Green Light Thailand Movement and Democracy
Ratthapol, Kunthika and Pawornrut are young people, in their early twenties, from a local Bangkok university, with inspirations and ingenuity for a better life. Their world, stimulated by their hopes and fueled by a youthful eagerness to experience and express themselves, was tested before the Pitak Siam rally in Bangkok.
The three, among many other young people, represent a growing movement of pro-democracy university students. They call themselves the Green Light Thailand.
Upon hearing the Internal Security Act announcement by Thailand's Prime Minister, Yingluck, in response to the security threats of Pitak Siam's rally of 24 November, the Green Light objected to the ISA, preferring the right to peaceful protests for every Thai.
The group had also mobilized 300-odd students at Nang Loeng horse racetrack to raise awareness of liberty by distributing stickers and information materials about democratic principles. Some were confronted by members of Pitak Siam, and were physically harassed, while others felt shocked and disappointment at the badgering and insults hurled their way.
Adults expect young people to behave according to basic norms but offer poor examples of positive behaviors. We hear this too often, that youths and children are expected to conform to the outrageous needs of adults: "They should be seen but not heard."
As I listened to the three share their experiences and challenges, I felt their disgust at enduring the degradation. At the hands of members of Pitak Siam, the Green Light youths felt dehumanized and ridiculed for merely expressing their hopes and beliefs for democracy.
There is a need to cultivate the synergism of democracy between the communities, students and the Institution. The three youths believe so, despite the profanity of "adult" politics in Thailand and the history of violence against university students who want to see societal change and empowerment.
Young people are not the leaders of tomorrow, they are in reality the moving leaders of today.