September, 2010

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Last Buddhist couple slain

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

It’s a sad story. An elderly couple living in Narathiwat was slain by a group of assailants this week. They were shot dead at point blank range last saturday night by a group of about 10 militants with M-16 machine guns. Their houses were burned. Their daughter and her husband in a nearby house were similarly executed.

So why is the death of 83 year old Chun Kongpetch and his 76 year old wife so significant? Because these were the last Buddhist inhabitants in the village of Ban Hu Tae Lor. All the non-Muslim residents in this area have been killed, and no new Buddhists have moved into the area for fear of meeting the same fate. What used to be a normal place to live has become a place of intolerance and brutality.

Aren’t most of the notoriously peaceful Thais sickened by the horror that continues to take place in the South? Yes. Monks being decapitated, teachers being systematically shot and killed, schools burned down – these ongoing events have, over the past five years, scared away most of the Buddhists living in the far South.




It’s ironic that arguably the most peace-loving people on earth are being targeted by this vicious insurgency, borne of frustration and intolerance, funded by expatriots South of the border. Ironic but deeply sad to watch. It takes a very small number of violent extremists to create terror.