Even as the World Watched II: Tasting the Kool-Aid
- Published: Monday, 05 July 2010 01:57
Published: 05 July 2010
Chiang Mai, Thailand
This journalist was all over the place. She stood out from the crowd for obvious reasons. One evening, as the sun was setting, she was walking down a mostly desolate street not far from Dusit Thani hotel, and she was alone with that little camera. Soldiers were here and there, and I thought, “That’s a brave woman.” She walked by and I never said hello. On another day, she walked by and I was talking with some journalist whose name I never got, and said that if she took off that helmet and body armor you might think she is just another pretty face, but she’s not just another pretty face, is she? The journalist said that he had once seen her at another time, and she was curled up on the ground, sleeping by a trash can, and he said she is a brave one indeed.
On another day there had been much fighting and some journalists were out in the middle of it but I did not go to the middle. I watched from the edges as a writer instead of a photographer, but this one apparently had dived in because he was sweating and more covered in soot than this photo seems to reveal.
Despite the danger, witnesses were out there, seemingly by the hundreds.
Often the journalists waited, as do soldiers.
(Note: Photos in this dispatch are not in chronological or “geographic” order, but are ordered thematically. This is not a comprehensive accounting of the Bangkok fighting. There are probably thousands of accounts online.)
This was a strange battle area. Surrounded by modern buildings, nice hotels and the trappings of a modern city, you could dive into a 7-Eleven for a cold drink. I tried to buy tampons in case of bullet wounds but tampons are hard to come by in Thailand, so, having left my gear in Afghanistan, I bought pads instead.
Any helmet was better than none. Protestors often used slingshots with iron ingots, lugnuts, marbles and rocks.
The world was watching.
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