On-line bestseller. Now in its 2nd Edition.

Latest facts, new images, maps and analysis.

Peace talks between the Thai government and Patani nationalists led by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional Melayu Patani (BRN) drags on with no breakthrough in sight. The fundamental disconnect impacting the peace process is the Dichotomy of Context between the two sides. The Thai government views the dialogue process as a way to rein in and disarm wayward “Thai Muslim Separatists” and to persuade the Patani Malay populace to accept Thai rule albeit with some administrative and cultural concessions. On the other hand, Patani nationalists regard the process as a step towards self-determination in their own land with the ultimate objective of regaining independence and the re-establishment of a Malay Muslim nation state.

After the initial rounds of dialogue coordinated and hosted by Malaysia, the Patani nationalists have hardened their stance, with a series of demands set as preconditions for further talks. These include Thailand’s recognition of the distinct identity, race and language of the Patani Malays; withdrawal of Thai troops from the restive region; peacekeeping duties to be conducted by local security forces; and amnesty for insurgents.

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?

Get the book to find out.


Patani: Behind The Accidental Border
2nd Edition. The Search for Elusive Peace


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.

Read it online now in full colour PDF e-Book format

Price: USD 34.95

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

To pre-order and/or discuss other payment options in your currency, send e-mail to patanibook@gmail.com

Date and Time in Patani Darussalam



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Sunday, June 7, 2009

FAQ on the Patani Issue: Part 2


Why are the Patani people resisting Thai rule?

- The Thais invaded Patani in 1786 and initiated colonisation measures that culminated in annexation in 1902 and full political incorporation in the aftermath of the 1909 Anglo-Siamese Treaty.

- The Thai concept of nationhood is via complete assimilation in identity, culture, language, lifestyle and mindset into a single “Thai” identity as created by the Phibun Songkhram regime of the 1930s-40s and perpetuated by present-day Thai policies.

- Hence, the “Patani people” do not exist in the socio-political essence of official Thai nationhood. The Patani populace are forced to forego their identity, language, ethnicity, culture and history and are expected by the occupying Thai state to be “Thais” modelled on the ethnic-T’ais of the Central Chao Phraya basin.

- Just like any other repressed ethno-cultural group in this world, the Patani people are resisting this attempt to subsume their identity and heritage.

- The Patani Region is the last unliberated colonised territory in Southeast Asia. The populace is resisting Thai rule in their struggle to free their captive land from colonisation and from ethnic, cultural and linguistic annihilation.

Why do the people of the region want to secede from Thailand?

- The Patani Region has nothing in common with the Thai colonising state.

- The populace are Malay Muslims, undifferentiated in language, culture, religion and mindset from their Malay Muslim brothers in Malaysia.

- Thailand, as a unitary state based on T’ai identity and Theravada Buddhism, is an alien socio-political paradigm that has no logical rationale to “own” and occupy the Patani Region beyond some sort of war booty, a vestige of the era of colonisation in Southeast Asian history.

Has the Patani people launched a Jihad against the Thai state?

- This is not an Islamic Jihad.

- This is not a religious conflict.

- This is about a captive people (the Patani Malays) with their own ethnic identity, language and culture resisting their comprehensive domination by another ethno-cultural group (the T’ais).

- The Patani Malays are Muslims, but Islam is not the catalysts of this conflict in the same vein that the Buddhist faith of the T’ai colonisers does not define their agenda or mindset.

Why can’t the Patani people live in peace with the rest of their fellow Thais?

- How could a people live in peace when its language, its culture, its very identity are erased by the colonising state?

- How could a people live in peace when every single place name in its homeland is erased and replaced with alien renditions in the Thai script?

- How could a people live in peace when they are tagged as a wayward offshoot of the alien colonising race, being called “Thai Muslims” on their own land? Would Americans agree to being called “Southern Canadians”? Would the British be happy with the tag “Western Germans”? Would the Japanese be amenable to being called “Archipelagic Chinese”? Would the Thais themselves accept their race as either “Eastern Burmese” or “Western Khmer”? Why must the Patani Malays be the exception, be the only ones to foresake their identity to a colonising force?

