“Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2010”
Big and splendorous board has been put up on skywalk through Rachaprasong intersection in Bangkok. The “80%” written on red ‘shopping bag’ on the board makes it certainly temptable to ‘buyers’, despite temptations contradict the reality behind the scene.
On July 6, the cabinet in Thailand has approved the extension of emergency decree in 19 provinces, which include many in North East (or Isaan), the Red Shirts’ heartland. The extension came a day after the Brussels based International Crisis Group think tank has recommended the government to immediately lift the decree and hold a fresh election for a genuine reconciliation. But the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva blew off hopes for earlier elections weeks ago. It seems now ‘out of question’.
Meanwhile, the extension this time is not relevant to the troubled South such as Yala, Pattani and Narrathiwat, where the emergency decree has overshadowed routine life at all since July of 2005, when it replaced martial law under the Thaksin regime. The decree in the South has been ever since extended every three month by whosoever governments, that of course include Coup forces whice ousted the elected Prime Minister in 2006 and the incumbent Democrat-led coalition which has been persecuting the ousted Prime Minister wholeheartedly.
The whole developments of the decree reminds me of the time in 2008, when I interestingly noticed ‘two different state of emergencies’ in Bangkok and the South of Thailand.
In Bangkok, the deadly street battle between the Yellow Shirts and the Red Shirts in the early morning of September 2 2008 has led the then Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, the Red friendly Prime Minister who passed away last year, to declare state of emergency. But the Yellow protesters have mocked the decree by continuing their occupation of the government house and elsewhere. They eventually have ‘extended’ the occupation to the two main airports in late November, while the state of emergency was short-lived.
Virtually contrasted scene was observed in the South, where I had been in previous month, August of the year.
‘Apparently’ normal life didn’t looked disturbed, but fear and silent complaints are easily heard particularly in villages. During my stay in the South, I constatnly heard one word that sounded like ‘trakkut‘, which means ‘fear’ in Yawi, the local dialect of Malay language. People complaint about the army’s petrol in villages and intruding their houses, saying they hardly understood what army questioned them. Villagers in the South cannot understand thai lauguage well, which is not at all their mother tongue. There are victims of torture, families who lost their loved ones. There are places, where villager(s) found to be decapitated and the witness of the decapitated got shot dead days later he witnessed the decapitated in one particular case. I found 28 bullet marks at the scene, where the witness was targetted. No one has claimed responsibility of these all horrible acts and violences, including driving shooting, bomb blasts and decapitation, which is the most shuddering way of killing.
Having conversations with army personnels, including the spokesperson of Internal Security Operations Commands (or ISOC) as well as the detained suspect, I personally observed that the intelligence of security forces didn’t seem to be sophisticated enough to cope with ‘ghost’ guerrillas. In fact and crucially, there are different players causing violences, including various militia sponsored by the state as well as the security forces, let alone those ghost guerillas.
It seems few in Bangkok or other provinces bother the ‘state of emergency’ in the South, where almost daily violences haunt.
Some pictures which were taken back in 2008 are following.
– Penseur21 –