THE black smoke that had hung over Bangkok’s jagged skyline for six days grew thicker and more noxious. On May 19th combat troops marched into the protest camp where a few thousand anti-government red-shirt stragglers remained, defiant to the end. Their main leaders went quietly, to howls of disapproval from diehard demonstrators, but 13 people died and more than 80 were injured as the camp was cleared. Angry protesters torched their tyre-and-bamboo barricades, then set fire to the Bangkok stock exchange and Central World, one of South-East Asia’s biggest department stores.
参差的曼谷天际,黑烟萦绕,毒气弥漫,这种情形已经持续6天,并有愈演愈烈之势。5月19日,战斗部队长驱直入抗议者大营,那儿,落下的几千名反政府红衫军,还在负隅顽抗到底。他们的主要领导人悄悄走了,对于顽固的示威者反对的吼叫声来说,随着大营被清除,留下的只有死了13个人,80多人受伤的局面。愤怒的抗议者点燃了用轮胎和竹竿做成的路障,然后在曼谷证券交易所和世界中心(东南亚最大的百货公司之一)纵火。

The dawn assault on the fortified camp was methodical, and met only scattered resistance from gunmen holed up inside. It was not, mercifully, the Tiananmen Square rerun that some had predicted. Most protesters took shelter in a temple, and then were herded away to evacuation points. Security forces had overwhelming force on their side. On the outskirts of the camp, though, riots flared along a main road that had seen the worst of the recent fighting. Arson attacks spread to new areas, and gun battles erupted in the blackened underpass beneath an expressway, not far from a port slum that has begun staging its own red-shirt rally. Protesters in the north and north-east, where red-shirt sympathies run deepest, were quick to resort to arson attacks in retaliation.
白昼向加强了的营地袭来,一切依然井然有序,只有少数稀稀拉拉的抗议者为了避开持枪的人,仍藏在里面。幸而,这不是有些人曾经预言的天安门广场事件的重演。大多数抗议者住在庙里,之后被驱逐到疏散点。尽管在营地外围,骚乱沿着一条曾经见证过近期最惨烈的战斗的主要道路展开,安全部队这一边还是有着压倒性的力量。纵火袭击蔓延至新地区,高速公路下漆黑的地下通道中爆发了枪战,而就在距该处不远的港口贫民窟,此前曾为集会运送过红衫军。在最深深支持红衫军的北方和东北,抗议者们迅速进行了纵火袭击作为报复。

All this has its roots in a military coup in 2006, when the then prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, a telecoms tycoon, was removed from power. He fled into exile, but the red shirts continue to support him, and have been demanding new elections. They present themselves as rural and poor, as opposed to the urban elites who are closer to the revered King Bhumibol and his family. The protests have been their way of venting their political frustration. They have also revealed the deep social and economic divisions in Thai society.
所有这些都在2006年的军事意外中有着根源,那时,当时的总理,电信业巨头他信•西那瓦,被赶下了台。他逃亡了,但是红衫军在继续支持着他,并要求进行新的选举。他们介绍自己是农民和穷人,以此反对与崇高的国王普密蓬及其家族关系密切的城市精英们。抗议者们已踏上了一条发泄其政治失意的道路。他们也暴露出泰国社会中,社会和经济上严重的分裂。

The prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has failed to make any headway with the red shirts. On April 10th he hastily sent in troops to clear another protest site, with the loss of 25 lives. But he does deserve credit for offering a compromise since then. On May 3rd he proposed the holding of elections in November, a year before his term ends, as part of a reconciliation package. That the leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the red shirts’ formal title, failed to grasp this olive branch is tragic. They, as much as trigger-happy soldiers, must bear some responsibility for the lives lost.
总理阿披实在红衫军问题上未取得任何进展。4月10日,他匆忙派军清除另一处抗议点,导致25人丧生。但是,由于此后提出了折衷的办法,他还是值得信任的。5月3日,他提出11月份——距他到任还有一年,举行选举,把这作为和解一揽子计划的一部分。反对独裁的民主联合阵线UDD——红衫军的正式名称——的领导者们,没抓住这根橄榄枝,这是个悲剧。他们,和好战的士兵们一样,须对丧生者负有一定责任。

