break out in Phrae and the southern states revolt; Sangha
Act passed
1905 Conscription edict issued
1908 Sun Yat-Sen visits Bangkok
1909 Anglo-Siamese Treaty finalizes Siam’s boundaries
1910 King Vajiravudh, Rama VI, accedes; Chinese strike in Bangkok
1912 Plot uncovered in military
1913 Nationality Act passed; Surname Act passed; Vajiravudh’s The Jews
of the East published
1916 Chulalongkorn University founded
1917 Siamese contingent established to fight on Allied side in Europe;
first ‘political newspaper’ published
1920 Prince Damrong’s Our Wars with the Burmese first published
1923 Press Act passed; W. C. Dodd’s The Tai Race published
1925 King Prajadhipok, Rama VII, accedes
1927 People’s Party founded in Paris
1928 Kulap Saipradit’s Luk phu chai (A Real Man) published; Khun
Wichitmatra’s Lak Thai (Origins of the Thai) published; Wichit
Wathakan’s Mahaburut (Great Men) published; Japanese goods
1930 Ho Chi Minh (intermittently in Siam since 1928 organizing
Vietnamese ´emigr´es) forms Communist Party of Siam
1932 Revolution converts absolute monarchy to constitutional
monarchy (24 June)
1933 Boworadet Revolt takes place
1934 Thammasat University founded; Phibun becomes minister of
defence and army chief
1935 King Prajadhipok abdicates
1936 Wichit Wathakan’s play Luat Suphan (Blood of Suphanburi) first
1937 Japanese imports boycotted second time
1938 Phibun becomes prime minister; Thai Rice Company formed
1939 Siam renamed Thailand; series of state edicts starts; Constitution
Monument completed
1941 Japanese army enters Thailand; Thailand declares war on Allies;
battle with French takes place
1942 Phibun’s Sangha Act passed; Communist Party of Thailand
1944 Seri Thai network established; Phibun ousted as prime minister;
Bangkok Bank founded
1945 Seni Pramoj recalled from USA to front peace negotiations
1946 Pridi’s constitution passed; King Ananda Mahidol, Rama VIII,
dies; King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, accedes; First May Day
rally is held
1947 First national labour federation formed; coup returns Phibun to
1948 Troubles in Muslim south after Haji Sulong’s arrest; Communist
Party of Thailand (CPT) adopts Maoist strategy
1949 Palace Rebellion occurs; Pridi flees
1950 Phibun makes a sweep against Peace Movement
1951 King Rama IX returns to Thailand; Silent or Radio Coup occurs;
first US military aid arrives
1954 Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) formed
1955 Phibun’s democracy interlude occurs
1957 Sarit Thanarat takes power by coup; Mitraphap highway
1958 Sarit’s second coup and repression takes place
1960 Thai troops fight in Laos
1961 Khrong Chandawong executed; CPT forms first rural base in
1962 Sarit’s Sangha Act passed; Rusk-Khoman agreement confirms US
security alliance
1963 Sarit dies, succeeded by Thanom Kittikhachon; Social Science
Review founded
1964 First air strike on Vietnam flown from Thailand
1965 ‘First shot’ of communist insurgency
1966 Jit Phumisak shot dead in Phuphan
1967 Thai troops fight in South Vietnam; Hmong rebellion takes place
in northern hills
1968 Constitution restored
1971 Thanom makes a coup against his own government and abrogates
the constitution; Village Scouts formed
1972 Students protest against Japanese goods, and for restoration of
1973 Student uprising fells Thanom (14 October)
1974 Peasants Federation of Thailand (PFT) formed; workers strike at
Dusit Thani Hotel
1975 Elected governments headed by Kukrit and Seni Pramoj;
Nawaphon and Red Gaurs formed; US troops start to depart
1976 Massacre at Thammasat University and military coup occurs
(6 October)
1979 Elections and parliament restored
1980 Prem Tinsulanond becomes prime minister; political policy to end
insurgency launched
1981 Failed April Fool’s Day Coup occurs
1984 Baht devalued
1985 A coup fails; Chamlong Srimuang elected mayor of Bangkok
1986 Nidhi Eoseewong’s study of King Taksin published
1987 Remnants of CPT arrested; Sujit Wongthet’s Jek pon Lao (Chinese
Mixed with Lao) published
1988 Chatichai Choonhavan becomes first elected prime minister since
1976; Nam Choan dam project cancelled
1991 Military coup by National Peacekeeping Council (NPKC) takes
place; Anand Panyarachun becomes prime minister
1992 NPKC prime minister Suchinda Kraprayun forced out by street
demonstrations of ‘Black May’; Kho Jo Ko protest against forest
resettlement takes place; Phumpuang Duangjan dies; Chuan
Leekpai becomes prime minister
1994 Thai Culture Promotion Year celebrated; King Bhumibol’s
sufficiency farming scheme instigated; Pak Mun dam completed
1995 Constitution Drafting Assembly established; Assembly of the Poor
1996 Banharn Silpa-archa ousted after no-confidence debate
1997 Assembly of the Poor 99-day protest takes place; ‘People’s
Constitution’ passed; economic crisis begins
1998 Thai Rak Thai Party founded by Thaksin Shinawatra
2001 Thaksin Shinawatra becomes prime minister
2003 ‘War on drugs’ claims over 2500 lives
2004 Militancy in the far south revived with Narathiwat armoury raid,
Krue-se and Tak Bai incidents take place
2006 Thaksin government overthrown by coup
2007 New constitution accepted in national referendum; December
elections usher in coalition headed by People Power Party (PPP)
with Samak Sundaravej as prime minister
2008 After Yellow Shirt demonstration closes Bangkok airport, PPP
government removed by courts; Abhisit Vejjajiva of the Democrat
Party becomes prime minister
2009 Large military operation clears Red Shirt demonstration at Thai
New Year
2010 Massive Red Shirt demonstrations end in May 2010 with around a
hundred deaths
2011 Pheu Thai wins absolute majority at July election; Yingluck
Shinawatra becomes Thailand’s first female prime minister
2013 Amnesty bill designed to allow Thaksin to return fails after
massive urban protest

