Vol. III No. 45 - Saturday November 6 - November 12. 2004
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LETTERS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

United for Peace says democracy in danger in the hands of Thaksin government

A young Lisu boy receives help for deformed foot

Looking to buy MC with MC

United for Peace says democracy in danger in the hands of Thaksin government

Editor;

On October 25, some 3,000 Thai people went to the police station of Tak Bai district in the southern province of Narathiwat. They were calling for the release of six village defense volunteers who were arrested with the suspicion that they were providing Islamic militants with government-issued weapons.

Government officials would like us to believe that it was a violent protest. What it was, in fact, was a violent dispersal of that protest, which led to six people dead of gunshot wounds, 85 people dead of suffocation, and 1,300 arrested.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in a statement he read to the members of the Parliament on Oct. 27 said that the military troops used a “soft” approach in dealing with the protesters. In reference to the deaths, Thaksin said, “It was an accident that we could not have done anything about.”

Do we accept this lame excuse for the deaths of 87 people, who were tied together, dumped in trucks, face down, on top of each other, and traveled for hours some 120 kilometers to Pattani military camp? Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand from the Central Institute of Forensic Science said that 80% died of suffocation, others from convulsion. “It wasn’t inhumane treatment,” the prime minister said. “It is clear that we did nothing wrong… I don’t think anyone has to take responsibility.”

This we cannot accept. The military has to take responsibility of these horrific deaths caused by their inhumane treatment of civilians. And the prime minister has to take responsibility of the culture of violence that he has perpetuated in his administration. The Thaksin government’s quick-fix solution to problems has led to appalling high number of deaths. His solution to the illegal drug problem – declare war on drugs and kill thousands of people. The unrest in the South – declares martial law, and sets aside people’s right to assemble and other democratic rights. If they protest, disperse them, shoot at them, and arrest them. If someone dares to challenge the government’s actions and policies, declare them as “NGOs who have nothing better to do.” When faced with criticisms from international community, and the United Nations, declare them as “not my father”, and say “they don’t feed us.”

Meanwhile, the death toll under this administration rises.

2,500 deaths from the war on drugs in 2003; 17 documented cases of activists and rights defenders killed or made to disappear as of August 2004; 117 death toll in the April 2004 Krue Se Mosque massacre in the South; 87 in the latest Narathiwat massacre.

These numbers do not even include the daily killings happening in the South. Or the killings happening which are not documented or reported because of fear.

The facts speak for themselves. And we should speak out.

For our immediate demands to the Thaksin government Immediately and unconditionally release the detained 1,300 protesters.

Accept responsibility of the Narathiwat massacre and bring to justice the perpetrators of the violence. Stop the use of violence and come up with a peaceful process to address the issues in the South.

Let the truth be heard. Stop distorting facts and allow full disclosure of information through the media.

Create an independent investigative body which would look into and report to the public the real circumstances of the Oct. 25 massacre.

Meanwhile, we urge the Thai people to remain vigilant and courageous to stand up for our rights and to be united in our pursuit for a peaceful and democratic Thailand.

United for Peace – Chiang Mai

A group of human rights organizations, activists, and concerned individuals working for peace and justice


A young Lisu boy receives help for deformed foot

Dear Chiangmai Mail,

Some weeks ago, you ran a story about the slum families living near Kamtieng Flower Market and you mentioned a small Lisu boy with a foot deformity. We have the pleasure of informing you that we visited the slum, found the child, and placed the child in the care of Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Sudhee Sudasna. The child has consequently received 8 different corrective casts applied to his foot, and just this past week, the little boy went through successful hand and foot surgery at Ram Hospital.

The result is that this young child now has a real chance at a normal life with an anticipated full recovery. The initial interest to intervene came from your article. Our Foundation, by the way, has a long history of providing similar surgical corrections to many area children including Hydrocephalus shunts, club foot corrections, hand and burn surgery, and correction of polio bone deformities.

Piboon has now returned to Wiang Haeng with his parents and his father is now employed harvesting rice. We hope you will encourage your readers to financially support our efforts, which now includes the production and free distribution of more than 250 mobility aids to children and adults of north Thailand.
Warm regards
Don and Sunan Willcox
Chiang Mai Disabled Center & Wheelchair Clinic
Foundation To Encourage Disabled Persons Email - [email protected], Web site: www.infothai.com/disabled and www.freedom wheelchairs.org


Looking to buy MC with MC

Chiangmai Mail:

I need to know where in Fang I can have my mother-in-law buy a new motorcycle with a Visa or Mastercard. If not in Fang, where in Chiang Mai, that can accommodate delivery to Fang?

Thanks for the help.
William Joyce

[email protected]

Editor’s note: Good luck, and if any of our readers can help, please feel free to email William...