A German briefly flew a yellow-and-red kite in front of Government House yesterday (Monday) morning in a symbolic gesture calling for all Thais to work towards national reconciliation.
“Stretch out your hands to the pragmatics on both sides of the fence,” suggested Peter Traub, a political and investment consultant and trainer based in Hamburg, Germany.
Traub, 55, spent eight years in Thailand in the 1980s and 1990s and is a former director of the Bangkok office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, a non-profit organisation that promotes liberal democracy, economic freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights.
He told The Nation he was saddened by the April-May violence that led to 91 deaths and decided to fly his 150-centimetre-long kite, which he prepared in Germany, as a symbolic gesture for peace and reconciliation.
Traub, who has friends on both sides of the Thai political divide, arrived in Bangkok on the weekend. He said Thais had to recognise that peace and reconciliation are the only way out.
“I have listened to so much radical rhetoric here – from both sides. I’m not interested in analysis. We can analyse this for the next 10 years, but we have to solve it now,” said Traub, adding that he regarded Thailand as his second home.
Traub, who is in Bangkok on a work visit, said he was amazed that Thais still claim their society is rooted in Buddhist philosophy while the country in marred by violence.
“I’m speechless. Thais always tell farangs that Buddhism is deeply entrenched in Thai society. Where is it?”
In a separate statement, Traub said: “For the first time, vast parts of society are deeply divided. We are about to lose everything that makes Thailand and its people precious and unique … The questions no longer are ‘Who is responsible for all this?’ and ‘Who is going to pay for it?’ The paramount question is how we can heal the deep rift.”
The kite had a reversed Chinese yin-and-yang symbol painted in yellow and red and was meant to urge Thais to see from different perspectives.
Asked how he would respond if some thought he was just a crazy farang doing a political stunt, Traub replied: “Ja, I don’t care. [This act] helped me reconcile with myself. I’m just a humble kite flyer.”
News item courtesy of The Nation at www.nationmultimedia.com