Thailand’s Three Finger Salute

We’ve pointed out a lot of incidents of “life imitating art” over the years. Cases in which things remained us of something for The Hunger Games universe. But now, The Hunger Games has become a legitimate part of a political movement.


Katniss says goodbye to Rue

On May 22, a coup upheaved the government in Thailand, with the Thai army replacing the democratically elected leadership. While the coup was not the gory, violent kind, it still wasn’t welcomed by much of the nation, particularly among younger generations. Yup, the same generations that have taken the political messages of books like The Hunger Games under their wing.

As a sign of their discontent, some protestors began to hold up District 12’s three finger salute. Though symbol was derived from fiction, the Thai army caught on to the fact that the three-finger salute was essentially the people’s veiled one finger salute. They banned it from being used by five people or more in the same space because that would be considered a group protest. Any group using the symbol will be arrested. Of course, this only made the gesture spread around the nation like wildfire through the entire population.

In Thailand

Thailand fighting for democracy

Protest leaders have encouraged everyone to throw up the threefinger salute at least three times in a public place daily. The Internet is flooded with photos of small groups of hidden faces holding up the symbol. The protestors have labeled the three fingers in a new graphic:

1. No Coup
2. Liberty
3. Democracy

While it’s not exactly what the sign means in the books, it all boils down to the same thing: A sign of respect of things that have been lost. In this case, the government of the people. It’s actually quite beautiful to see a popular fiction reference being used to bring people together in a peaceful protest (though hopefully it stays that way). Now it’s more than an idea from a book series. It’s history.

Now Let’s See If It’s Used In Mockingjay…

The Girl With The Pearl



  1. This has had be awestruck all week. It is amazing to see a work of fiction inspire real change in the world. It is clear the salute is a way for the oppressed to express solidarity with and support each other, just like it was in the books. The Thai government should read ahead and realize it is futile to stop the spread of hope, and oppression cannot last forever.

  2. I don’t even care anymore. In the end, neither do most people living here, including the youngins’.

    “While the coup was not the gory, violent kind, it still wasn’t welcomed by much of the nation, particularly among younger generations.”
    Look to my first sentence.
    It wasn’t welcomed by those supporting the political party deposed.
    Members of the protestors pre-coup are probably steamed they didn’t think of this before.

    If anything, the parallel to Panem had nothing to do with oppressive governments. It has more to do with the penchant for masses to be manipulated by demagogues (the protest leaders) and latch on to popular imagery.
    Change? Hah!
    Spend 15 minutes with a red or yellow shirt and you’ll be utterly disillusioned.

    What the Thai military should realize is that these coups are temporary fixes.
    It’s great that we don’t have violent protests.
    It’d be better if the government actually progresses.

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