Isn’t this struggle too late, a misfit in the modern world?

Nationalist struggles are fought over hundreds of years over many generations.

- A century is not “too late”.

- Spain was colonised and settled by Arabs (the "Moors") for over 700 years from the 8th to the early 15th centuries. But the Spanish regained their land literally inch by painful inch in hundreds of battles and ancient guerilla warfare and resistance not unlike today’s Patani Insurgency.

- Vietnam was ruled by Imperial China on four occasions – 207BC-39AD, 43-544AD, 602-905AD and 1407-27AD – for a total of 1,070 years. Inspite of relentless Chinese assimilation policies, the Vietnamese did not become “Chinese” after a millennium of colonization.

- China itself was ruled by the Mongols for a century in the 13th-14th centuries, and by the Manchus for 300 years until the early 20th century. The Chinese did not become “Mongols” or “Manchus” and ultimately expelled these colonisers.

- India was ruled by the British Empire for almost two centuries until independence in 1947.

- Indonesia was under crippling Dutch rule for 350 years but reemerged after the Second World War to expel the Dutch from Aceh all the way to Papua.

- Hong Kong reverted to China after 156 years as a British Crown Colony. Macau was a Portuguese colony for four hundred years before also reverting to Chinese sovereignty.

- Hence, Patani’s century of direct Thai rule does not in any way negate the legitimate right of the Patani people for self-determination.

- Indeed, the Patani Malays will never be Thais. Many are tortured; others "disappeared"; placed in concentration camps; had their names changed; had the names of their towns and cities altered; had their ethnicity and language erased, but they will never be made into “Thais.”

- There are better odds of the Thais becoming a "Burmese" than the Patani Malays becoming Thais.

Why must Muslims kill innocent Thais of all faiths, no matter how legitimate and noble your intentions may be?

- The killings started more than three centuries ago when successive Siamese polities (Ayutthaya, Thonburi, Krung Thep, Siam, and modern Thailand) invaded the Patani Kingdom and subjected the Malay populace to great hardships amidst atrocities and represssion.

- The Patani Malays were at the receiving end of the violence for over three centuries.

- Organised resistance to Thai colonisation began in the past 50 years as this is the only avenue for the Malays to stave off Thai aggression on their homeland.

- Most of the killings in the Patani Region today are perpetrated by the Thai authorities and their hired hands, hence the predominance of Malay victims in the conflict.

Why have the Patani people not peacefully stated their grievances to the Thai government?

- All attempts at peaceful resolution by the Patani populace were met with violent, punitive measures by the Thai state.

- Thousands of Patani Malays have died in their peaceful approach to self-determination. These include Haji Sulong Abdul Kadir and hundreds of other community leaders in the captive region.

- Successive Thai regimes throughout this colonization period, including the present government, have maintained a non-negotiation, zero tolerance, zero compromise stance with various Patani nationalist groups and civil society movements.

- Indeed, Patani Malays suspected of association with these movements would be dealt with severely by the Thai regime via various instruments of state and the security apparatus, including 40,000 troops and 30,000 police personnel and a myriad of other phalanges of the occupation forces.

Why didn’t the Patani Region separate peacefully?

- How could the Region “separate peacefully” when the Patani people are not allowed to even discuss their grievances or present various political options?

- The term “separation” itself is a trigger point for Thai overreaction and punitive measures against any Patani advocate of such a concept.

What do the Patani People actually want?

- Freedom

- Self-determination

- The freedom to practise their own culture, speak their own language, take pride in their identity, understand their heritage and history, and to chart their own destiny.

How to achieve peaceful resolution?

- Referendum on the preference of the Patani people.

- Either continue being a part of Thailand.

- Or independence under specific mechanisms promulgated and enforced by the United Nations and ASEAN under the auspices of the Nations of Interest, namely Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

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