Monday, December 06, 2004

Origami carpet bombing 

A postcard from the clash of civilizations in South-East Asia:
"Thai air force jets and helicopters dropped around 100m origami paper cranes over restive Muslim-majority southern Thailand on Sunday, in what may rank as one of the world's most bizarre efforts to quell an ethnic conflict.

"Thailand's 63m people, most of whom are Buddhist, have been frenetically folding paper cranes for weeks after Thaksin Shinawatra, prime minister, urged them to make so-called 'birds of peace' as a gesture of support for people in Thailand's three southernmost provinces, which have been under martial law since January."
Thai media is in a self-congratulatory mode:
"Over 98 million paper birds took to the skies over southern Thailand today, taking 111 flights and 18.9 flight hours to reach the hands of eager recipients across the troubled southern border region."
Eager recipients? I'm sure that's exactly what the southern provinces' Muslim population wanted. Autonomy is overrated, paper cranes are better. Not all went smoothly though:
"Stormy weather meant that the 51 aircraft belonging to the Navy, Air Force, Army, Ministry of Agriculture and Aviation Association had to abandon plans to blaze a smoke trail in the sky depicting the colours of the Thai flag, and 36 million birds remained undelivered."
Maybe the rest of the "birds of peace" should be dropped on Kashmir, the Gaza Strip or the Sunni Triangle.

Meanwhile, speaking of "birds of peace", here's President Bush flipping his bird (of peace) at jihadis world-wide.

On a serious note, and Chrenkoff always believes in combining business and pleasure, read this excellent summary of Thailand's ethnic problems and growing Islamic insurgency along the border with Malaysia. Since that piece was published, of course, southern Thailand has seen much more violence, and there is little doubt now that insurgents are getting increasingly radicalized.


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