Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist

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Flying into a State of Emergency

Red Shirts in Bangkok

Last night as our plane touched down, our pilot dimmed the lights as we hit the runway and rolled into a troubled city. That afternoon I had caught up with local news and discovered the government had declared a state of emergency.

But a state of emergency isn’t a rare occurance in Thailand.

This is the hottest time of year, and is also the region’s festive season. Crimes and passions escalate with the heat. Tensions rise to the surface and explode. This is the time of year when the Khmer Rouge conquered our neighbors Cambodia, 35 years ago.

The protesters have just had their broadcast station closed by the government, which is showing a remarkable lack of long-term vision in this situation.

Tourists – crucial to keep Thailand’s economy going – are being advised not to come here, though incidents are confined to a small part of the capital.

And yet there are millions of Thais who, unlike the tourists, cannot just catch a plane and leave their country like we do.

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