To solve or make problems?

From the Thai-language press - Thairath editorial: To solve or make problems? - November 12, 2005

It is accepted that Mr. Kosin Ketthong, Assistant Interior Minister, proposed to migrate people from the Northeast to the three southern border provinces to solve the land problem and unrest. But what is unusual is that even the Air Chief Marshal agreed with this idea.

That proposal was the way to solve the Communist problem in the era of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, a dictatorial idea. This idea might be followed by government officials up to now. We do not know how many Esarn people migrated to the south and whether it was a success in merging the different cultures.

The Thai government policy of merging races and ethnicity in the past was a success in North and Northeast because these two regions have the same root of ethnicity, language, religion and culture that is the same as the central people. And it was success to merge the Chinese race in the central and other regions as Chinese are migratory and a minority in Thailand.

But it is difficult or impossible to merge people in the deep south because of differences in ethnicity, language, culture and due to the fact that Muslim people are the majority in the deep south. Buddhists are a minority with a ratio 80:20 so migrating people with different religions and language in the south will make problems instead of solving them.

All Thais have freedom as the constitution states to choose where to live in the kingdom and they should not be forced by government policy. In the past, the migration of some Esarn people might have been no problem, but for the event of the unrest nowadays, the unrest group tries to separate from the nation in every way.

If this is government policy, it will become a boon for the bad intention group who will incite local people to resist and accuse the government of trying to grab land and resources of local people and imperil the life and culture of Muslim people by bringing in different religions. This may lead to extending the conflict and reinforcing the support group for the terrorists.

This idea is a way of dictating problem solving and comes from the opposite direction of the proposals of the National Conciliation Commission that emphasizes peace and reconciliation and promoting respect for a variety of religion, culture and giving communities the right to arrange resources by religious belief and not by merging.

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