Yet even on May 18th an 11th-hour ceasefire had appeared close. But mistrust on both sides proved impossible to bridge, and the talks failed. In truth, this approach may have been doomed since widespread fighting erupted on May 13th after a presumed army sniper picked off General Khattiya Sawasdipol, a rogue officer who ran the red shirts’ security. He died on May 17th. Suspended from duty but not yet stripped of his rank, he was honoured with a funeral sponsored by the king at a Buddhist temple, another reminder of how much rank means in Thailand. 更多信息请访问:http://www.24en.com/
然而,愈发糟糕的是,5月18日,11个小时的停火结束了。但是,双方的不信任,证明不可能架起沟通的桥梁,谈判失败。实际上,推测中,军队射杀了卡迪亚将军——负责红衫军安全的一位流氓军官,此后,5月13日爆发了广泛的交战,交涉也许就注定无法进行。5月17日,卡迪亚死了。他先前已被停职,但军衔尚未被剥夺,因而享受到了由国王在寺院主办的葬礼的尊荣,再一次让人想起在泰国地位意味着什么。

By then, the die had been cast. Military units trying to block off the sprawling protest site were attacked by stone-throwing yobs who brought along petrol bombs and firecrackers. Shadowy black-clad militia-members also joined in, though fleetingly. Soldiers shot back without much restraint, even at paramedics trying to bring out the wounded. Road junctions were declared “live-fire zones”. The mayhem spread to other parts of the city. The military cordon appeared to be breaking as red shirts defied orders to stay away. Something had to give. In the end it was overwhelming military force, not a political deal among the warring factions, that won the day.
到那时候,死亡已经注定不可避免。军事单位试图封锁蔓延的抗议点,被携带着汽油炸弹和爆竹的小混混们扔石头袭击。影子般的黑衣民兵成员也飞快地加入了进来。即使在护理人员试着把伤者搬出来的时候,士兵们也在自由地扫射作为回击。三叉路口被公然用作“实弹射击区”。严重的混乱蔓延至了城市的其他地区。由于红衫军反抗撤离命令,军事警戒正被破坏掉。必须做出让步。最终,势不可挡的军事力量,而非交战派系中的政治交易,赢得了胜利。

As the bullets flew and the bodies fell, crocodile tears came from afar, as Mr Thaksin tweeted his sorrow to his followers. From his luxurious exile he denied, once again, that he was giving orders to the red-shirt leaders and urged everyone to embrace peace. There is little doubt, however, that Mr Thaksin holds sway over the splintered, squabbling red-shirt leadership. The two-month protest would not have been possible without his deep pockets, vengeful will and political network, even though the red-shirt cause has become much larger than him. And his stubbornness seems to have undone the peace talks, despite his protestations.
随着子弹的飞射和躯体的倒下,假慈悲从远方传来了——他信为其追随者们发出了悲啼。他正在奢华的(他不认账)流放中,再次要求红衫军领导人及鼓励每个人要拥抱和平。尽管红衫军内部分裂并且争吵不休,然而无疑,他信仍保留着对他们的领导。尽管红衫军自身的原因已经变得比他信的原因多了,没有他的资金、报复心和政治网络的支持,两个月的抗议就不可能发生。尽管,他发表了严正的声明,他的顽固倔强仿佛已经毁掉了和平对话。

Society fractured
社会瓦解

In April 2009, when troops were also called in to restore order in Bangkok, red-shirt leaders got carried away by their own rhetoric and found themselves quickly out on a limb. Veera Musikapong, a moderate Thaksin follower, recommended surrender instead. Tellingly, he left the red-shirt camp last week when it became clear that hardliners led by Mr Thaksin would not accept Mr Abhisit’s peace plan. Mr Veera’s behind-the-scenes efforts to bring the leadership back into the fold came to nothing.
2009年4月,当时部队也接到了恢复曼谷秩序的通知,红衫军领导人由于先前的虚夸、后来很快发现自己其实孤立无援,便逃之夭夭。温和的他信支持者,维拉(Veera Musikapong),建议投降。上周,当他信领导的强硬路线者不会接受阿披实的和平计划这件事变得明朗的时候,他离开了红衫军阵营,这就很能说明问题。维拉在幕后努力要把红衫军领导者引到折衷方案上来,但毫无收获。

