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First Foreigner to Die in The Ongoing Violence of Southern Thailand

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posted on Sep, 18 2006 @ 12:47 AM
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: "The Night of the Arsonist" "The Keu Seh Massacre" "Black Monday in Tak Bai"

[edit on 18/9/06 by khunmoon]

posted on Sep, 23 2006 @ 10:15 PM
Last Tuesday's coup in Bangkok has been widely condemned by the world community, but highly welcomed by the Thai people and observers with an inside view. To them it can only make things less troublesome, less corrupt, stop the looting of their national assets, and for many, most important of all, but an end to the senseless killings, the insurgency in the South, that a week ago took its first toll among westerners.

Jesse Lee Daniel had just called for mustard for his chicken burger when the first bomb went off with a thud strong enough to shake the Swan Bar, where he was sitting in the southern city of Hat Yai.

After the second bomb last Saturday evening, 100 yards away at the Odeon department store, he hurried out with other foreign teachers who had been eating at the bar to take a look.

He was standing in front of the New Cherry Ancient Massage parlor, in a crowd of onlookers and masseuses, when the third bomb exploded on a motorbike parked at the curb beside them.

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The strife running in its third year now, has been an agony not just for those involved, but to the Thai people as a whole. It's so much contradicts their image of tolerance and general peace between the religions, an issue which the politics of the Thaksin administration so inexpediently has put on stake.

At least for that issue, the coup has brought new hope.

But experts expect General Sonthi at least to begin to carry out the recommendations of a National Reconciliation Committee, led by the former prime minister, Anand Panyarachun. It proposed in May the creation of a regional administrative body to mediate.

Although the committee was created by Mr. Thaksin, he ignored its recommendations and proceeded with a policy of confrontation.

“If implemented, all those alone would go a long way to improving the trust of the local community,” said Zachary Abuza, an expert on terrorism who is studying the violence in southern Thailand.

The recommendations amount to a turnaround in dismissive and discriminatory attitudes of the central government in this largely Buddhist nation toward the Muslims who make up 5 percent of the population of 64 million people.

They would start with the lifting of a martial law decree that the commission found had aroused fear and resentment in the three Muslim-dominated southern provinces — Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani.

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