Once upon a time, I had a Facebook friend who was progressive on everything except her own country of Thailand. She had one of those nationalist blind spots. She loved the king (the one who croaked), loved the military junta & supported them when they refused to let Rohingya refugees land in May 2015. Thousands who drowned are still unaccounted for. Our friendship was not one made in heaven.

Recently, she again began following & commenting on my posts. Since I am an admirer of the writings of Thai dissident in exile Giles Ji Ungpakorn & even posted his brilliant & merciless obituary for that king, I knew it would be a matter of time before she stormed off in a huff. She’s not a bad egg but nationalism has a peculiar hold on people’s minds. Believe me, I know that from growing up in the McCarthy era. In life you have to decide whether you stand with the oppressed or the oppressors & you make no exceptions to that commitment.