King of Thailand dies


This video from the USA says about itself:

Don’t Mess with Thailand King’s Dog

16 December 2015

James Corden looks at a few stories about animals, including a man facing a harsh sentence for insulting the first dog of Thailand and a painting seal.

On the same day that Italian Nobel Prize winning playwright Dario Fo has died, another man has died: King Bhumibol of Thailand.

These two men were both well-known persons. They died at nearly the same age: Dario Fo was 90; King Bhumibol was 88.

However, for the rest there were big differences. Dario Fo mocked oppressive authority. King Bhumibol allowed himself to be used as a symbol for oppressive authority, often wielded by cruel military dictators.

The dictatorship in Thailand meted out draconian penalties for supposed lèse majesté against the king; though the criticisms for which people were punished harshly were often not against the king, but, eg, against the king’s dog or against the military dictators.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Thai King Bhumibol is dead. This was announced by the Thai court. King Bhumibol (88), also known as Rama IX, struggled for years with poor health. …

His son, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn (63), is the intended successor. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Bhumibol appointed him in 2002. …

Prayuth further said that the government will observe a mourning period of one year and for thirty days flags will hang at half-mast. …

The Thai king was the longest reigning monarch in the world. He ascended the Thai throne in 1946 after his brother had died from a gunshot wound. Who fired the bullet was never cleared up completely. Two members of the royal household got the death penalty for it. Bhumibol was crowned king in 1950.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth (90) is now the longest reigning monarch. She has today been on the throne for 64 years and 250 days.

The death of the Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej yesterday afternoon at the age of 88 has provoked fears in ruling circles in Thailand and internationally that the country’s protracted political crisis will worsen. The king had close ties to the armed forces and was the linchpin of the state apparatus, currently presided over by a military junta: here.

Monarchist mob threatens Thai who, long before the king’s death, had written that ‘everyone will die at some time’.

KENNY COYLE writes on the strangeness and waning support of Thailand’s King Rama X, a monarch with very few friends: here.

Local councillors persecuted for ‘too small’ king of Spain portrait


Portraits of king of Spain and of Catalonia in Torredembarra

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Spanish local councilors prosecuted for small royal portrait

Today, 19:32

The councilors of the Spanish town Torredembarra are prosecuted because of the size of the picture of King Felipe hanging in the council chamber. The official portrait is only slightly larger than a passport photo.

Torredembarra is in Catalonia, where many people strive for independence from Spain. Led by a left-wing party, the city council decided last August for the small portrait. All seventeen councilors must now justify that decision in court, says the prosecutor.

One of the council members calls the court case politically motivated. According to him, this picture is within the law which requires that there should be an official portrait in every council chamber.

“Prominent place”

The politician also points out that the portrait is as big as that of the Catalan government leader Mas. Under Spanish law, the image of the regional leader may not be bigger than that of the king.

He also says that the portrait is in a prominent place: over the entrance to the hall.

The councilors would suffer even worse persecution if they would have had this cartoon portrait in King Felipe.

Dutch author Judith Herzberg protests against king’s Argentine dictatorship links


Ms Judith Herzberg accepts the P.C. Hooft literature prize in 1997

This photo shows Dutch author Ms Judith Herzberg, when she accepted the P.C. Hooft literature prize for her poetry in 1997.

Ms Herzberg is from a Jewish family, and went into hiding from the nazi occupiers of the Netherlands as a child. Her parents were deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, but survived; contrary to Anne Frank and her sister Margot.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Judith Herzberg resigns at Resistance Museum in protest against king

Today, 08:08

Poet and playwright Judith Herzberg has resigned from the recommending committee of the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam. Her reason is the opening by King [Willem-Alexander] of the exhibition about political prisoners [in Dachau concentration camp] No numbers but names in April this year.

According to Herzberg, the museum should have asked someone else, because Willem-Alexander‘s father-in-law, Jorge Zorreguieta, is accused to have been involved in the disappearance of political prisoners in Argentina at the time of the Videla [military] regime. Herzberg resigned for that reason in August as a member of the committee of recommendation.

“I do not understand how he had the nerve to open this exhibition in the Resistance Museum,” Herzberg wrote in a letter that came into the hands of NRC Handelsblad daily. “He thought it was “an honour”? Didn’t he realize that this was an insult, especially in the Resistance Museum, to those who lost their lives? Doesn’t he see any parallel with the criminal regime in Argentina, when between 10 000 and 30 000 ‘numbers’ were made to disappear? And why did you ask especially him to open this exhibition? And talk with young people on that occasion? What should young people learn from that?”

Not in the Netherlands

Herzberg was at the time of the opening not in the Netherlands. That King Willem-Alexander had opened the exhibition, she heard later. After some thought, she decided that she did not want to be any longer on the recommendation committee, she says to the NOS.

Herzberg asked the chairman of the Resistance Museum, Hans Blom, to send the letter to the 24 other members of the committee of recommendation. Of these, three or four people responded, Blom told the newspaper. One person agreed with Herzberg. That was professor emeritus and former Director of Human Rights at the UN, Theo van Boven.