THAILAND: COULD THE ROHINGYA FIND SANCTUARY FROM PERSECUTION FROM THE BURMESE? – With the plight of the Rohingya people finally getting more media coverage, concerning the atrocities and human rights abuse from Burma (Myanmar), Bangladesh and Thailand, these countries are now facing more international pressure to act and provide a safe and humane place for these people.
Thailand is not alone in the atrocities that have been committed against the Royhingya, however, their blatant inhumane policies of pushing boats back out to sea, with no food water or medical supplies was compounded by the atrocities that the Thai Navy was disabling their engines, effectively providing the refugees with an almost certain death sentence.
It was not until 2009 that this covert government policy was brought to light and under international pressure the Thai Government put a stop to this practice.
Are the Thais are simply unable to grasp the simple concept of human kindness? The only thing that truly appears matters to a Thai is money and providing it continues to flow from exports and the all important tourist industry then all is well in their eyes.
How quickly the Thais forgot the world’s generosity in 2004 when the Tsunami hit, killing over 5,000 people on that faithful day. It was mere hours after the breaking news erupted that ordinary people and governments around the world were offering financial and other forms of aid and assistance in order to help the Thais – yet a mere 5 years later they are caught red handed in their inhumane acts against the Rohingya.
For decades the Thai Government has been waging a fruitless war against the Thai Muslims in the south, who consider themselves to be Malay Muslims and not part of the Thai nation. Is it any wonder the south views Thais as a despicable race with whom they want nothing to do with, considering the atrocities the Thais have carried out on the Muslim Rohingya?
With the amount of international press attention and the fact that the U.S has threatened to impose sanctions, on Thailand, for its inhumane treatment of the Rohingya, there is little surprise that the Thai Government are now appearing to provide more assistance for these people. Again, with the threat of losing money a Thai will always take action to prevent it.
In a statement the UN announced that the Thai Government is finally going to allow UN relief workers access to Rohingya refugees in order to provide these people with greater assistance.
Considering the problems Thailand has in the South and its failed efforts to bring unity to the region, the Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Sinawatra, a much viewed Puppet for the Puppet Master and her brother Taskin Sinawatra, only made things worse this week by announcing that the Rohingya, as they are Muslims, may join the southern insurgency rather than seek asylum in a third country.
It is this type of ignorance that has fueled the insurgency in the south and no doubt her remarks will produce the divide to widen further.
“The PM’s statement, apparently unsubstantiated, is a reckless one, based mainly on the hackneyed assumption that any disenfranchised Muslim is automatically a terrorist threat.” asiancorrespndent.com
With all the problems that Thailand has, which are mainly caused by their own stupidity, the overwhelming nationalist belief that they are superior to any other race, compound this with rampant corruption and violent crime, it is almost a certainty that Thailand will never develop into a country of international interest, other than for the associated atrocities, murder, corruption and greed; and certainly produce a widening divide from the south in order to distance itself from such a persona.
Sadly Thailand is not alone in the atrocities leveled upon the Rohingya; however I do believe that if the Thais had an ounce of common sense, or decency for that matter, they could turn this situation to their benefit and finally dispel, what many believe, as Thailand being one of the most inhumane countries in the world.
If the Thai government were to take a different approach to the Rohingya and provide them with humane sanctuary within its borders, that is to give them citizenship, so that they can work and move freely, this could be an extremely good step towards mending the rift with the south. The south are Muslims as are the Rohingya and this act of compassion and kindness could well be a turning point in bringing peace in the south. If the Southern Muslim Thais could see that the Buddhist Thais are compassionate and caring towards their Muslim brothers then maybe the violence could come to an end and allow both Muslim and Buddhist Thais to live in harmony.
Another benefit would be that Thailand would produce a far greater persona with the international community and allow Thailand to better move forwards in its development of the country to economic prosperity for all.
Is this possible? According to Stand.org, there are approximately 1.4 million Rohingya. Considering the size of Thailand, and its current population of just under 66 million people, it is more than capable to swallowing the entire number of stateless Rohingya. This of course is a monumental task, not merely in just accepting these people but also integrating them and providing some form of housing and yet if Thailand was to undertake such a task, with the promise of humane treatment, under the watch of the U.N, then surely other governments around the globe would come to the aid of Thailand and provide much needed funding to help make this a possibility.
Thailand has always wanted to be seen as the “Land of Smiles”, which is referred to on all Thai Tourism brochures. Unfortunately many people have twisted this into the “Land of Scams” due to the high levels of corruption upon visiting tourists.
The Thai government, in 2012, announced a plan to increase tourism so that it generates over US$2 trillion per annum by 2015, a target that many, both within Thailand and outside find incomprehensible considering that tourism is in fact diminishing, although the figures produced by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) produce figures that show a massive increase year on year, without being able to provide any substantive data.
The truth is that tourists do not want to visit countries that have high levels of crime and corruption; and as Thailand now sits 3rd place in the world, well above that of the U.S, for gun related violence, then there can be little wonder why tourism is dying in Thailand.
Like most things in this world, this situation could change and maybe if Thailand was to initiate such a plan it could, instead of causing problems, be in fact the one thing that turns the fortunes of Thailand around.
What is the likelihood of this happening? Unfortunately very little. Thailand and the Thai people have been subjected to centuries of brainwashing to their nationalistic greatness where they view any non-Thai as simply an inferior human being or at worst not human at all.
Thailand was due to join the Asian Economic Community in 2015, however the Thai government has pushed this back with another year simply because it is aware that keeping its own people ignorant for centuries is going to be almost impossible to explain how a citizen, from another Asian country, can simply walk in a take up a job that should be reserved for a Thai.
Thais understand little of the world outside Thailand and this is attributed to the Government’s long standing policy of control. In a country where 99% of the wealth is controlled by less than 1% of the population, this economic divide is not possible when you have an educated population and therefore for the wealthy to hold onto power it systematically restricts education to the masses – the ignorant and ill informed are always easy to control.
The conclusion here is that the plight of the Rohingya is a heart rendering one, and one that currently sees no end, however it is so desperately sad to see a situation that could be resolved with an effort if it wasn’t for the lack of education and the ability to see beyond the colour of a person’s skin and their religious beliefs.