Thung Yang Daeng tragedy may affect the peace process

Abu Hafez Al-Hakim's picture

**This is the English version of the Malay article posted on 1 April 2015 : Tragedi Thung Yang Daeng  boleh jejaskan proses damai -  .


Last week, once again a bloody tragedy rocked Patani. The tremor that spreads throughout the entire corners of the world is a constant reminder that inhumane acts by the so called "The people's defender of peace", i.e. the Thai security apparatus, are  still rampant.

No detailed account  is required for the brutal attack by the Thai security forces on innocent civilians towards the evening of 25 March 2015 at Tok Chud village, Thung Yang Daeng district of Pattani, resulting in the deaths of four youths, two of them  university students , by what is always known as state-sponsored terrorism.

Neither do we need to condemn this barbaric act since many other parties, big and small, had already done so. As usual, to denounce the atrocities by the state  was fruitless . The proprietors  always went  unpunished and the ordeal always ended with some payment of money to the affected  families before the case was closed. That's the way it has been and will always be, especially in the current situation where the military holds absolute power.

What we are concerned now is the affect the tragedy will have on the peace process that is about to resume in the near future. Is the junta truly sincere about the peace process when at the same time in what is known as the "Thung Yang Daeng Model", loads of weapons are being distributed to certain parties on the pretext of maintaining security ? Are they seriously seeking for peace when in reality extrajudicial killings on unarmed activists who had chosen the non-violent political path is continuing ? 

Several months after the coup the junta has sent some positive signals that they are serious and committed to the resumption of the peace process. The steering committee supervising the process is headed by Prime Minister Prayut himself. General Aksara is also appointed as the Chief Thai negotiator. They also agree to let Malaysia play the role of the facilitator and hope to see the Patani freedom fighters present at the table as a combined team with unified demands.

The fact that the Patani freedom fighters are uniting as a single voice and team is not a response to the Thai's request, but in order to strengthen their own opinion and action in the negotiation in spite of their multiple groups.

What is obvious now the positives signals from the junta regarding the peace process seem disputable  and almost expose their true intention in dealing with the conflict in the Deep South. Their sincerity is doubtful. Their actions do not reflect their true desire for peace.

In that last few years the fire  of resistance against occupation has been kept  forever flaming. It was partly due to the high fighting  spirit of the Patani people and the steadfastness within their souls. The other part was due to the burning flame being periodically "fueled" from  the acts of violence by the Thai securities themselves. This burning flame  will persist and continue unabated.

Of late there has been serious discussion within the inner circle of Patani freedom fighters whether or not they should participate in the peace dialog with the military in a situation where the junta  extends  a hand for peace while the other hand points  the gun at unarmed and innocent people?

The Patani freedom fighters should not be blamed if they choose not to get along with the peace process. The military should bear the responsibility of not only being insincere but their true intention is reflected in their treacherous acts .


Abu Hafez Al-Hakim - from outside the fence of Patani

12 Jamadil Aakhir 1436/ 2 April 2015.