When it comes to treating human beings like cattle, or worse, the Thai military does it best. Last December, thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh and Myanmar, desperate to flee their squalid and miserable conditions, decided to jump into boats and migrate to neighboring lands. The Indian navy eventually found them near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The adage ‘no news is good news’ is not always true for Muslims in southern Thailand. Reports from the south seldom make it to the mainstream news agenda, conveying the impression that the conflict is dying down. Yet in less than four years about 3,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed, and tens of thousands wounded.
As the conflict in Aceh recedes into the past, another part of Muslim southeast Asia has emerged as a conflict zone, as if to replace the ‘vacuum' created by the successful peace accord between GAM and Jakarta. The Muslim-majority provinces in southern Thailand, which border with Malaysia, have been the scene of unprecedented casualties in recent months, pushing the death toll to 2,000, all killed in circumstances that have yet to be explained in a plausible manner.
One year after the massacre of Muslims by Thai security forces during Ramadan last year, the government of Thaksin Shinawatra is hoping that it will be a case of so much water having flowed under the bridge. The truth is that so many Muslim lives were lost that the southern tip of Thailand has become the most dangerous place in the region after Aceh and Mindanao for Muslims.
Hardly had the blood dried on Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s hands after the storming of the historic Kerisik mosque in Pattani last April, than the ‘Butcher of Bangkok’ committed another horrifying massacre of Muslims...
What could be more welcome to American soldiers stationed thousands of miles away from home than being posted in a country notorious for its flesh trade and sleazy nightlife? Because they feel claustrophobic in tiny Singapore...
Flushed with success at containing and nearly crushing the communist insurgency in Thailand, the Thai military has turned its heavy guns against the Muslims of South Thailand.