Conflict in the south : a striking report from Al Jazeera

Why “striking” ? Because made on the ground. Because we don’t see such report on thai TVs. Because victims are shown… victims of torture by thai military… because some people say that so called “spokemen” in Indonesia do not represent the real insurgents… because of the last scene, with the muslim call to prayer on friday… interrupted by… loud thai disco music.

Such report helps to understand that this conflict is likely to continue… for a very long time.

And actually, looking at history… it never really ended (since the annexion of southern regions by Bangkok).

What changes through times… are the means and the intensity of the struggle.

But the fundamental truth is : Bangkok’s authority is rejected by the muslim population of the south.

We can look at the problem by all angles… the population in Pattani, Yala… is not thai and doesn’t like Thailand. And Thailand gives them back the same… feeling.

To reconcile the two communities would take a long time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PACjeINxbcM&

11 Responses to “Conflict in the south : a striking report from Al Jazeera”


  1. 1 R. N. England 2 March 2009 at 1:22 am

    It seems to me that the border between Thailand and Malaysia is in the wrong place. Nobody talks about this for fear of stirring up trouble between the two countries. This is understandable. It is, however, a matter that could be discussed by the UN, with Malaysia staying out of it. Referenda to decide the matter could be conducted under the auspices of the UN in provinces/districts with large Malay populations. If the Thai Military were to suffer a severe loss of face from the whole process, so much the better for Thailand and for the region.

  2. 2 laosuwan 2 March 2009 at 2:10 am

    This is a poorly though through post in an otherwise fine blog. First, Al Jazeera is hardly an independent balanced source of news and analysis. It is an Islamic propaganda mouthpiece. I don’t think it is just me who has noticed that; this is widely known so it is no surprise the report is biased.

    But so what if a disco disrupts a mosque. Why is that wrong but it is ok when mosques disrupt so many non Muslims? Andy why is being disrupted considered just cause for beheading and murder or non Muslims? Why don’t we see rebellion and jihad in other places by non Muslims who are disrupted? I live near a karaoke bar and don’t behead anyone because I am disrupted. The extent to which people are so conditioned to apologizing for themselves and blaming themselves for the violence Muslims commit upon them is a subject that psychologists will have to take up one day – that is, if a university sufficiently free of bias can be found where a researcher would be allowed to explore the topic.

    The post is also wrong that the violence began when Siam “annexed” the south. That is the common myth repeated so much we have begun to accept it as truth and excuse for Islamist violence. For a real history of who annexed who one can visit http://www.historyofjihad.org and click on Thailand. The facts are quite different and more complex than reported by apologist mainstream reporters who know little about the history there.

    Anyway, the violence in the south has nothing to do with race or economics or politics. The violence in the south is rooted in religion. We all know this but try and try to convince ourselves otherwise. The entire history of Islam in Asia is one of genocide against Buddhists. This is not unique to the south of Thailand. Why? In Buddhist thinking, each individual is unconditionally responsible for their lives and their circumstances, as opposed to the Islamic view where Allah is considered responsible for every single event that takes place, including the activities of Jihad warriors. This alone is enough to make Buddhism the antithesis of Islam. Buddhism is based upon the concept of ‘karma’, which is considered heresy in Islam. Buddhist temples have statues and Islamic terrorists up to the present day confuse those statues with the idols that Muhammad forbade and which Islamic invaders in northern India destroyed along with large Buddhist university of Nalanda and many Buddhist monasteries there and all throughout Asia. Buddhism does not respect any one god nor does it believe in an anti god similar to Satan. All of this enrages Muslims and makes them despise Buddhists. Further comparisons are many but are not needed.

    Islam commands its followers to obey the word of Allah and the example of Muhammad and in the Koran they are commanded (that’s right, commanded) to slay non believers. Islam favors obedience to the word of Allah and the example of Muhammad, at the expense of other moral codes. Buddhism is seen as insulting to Muhammad and Muslims are commanded to slay those who insult their faith. Islamic terrorists through the centuries have killed millions of Buddhists, destroyed large amount of Buddhist art and burned many monasteries and libraries.

