Thu Oct 02, 2008
Whatever Happened To Harry?
Still I haven't heard anything further in the press about Harry Nicolaides detainment in Bangkok on that charge of lèse majesté ... I blogged about it nearly a month ago. Coincidentally today, just as I was drafting this comment I found a nice review of the Thai use of this "crime" on an Australian blog called New Mandala. It seems even the King is not such a big fan of the lèse majesté law, but it is a convenient method of stifling dissent, or just shutting up trouble makers failing any other seditious acts or words (or thoughts). How Nicolaide's offense comes under that rubric is beyond comprehension.
Here's his mother talking on the radio on YouTube: many of the comments to the video are satirical (at least I hope they are!).
As a further aside, it seems that Nicolaide's book Verisimilitude was privately published in a run of 50 copies of which only seven were sold. The international writers organization PEN has taken up the case. How the Thai police managed to pick themselves up one of those copies AND find the offending bit (3 lines with no names mentioned) about Thai princes who shag around a bit is another mystery... Someone dobbed him in, of course (or was it a publicity stunt as some commentators on this blog have suggested?).
And of course, now that the case is in the media, the "fictional" accusations just gain more credibility in reality. According to what his mother says, he was told about the alleged royal person's alleged misbehaiour by a Thai person, and he wrote it down. That his book was banned and that there was an arrest warrant for him was not communicated to him by the book's distributors.
It's about time Harry was released from the hell of "Bangkok Hilton". He has suffered more than enough for what in a normal society wouldn't even raise an eyebrow... (Except maybe in Singapore, or Myanmar or Stalinist Russia.) This is a ridiculous over-reaction!
Free Harry Nicolaides!
How do you start a Facebook campaign?
p.s. on a style note, one reviewer allegedly said the book was the worst thing he had ever read...
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