BANGKOK – Corruption, inequality and lack of freedom are some of the topics featured in a rap video that on Friday had reached more than 31 million views on Youtube and which has angered the military junta which rules Thailand.
The song is severely critical of the government, which seized power in a coup in 2014 and which has been known to crack down on dissidents and opponents.
“The country that points the gun at your throat. Claims to have freedom but have no right to choose,” are the lyrics of the song by a group of 10 Thai musicians called “Rap Against the Dictatorship.”
Pratchayaa Surakamchonrot, also known as Jacoboi, told EFE on Friday that the song discusses ideas that, while seldom publicly expressed, are shared by a majority of Thais, adding that he was happy that the song has been able to reach so many people.
The rappers lash out against the military junta for delaying the date of the elections since coming to power after the coup and subjugating an “ignorant” society with the threat of violence.
“I want to see a civilian government, one that is 100 percent elected by the Thai people in an election. Let’s start with that,” the 33-year-old rapper said.
“The country that asks you to stay quiet, or stay in jail. The country that corruption’s always safe for the rich,” are some other lines from the song named “Phratet ku mi” (“My country has”), which was uploaded to YouTube on Oct. 22.
The rap mentions deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan’s suspiciously obtained expensive watches, as well as the sympathetic treatment by the police of a rich businessman who had illegally hunted an endangered black panther, among other issues.
“I want people to keep sharing it, talking about and discussing it,” said Dechathorn Bamrungmuang, or Hockhacker.
The rapper believes that it is a fundamental right to express topics like the ones discussed in the video, and warns of the dangers of a divided society and violence generated by power.
“The country that police use law to threaten people. Though you’re enlightened, you have to pretend to sleep,” go the song’s lyrics.
Shortly after the video was released, the group was accused of disloyalty to the country by the government and the police.
They were also threatened with being charged under the Computer-Related Crime Act, while those who shared the song on social networks were also warned they could be prosecuted.
The deputy police chief, Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said that there was no crime in the lyrics of the song and thus does not violate any laws.
With elections scheduled to be held in February 2019 after years of delays and postponements, and in which the junta is expected to present a candidate of its own, the video could help tilt the scales in favor of a civilian government and bring an end to military rule in the Southeast Asian nation.