    Like I say, the violence in the south is about Islam and its unwillingness to live with other peoples of different faiths as equals. Past coexistence was more related to the poor understanding and dissemination of Islamic teaching among the Muslims there than to some multicultural fantasy that so many of us hold. Sort of like the myth of tolerance and equality under the Muslims in Andalusia. This is not unique to the south; you can see it all over the world and throughout history. And the area of the world not subject to Islam is shrinking quite rapidly, too, but we are still in denial?

  3. 3 ThaiCrisis 2 March 2009 at 4:29 am

    It doesn’t matter if Jazeera is not independant. What matters is that they are showing exactly what you’re saying after in your comment :”violence in the south is rooted in religion” and “denial“.

    Let me remind you that for years, I repeat for years, Bangkok said that the violence in the south was minor and caused… by “mafia”… “thugs”… and “drug dealers”…
    Denial, indeed.

    The first step toward the resolution of a problem is not acknowledge (with courage) the cause of the problem.

    As for the annexion issue, I know the drill : Siam didn’t receive Pattani from the British in 1909, of course not, the muslim invaded the south of “Thailand” 5456464 years before. The story of the egg and the chicken is not very relevant.

    I mean, come on, your comment is interesting but on this precise historical point you’re losing yourself.

    The debate is not to know if muslims were there “first” or not… But we can’t deny that the modern violence started (or continued if you prefer) after 1909.
    In any case, I wrote “violence never ended“. So that should settle the semantical dispute.

    However, I agree 100% with your conclusion.

    You seem to be pragmatic. But I don’t understand why you don’t go to the end of the path : south regions are not thai. 95 % of the population is muslim and hates Thais (for good or wrong reasons, that’s not the issue).
    For me (coming from Europe where we had the same problems long time ago, and where we still have problems albeit on another scale…) the solution is clear : separation.

    Yes Islam is not “soluble”. Yes it creates specific and global treats for other communities… Yes Islam is not just a “religion”, on the same level than the other… People are naive indeed.

    Unless you accept an unlimited occupation of the South of Thailand by security forces (and the costs of it) and an never ending state of violence , the only solution is : separation.

    I think thai people should go beyond the “national sovereignty” mystique.

  4. 4 laosuwan 2 March 2009 at 12:40 pm

    >>>Let me remind you that for years, I repeat for years, Bangkok said that the violence in the south was minor and caused… by “mafia”… “thugs”… and “drug dealers”…
    Denial, indeed.

    The problem of deflecting blame from Islam to other talking points is not unique to Thai leaders. It is political dogma among governments around the world, chiefly because Islam calls itself a religion and demands to be respected. The fact that it respects no other religion is not discussed or considered; the merest whiff of critical thinking about Islam and suddenly you are called a racist or islamophobe and you feel the heat of the OIC and their lackies in the UN.

    Thailand like other countries are AFRAID to acknowledge that Islam is a problem. They are scared of Muslims and terror. They hope if they remain quiet that the problem will go away even as they parrot the line that Islam is a peaceful religion. And they know Islam will be defended by the UN, by liberals like NGOs and Human Rights organizations who have strangely acquired a taste for defending this philosophy, Islam, that seeks to destroy Jews, gays, and women, anyone who is different – the things human rights are supposed to represent. The point is unless and until Thailand can find the courage to plainly state that this is a religious war against Buddhists they cannot hope to adopt winning strategies, whatever those may be.

    >>>As for the annexion issue, I know the drill : Siam didn’t receive Pattani from the British in 1909, of course not, the muslim invaded the south of “Thailand” 5456464 years before. The story of the egg and the chicken is not very relevant. I mean, come on, your comment is interesting but on this precise historical point you’re losing yourself.

    No I think it is relevant because it is disinformation and it is intentional and intended to create a moral high ground that the terrorists are not entitled too. Failure to defend the point also creates the impression among the terrorists that the Thai do not have the will to defend their own culture, which encourages more violence.

    >>>But I don’t understand why you don’t go to the end of the path: south regions are not Thai. 95 % of the population is muslim and hates Thais (for good or wrong reasons, that’s not the issue).

