Tak Bai Tragedy: No Justice in Sight

In conjunction with the 11th anniversary of the brutal Tak Bai crackdown, I had sought some answers from an acquaintance who is from the south. He's attached with Free Media, a small independent group of concerned students and young activists actively conducting community media projects in south Thailand. [Ref: https://www.facebook.com/media.FreeVoice]

To one of my question about the sentiments of the southern population on justice, he simply uttered four words.

"No justice, no peace."

Memories, frustration, sadness and anger are intertwined when one mentions the Tak Bai tragedy. which led to the violent deaths of 85 people in conflict-torn Narathiwat province.
"On October 25, 2004, army and police units fired on ethnic Malay Muslim protesters in the Tak Bai district of Narathiwat province, killing seven. Another 78 protesters suffocated or were crushed to death while being transported to an army camp in Pattani province. The military detained more than 1,200 people for several days without appropriate medical attention, and a number of severely injured protesters lost their limbs. In August 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that security personnel were blameless because they had only been performing their duties."
- Excerpt from a report by Human Rights Watch in 2014 [Source: https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/25/thailand-no-justice-10-years-after-tak-bai-killings]

Marginalized Muslim and Buddhist communities continue to live in a state of emergency martial law, where heavy Thai military presence do little to reduce the causalities among civilians, security forces and insurgents. [Ref: http://akrockefeller.com/news/no-signs-of-peace-in-south-thailand/]

In the meantime, the Patani people continue to remember the terrible tragedy, as frustration and anger burns. The military rulers, similar to the impotency of past governments, show no signs of empathy nor are there any signs of a transparent process of justice, for those who lost their loved ones in Tak Bai.

Young people in Muslim-majority south Thailand advocating for justice

Majority died from suffocation while others were crushed when they were forced by the army to lie on each other in trucks. 

"I see dead people. Tak Bai."

Young activists and students will continue raising awareness of the tragedy.

Images courtesy of Activist Media: www.facebook.com/ActivistsMedia

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