Defending Democracy

 

 

Paul Clever took many of these images during the “Red Shirt” Defense of Democracy Protests which happened in Bangkok between March 14, 2010 and May 19, 2010. The “Red Shirts” were also known as United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD).

Paul Clever went to his first UDD Protest to compare what was actually happening at the protest against what was being reported by the news media. Contrary to the media reports he found people of all economic, age, and gender groups coming together in a celebratory defense of democracy. The UDD was sure with the huge number of protesters it was only a matter of time until Democracy was restored. The Socialist Elite Government was determined to hold power and decided to unleash the military onto the streets of Bangkok. The killing of Citizens started soon after.

After the violence had begun Paul Clever continued making “tours” of a particular protest site which had seen violence and killings. The media continued to misrepresent the events and he found a profound need to know the truth. On one visit a protester approached Clever with a bottle of water. The heat at the time was oppressive and Paul was happy to have the drink. Paul speaks some of the language and was shocked when the protestor said “We are so happy when you are here. The soldiers stop shooting and we don’t die when you are here.” At nearly six-foot four-inches and with blonde hair it seems Clever was a witness which the Military spotted very easily.

Nita Clever was in her eight month of pregnancy and did not like her husband’s decision to act as a “human shield” for the protester. She knew these were very serious times. She also knew the conviction her husband has for Democracy and Human Rights. Each afternoon after he had finished work Nita would personally dress Paul in the most “tourist-looking” outfits she could create. She needed to make sure the soldiers would see her husband. As the attacks on the protesters became more serious the more outlandish the outfits became. Then she would pass the time in silence until Paul would return home from the protest site: sometimes this would be well into the evening.

After sunset and no matter how outlandish the outfits there was no protection for Paul from the attacks from the military. On one occasion the live fire was directed specifically at Paul. The sounds of the bullets passing over-head remained audible for months after the protests had ended. Immediately after being targeted a young man which had taken shelter behind a fountain with Paul handed Paul a rock. It was at this moment Paul Clever understood the Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms had nothing to do with hunting or personal protection. This right is granted to offset the risk of a government or military which seeks to impose will on the Citizenship with the use of force. It is a right which needs to be defended on a continuing basis.

Democracy was saved in 2010 because of the courage and shed blood of average citizens. Paul watched as some of those brave defenders of democracy took their last breath. In 2013 the Socialist Elite struck again and the fervor to protect democracy did not raise up. the Military took control of the nation in a bloodless coup d’état. The nation is no longer recognized as a Democracy. Paul Clever has personally witnessed the death of a democracy.

  Democracy is not an absolute. It is fragile and under continuous attack from those who seek to control others. If we do not earn it today, then we will loose it tomorrow. _ Paul Clever