    To say that the south is not Thai is disingenuous. Thailand is a multicultural country and there is no such thing as a Thai race. Being Thai is a matter of citizenship not race. The people live in the south provinces are Thai citizens. The problem is that in Islam there is no distinction between state and religion. They are inseparable. The Koran plainly states that it is unacceptable to be ruled by non believers; that Muslims must strive for sharia throughout the earth. So, there can be no acceptance of an infidel government overseeing a majority Muslim land. The Koran instead commands in this case to wage ware in very bloody terms. And this is what you find in the south.

    The reason you don’t find war being waged in Bangkok or Ayudyhya or Chiang Mai is not because of race or historical grievances but because Muslims are instructed not to engage in warfare until their numbers are sufficiently large and concentrated to ensure victory. In these cases the jihad is to take other paths; financing wars elsewhere, destabilizing the country from within, having as many children as possible to shift the demographic balance in the Muslims favor, etc.

    >>>Unless you accept an unlimited occupation of the South of Thailand by security forces (and the costs of it) and a never ending state of violence, the only solution is: separation.

    Here I disagree strongly. Separation is not a solution. It is cultural and political solution. Throughout history we have seen the same phenomena over and over. Muslims demand independence for their Islam homeland in another’s country. They fight bloody wars in order to attain this. But peace does not follow. Soon, more demands are made for terror Tory. Myths that the remaining part of the country was somehow once Islamic are constructed and new jihads are begun to acquire more land, still. Separation is simply giving in to the rule of the sword instead of the rule of law. In this there is no solution only an incentive to create more violence.

    There are at least three other possible solutions I can see. The first is the Singapore or Chinese model of controlling Islam. Regulation of the mosques, control of content in schools to skip over the violent passages and hadiths and teach a state controlled version of Islam, and the willingness to ignore criticism from Islam’s defenders and apologists. This is solution may not be effective because of corruption within Thai government and the nearby shared border with Islam hard line states in Malaysia that are assisting in the jihad in Thailand.

    The second solution is to reduce the percentage of Muslim population to a minority by immigration. Landless peasants in Thailand, especially in the resource poor northeast could be resettled in the south and organized into self functioning and self defending communities with neighborhood, block by block defense and civic watchdogs. Persecuted Buddhist and Hindu from Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Pakistan who want to adapt to Thai values could also be resettled here to help build a thriving multicultural and peaceful productive south.
    Here Islam’s apologists will claim this is genocide even as they are silent about the genocide of non Muslims that is happening right now. Of course this solution isn’t genocide because no one is being killed and no rights are being deprived. This solution is not genocide but integration. Combined with solution one above it could work.

    The third solution is of course expulsion. Muslims who do not wish to Thai could be invited to rejoin their “brothers” in their Islamic paradise in Malaysia and be well compensated to go. This would be cheaper than fighting their terror. Those who have dual citizenship or who support treason can be stripped of their citizenship without compensation. Of course here you will also find howling and name calling which the Thai government would probably not have the courage to endure. And you can be sure that Malaysia would oppose this because they desire a weak Thailand and support the terror of jihad here.

    But the point is separation is not a solution and other possible paths do exist.

    >>>For me (coming from Europe where we had the same problems long time ago, and where we still have problems albeit on another scale…) the solution is clear: separation.

    Believe me; your EU leaders have sold you out for the power of Muslim voting bloc and the money of petro dollars. And you will have the separation in Europe you speak of. It is already happening, where England is giving welfare to Muslims with more than one wife, legalizing sharia law in some cases, Sweden natives cannot go out on the streets at night in small numbers, etc., etc. in 20 years at present birthrates Europe will be Islamic and all your talk and political correctness will count for nothing. You will meet the same fate as the Buddhists of Asia centuries ago.

    >>>I think Thai people should go beyond the “national sovereignty” mystique.

    Go where? To what? Capitulation to terror? Not a solution. And no way back if you are wrong. No, national sovereignty is not a myth; it is a noble legacy of western heritage and Asian heritage. Nationalism is the antithesis of the absurdity of multiculturalism, which stands for cultural and political suicide. Nationalism is a shared sense of common values among people who have never met one another. I see that as the solution, not the problem.

