More than a thousand blasts have ripped through the southern provinces of Thailand in a 33 month-long conflict of insurgency. Detonation of bombs has
been a daily event for more than two years now. Of the so far one and a half thousands victims of the conflict, only a few dozens have actually died
in the blasts, as the bombs have all been of little force, seemingly designed more to scare than to kill. Saturday night a string of explosions
ripped through the amusement district of Hat Yai, a southern metropolis and commercial hub. Among the four reported killed, a 29-year-old Canadian man
came to be the first foreign victim of the ongoing conflict.
Four people died when the six simultaneous blasts ripped through Saturday night crowds in bars and cafes in the city of Hat Yai, in the southern
region that has been gripped by a Muslim insurgency which has killed more than 1400 people.
A 29-year-old Canadian teacher, Jesse Lee Daniel, was named among the dead. Fourteen other foreigners were among the 72 wounded, which included six
Malaysians, three Singaporeans, three Britons, an Indian and an American.
Police Lieutenant-Colonel Prasit Paochoo said two explosive devices were planted inside motorcycles and detonated with a mobile phone.
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The conflict was kicked off by the reelection of the controversial leader of the "Thai Rak Thai", meaning "Thais love Thais", a party based on an
ideology of nationalism. Thaksin Shinawatra, its leader and first PM to be reelected ever in the parliamentarian history of Thailand, is a
controversial figure and successful businessman. Some see him as a saviour of a country ridden by corruption and haunted by a bloody record of coup
d’etat. Others see him as the final pestilent to be brought down on a misused, exploited nation.
His second term in office have called for a very strong, and for Thailand quite unusual, well organized resistence against him and his rule. It
largely gets its support from the Bangkok area, the only place where people of some education can be found in greater numbers. His supporters are to
be found in the vast majority of rural peasants, uneducated, in some areas living on the brink of starvation, highly dependent on any feudal lord, who
can promise them whatever little it might be. That their believes are in superstition and "good luck", makes them perfect supporters and the most
loyal voters any leader can ask for.
Insurgency in the South has been around for hundred years or more, but the policies of Bangkok has always been to contain it by allowing a high degree
of self governance. Add to that a tradition of tolerance towards other religions, for which Thailand always have been known. With the present
leadership things have changed. On the night of the 4th of January 2004, a month after the pools securing the 2nd term of Thaksin, a ghost fared
through three southern provinces and ignited a fire, that had long been waiting to burn. Within 10 month two government induced atrocities took place,
claiming in total the lives of 200 hundred young Muslim men. The official numbers of Keu Seh on the 28th of April 2004, the assault on a mosque in
Pattani, 112 lives, and later that year, on 25th of October, the detention of demonstrators in Tak Bai, where the transfer of the detainees went so
terribly wrong, 84 lives. Two events the world community gave little attention and did nothing to dissociate itself from. Those stories below.
Related News Links:
news.bbc.co.uk "The Night of the Arsonist"
news.bbc.co.uk "The Keu Seh Massacre"
news.bbc.co.uk "Black Monday in Tak Bai"
[edit on 18/9/06 by khunmoon]