Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In Thailand, black magic is politics as usual

Robert Horn (TIME.com, Mar. 20, 2010)

A Hindu priest performs a ritual after supporters of deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra spilled blood at [coup leader] Abhisit Vejjajiva's offices in Bangkok on March 16, 2010 (AFP/Getty/Christophe Archambault).

BANGKOK - The images were shocking — and strange. On Tuesday, thousands of Thai protesters splattered buckets of their own blood outside the Prime Minister's office in Bangkok as a Brahmin priest in flowing white robes lit incense, chanted spells and cast a curse upon the government.

As theater, it was both effective and mysterious: clips of the blood curse led international news broadcasts, with viewers and analysts bewildered as to what the protesters were trying to achieve. But in Thailand, it was anything but an aberration.

Curses, dark rituals, and black magic have long been part of the political culture of the country and some of its neighbors. And to some Thai analysts, the strange rite was a rare public revelation of a more covert aspect of the ongoing conflict between the country's political movements — a war of the supernatural. More>>

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