  5. 5 em 2 March 2009 at 1:13 pm

    I’ve been a silent reader for a long time and I must say I second laosuwan’s response. It is a shame to see this otherwise serious blog on economic topics supporting terrorist activities. Justifying terrorism as means for resolving political disagreement will one day explode in European faces, literally.

  6. 6 ThaiCrisis 2 March 2009 at 1:24 pm

    A very interesting discussion.

    When I wrote “go beyond’ it’s a way of speaking of course.

    As for Europe, I know very well : the demography indeed is HUGELY in our defavor.

    Figures are kept secret by gvt… it’s a disaster (but muslim people are not the only concerned). Recently, France was praised to have the strongest birth rate of Europe… What a joke. It’s enough to visit a few hospitals to see…. One very funny thing : before 1970, before the end of Algeria war… we were told that a few dozen of thousands of muslim people were living in France… 40 years after, albeit we don’t have precise stats (it’s forbidden to make stats based on ethnic group and religion in France), the gvt tells us that… 5 millions of muslim people are living in France… 😉

    Anyway, I’m going beyond the subject here. If we start to speak about immigration… it will be difficult to stop.

    Back to Thailand : I don’t understand what you’re saying about nationalism… I mean : it doesn’t apply in the South.
    You praise nationalism (the feeling to belong to a community)… and meanwhile “thai” muslim people in the South reject this “nationality”. So ?
    You see that separation is the only way.

    My point : it’s impossible to be nationalist if some components of the “community” reject the… very idea of the community.

    Sure Thailand is composed of many ethnic groups. But they have the same religion. In the South, there is a different ethnic group (they represent the majority) with a different religion.

    Good luck to inject this “shared sense of common values” in the South….

    At one point you’ll have to reconcile your ideals (national sovereignty, common values etc.) with the reality on the ground.

    It’s like if someone says : “Long life to the Great Germany… Poland belongs to our community. Polish people should feel as a part of the german people, part of our great nation”.

    It could sound like a good and sensible idea (maybe to some ears)…. but from a practical point of view it wouldn’t make any sense. It wouldn’t work.

    It won’t work neither in the South.

  7. 7 ThaiCrisis 2 March 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Hold on EM…

    You can’t say that I support terrorist activities ! For christ’s sake, such comment is offensive, but also totally inane and idiotic.

    Before to react like this, you should read the comments.

    Slowly.

    Because obviously you didn’t.

    And read my previous articles about the South.

    I really dislike this attitude, prevalent among so many thai people : start to talk about the South, about alternative ideas, about the fact that they don’t feel thai, they don’t respect Thailand… and WIZZ… PAF ! it’s like a rocket fired, a missile supercharged with yaba ! “You’re a terrorist supporter ! No, actually you are a terrorist yourself !”.

    It’s really pathetic.

    So calm down a little bit, open your eyes, and try to understand, to assess the situation, instead of reacting only with your guts.

    In other words : try to be intelligent. You’ll feel better.

  8. 8 em 2 March 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Well, it’s quite simple. You quote a very biased and agenda driven aljazeera report which is completely sympathetic to the “insurgents” causes. Many moderate Muslims (usually silently) consider Aljazeera as unreliable and prefer Al-arabiya and other more objective networks.

    Anyway, nowhere do you acknowledge that these people use terrorism against civilians to advance their political objectives. You show an understanding for their fight and portray them as the victim. You not only not condemn any of their actions but you put the blame squarely on Thai authorities both historically and current. Lastly, you propose to give in to their demands.

    Is there any part here which suggests that you do NOT support their activities?

    If you genuinely don’t support terrorism, which I’m very much inclined to believe. And the purpose of this post is probably just to criticize Thai leadership then maybe some words to that effect would have helped made that clear.

    Btw, laosuwan is showing a remarkable understanding of Islam, it’s spirit, aspirations and modus operandi. Worth listening to and learning from. If you look at other similar conflicts around the world you will see this pattern repeating again and again.

  9. 9 ThaiCrisis 2 March 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I wrote that I agreed with Laosuwan. I share exactly the same views about the political angle of islam. We just disagree about the South.

    Now, to say that quoting the Al Jazeera report makes me a terrorist supporter is totally off limit. And I don’t have to show you my “curriculum vitae” of “good anti terrorist soldier”. I don’t fall for those stalinist methods.

