I’ve written a fair bit on this blog about Preah Vihear, including perhaps especially this post here, which discusses a famous ritual performed at the site by Bun Rany Hun Sen, the wife of Prime Minister Hun Sen. That ritual, the Krong Pali ritual, immediately brought accusations in Thailand that the Khmer were (typically) practicing ‘black magic’ against the Thais.
The dry season is over, so it’s out of season for the current hubbub over the ownership of Preah Vihear; these have thus far largely corresponded to the traditional military dry season offensives, which is an interesting aspect of the mobilizations themselves. The current kerfuffle, rather, is based on a different calendar altogether, the calendar of opportunism within Thailand.
Having routed the Red Shirts, and with the Thai government hunting them down in ways that smack of Thaksin’s extrajudicial killings during his notorious ‘war on drugs,’ the Yellow Shirts (PAD and allies within the military and government) having again taken up the popular irredentist banner of nationalism. They definitively lost the last round, and Preah Vihear temple was properly listed as a World Heritage Site, under Cambodian authority. This round is really about the administration plan for Preah Vihear, which the PAD insist be delayed until all land disputes on the border are resolved. Which, of course, they will never let happen. Should disputes appear resolved, they’ll just head to the border again and cause more violence with the relatively amicable Thai and Khmer on the border, as they did last time. Continue reading