A History of Thailand

Chris Baker taught Asian history at Cambridge University and has
lived in Thailand for over 30 years. He is now an independent writer,
researcher and translator.

Pasuk Phongpaichit is Professor in the Faculty of Economics,
Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. She has written widely in Thai
and English on the Thai economy, sex industry, corruption, illegal
economy and inequality.



Do Not Support Your Local Police


The American Police have always been a tool of the affluent. The creation and proliferation of Police Forces have always been at the behest of those with Economic Power.

American Police have never been charged with serving and protecting the Citizen. They have always been a tool of oppression. They serve the interest of the State. The State serves the interests of the Corporate Elite.

Support of the police by the Citizen is a direct contradiction of the Citizen’s own interests. It is tantamount to the slaves of the antebellum South proclaiming support for the Slave Patrols and the Fugitive Slave Act.


The modern police force not only provided an organized, centralized body of men (and they were all male) legally authorized to use force to maintain order, it also provided the illusion that this order was being maintained under the rule of law, not at the whim of those with economic power.

In the Southern states the development of American policing followed a different path. The genesis of the modern police organization in the South is the “Slave Patrol” (Platt 1982).


corrupt cop

Barack Obama is Delusional. History Shows Him a Fool.

US President Obama waves from a golf cart in Kailua

This is President Obama’s reaction to the death of James Foley.  In the statement, he shows a naive, wishful view of World History.

Radicals are the “folks” who move history.  Radicals end nations and start nations.

Even our Founding Fathers were radicals.  Look back to the American Revolution.  The Revolutionaries carried out some nasty deeds.  Massacres…town burnings…hangings.  I’m fairly certain they beheaded a few people as well.

Obama seems to think that history is made by peaceful “folks” who suddenly agree that things should change.  I think he’s seen one too many “Faux Revolutions” in Eastern Europe.  He seems to think that those “upheavals” were the norm.  What happened when the Cold War ended and the walls came tumbling down.  The history of the era is not so bloodless as they seem.  The old regimes’ rulers died.  It’s just that they didn’t show it on TV.  The 90s upheavals were heavily sanitized here in the West.  We weren’t shown the deaths that are inevitable with any regime change.  These things are inherently violent.  

And then we had the Balkans.  Plenty of folks were killed.  Massacres were everywhere in the Balkans.  So much so that Clinton decided that he had to intervene.  Serbians hate America to this day.  