    I was quoting this report to show that the violence WILL CONTINUE.

    As I said before : it’s irrelevant to know if Al Jazeera is independant or not, biased or not… The quality of this report is that it show how the “thai” muslim people in the South are thinking on the ground.

    When you look this report…. it’s obvious : the conflict is likely to continue.

    And the second thing you understand : this conflict is not about “mafia” or “drug dealers” (the bullshit served over and over by Thaksin, and then the Junta with Surayud), but about religion.

    And also, you understand that this kind of “news” (orchestrated by some lunatics thai officials) is also pure bullshit :
    https://thaicrisis.wordpress.com/2008/07/19/peter-sellers-is-not-dead-hes-in-the-south-and-announces-a-cease-fire/

    (read it, it’s really funny).

  10. 10 fall 2 March 2009 at 3:14 pm

    For the love of god(s), just do like East Timor.
    Give the South a referendum, all in favor-against separation.

    If they are against it, then the insurgent is just insurgent and they will loose so-called self-proclaim credibility and support.
    However, if they are in favor. Well, there’s no point in sending a military to restore order in an area that dont want order in the first place.

    (a little dirty trick would be to count the vote as a whole, without separating each provinces)

  11. 11 laosuwan 3 March 2009 at 12:42 am

    >>>Back to Thailand : I don’t understand what you’re saying about nationalism… I mean : it doesn’t apply in the South.You praise nationalism (the feeling to belong to a community)… and meanwhile “thai” muslim people in the South reject this “nationality”. So ? You see that separation is the only way. My point : it’s impossible to be nationalist if some components of the “community” reject the… very idea of the community.

    Yes, it is impossible to have nationalism when the majority is muslim. That is my point. The problem in the south is that islam is the majority religion and it does not tolerate diversity. No matter how bad it sounds to say it, the solution lies in reducing islam to a minority so that the support structure for terror is negated. This means either expulsion or integration by immigration of non muslims, or both. In the case of expulsion the expelled should be well compensated in fairness. In the case of integration the existing muslim population should continue to have their civil rights repsected. Their life and rights will not change, they will just have to learn to live with others of different skin colors and religions and beliefs like everyone else in the world. This is the only way to save lives in the long run. But first, Thai leaders must acknowledge Islam is the problem before they get a sense of direction. Then they need to find the political will to act and the streghnth to carry it through. That is a tall order.

    >>>Sure Thailand is composed of many ethnic groups. But they have the same religion. In the South, there is a different ethnic group (they represent the majority) with a different religion.

    So, what is uniquely “Malaysian” about the name Mohammed?

    And Christian Thai, Sik Thai, Hindu Thai, Animist Thai, Taoist Thai do not have the same religion and yet they dont go around murdering everyone else to get their own homeland. There is nothing special about islam that entitles it to kill people who refuse to give its followers their own country anywhere they want it. The arguement is absurd. Do we simply allow someone to start their own country becuase they are muslims? If yes, why?

    Why? Because they will kill you if you refuse. There is nothing noble or worthy or respect. This is a criminal philosophy and should be delt with accordingly.

    >>>At one point you’ll have to reconcile your ideals (national sovereignty, common values etc.) with the reality on the ground.

    I am very reconciled, as you can see. It is the government and the majority of Thai people who refuse to see and resuse to say what they are fighting who must reconcile the reality in order to get the will to resist and defeat those who hate them. Or they will passively submit to their own suicide like so many buddhist before them.

    >>>For the love of god(s), just do like East Timor.
    Give the South a referendum, all in favor-against separation.

    If a referendum was held there are four possible outcomes:

    The referendum results are disputed by one or both parties. In this case the conflict continues.

    The referendum is in favor of independence. In this case the jihadists come to power and there is ethnic cleansing of non muslims and the conflict continues spilling over into the adjoining states of Satun, Songkla, Trang. The conflict continues.

    The referendum is not in favor of independence. The jihadists dont care and continue killing. The conflict continues.

    The referndum is split with no clear majority. The conflict continues.

    I cannot see how a referendum is a solution when in all cases the outcome is continued conflict.


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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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