22 September 2009


Most Americans snicker when they think of Thailand. Yes, there is a culture of complete abandon in some parts, and yes it may well be the most trans-friendly culture on the planet (which is AWESOME, not worthy of snickering.)

At the same time, close to Malaysia, you have this:

Thailand has been fighting an insurgency for a long time, but since 2004 it seems to be losing. I knew about this insurgency, but I had assumed that the people behind it had done the straight-forward thing of putting forth demands and offering an end to the violence if those demands were met.

Apparently not. Apparently experts have only been able to guess at what is causing the increase in fighting, and the guess is based on the fact that Buddhists and "Buddhist-collaborators" are the ones being bombed. This can make it extremely difficult to engage in any kind of negotiation.

At the same time, apparently the Thai military is not a legitimate partner for dialogue. They are, at the very least, not engaging in "population centric warfare". Extrajudicial killings, torture and "disappearances" have all been reported, and now the Muslim population refuses to come to the authorities with problems, even as a mosque was blown up.

This won't affect Thailand's reputation as a tourist hotspot. This insurgency is still confined to a small part of the long southern tail of the country. But it's still troubling.

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