As Thailand’s crisis continues to unfold, many will wonder how it came to this. If politics is the art of the compromise, Thais had appeared to be experts. Various political factions, both elected and unelected, cobbled together governments that oversaw steady economic growth even as they squabbled and scrapped for the spoils. That pragmatic formula no longer works. Political crises have polarised opinions within families, workplaces and communities, and hollowed out the centre.
随着泰国的危机继续展开,很多人想知道,怎么会成了这样。如果政治就是折衷的艺术,泰国人显然是专家。各种各样的政治派系、当选的未当选的,胡乱拼凑成了政府,甚至当他们为战利品争论不休、大打出手的时候,还在牢牢地监督经济增长。这种实用主义准则不再奏效了。政治危机使得家庭内、工作场所和社区的观点都产生了分歧,中间立场被挖空了。

That is why this crisis goes much deeper than previous rounds of political violence, including the bloodshed in May 1992 when a coup leader sent troops out to mow down pro-democracy protesters. Then, King Bhumibol Adulyadej was able to order a truce between the army chief and the protest leader, and appoint an interim administration to steer the country out of crisis. Bhumibol, who is 82 and confined to hospital, has stayed out of the current mess. Some red shirts, and many foreign observers, believe that the palace has already taken sides and is no longer an honest broker. The 2006 coup and royalist yellow-shirt protests in 2008 drove home that message. But even if Bhumibol did try to mediate this time, there is no simple fix. The prospect of the looming succession, with an unpopular crown prince in the wings, further heightens tensions.
这就是比起以前的数起政治暴乱,包括在1992年5月的流血虐杀的时候、军队领导者派出部队摧毁赞成民主的抗议者,此次危机都要严重得多的原因。那时,国王普密蓬能够命令军队长官和抗议者领导间休战,并委派过渡性管理、以使国家摆脱危机。而现在,82岁的普密蓬只限于在医院里活动,不参与眼下的混乱。一些红衫军和很多国外观察家认为,王室已偏袒一方,不再保持可信赖的中立。2006年的事件以及2008年的保皇主义黄衫军抗议已表明了这一点。但是,纵然普密蓬这次试着周旋调停,也没那么容易。展望前路,继任决定迫在眉睫,旁边又有个不受欢迎的王储,这些都加剧了紧张的状态。

Why compromise failed
折衷为什么会失败

The aftermath of the May 19th crackdown will probably see sporadic unrest, both around Bangkok’s slums and in the north and north-east. Many of the red shirts at the rally came from the north-east, which accounts for around one-third of parliamentary seats. Since 2001 the region has overwhelmingly voted for Mr Thaksin and his allies. The red shirts had sought to force a new election in the belief that voters would turf out Mr Abhisit, the darling of Bangkok’s privileged classes.
5月19日镇压的后果是,在曼谷周边的贫民窟以及北方、东北都将可能偶发骚乱。很多参加集会的红衫军来自东北,自从2001年以来,该地区就以压倒性的多数选举他信及其同盟,并占有议会三分之一的席位。红衫军企图强行举行新一轮选举,是因为他们相信选民们将会赶走阿披实——曼谷特权阶层的宠儿。

Had the red shirts accepted the prime minister’s offer of elections, the timetable would have been to their advantage. Now an election seems like a liability in a climate of violence and fear. It is hard to imagine government candidates setting foot in the red-shirt heartland without a phalanx of armed guards. Many in Bangkok would be irate to see the protest leaders run for office. Mr Abhisit has argued that an election, in itself, will not solve Thailand’s political problems. He has a (self-serving) point. A chaotic, disputed ballot, and the absence of neutral bodies to settle disputes, could drag Thailand further down the road towards civil war, which is increasingly talked about.
假如红衫军当初接受总理关于新选举的提议,进程表就已经对他们有利了。现在,在一种暴力和恐惧的气候中,选举就像是义务一样。难以想象没有武装警卫,政府候选人能够踏进红衫军的中心区域。看到抗议者领导人去竞选公职,很多曼谷人可能会大为恼火。阿披实曾经争论道,一场选举,本质上不能解决泰国的政治问题。他的观点是自私的。一次混乱的、有争议的、缺少能解决争议的中立者参加的选举,会更加把泰国推到内战的险境中去,有关讨论正在越来越多。