Below is the Obama delusion:

President Obama delivered the following remarks in Martha’s Vineyard on the beheading of American journalist James Foley by the militant group Islamic State. Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody.

Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group ISIL. Jim was a journalist, a son, a brother and a friend. He reported from difficult and dangerous places, bearing witness to the lives of people a world away.

He was taken hostage nearly two years ago in Syria, and he was courageously reporting at the time on the conflict there. Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocked the conscience of the entire world. He was 40 years old, one of five siblings, the son of a mom and dad who worked tirelessly for his release. Earlier today, I spoke to the Foleys and told them that we are all heartbroken at their loss and join them in honoring Jim and all that he did.

Now, Jim Foley’s life stands in stark contrast to his killers. Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion.

They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people. So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just god would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt. They may claim out of expediency that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior.

People like this ultimately fail. They fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy. The world is shaped by people like Jim Foley and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him. The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done and we act against ISIL, standing alongside others. The people of Iraq, who with our support are taking the fight to ISIL must continue coming together to expel these terrorists from their community. The people of Syria, whose story Jim Foley told, do not deserve to live under the shadow of a tyrant or terrorists. They have our support in their pursuit of a future rooted in dignity.

From governments and peoples across the Middle East, there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of this kind of nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century. Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values that are rooted in the opposite of what we saw yesterday. And we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism and replace it with a sense of hope and civility.

And that’s what Jim Foley stood for, a man who lived his word, who courageously told the stories of his fellow human beings, who was liked and loved by friends and family. Today, the American people will all say a prayer for those who loved Jim. All of us feel the ache of his absence. All of us morn his loss. We keep in our prayers those other Americans who are separated from their families. And we will do everything that we can to protect our people and the timeless values that we stand for. May God bless and keep Jim’s memory. And may God bless the United States of America.

Most of the remarks were empty words.  Harmless.  Meant to make the Foley family feel as though the US did all it could to retrieve their son and bring him to safety.  This is and obvious lie but one that all Presidents tell the American people.  One can’t blame Obama for following in the footsteps of Reagan, Carter, FDR and LBJ.  Lies are common when Presidents speak to the America people.  

“All we have to fear is fear itself…;” said FDR.  He left out the Bankers and others who love to push America to war for profit.  After all, he was in cahoots with the Bankers.  Why would he speak truth to the power of the Bankers in American Foreign Policy.  If the American people were ever roused to the truth of American Banks…well, nothing.  Americans are too busy watching American Idol.

Obama says that no religion “teaches massacre of innocents.”  This lie ignores the commandments of God in the Old Testament and the Suras in the Qu’ran which continually command Muslims to murder the non-believer.  Until we come to terms with the truth that religions (faiths) do command murder, genocide and the killing of those who believe differently, we’re not going to successfully change the attitudes of the believers of this Earth.  We ignore the truths regarding these faiths at our own peril.  Obama should know better as he is a secularist and only pretends to be a church goer for political reasons.  It’s time, or rather it is past time, to speak the truth to these religions and of these religions.  

Christianity and Islam have blood stained histories.  That much they have in common.  Both are knee deep in the blood of innocents.  Let us speak the truth.

Obama also says that “people like this ultimately fail. They fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy.”  

This is half truth at best.  Stalin did not fail.  Mao did not fail.  Pol Pot did not fail.  Ho Chi Minh did not fail.  Tamerlane did not fail.  Genghis Khan did not fail.  Alexander the Great did not fail.  The radical and the violent succeed.  The radical and the violent do not fail.  To say that the future is won by those who build and not those who destroy ignores 6,000 years of human history.  Even America has destroyed.  The American North invaded the American South and destroyed it.  The American South still feels the wrath of the Northern Invasion.  

Obama’s hero Che Guevara is one of those who was a destroyer.  He believed and acted on the belief that Capitalist societies must be destroyed in order to re-build a more egalitarian society.  He acted similarly to ISIS and al Qaeda.  Che used the tactic of terrorism to destroy the governments in Central and South America.  

Perhaps, this has Obama confused.  


