The power of a symbol

June 4th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

’s military rulers say they are monitoring a new form of silent resistance to the coup — a three-fingered salute borrowed from The Hunger Games — and will arrest those in large groups who ignore warnings to lower their arms. 

The raised arm salute has become an unofficial symbol of opposition to Thailand’s May 22 coup, and a creative response to several bans the ruling junta has placed on freedom of expression. 

On Sunday, authorities deployed nearly 6,000 soldiers and police in Bangkok to prevent planned protests against the coup. Amid the heavy security, small flash mobs popped up in a central shopping district where the salute was unveiled for the first time.  

Asked what the symbol meant, protesters have given varying explanations. Some say it stands for the French Revolution’s trinity of values: liberty, equality, fraternity. Others say it means freedom, election and democracy. A photo montage circulating online paired a picture from the science fiction blockbuster The Hunger Games with a graphic of three fingers labelled, 1. No Coup, 2. Liberty, 3. Democracy. 

In the book and movie series, the salute is a symbol of rebellion against totalitarian rule and stands for: Thank you, Admiration and Goodbye to someone you love.  

‘‘We know it comes from the movie, and let’s say it represents resistance against the authorities,’’ Weerachon said, noting that if authorities encounter the salute they will first ask protesters to stop.  

‘‘If a single individual raises three fingers in the air, we are not going to arrest him or her,’’ he told The Associated Press. ‘‘But if it is a political gathering of five people or more, then we will have to take some action.’’ 

‘‘If it persists, then we will have to make an arrest,’’ he said. 

Social activist Sombat Boonngam-anong, who has helped organise anti-coup protests, posted an explanation of the salute on his Facebook page along with a call to step up the silent acts of defiance. 

‘‘Raising three fingers has become a symbol in calling for fundamental political rights,’’ wrote Sombat, a member of the ‘‘Red Shirt’’ protest movement that had backed the now-ousted government and warned it would take action if there was a coup. He called on people to raise ‘‘3 fingers, 3 times a day’’ — at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. — in safe public places where no police or military is present.  

The more who do it, the less the military can do about it. A clever way to protest and undermine the military regime.

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26 Responses to “The power of a symbol”

  1. Redbaiter (8,234 comments) says:

    You do know the Red Shirts are the local communists right?

    Who is going to be the better ruler in the long run?

    Looking at the historical atrocities of communist regimes, if they win power in Thailand, they’ll no doubt make the current bunch look like boy scouts.

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  2. redqueen (550 comments) says:

    Definitely communists, if they were liberals, it would be a two-fingered salute…albeit possibly four between two hands…

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  3. Ed Snack (1,829 comments) says:

    Anyone have a link to a good primer of what the real issues are in Thailand ? Seems quite hard to find out what is the underlying set of causes.

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  4. Redbaiter (8,234 comments) says:

    Communist insurgents and subversives.

    Same as in NZ. :)

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  5. dime (9,788 comments) says:

    is Thailand safe to visit at the moment?

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  6. tom hunter (4,656 comments) says:

    Certainly beats the “down-twinkles” of the useless Occupy Wall Street mobs.

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  7. stephieboy (2,625 comments) says:

    tom hunter, the son of unbridled libertarian capitalism or The Capitol of Panem.?

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  8. Redbaiter (8,234 comments) says:

    Thanks for the links to those hand signals Tom.

    Enjoyed the laugh.

    It confirms you can just never expect any limit to how idiotic commies can get.

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  9. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    How totally unsurprising to see Reddy cheerleading for a military dictatorship.

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  10. kowtow (8,114 comments) says:

    Let’s not forget today is the 25 th anniversary of the Tian An Men massacre.

    You know the one put down by the Chinese communists.

    Move along please ,nothing to see here.

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  11. Redbaiter (8,234 comments) says:

    “How totally unsurprising to see Reddy cheerleading for a military dictatorship.”

    If your Communist buddies would back off there may be a chance for real democracy.

    You’ve turned most of the west into a one party state by perverting democracy. I’m amazed in view of this you have the absolute gall to pretend to be a protector of choice in govt.

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  12. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    But I do support choice. In particular, I support the right of the Thai people to choose their government. Do you oppose that right?

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  13. Redbaiter (8,234 comments) says:

    “But I do support choice.”

    That’s why in every western democracy where Progressives enjoy social and political ascendancy, there’s no choice in govt other than the Progressive choice.

    You pathetic wittering fraud.

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  14. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Do you think there should be a democratic government in Thailand, Reddy? I mean, I get that you are bitter that your particular brand of paleoconservatism holds zero electoral appeal. But you would then go so far as to support a military coup? Wow.

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  15. Redbaiter (8,234 comments) says:

    Of course there should, but that objective won’t be achieved by allowing the current regime to be replaced by any communist regime.

    Democracy in Thailand will just have to wait while we restore it in the West. Otherwise we’re just slipping further into leftist totalitarianism.

