Patani/Thailand, Jubi – A university lecturer in Pattani, Thailand, who insisted on being identified by his initials HS, said the Patani Malay community and Papuans share similarities in their struggle for independence.
He said though he never been in Papua, but he heard a lot about the condition of Papua. What was happening to Papuans is also being experienced by Patani people.
“I do not know much about Papua, but I have heard about it. I think the problems in Papua are more related to political issues,” HS told in conversation with Jubi on Friday night (14/8/2015).
According to him, the government exploits the natural resources of Papua without caring its people. If people think they were not treated fairly and fight for justice, the authority will use its power to suppress them. “I read the documents of Al Jazeera, I feel sorry for foreign journalist forbidden to entry into Papua. It’s really not right. I have a Papuan fellow; he said Papuans opposed the Indonesian Government, but they do not hate Indonesian people,” he said.
In Pattani, on Friday (14/8/2015), the Patani People in three provinces of Southern Thailand commemorated 61 years of disappearance of Patani religious, political and reform leader Haji Sulong Abdul Qadir Tohmeena held in the residence of late Haji Sulong. At least 300 people attended the event, including Patani religious leaders, local and international NGOs and 150 descendants of Haji Sulong.
A founder of Wartani, media and information technology base CSO, Mohamad Sabri Yusoff said such event would not possibly hold in the previous years, because the government of Thailand Kingdom strict the freedom for the people of Patani.
“The government even prohibited us to only mention ‘Patani’, but through our efforts and other NGOs’, they finally allow us. Previously, before the conflict of new era, it’s difficult to tell about the history of Patani. If so, we could be arrested or considered as rebel,” he said.
However, he admitted that this commemoration was held without the government’s official permit. The government still do not want the people of Patani to commemorate the disappearance of Patani leader Haji Sulong. “But through campaigns in social media, the government is currently not dare to be oppressive, but who knows a great conflict might be raise in the future,” he said.
In this conversation, he also explained about the Pattani and Patani. Pattani is only referred to a province, while Patani has a broader meaning. “Pattani is a province, but Patani is to refer three provinces of Southern Thailand. It’s kind of a state,” he said. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)