Masjid-i Jami — The Great Mosque of Herat


Herat is the largest city in the Western Region of Afghanistan. The city is as old as mankind. It pre-dates Alexander the Great by centuries and has been invaded and conquered by every power to sweep through Asia. Following Alexander were the Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Timurids, the Mongolian Hordes, the Mughals of India and Central Asia. The British tried to take the city through force of arms. The Czars of Russia attempted to steal it away through both armed force and and intrigue. 100 years afer the Czars failed, the communists of Soviet Union invaded and were eventually thrown back across the Amu Darya by the Afghans with a healthy bit of assistance from American Stinger missiles. Lastly, the Taliban took it in the late 90s. As we all know, the Taliban were forced out after the International Community finally came to it’s senses in the post-9/11 era. Presently it is a hesitant member of the Karzai government. It’s chief is held hostage of a sort of the Kabul government so that Karzai can avail the central government of the border taxes from trade with Iran and Turkmenistan.

The heart and soul of Herat is the Masjid-i Jami. The Friday Mosque also known as the Great Mosque and the Blue Mosque. This is the community mosque. On Friday–the Muslim holy day, many of the cities inhabitants gather at theMosque to pray or socialize or just as an excuse to get out on a sunny day and relax among their fellow Heratis. Mosques usually serve as a community center of sorts. They are a place where a city or village residents gather and hear the news or read the Qu’ran. Of course, there is the muezzin calling sura’s from the Qu’ran 5 times a day as well.

Masjid Jami was built bythe Ghurid rulers in 1200 AD making it about 800 years old. By the end of the Century, Ginghis Khan would roll through Herat. Leaving the city and the mosque in ruins. It would suffer through war and natural disaster but ultimately survive. It has been renovated several times over the centures by various rulers who have left their unique cultural mark. As with all Mosques, it faces Mecca. In this case facing South West.

This is a description of the Mosque from 1977. It remains much the same today:

The great mosque of Herat is one of Afghanistan’s more attractive sights. The form in which it stands today was originally laid out on the site of an earlier 10th century mosque in the year 1200 by the Ghrid Sultan Ghiyasuddin. Only tantalizing fragments of Ghorid decoration remain except for a splendid portal situated to the south of the main entrance. (enter from front situated to the south of the main entrance. (Enter from front garden through small door in mosque wall.) A bold Kufic inscription, including the name of the monarch, stands in high Persian-blue relief above a soft buff background intricately designed with floral motifs in cut brick. The combination of the bright, bold straight-lined script contrasts dramatically with the graceful delicacy of the background. It is an exciting example of the artistic sophistication of the ghorids. This stunning decoration was hidden under Timurid decorative tile until the winter of 1964 when experts working with the Kabul Museum removed the later Timurid decoration dating from the 15th century. The upper section of the Timurid arch, lower that the ghorid arch, has been left for interesting comparisons. Ghorid geometric patterns give way to increasingly exuberant floral patterns in the timurid decoration; coloured tile used sparingly only as an accent by the Ghorid is used to cover every inch of the architectural facade by their successors.
The lavish Timurid decorative restoration covered the entire surface of the mosque but it disappeared as the unstable political climate enveloped Herat during the 400 years following Timurid rule. Photographs taken in the courtyard in the early tears of the 20th century show only piles of rubble against bleak, white-washed walls. In 1943 an ambitious restoration program began and continues to today. It is the creation of three noted Herati artists, Fikhri Seljuki Herawi, Mohammad Sa’id Mashal-i Ghori, and the accomplished calligrapher, Mohammad Ali Herawi. A visit to the mosque workshop (to left of corridor leading from the front garden into the courtyard) is highly recommended.
The huge bronze cauldron in the courtyard dates from the reign of the Kart kings of Herat (1332-1381). It was originally used as a receptacle fro sherbet (a sweet drink) which was served to workshipers on feast days. It is now used for donations for the upkeep of the mosque.”
…” Better preserved fragments of Ghorid decoration may be seen on the arches of the short corridors on either side of the main iwan where the mehrab (prayer niche) is let into the west wall. Here the work was executed in cut brick and molded terracotta. In the south corridor, there is a Kufic inscription with a floral background done in a distinctive angular “brambly” style little seen elsewhere. Above this band there are two large panels of brickwork interspersed with x-form plugs and bordered with an undulating chain of molded terracotta arabesques. Simple in concept, the use of plain unadorned brick for design and texture produces a thoroughly handsome effect which is both aesthetically pleasing and strong. Between these brick panels there is a narrower panel filled with a complicated geometric design formed by a series of buds and interconnecting tendrils.
All that is left of the splendid Timurid restoration undertaken by Sultan Husain Baiqara’s prime minister Mir Ali Sher Nawai in 1498 may be found on the inside of the arcade in the southwest corner of the courtyard. The interiors fo these five arches are decorated with narrow strips of blue tile hexagons and octagons sprinkled with tiny golden flowers. Plain pink-beige tile plaques slightly in relief fill the spaces between. The relief and the tiny flowers produce an illusion of depth and mobility which is extremely effective.”

