Do not use unjust means in search of justice
This commentary is an expanded version of the article of the same headline written by this writer which was published in Krungthep Dhurakij newspaper on Tuesday February 19.
I have read the interviews of the wives and mothers of some of the insurgents killed in the attack of a Marines’ outpost in Bacho district of Narathiwat on February 13 which appeared in The Nation newspaper and on an online website.
I have to admit that I feel sorry for the loss of lives especially for the fact that some of the insurgents decided to take up arms against the state because they felt very strongly against the Tak Bai incident on October 25, 2004 in which 85 Muslim protesters died, including 78 who died of suffocation.
Although the reason (for the rebellion) cited sounds valid, it is astonishing why no one in the families of the dead insurgents has ever told their sons or husbands to stop using violence in search of justice despite the fact that all the violent incidents perpetrated by the insurgents have caused deaths and property damages to the innocent people who were not involved in rendering the injustice.
Even most of the soldiers who have come under gunfires or bomb attacks almost on daily basis in the restive region were not involved in the unjust act which happened (Tak Bai incident).
I fully agree that the Tak Bai case or other controversial cases such as Krue Se should be revived in order that the wrongdoing authorities must be held accountable to set a precedent and to dispel Thailand’s negative image from criticism that the wrongdoers in those cases have escaped scot free.
In the meantime, the victims of those traumatic incidents cannot claim the incidents to justify the use of violence to shoot teachers or to bomb innocent people “because if you resort to unjust means to demand justice, you will be met with unjust means in retaliation and it will go on and on with no end.
There are different ways to fight for justice and the fight can be done in a peaceful manner like the fight for justice undertaken by the family of Auntie Yaena Salaemae who lost a loved one in the Tak Bai incident. Auntie Yaena led a women’s group in a peaceful fight for justice for eight years until last year the government decided to award 7.5 million baht for each family of the dead victims. The injured and the disabled are also taken care of on long-term basis.
Although the public prosecutors have decided not to proceed with charging those responsible for deaths and injufires from the Tak Bai incident, families of the victims or the victims themselves have the right to take the cases to the court themselves so long as the statue of limitations of the cases has not expired.
The court proceedings are time consuming and an uphill task because you have to fight against the state. But someone has tried before – that is Mrs Angkana Nilapaichit, the widow of former Muslim lawyer Somchai who has been missing for almost nine years. The fight for justice by a small woman like Mrs Angkana has created public awareness about the problem of “forced disappearance” and prompted international human rights organizations to intervene and to put pressure on the Thai government.
Although the culprit or culprits are still elusive, policy changes pertaining to “forced disappearance” have taken place3 and mechanism set in place to prevent such incident from being repeated.
Can Auntie Yaena and Mrs Angkana be described as "fighters" or "warriors", the answer is "yes" because they fought without resorting to violence and without killing other people to vent their anger. Moreover, their fight has caused changes in the society.
Although my demand may sound a bit romantic, I wish to ask the insurgents to think and to fight through peaceful means because even if you may succeed in winning self-rule, all these bad things will not just disappear because the problem is rooted in a complicated structure regardless of races or territories. The best solution is for the society to learn the lesson together so that the bad things will not be repeated.
As for the government, it is about time to bring out those hidden under the rug and to deal with them in a transparent manner and without double-standard practice. The state must also admit that most of the arrest warrants for core members of the RKK movement are not justified and lack hard evidences as proven in the fact that 78 percent of the security-related cases were thrown out of the court.
The government should rethink about all these arrest warrants. This seems to be the main reason for many insurgents to refuse to defect because they believe that they will end up in prison because of the so many charges against them. So, it is better for them to die outside the prison as "heroes".
The government should start taking steps to put an end to all the perceived injustices to prevent more young men to join the ranks of the insurgents.
Caption : Tak Bai incident on October 25, 2004
Note : This article was translated from the editorial of Isra News Center "อย่าใช้วิธีอธรรม เรียกหาความยุติธรรม" http://bit.ly/WboodZ