My declaration on my 18th birthday

en
Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal

I am a conscientious objector; this means I will not take part in conscription or government required military service in Thailand.

Military rule has dominated Thai society, not only now but also for a long time, and its power increases every year. However the Thai army is a joke for people around the world.

I think it is very important for us, to know that in this time the Thai army have tried to increase their power and brainwash civilians. For example, they banned criticism on TV as reported in the media. They defamed the Thai academics and interrogate the student activists. They controlled the text books to promote nationalism and respect to the army. We know they want to make Thailand a military state. They have tried before and are trying again now.

Do we want to manage this situation or do we want to bury our heads in the sand like the ostrich?  

If you choose the first one then we should join together! This is the time for change.

For me,

We should protest against it and move Thailand or Siam towards democracy and Human Rights, shouldn’t we? We should support our young Thai people; support them in rejecting conscription.

In our time conscription is obsolete. Many countries in the world have abolished conscription or have changed the system to voluntary military service. They have learned that the voluntary system is more efficient. And also it cultivates violence and follow the leader without thinking for themselves; it is a symbol of violence, unreasonable and anti-democratic.

We also know many people don’t want to take part in conscription. They can join to The Service Training of Territorial Defence Course for 3 years. Some people, whose families have enough money, can pay under the table. However why can people not have the right to reject this out-of-date system? Why can we, who support peace and hate war and have the potential for helping society and humanity through non-violent actions, not reject conscription? Don’t forget we are citizens of the world. Non-violence can create a better society than wars, can’t it?

These are my thoughts since I was 16 year old and now I am 18 years old.

Although I am grounded in Buddhism, I cannot not say I am a Buddhist in a country which is full of violence and violates Human Rights. I should say I am a conscientious man. I want to declare my intention for a peaceful land, in a country that does not allow people to have freedom of speech.

Everyone is a human being; I do not kill anyone. 

I will be a ‘conscientious objector’,

I will not be a soldier in the Thai army or any violent army.

All for Now,

Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal

A Thai student and also an ordinary world citizen.

P.S. If you are interested, I want to persuade you to stop conscription in Thailand by becoming a conscientious objector. We want peace and democracy.

Author information

Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, 22, is a conscientious objector from Thailand. This is Netiwit's declaration of conscientious objection on his 18th birthday, which was originally published on Netiwit's website. Since his declaration, Netiwit has actively been campaigning for conscientious objection as an outspoken activist against Thai Junta. Netiwit is also a founder of Thailand Educational Revolution Alliance and Education for Liberation of Siam. Both groups campaign to reform the Thai education system. He is the elected student council president at Chulalongkorn University, where he is majoring in political science. Netiwit published and translated multiple books.

See an interview we made with him in 2016 here.

See a speech by Netiwit, 'the student vs. the military', here.

Follow him on social media here.

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About the authors

Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, 22, is a conscientious objector from Thailand. This is Netiwit's declaration of conscientious objection on his 18th birthday, which was originally published on Netiwit's website. Since his declaration, Netiwit has actively been campaigning for conscientious objection as an outspoken activist against Thai Junta. Netiwit is also a founder of Thailand Educational Revolution Alliance and Education for Liberation of Siam. Both groups campaign to reform the Thai education system. He is the elected student council president at Chulalongkorn University, where he is majoring in political science. Netiwit published and translated multiple books.

See an interview we made with him in 2016 here.

See a speech by Netiwit, 'the student vs. the military', here.

Follow him on social media here.