Waiting for the repercussions
等待结果

Many are asking why peace talks failed, when the red shirts had little hope of resisting the troops. Insiders say that Mr Thaksin was a serious spoiler, as were General Khattiya and other radicals. In a dysfunctional and factionalised movement, internal talks bogged down. Some leaders balked at facing criminal charges without the guarantee of bail. But the leadership was also held hostage, in part, by its own rhetoric and the emotions stirred among its followers. Many were enraged by the April 10th slaughter and unimpressed by the six-month timeline for elections. “The mob would not allow them to give in so easily,” says a senior security official.
当红衫军已对继续抵抗军队不抱希望的时候,很多人在问为什么和谈会失败?知情者说,他信是个严重的和谈破坏者,卡迪亚将军和其他激进分子也是。在机能失调和派系运动中,内部对话陷入困境。一些领导人面对刑事罪,担心得不到保释,就采取回避的态度。但是,领导者利用自己的虚夸和激情、激发了红衫军的追随,在某种程度上,这也相当于扣押了人质。红衫军当中,很多人因4月10日的杀戮而暴怒,对六个月后的选举却无动于衷。“暴徒们不允许自己轻易投降,”一位高级安全官员说道。

Some red shirts complain that the prime minister’s plan was too vague and lacked teeth. They did not trust Mr Abhisit to keep his promises, and asked what would happen if he resigned or his party were dissolved for electoral irregularities (it faces a court case). But by far the greatest distrust, and the hardest to overcome, is that felt by a sizeable number of Thais, inside and outside the red shirts, towards the country’s royalist elite and its political, military and business allies. This grouping blithely tossed out Mr Thaksin when he got too big for his boots. That he was thuggish and greedy was a handy excuse. But the 2006 coup failed to bury him politically and only unleashed a wider backlash against an elite that still believes in a divine hierarchy of which they are the agents. Mr Abhisit would object to such a description, but his class betrays little sympathy or interest in the aspirations of rural and working-class voters. Their attitude, says Supavud Saicheua, an economist at Phatra Securities, is: “We are brilliant people. We know what you want.”
有些红衫军抱怨总理的计划太过含糊、缺乏效力。他们不相信阿披实会遵守诺言,并问及如果阿披实辞职了或者他的政党因选举谬误(它面临着法庭判例)解散了会发生什么。但是,尤其得不到的信任、也是最难战胜的是,红衫军内外数量庞大的泰国人,他们冲着该国保皇主义精英及其政治、军事、商业的联盟而来,这是一种纠结。当他信还在妄自尊大的时候,这个大集团就快活地把他给甩了。他杀人如麻、贪婪成性,这些都是能信手拈来的方便的理由。但是,2006年的事件没在政治上掩埋掉他,不过是让他往阿披实——一位仍然相信自己是天赐等级制度的实施者的精英身上,发泄出更强烈的对抗罢了。阿披实或许会反对这样的形容,但对于农村和工人阶级选民的意愿,他的阶级确实没表现出同情和兴趣。Phatra证券的经济学家苏帕伍(Supavud)说道,他们的态度,是“我们是光鲜的人。我们知道你们所想的。”

Such intransigence has bred dark, violent dreams. Most red shirts swear blind that they stick to peaceful methods, even if they have to resort to disruptive sit-ins. Indeed, the protests were surprisingly jolly and gentle at the start, to the relief of Bangkokians who remembered the April 2009 unrest. Their message of social and economic injustice, and of the double standards in Thai justice, got a sympathetic hearing. It seemed that the tide had shifted towards the red shirts and away from their yellow-shirted rivals in the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).
这种不妥协招致黑暗、暴力的噩梦。很多红衫军发誓,即使在采取扰乱性的静坐抗议的时候,他们也遵守和平秩序。起初,抗议者们确乎是出人意料的快活和温和,令尤记2009年4月动乱的曼谷人感到宽慰。他们对社会和经济不公平、以及泰国司法的双重标准的主题思想,得到了同情的倾听。趋势好像变得远离对手人民民主联盟(PAD)中的黄衫军、有利于红衫军这边了。

But it has long been apparent that some red followers do not believe in gradual change in Thailand’s political order. Simply put, they think it is not possible to play at democracy in the current circumstances. To this group of rogue military types, armchair revolutionaries and opportunists, the endgame is not elections, but regime change. The current violence is only the start of a long revolutionary road. This is the unfinished business of 1932, when the absolute monarchy ended and Thailand’s power balance began to shift towards other forces. It is still in flux, and is likely to remain so as long as the post-Bhumibol future is so uncertain.
一些红衫军追随者不相信泰国政治秩序的逐渐转变,这一点长期以来就很显然。简单地来说,他们认为在当前条件下,实行民主是不可能的。对这帮流氓军人以及不切实际的革命和机会主义来说,最后的阶段不是选举,而是政权的改变。现在的暴乱,只是漫长的革命道路的开始。这是1932年事件的延续,当时,君主专制政体结束了,泰国的权力平衡开始转到其他力量手中。现在,这种权力平衡依然充满变数,而且,只要后普密蓬时代的未来像现在这样不稳定,就可能会一直保持这样。

