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Thailand Scrubs Ex-PM From Textbooks

Thaksin's name disappears from new curriculum
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2014 12:09 AM CDT
Thailand Erases Ex-PM From Textbooks
In this July 4, 2011, photo, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra speaks to journalists at his luxury villa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

(Newser) – In the Thai calendar, this is the year 2557—but you could be forgiven for thinking it was 1984. The generals who have been running the country since May's military coup have not only banned elections and sought to purge the government of people loyal to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, they are now removing the ex-leader's name from history books, reports the New York Times. The author of a history textbook that the Ministry of Education has ordered schools to use says the ministry "just deleted" the name of Thaksin, who was prime minister from 2001 until he was ousted in a 2006 coup. Thaksin's sister Yingluck was ousted in this year's coup.

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The textbook, revised as part of a hyperpatriotic new curriculum, still mentions anti-Thaksin protests as a "movement against dictatorial power, corruption, and embezzlement," and its author says the leader's name should have stayed in. "History is fact," he says. "Mistakes or lesson learned—we have to tell our young people. They must know about it. We shouldn't just delete it." Anti-coup protesters in the country had taken to giving the Hunger Games salute and reading dystopian novels like 1984 in public before even those ways of showing dissent were cracked down on. (Read more Prayuth Chan-ocha stories.)

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