BANGKOK AND PROTEST
I arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport from New York on Monday. I missed the siege which started on Tuesday. It seems that there are a substantial number of foreigners who have been stranded at the airport. The motorway into the city was jammed with protestors on Tuesday and violence erupted on the street out to airport. Video footage showed a protestor firing a pistol at counter demonstrators.
Reuters reports: ”Protesters stormed Bangkok's main international airport and gunfire broke out on the streets of the Thai capital on Tuesday as a campaign to oust Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat turned violent.”
This isn’t exactly what I expected arriving back in Bangkok. That merely confirms it is better not to have firm expectations when you live in volatile times. From a personal safety point of view, there isn’t much danger. Venturing out to the site of where the thousands of demonstrators have gathered, however, wouldn’t be a good idea. After I finish up the backlog of work, I’ll try and get out and take some video footage of what is happening and post it on the website.
As writers we tend to worry about the daily preoccupations of deadlines, reviews, advances, foreign right sales, and the general state of publishing. All of these are valid matters of concern. What is going on in Bangkok as write this dispatch, however, put this in perspective: we live in a time of political, social, and economic upheaval. No one could have predicted a year ago that gunfire would be heard in the streets of Bangkok and that huge mobs would seize government house and the international airport.
It is humbling to witness the destruction of a way of life. And it is more humbling to find that as a writer what is happening stretches beyond one’s vocabulary to describe the scope of violence and hatred swirling like storm clouds outside my window.