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An Apology from the Citizens of Chiangmai

How an isolated incident can ruin international relations ??

Apology from citizens of ChiangmaiWe, the editors of "Welcome to Chiangmai and Chiangrai, wish to offer, on behalf of the citizens of this fair city, our unreserved apologies for the incidents that took place in our city at the close of March.

Chiangmai has earned the reputation, and rightly so, as a major tourist hub for visitors from throughout the kingdom and abroad.

Therefore, on the 30th of March, we were collectively embarrassed by the behaviour of a manic minority, purporting to represent the then caretaker Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. A group of local politicians, allegedly from within the pro-Thaksin camp, created mayhem in our city by attacking opposition Democratic Party leaders and exhibiting the crudest and most uneducated behaviour that is abhorrent to the average Thai.

All manner of missiles were hurled at opposition politicians at venues across the city: effigies were burned, traffic was disrupted; opposition members of parliament, along with media representatives were assaulted.

We are a free, plural and democratic society who, for centuries has respected everyone's beliefs, albeit religious or political. Suddenly, we are thrown into the maelstrom of modern-day politics, and all that this represents; this is not acceptable in Thai society.

Yes, we are considered to be a third world nation, but we have values, beliefs and basic behavioural guidelines that have set out our stall on the international scene for many decades, portraying us as a kingdom of sane, sensible and reasonable people.

Never before have we been portrayed on the international stage as anything other than a nation of peace-loving and welcoming people. The events of March 30th may well have changed all of that.

We, at "Welcome to Chiangmai & Chiangrai" wish to offer, for what it is worth, an unreserved apology to all of our guests, Thai or otherwise, in the fervent hope that future visitors to Chiangmai can expect to receive the traditional welcome to the "Rose of the North".

The right to protest against any given issue is a freedom cherished in Thailand and the rest of the free world. What is totally unacceptable, however, is the sort of loutish behaviour witnessed during the aforementioned incidents. We, at this publication, abhor and despise those who seek to further their cause through illegal or unjust means.

These actions are not indicative of Thai society, and are to be roundly condemned.

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