Friday, March 28, 2008

Culture battles

In South Thailand, where the Muslim World meets the primarily Buddhist realm of Southeast Asia, the cultural differences have amounted to conflict, war, and bloodshed. Unlike the Middle East and Central Asia, where homicidal fanatics have justified their actions by hijacking the religion of Islam and are using it to accomplish a political agenda, this conflict seems to be happening because of religious issues that are not understood among the opposing sides, and unfortunately, the failure to do so has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.

On a daily basis, its not uncommon for South Thailand to experience multiple shootings, bombings, or other extremist attacks. Some target security forces, others target schools and religious institutions.

Volunteer Assistance:

The failure to reach an understanding in South Thailand makes it that much harder to try and provide aid to the many people who are suffering due to the violence. For example, Northern Thailand, which is considered to be very peaceful, has numerous community development projects taking place where the locals and international volunteers are working together. If the religious differences in Southern Thailand could be addressed by the local people and the international community, the same action could be taken there as well.

On a personal note, I should add that Thailand is at the top of my list for countries to volunteer in next year, in addition to Tanzania.

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