Additional conditions announced in early September 2013 include explicit Thai recognition of the BRN as liberators and not separatists; Malaysia's role to be upgraded from facilitator to mediator; presence of observers from ASEAN, the OIC and relevant NGOs during the dialogue process; a special administrative platform be set up under the Thai constitution; and the unconditional release of all detained suspects or imprisoned insurgents. BRN also sought guarantees for the Patani Malays’ freedom to practice Islam, seek education, conduct business, as well as to remain free from harassment.
Would the Thai state accede to these demands? Would even a partial concession be possible? Is there sufficient political will in Bangkok? What about the influential Thai military? Would Thailand gain from a softer negotiating posture? Could it afford further violence and bloodshed in its soft underbelly? Would these concessions bring peace and a semblance of normalcy to the Patani Region? Could the civilian government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra push the dialogue process to the next level? Who actually decides for Thailand? What more must be done? What is the end game?
The insurgency in Thailand’s southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla, collectively defined as the Patani Region, is the most misunderstood conflict in the world today. In relative terms, the toll on human lives over the past half decade is surpassed only by the Iraqi and Afghan conflicts. But unlike those well-reported hotspots, very little is known about the Patani insurgency – its root causes; the identity and objectives of the main players; the historical context; the role and legitimacy of the Thai state; the sentiment of the populace – and this multifaceted ignorance sustains the ongoing socio-political tragedy. The insurgency has been vividly painted by many as a religious conflict perpetrated by misguided “Thai Muslims,” effectively calibrating all discourses towards a Pan-Islamist terrorism agenda.
This is further embellished by tales of economic backwardness due to lack of educational and vocational opportunities. The combination of religious zealotry and abject poverty are supposed to be the main catalysts of the insurgency and this narrative has largely shaped world perception, with policy initiatives geared towards economic development, scholastic reforms and inculcation of “moderate” Islamic teachings among the Patani people. These programmes come and go but the insurgency rages on with heightened intensity and brutality in a region also known cryptically as the Thai Deep South. Why is this the case? Who are the real stakeholders? What would be the end game? And could we resolve this conflict without a firm understanding of its root causes?
Together we shall seek the answers. This book will provide a definitive analysis of the insurgency in a region that was a prominent Malay Sultanate for a half-millennium but now tethered precariously to the southern underbelly of the Thai nation. Necessary attention will be given to its historical dimension and current regional geopolitical context and realities. This may dilute the conventional narrative meticulously crafted by others, and the revelations may be unpalatable to some. But without the historical truth and a firm grasp of the real issues, a just, meaningful and permanent solution could never be conceived. The detailed processes and methodologies of the Pattani Peace Initiative presented in this book would hopefully form the building blocks for sustainable peace, justice and reconciliation for the Patani Region.
Hardcover coffee table edition (250 pages, with 100 full colour maps and pictures) available by special request.
RM 189.00 Malaysia
THB 1,900 Thailand
SGD 89.00 Singapore
USD 69.00 Worldwide
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