Friday, May 14, 2010

Journalists caught up in Thai unrest

I’m looking at a video of camouflaged troops firing on protestors on the streets of Bangkok. A former army general turned protester was shot in the head yesterday while a reporter was interviewing him. Two feet away. Now I’m watching video of a French reporter as he is shot in the leg and dragged out of the line of fire to the sound of sporadic gunfire.

War reporting is dangerous. See The Committee to Protect Journalists.

CNN is telling me that one protester is dead. A spokesman says the government is trying to avoid confrontation. The area, he said, is “slowly being controlled.” He added: “There are certain spots where we had some trouble and incidents yesterday.”

In the mid 1990s, Thailand seemed super stable. Compared to corrupt and often violent Cambodia -- where I lived for a year -- it was downright western. Back then, Bangkok was the only way to Phnom Penh. Backpackers, guest houses, bars and vendors ruled Khao San Road. It was easy to avoid the seedier parts of town.

Now the city is a war zone. It seems like a battle between supporters of one corrupt government against another. More journalists will likely get caught up in the shooting; I probably know few covering the story.  Let’s hope they have good karma.

1 comment:

Rich Garella said...

Brad was shot in the leg -- probably the same bullet that killed Fabio Polenghi, as seen here: (caution, rough watching)
You can see Brad in the background with a white helmet, still filming. He had good karma; it was just a flesh wound. RIP Fabio.