The Barisan Revolusi National (BRN) will continue the carnage in the ThaiSouth until their demands are met by the “Siam” (Thailand) government. BRN, has lost much of its influence in the three Thai provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala to the new generation of warring groups and the folks living in the rubber plantations, fishing villages, farms and towns.
Chief negotiator of BRN, Hassan Taib, a self-professed ustaz (a Muslim scholar trained in Islam and Islamic law), as some of my ThaiSouth friends had anticipated, appears to be stepping on the heads of those who want peace. Politicians, claiming the mantle of self-righteousness, obviously feel a need to subjugate others with their own ideals, regardless of those who perished or maimed at the hands of blood-thirsty Pattani-Melayu patriots.
A senior member of the BRN delegation, Abdul Karim Khalib, made his demand on behalf of the Melayu ultra nationalist organization:
1. The “penjajah” (colonist) Siam must accept Malaysia as a mediator rather than a facilitating role.
Seems like BRN is only interested to drag Malaysians into the politics of the Pattani old guard. Isolated, the BRN leaders feel a need to spike the cocktail of negotiation, perhaps they were never interested in peace.
2. BRN wants the peace process to be attended only by the Pattani-Melayu community, and of course naturally led by BRN leadership, with the Thai government.
This alone seems arrogant, as there are many factions of ethnicity in the south, and many do not bow to the wishes and whims of BRN’s elitism.
3. Abdul Karim wants observers from ASEAN, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and civil society.
I’m all for transparency and accountability but how has ASEAN and OIC helped the community in the three provinces? Will these observers, known for their fierce policy of non-interference, be effective in such a position? On this note, I am favorable to the idea of community leaders and NGOs being a party to the peace process and negotiations as BRN does not represent the voices of the masses.
4. BRN prerequisite for a continuation of the process: that the government release the detained, criminals and prisoners, along with revoking all arrest warrants.
A truly mind-bogging demand, as rather than seek for an inquiry to those detained unlawfully and military human rights violation, BRN indiscriminately wants everyone to walk free.
5. BRN wants the Siam “colonists” to acknowledge BRN as legitimate movement for the Pattani race and not as a separatist movement.
How redundant is that?! I don’t understand why if BRN is a group fighting for their independence, wants recognition by their foes.
Despite the propaganda of ownership and heritage of the land, BRN makes no mention of the indigenous tribes, the Mani, that have been there way before so-called ‘civilized people’ claimed the territory. The Mani people are a hunting and gathering community, who have lived in peace way before the onslaught of the Khmer Empire, before the creation of a Thai Buddhist Kingdom and definitely way before Islam and the Melayu set themselves on the shores and hills of the deep south.
Will BRN acknowledge the Mani community’s legitimate right to ThaiSouth? Or will BRN and the other band of militants continue living a lie of racial-based nationalism, mucked by hypocrisy of the highest order?
***An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury