Bombs in Bangkok


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The last time I wrote something substantial about bombs in Bangkok was at the end of 2006 when a bomb went off near my place at Victory Monument. That was a New Year's Eve I'll certainly never forget. But today there was another incident that got people talking and it was interesting to see everyone's reactions on Twitter.

First, a little background from AP:

A wounded Iranian fleeing an unintended explosion at a house threw a grenade at Bangkok police that instead blew off one of his legs in a series of blasts Tuesday that Israel's defense minister called an "attempted terrorist attack" by Iran. The violence came a day after Israel blamed Tehran for targeting its diplomats with bombs in India and Georgia.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the Bangkok violence "proves once again that Iran and its proxies continue to perpetrate terror." Another government minister implied Israel would seek revenge, without mentioning Iran explicitly.

Almost as soon as it happened people took to Twitter and there was a wave of misinformation clogging up the Interwebs. Slowly but surely some facts emerged, but there was very little reliable Tweeting going on. People seemed to go mad, tweeting and retweeting as fast as they could, when really there was very little to say, with people seemingly filling in the blanks for themselves and everyone around them.

Really there was no need for such a flurry of information because the primary sources were news outlets. It wasn't something that was happening in real time a protest. Sometimes it pays to take a deep breath, keep calm and just do nothing.

A gruesome pic of a chap with no legs got a lot of play after being uploaded by a motorcycle taxi driver. I tried to avoid seeing the pic but it was posted in so many places that I couldn't help but set eyes on it at some point. Big thanks to the Twitter user who postsed a link to the pic without any prior warning.

TAN Network seemed to be doing a good job of collecting info. I soon gave up following Twitter and just kept an eye on news channels. It looked to me like a much bigger incident had been avoided thanks to the work of the Thai police, so credit where it's due.

I give somewhat less credit to the journos at Nation, who came up with this bizarre sentence:

An Arab-looking man apparently went berserk on Tuesday, separately throwing bombs at a taxi and later at police in Klongton district.

Moving on, we can all speculate about this now, especially in light of the clumsy terror warning that the US issued a while ago and didn't retract, but what will be key will come in the next day or so when we find out what organisation(s) the arrested suspects have links to. We really don't know very much at this time, but there are all sorts of theories flying around and people have been quick to use the incident as fodder for their owns agendas.

We don't know how sophisticated the devices that exploded were, but it looks like the intended targets were local in nature and that the devices were fairly small and intended to be used in close proximity to people, so therefore the assurances made by the Thai authorities that Bangkok was safe from these kind of attacks appear to have been mistaken.

Furthermore, after the terror warning last month it was suggested that Israeli nationals were the prime targets. People were warned to avoid busy areas, especially those where groups of Israelis might be. Those warnings probably still hold some weight, in my eyes at least, so it's worth taking this all into consideration over the next couple of days.

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4 thoughts on “Bombs in Bangkok

  1. how about showing some outrage for the bombing incident on those who "committed" it rather than bash the americans for quote, "clumsy terror warning".

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