“Time is On Our Side: The Book for Joshua Wong’s 21stBirthday” was born out of my intentions to do something in return to my friend and inspiration Joshua Wong for what he has given to the youth of Thailand and also the youth of the world, who fight for democracy and a chance to be empowered to determine in the decisions that will direct the course of their society.
Not long after getting the idea to write this book, Pawat Akarapipattana, A friend from Chulalongkorn University’s science program, offered a hand to help write it. While this book was in the process of being written, Joshua was sentenced to prison even though the court had initially decided against it because of pressure from The Government of China, who believed that his punishment would be too light otherwise. Joshua’s friend and colleague from The Demosisto Party, Nathan Law, was also sentenced essentially disqualifying them from political positions in the future in a clear act of bullying.
This book was written to send a message that the citizens of Thailand are not silent, we acknowledge what has happened and support them, which is why Pawat and I set out to publish this book as a celebration of Joshua’s 21stbirthday. Unfortunately, Joshua celebrated his birthday alone in a prison cell. The publishing and release date of this book has been pushed back due to situations surrounding the King Rama 9th’s funeral and delays regarding the translation process. During the process of creating this book, Joshua and Nathan have been released on bail, we do not know whether this freedom will be permanent or not.
This book was not written just to celebrate Joshua’s birthday, but also to memorialize the injustice he has been handed in the minds of the people of Thailand, thus, we wrote this book with expectations that it will be important to activist movements in Thailand as well as people who thrive for a peaceful and just society. As such, we have translated immortalized essays from great activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail) and Liu Xiaobo (THE June Second Hunger Strike Declaration). The letter and declaration has never before been translated into Thai despite their importance. We have also included a never before translated interview of Joshua Wong in his youth before, becoming a prominent activist. We have also asked professors in American history studies, China studies and Joshua Wong’s best friend to write forewords for each chapter so readers will not only get to read selected passages but also insightful commentary.
Parts of the proceeds from this book will be donated to Joshua’s Demosisto Party; the funds will be used to fight for justice for the people of Hong Kong who are faced with fascists both from within Hong Kong and from Mainland China. Any other proceeds will be given to the ‘Muslim for Peace’ foundation in order to help Rohingya victims of violence, our fellow human brethren who are being persecute, murdered and are facing indescribable suffering.
Dr. King had written in the Letter from Birmingham Jail “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”We may never reach true democracy if we are still when suffering and injustice happen to fellow human brethren. We hope that this book will be a signal that we are ready to take a step towards true democracy, which we are ready to not leave each other and to learn from each other, to build friendships among each other. Rise up youth of the world and come together as one!
5thof November 2017
Translated by Suparada Phillips