A candid talk with the juwae
The Isra news agency recently had an exclusive interview with a group of juwae, a Malay equivalent of a warrior , on the condition that their identities were not disclosed.
The followings are excerpts of the candid interview.
The juwae said the reason that the warriors like them and the other southern separatists decided to take up arms against the government was twofold: firstly, their motherland which was called Patani was seized by the Siamese state decades ago and, secondly, the southern Malay Muslims have been treated with injustice.
They explained that the armed struggle against the Thai state did not start in 2004 as widely misunderstood. It started many years before dating back to 1948 when the Dusong-ngor battle raged between Thai forces and the Malay Muslim locals followed by the forced disappearance of Muslim spiritual leader Haji Sulong, father of former Pattani MP Den Tohmena.
According to these juwae, Haji Sulong did not resort to violence in his struggle against the government then. He made a seven-point demand to the government and soon afterward he vanished without traces and was thought to be kidnapped and killed.
Then there was the case of six villagers being killed by government officials at Kortor bridge which spans across the Sai Buri river in Pattani in 1975. Fortunately, one 14-year old who survived the attack broke the news to the other villagers resulting to a mass protest against the government.
Besides physical injustice, the Malay Muslims in the deep south have also been subjected to social injustice and injustice pertaining to rights and liberty, the juwae explained.
Until not long ago, a Muslim was never appointed the governor of one of the three southernmost provinces, a district officer, an assistant district officer or a headmaster.
Regarding education, the Patani Malays were forced to undergo mandatory education which aimed to assimilate the Malays into the Thai society, to adopt Thai culture and Thai way of life.
"This was the reason why many Muslim parents sent their children to private Islamic schools," said the juwae who blamed the government for its failure to improve the quality of these Islamic schools, hence Muslims who graduated from these schools were unqualified to get jobs in government bureaucracy.
The separatists have no policy to harm teachers and Buddhist monks but they were harmed because they were dragged into the battlefield by the government or they were armed by the government, said the juwae.
"All separatist groups be it the PULO, BRN or other groups do not target ordinary people, especially monks and teachers because it is against Islamic principle," he explained.
But in some instances, teachers were harmed because they were travelling together with security forces. If troops are not stationed in a temple or a school, the teachers or monks will be safe.
They claimed that some teachers doubled as government informers so they were killed or wounded by the separatists.
The juwae cited as an example about a teacher who also served as a government informer. "There was a teacher who drew a picture of some guns and asked students in his classroom what they were and then asked whether their parents had any of them at home. A few days later, the house of the student who said his father had one of those guns was raided by security forces."
He claimed that in several cases, these teachers were warned in advance to stop working as government informers in writing or in other forms such as hanging a bag containing two eggs and rice in front of their houses as the two things were used in funeral.
Note : This article was translated from เปิดใจ "จูแว" พลัดถิ่น (1)..."ครู-พระ"ถูกทำร้ายเพราะอยู่ใกล้ทหาร