Giles Ji Ungpakorn 2013,http://redthaisocialist.comThe Bloody Civil-War in Patani1
The Bloody Civil-War in Patani and the Way to Achieve Peace
Giles Ji Ungpakorn
This paper is an attempt to analyse the political situation surrounding the bloody civil war in
from the perspective of those who seek freedom, justice andself-determination. Unlike most academic papers or books on the subject, this paper is notaimed at top politicians, military generals or officials of foreign powers, all of whom seek tomaintain
their own class interests by stressing “stability” or measures to “contain” the
situation without any regard to the wishes of ordinary people.According to the internal security organisation of the Thai state, since 1
January 2004,5,105 people have been killed and 9,372 injured in the civil war in the South
. More thanhalf of those killed were local ethnic Malays, which indicates that Thai security forces, in andout of uniform, are doing most of the killing.In this paper, I refer to
“Patani” or “
as an historical unitcovering the 3 most southern provinces which the Thai state created out of the destructionof the Patani sultanate. These are the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Naratiwart. Themajority of the population in these provinces are Malay Muslims with their own languageand culture.
The Thai state as an obstacle to peace and self-determination
The violent conflict in Patani is caused by the process of Thai nation building and thesubsequent colonisation of ethnically diverse communities into a centralised state, ruleddirectly from Bangkok, in the late 19
century. Thai nation building can be understood as anattempt by the rulers of Bangkok to create a modern centralised capitalist state, mirroringthe colonial capitalist states which were being created by the British, Dutch and French inBurma, Malaya, Indonesia and Indo-China
. Most of these nation building projects have ledto conflicts between the periphery and the centre, since the new centralised political orderdestroyed previous forms of pre-capitalist regional autonomy
. The conflict in Patani is noexception.Conflicts which are rooted in history need to be re-fuelled by continuing grievances andthese grievances are the factors which explain why the people of Patani have little faith inthe Thai state today. In comparison, these factors are missing in the North or North-EastThailand, which though colonised by Bangkok in the same period of capitalist nationbuilding, are not involved in a similar civil war. More will be said on these local grievances inPatani, but for the moment it is necessary to point out that unlike the North and North-East,the old Patani rulers and the entire Malay Muslim population of the area have beensystematically excluded from mainstream Thai society, in terms of politics, culture andeconomic development. This explains the antagonism towards the Thai ruling class in Patani.
This paper written after discussions at " To understand the conflict; Patani-Thailand South" seminar in Lund, 31 August2013, organised by the Peace Innovation Forum, Focus Southeast Asia. A version in Thai has also been written.
Kom Chat Luk
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