Conservatives will object vehemently to this characterisation of Thailand’s troubled politics. They will argue that Mr Thaksin has hoodwinked the world into believing that his red-shirt rabble is poor and oppressed. Not so, they say. Thailand’s economic growth has trickled down to the masses, all under the benevolent gaze of Bhumibol. In recent weeks the foreign minister, Kasit Piromya, has railed at foreign diplomats who talked to the red shirts after the April 10th clashes, which the government says militant gunmen fomented. He snubbed a senior American diplomat who dared to sit down to breakfast with moderate opposition figures. He says foreign allies should be doing more to catch Mr Thaksin, a “terrorist”, as he calls him.
保守人士大概会强烈反对这样来描述泰国混乱的政治。他们可能会争辩道,他信已经欺骗了全世界、来相信其红衫军暴民是可怜的、受压迫的。不是那样的,他们说。泰国经济增长已经惠及黎民百姓,所有这些都在普密蓬慈悲的注视之下。最近几周,外交部长,甲西•披龙耶(Kasit Piromya),严厉斥责了在4月10日的冲突之后和红衫军交谈的外国外交官,政府说那天的事是持枪的激进分子煽动起来的。他冷落了一位胆敢和温和的反对分子坐下来共进早餐的美国高级外交官。他说,外国同盟们应该为抓住他信而做出更多努力,并把他信称作一位“恐怖分子”。

When the UDD called for the United Nations to step into the crisis, Mr Kasit retorted that Thailand was “not a failed state”. That is true. But if it does become ungovernable, the fault will not be Mr Thaksin’s alone. Equally culpable is the royalist PAD that Mr Kasit belongs to. He and many of his peers could not stand the idea of an elected government loyal to Mr Thaksin. So they helped organise a six-month protest in 2008 that culminated in the seizure of Bangkok’s two airports, all in the name of defending the monarchy. Two prime ministers were removed by the courts on dubious grounds. The stage was set for Mr Abhisit to take power, enraging those who voted in his opponents and laying out the template for mob rule which the red shirts have copied. No PAD leader has gone on trial for what he did. The red leaders may be less fortunate.
先前,当UDD呼吁联合国干预危机的时候,甲西反驳道泰国并非“失败之国”。这是真的。但是,如果泰国变得难以统治,错也不光在他信一人身上。甲西所属的保皇主义泰国人民民主联盟(PAD),也应当受到同样的谴责。他和很多其同僚不主张选出一个忠于他信的政府。所以,2008年的时候他们才会帮助组织了一次为期六个月的抗议,那次抗议在占领曼谷的两座机场时达到高潮,所有这些都是以捍卫君主制度的名义。两任总理都被法院以可疑的理由开除。大局已定,阿披实要掌权了,这激起了投他的反对派的人的暴怒,为暴民统治设计出了模板,红衫军就是在套用这个模板。PAD的领导人并未因其所作所为而受到审判。红衫军领导者们或许没那么幸运。

Sorting out this mess would require an end to the “crooked procedures” that began with the 2006 coup, says Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University. That means constitutional reforms to undo the undemocratic rules imposed by the army. It may also be helpful to lift bans on politicians from dissolved pro-Thaksin parties, some of whom are far more moderate than those in the UDD and not necessarily on Mr Thaksin’s side. All of this was under discussion a year ago, after Bangkok’s last conflagration. That Mr Abhisit failed to make these changes and frame his mission as peaceful reconciliation is lamentable. It will only be harder now.
整理这个烂摊子,有赖于始自2006事件的“畸形规程”的终止,朱拉隆功大学(Chulalongkorn University)大学的政治科学家提塔南•蓬苏迪拉克(Thitinan Pongsudhirak)说道。那意味着,通过宪法改革以解散军队强加的非民主统治。冰消瓦解的前他信党派中,有些人远比UDD的人要温和得多,也不是非向着他信这边不可的,解除对这些政客们的禁令,或许也会有所帮助。一年前,在曼谷最近的一次大火之后,所有这些都在讨论之中。令人惋惜的是,阿披实没能做到这些改变、构造起他和平调解的使命。现在,时局只会变得更艰难。