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September 11, 2006

Terrorized Thai Teacbers Turn To Toting .22's

As Blogger Ale notes, the well-intentioned outreach efforts the Religion of Peace keep seeming to be misinterpreted. Even Buddhist schoolteachers are packing heat.

Teachers have one of the deadliest jobs in southern Thailand, with 44 killed by the bombs and bullets of an Islamic insurgency since 2004.

So the teachers are learning how to shoot back.

The Chulabhorn naval base, on the Gulf of Thailand in Narathiwat province, opened its heavily guarded gates on a recent Sunday to a training course for 100 public school teachers, mostly Buddhist men and women who say bringing a gun to school has become essential.

"You'd never see a teacher anywhere else in Thailand carrying a gun," said Sanguan Jintarat, head of the Teachers' Association that oversees the 15,000 teachers in the villages and towns of the restive south. "But, we need them, or we'll die."

That teachers -- not to mention Buddhist monks, bank tellers and motorcycle mechanics -- have become targets in the insurgency illustrates how badly law and order has degenerated in southern Thailand since the violence flared in January 2004.

At first insurgents targeted mainly civil servants, soldiers and police officers. Attacks then spread to businesses that serve soldiers: restaurants, outdoor markets, garages. And now come attacks that seem to have no rationale at all, such as the murder last month of an elephant trainer who was shot seven times by gunmen who had lined up with children to buy tickets for a show.

More than 1,700 people have been killed across Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat -- the only Muslim-majority provinces in this otherwise peaceful, tourist-friendly Buddhist country.

Among them was a teacher gunned down at his blackboard in July as his 4th graders watched in shock, and a Buddhist art teacher clubbed by a village mob in May until her skull shattered.

Teachers may be targets, officials say, because they are symbols of the central government's authority, or be taken hostage to be traded for captured insurgents, or because the militants want to do away with secular schools, sending the message that only Islamic schools -- which have been spared violence -- are safe.

But almost everything about this insurgency is a mystery. It isn't clear whether the militants want a separate Islamic state in what was a Malay sultanate where insurgent violence has waxed and waned over the past century. No goals are stated, no responsibility is claimed for attacks, and no allegiance to foreign Islamic groups is declared. Authorities insist the uprising is purely domestic, but have been unable to arrest any leaders. They have flooded the area with 20,000 troops, but some local officials compare the predicament to that of the U.S. military in Iraq.

Their motives are a mystery only to those who are determined to avoid the motive the murderers proudly declare themselves.

They do not hate you because of Iraq.

They do not hate you because of Kyoto.

They do not hate you because of "US foreign policy."

They do not hate you because of "American hegemony."

They do not hate you because of globalization -- at least as that term is typically understood.

They hate you because their lunatic understanding of their religion compels them to hate you, and to murder you, and to convert the world to Allah, and murder those unwilling to accept his Religon of Extortion.

They hate you because Allah, they believe, has dictated that the most fanatical, most piously murderous of Muslims shall be the kings of the earth and the masters of all creation, and your very existence -- free, prosperous, technologically advanced, happy -- is a blasphemy to them.

They cannot hope to overtake the West, or even the modernizing parts of Thailand, in fifty years, or even a hundred years, or even in five hundred years, through attempts to raise the Islamic world up.

Which means they are commanded to lay the Western world down low.

The West is despised because it offers an alternative to the thuggish, primative, barbarous, woman-enslaving, honor-killing culture-cum-twisted-religion in which they believe. And which therefore threatens the power of the lunatic theocrats to keep control over their populations.

You can't keep them down on the madrassa once they've seen the big city.

They don't hate you because of your freedom -- not exactly.

They hate you because you are a living demonstration that freedom works, and that their ways are backwards and barbarous.

And they will not stop hating you until you are either dead or enslaved along with them in their dark death-cult.

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posted by Ace at 03:25 PM

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