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Local Patriotism and the Need for Sound Language and Education Policies in the Border South PDF Print E-mail

 

Local Patriotism and the Need for Sound Language and Education Policies in the Border South

 
By Gothom  Arya

Director Mahidol University Research Centre on Peace Building

Abstract

 The resurgence of violence in the border provinces southern of Thailand has many contributing factors. It is argued that the main factor is the combination of local patriotism and the sense of injustice. Local patriotism is particularly strong when local population speaks another language, practices another religion and has different historical narratives as compared to the national mainstream. Local patriotism is heightened and further sensitized when the population a the sense of solidarity as common victims of injustice while defending its patriotism.

 

Local patriotism may or may not lead to separatism. For separatism to be viable as policy and feasible through militancy, there need to be international supports based on historical, legal or humanitarian grounds. Given the lack of such supports in the case of the border South, separatism exists as an ideology in the mind of a few who could not find a better answer in their strive to express their patriotism. Nevertheless, when combined with a sense of injustice, patriotism often leads to violent militancy which subverts the original aims in the pursuit of  revenge and demand more autonomy.

 

It is advocated that in solving the problem of violence in the border South, local people should be allowed greater participation in decision making especially on matters that may affect their patriotism. They should be allowed to defend their patrimony such as language, customary way of life, natural resources, education of their children etc. The language problem in the border South is discussed. Further language survey and research should be undertaken and participation of local population in the formulation of language policy is recommended.

 

 

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Research Center for Peace Building (Old) Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University
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