From Dupree, N. H. An historical guide to Afghanistan. Kabul. 1977. p.250

I have not been inside Masjid-i Jami. The military and my employer deem it too dangerous to roam freely or even armed in downtown Herat. These pictures were taken by my Interpretor who lives in the city. I visit the Provincial Police Headquarters (PHQ) about once every two weeks or so. This mosque is directly across the street. Every time that I’ve gone to the PHQ, Masjid-i Jami is full of folks. Children, elderly folks, students. Women in the burqa or chidari as the Tajiks call it. Burqa is a Pushtoon word. I’ve seen blue and black burqas worn here. In Kabul, I’ve seen pink, green and white worn. I imagine the folks at the mosque are out there contemplating, praying. Trying to find their path in life. Seeking God or the Eternal and Sacred.

In many respects, these people are like the rest of us in the world. They seek a better life for themselves and their children. Islam, in my opinion, turns the advantage against them. Islam, from my experience, has widespread problems with poverty and illiteracy. Education of the masses is not a Muslim priority. Rote memorization in a Madrassah is not literacy. Nor is it education. The more “western” a Muslim country. The more likely that it’s people will be educated. This is especially true of women in Muslim countries. There is a reason so many Muslims and especially Arab Muslims are educated outside of the lands of Islam.

The city market and two rather large schools are close by as well. It’s quite odd for me to see segregated schools as is the fashion in Muslim countries. At the end of the school day, the boys run out loud and excited wearing western style clothing. The girls run out just as animated wearing a black and white uniform consisting of a black tunic and white hijab (girls-school.jpg). I had to wonder why the boys weren’t made to wear a uniform as well.

Driving around Herat on the way to the Regional and Provincial Headquarters, is always fascinating. The shops. The people. The vehicles. The city is almost always a sweltering mass of humanity. The streets are never empty. I’m always left wondering. What do these people do in their lives? Where are they headed? Do they hate our presence, love our presence or merely see us as a necessary evil to gain security. Sometimes, I feel like we are wasting our time here. Sometimes, I see hope.


p1013039.jpg Note the 18th Century Cannon on display outside the Mosque.

p1013049.jpg p1013050.jpg p1013052.jpg

Renovation and repair. Tiles being repaired.

p1013054.jpg The inner courtyard area of the Mosque.

p1013079.jpg Ablutions or wudy.gif — A Muslim must wash his face, neck, hands and feet prior to praying or entering a Mosque. The act is a ritual form of purification. Appearing cleansed before God. If no water is available Muslims will use sand or simulate the act as if water were present. The act is carried out as follows:




1. Declare the intention that the act is for the purpose of worship and purity, start by saying Bismillah

2. Wash the hands up to the wrists, three times.

3. Rinse out the mouth with water, three times, preferably with a brush whenever it is possible.

4. Cleanse the nostrils of the nose by sniffing water into them, three times.

5. Wash the whole face three times with both hands, if possible, from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin and from ear to ear.

6. Wash the right arm three times up to the far end of the elbow, and then do the same with the left arm.

7. Wipe the whole head or any part of it with a wet hand, once.

8. Wipe the inner sides of the ears with the forefingers and their outer sides with the thumbs. This should be done with wet fingers.

9 Wash the two feet up to the ankles, three times, beginning with the right foot.

p1012898.jpg view-from-phq-roof.jpg view-with-hummers.jpg

View of Masjid-i Jami from the rooftop of PHQ. I had to climb a rickety, wooden, home made ladder to get to the roof. It was shaky but I made it up and back down. All 210 pounds of me plus body armor. I thought the thing was going to snap on me. It was worth the climb for the view of the city.