[S2S] The pointless argument of the iron-fisted
- From: pluto <pluto@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 04 Sep 2005 01:30:25 +0800
The pointless argument of the iron-fisted
Updated: 11:12PM Fri, 02 Sep 2005
THE latest disquieting sign that the unrest in southern Thailand is
festering dangerously made the headlines this past week.
Fearing for their lives, 131 Thai nationals fled into Kelantan and sought
refuge in two mosques near the border. They were soon in official custody.
As anyone could guess, the refugees are merely an advance party.
They told the authorities that their number is a fraction of those who are
trying to escape the violence in their homeland, estimating that some 1,000
others would be following them soon.
The arrival of the asylum seekers is a jolting reminder that neither
nor Kuala Lumpur have been able to chart a road map that would bring peace
to the area anytime soon.
If ever the security chiefs need reminding, some 450 people have lost their
lives since local militias clashed with Thai troops in January last year.
The dogged determination of the anarchists in the face of the superior
resources of the security forces plainly shows that a hardline approach to
the problem is a definite recipe for a long blood-letting.
It is telling that Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra admitted that the
problem was rooted in a separatist movement only after coming under much
Prior to that, a disbelieving world had to endure the official pantomime
that the crisis was due to territorial disputes among local mafias or some
Observers were heartened when a high-level Malaysian delegation sped to the
border to hold talks with their Thai counterparts on a co-prosperity plan
take the sting out of the rebels' rhetoric.
Unfortunately for the economically depressed people of south Thailand, that
urgency appears to have evaporated.
Now, some 18 months after the initial stand-off, they are still staring
daily at the insidious causes of their discontent - a nagging feeling that
their place under the sun will not be granted without some raucous
Must a decent chance at a secure livelihood and a sense of national
belonging always take a violent hue?
The latest lesson that butting heads is just a messy way to get a headache
was learnt after three long and bloody decades by the people of Aceh and
power brokers in Jakarta.
Now the two sides can finally see another way to share the future.
Can Bangkok prove that it need not wait that long to get the idea?
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