It can be hard to follow the ongoing stupidities along the border. It can be even harder when you are committed to something you think of as ‘fairness,’ and one side of the conflict acts consistently stupider than the other – reporting on it accurately can give the impression of a lack of fairness, even when you struggle to be fair. But that is the situation we face when writing about the conflict between Thailand and Cambodia over temples and territory.
Basically, Thailand’s nationalist PAD groups, unopposed by the government (which has begun to scrape its forehead in obeisance and fear, and the knees of which must be chafing by now), keep screwing up. They have made absolute asses of themselves by complaining about the jurisdiction over Temple Preah Vihear, invaded the surrounding land in protest of the former situation, and are now in a different temple on the border.
That temple, Prasat Ta Moan Thom – whose name means The Larger Grandfather Chicken Temple – was ravaged by guerrilla forces – “Khmer Rouge” – during the civil wars, looted by the same (selling the artifacts to Thai dealers), and is now occupied by apparently about 70 Thai soldiers. Andy Brouwer has a nice introduction to the temple and its conflict, prior to this latest.
Meanwhile, the Thai – who are proving themselves possibly more superstitious than the Cambodians, if anything, are starting to worry that a Thai soldier’s ‘mysterious death’ is attributable to the “Black Magic Ritual” recently performed by Bun Rany Hun Sen at Preah Vihear recently. Lordy. Special to the Thai military: start digging trenches immediately upon occupying territory in the rainforest – mosquito-borne illness suck, man.
Come on, people! Get it together! It the meantime, here are some of the better links on the issues.
- “Cambodia, Thailand, in standoff over second temple” [link]
- “Thais accused over new temple row” [bbc]
- “Thai troops ‘occupy second temple'” [al jazeera]
- “Border dispute widens” [das]
- “Thailand afraid of Bun Rany’s black magic” [das]
- “Thai soldier dies mysteriously” [das]