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Re: [justpeaceinasia] The Unseen South (Thailand)

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  • max ediger
    This is the one. Glad to hear from you again. I ve also been swamped with work and not getting much done on the book. I need to reorganize my time a bit and
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 1, 2005
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      This is the one.  Glad to hear from you again.  I've also been swamped with work and not getting much done on the book.  I need to reorganize my time a bit and get back to work on it. 

      Goldy George <dalitstudycircle@...> wrote:
      Oh Sorry Max:
      I got it. I think this is the one that you had send to us..right?

      max <maxediger@...> wrote:

      A reporter's memoir: The Unseen South

      The violence in the South that has escalated over a year shows no end
      in sight. Complicated in nature, the multi-layer conflicts could be
      attributed to cultural and ethnic differences as well as economic and
      social disparities among the southern population. Government' lack of
      understanding, and its resort to use of force, has yet exacerbated
      the situations. For over half a decade, Bangkok Post journalist
      Supara Janchitfah has been covering the region, and in this special
      report, reveal the sad, perturbing stories that continue to rip apart
      the southern soil.

      Over the over five years, I have spent many days in the South roaming
      around, using the bus as my main mode of transport, providing me with
      opportunities to talk with people in the street and in villages. I
      hired open air taxis and took motorcycle taxis to many places around
      the three provinces. I stayed overnight in many villages, not in
      luxury hotels. These conditions became a blessing in disguise as they
      allowed me to learn of locals' real pains and anguish, which have
      remained largely unheard. I witnessed and learned from the locals how
      they were being abused by state agencies.

      I spoke to different group of people, many who trusted, some who did
      not. They told me about what they had been encountering and feeling.
      In some cases I promised not to put their names in my stories as many
      were afraid they might become targets of government officials,
      separatists, arm traders, illegal traders, big commercial trawlers
      operators and so on � groups who have made the situation in the South
      more complex. I do not claim to know all the facts about the unrest,
      but I think I have done enough listening and had enough discussions
      with different groups of people to gain the information needed to
      reflect their sentiments.

      The violence in the South that has escalated over a year shows no end
      in sight. More and more people are killed in broad daylight. Very few
      of those responsible have been caught, and many people have been made
      scapegoats. More and more harsh measures are being used by the state
      and the atmosphere of distrust continues to intensify. How can
      officials work for the benefit of the people when they think locals
      cannot be trusted? Likewise, how can people trust authorities when
      people in uniform search their houses, villages, and pondoks
      everyday? How can they tolerate being "watched", being in watch
      lists, and regularly being tormented mentally and physically?

      Is there a solution to the violence? Certainly, yes. But whether the
      government is willing to listen and allow the formation of new
      policies by the local people is questionable. Many agencies have
      already drafted strategies to tackle the unrest. Yet, what the
      government is doing now does not reflect those proposals.

      To ease resentment and to stem the flow of tragic tears, the
      government needs to change its attitude and policies towards locals,
      admit its mistakes and begin to seriously address the problem.

      Understanding the history of forced assimilation and respecting
      cultural and ethnic differences are among the necessary and crucial
      measures needed. Having said all this, I do not mean that all locals
      are sweet and innocent. But why worry about those who want to secede?
      They are not the majority. Why doesn't the government make this
      country a warm society for the majority? Bring them justice and
      trust, let them practice their religion and listen to their voices.
      Simultaneously, we must criticize those who bring about the chaos,
      ask them what they actually want and bring them to the dialogue table
      and punish the wrong-doers according to the law.

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      Visit my web page at http://daga.dhs.org/max

      People tend to think of nonviolence as a choice between using force and doing nothing. But the real choice takes place at another level. Nonviolence is less a matter of "not killing" and more a matter of showing compassion, of saving and redeeming, of being a healing community. One can only choose between doing good to the person placed in one's path, or to do him evil. To do good is to love a person; but not to do that is as good as killing him. To love someone is to restore that person physically, socially, and spiritually. To neglect and postpone this restoration is already to kill. Andre Trocme

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