BANGKOK — Army chief Gen. Apirat Kongsompong on Wednesday slammed unidentified individuals who kept criticizing their own country, saying they are an “incurable disease.”
Apirat was speaking to the cadets at Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy this morning that they should not be afraid of “nation-haters,” a term frequently used by pro-establishment figures to describe pro-democracy activists. Their latest rally was held on Monday, where activists openly called for the government’s resignation as well as reforms of the monarchy.
“The [corona]virus can be cured, but what is incurable is the nation-hater disease,” Apirat said. “Those who hate their own country are not recoverable because they keep mocking their own country.”
The general also refused to answer a reporter’s question on how to cure the “nation-hater disease,” though he told the cadets that it is preventable by cultivating a patriotic mindset early on from their childhood.
“It’s difficult to find a vaccine for it,” Apirat said. “We must teach children to love their nation and to learn how to live harmoniously. They can’t just hate their nation.”
Although Apirat did not name anyone in particular, the remark came two days after a pro-democracy protest at Democracy Monument in which the activists demanded measures to curb the monarchy’s influence and power.
One of the activists at Monday’s protest was Arnon Nampha, who today described Apriat as “lacking maturity” for coming up with new discourses to belittle citizens.
“It’s nonsense. He’s just ridiculing those who are fighting for democracy,” he said in a phone interview. “We don’t hate the country, it’s the dictators we detest.”