    The posturing of the likes of you, subversives who have worked so hard to destroy democracy in almost every western country, and now pretend to support it in Thailand, is so nauseating to observe.

    But I know you won’t stop trying to undermine the strategy that will eventually see you tyrants thrown in the dustbin of history, where you should have been fifty years ago. Your entire existence depends upon the delusion of choice continuing to exist.

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  16. stephieboy (2,625 comments) says:

    Redbaiter, I do not believe for one moment that you support pro choice in government any progressive or otherwise . I happen to believe from past postings that your something of a champion of Dictatorship where you have a chance to do others thinking for them.
    Show me how in this present western democracy we live in is denying you “choices” other than so called “Progressive choice. ???”

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  17. unaha-closp (1,155 comments) says:

    Who is going to be the better ruler in the long run?

    Looking at the historical atrocities of communist regimes, if they win power in Thailand, they’ll no doubt make the current bunch look like boy scouts.

    The reds ran the country from 1999 till 2006 – GDP growth averaged 5%.

    Then there was a coup, the yellows got in and growth dropped to 3% average till 2011.

    The reds got re-elected and growth hit 6.5%.

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  18. dirty harry (446 comments) says:

    Ive just returned from a months holiday in Thailand. 10 days of that in Bangkok. Its very safe and business as usual…in fact Id say its busier than the last time I was there . You wouldn’t know there was a coup on in Bangkok. Different story when you head north to red shirts territory..tanks and soldiers everywhere. Still very safe and calm , I talked to a couple of soldiers and they were jovial and joking around , one even let me pose for a photo with his AK 47. The main problem, and the cause of all the shite is a guy named Thaksin Shinawatra . Google the name, all will become clear about the state of things in Thailand.

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  19. Redbaiter (8,234 comments) says:

    So called “growth” in communist/ socialist countries is frequently just govt churning and counts for sweet FA.

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  20. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    ‘So called “growth” in communist/ socialist countries is frequently just govt churning and counts for sweet FA.’
    Meaning Reddy gets to choose which statistics to believe.

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  21. stephieboy (2,625 comments) says:

    Redbaiter,again in what specific ways is a Western Democracy like we have here destroying your ability to make choices and denying your personal freedoms.?

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  22. Bob R (1,358 comments) says:

    The quenelle seems to also stir people up.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quenelle_(gesture)

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  23. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “Certainly beats the “down-twinkles” of the useless Occupy Wall Street mobs”

    Thailand is a rehearsal for a Militant response to US inserrection. Esp when the dollar crashes.

    Zombies aren’t mindless flesh eating former humans. They are the mass poor completely impoverished, homeless and created by the state to be mercilessly cut down when the US collapses.

    Zombies are a Hollywood phenomenon to ingrain the public consciousness the state created destitute are not worthy of human rights and therefore proper to cull.

    Tiamenen Sq was a precursor to what the US has planned for a crashed insolvent society in mass numbers.

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  24. stephieboy (2,625 comments) says:

    “Tiamenen Sq was a precursor to what the US has planned for a crashed insolvent society in mass numbers.”

    wiki, whats missing as per usual from you and other conspiracy buffs are the facts and evidence.!
    Sigh……!

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  25. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Nice theory about zombie movies, though.

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  26. get a grip (10 comments) says:

    For those that think that Thailand should “return” to democracy immediately.
    Tell me how democracy worked out for IRAQ, remember how the whole war there was to “install” democracy.
    Tell me about the significant changes in China where more than 200 million were lifted from poverty without democracy!

    For most of the western knee-jerk illiteracy who inhabit blogs & media (and Government front benches) They have no understanding of the Thai situation. Democracy as it was, was not working. The biggest problem in Thailand is not democracy it is corruption which exists at all levels of “authority” especially in the Police. Combine that with intransigent activists Red & yellow shirts with intrenched positions and dragging the country to a standstill and there was a reason for an independant “force” to sort the shit out.

    Interesting to see that the Coup, on taking power removed(transferred to non active jobs at police HQ) most of the Police leadership.

    As has been mentioned above, Thailand is very safe under the coup, dare I say it much safer than previously.

    OK OK I hear you all bleating, the Coup has removed some freedom of speech and some rights to assembly in the short term.
    However for those following events you will see that curfews are slowly being relaxed. They were put in place to remove the demonstrators who had been clogging up Bangkok for more than 7 months! Media is being “switched back on”. Remembering that the political parties had 24/7 dedicated TV channels stirring up the populace.

    I have business interests in Thailand and have been there a lot over the last 10 months. This has given me a lot of access to what Thais are thinking (customers, staff, suppliers). I am not at least surprised at a poll which reported 76% of Thais in favour of the Coup. They are generally sick to the back teeth of “democracy” as it was. They just wanted the country sorted out so they can get on with their lives.

    Remember under “democracy” rice farmers were not being paid and pushed to the edge of starvation. The Coup got them paid in the short time they have been in power.

    Yes it makes me bloody angry to read the mindless, uneducated drivel in this and other blogs and the MSM!!!

    Humph

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