In Search of Justice in Thailand's Deep South: Malay Muslim and Thai Buddhist Women's Narratives.

AuthorBenbourenane, Ornanong Husna

In Search of Justice in Thailand's Deep South: Malay Muslim and Thai Buddhist Women's Narratives. Edited by John Clifford Holt. Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2022. Softcover: 151pp.

Since the resurgence of political violence in Thailand's Deep South in 2004, which has so far claimed more than 7,300 lives, considerable research has been devoted to the many different facets of this ethno-religious conflict, including the causes and dynamics of the insurgency, inter-ethnic interactions, the roles of religion and nationalism, identity and citizenship, government policies and the impact of the conflict on the region's socio-economic conditions.

In Search of Justice in Thailand's Deep South: Malay Muslim and Thai Buddhist Women's Narratives is a compilation of personal memoirs written by ordinary people who were victims of this violent conflict. The book presents readers with a unique opportunity to hear the voices of resilient Muslim and Buddhist women who have experienced profound personal tragedies. In an environment where fear is widespread and silence has become the norm, these women are empowered through their engagement in activities organized by the Civic Women's Network, a non-governmental organization (NGO), to recover from their traumatic experiences and find their voices to demand peace and justice. Soraya Jamjuree, who compiled and selected the narratives for the volume, notes that "this is a book about victims who sometimes become victors" (p. xiii).

The book begins with a translator's note by Hara Shintaro, followed by a preface by Soraya Jamjuree and then an introduction by John Clifford Holt. In putting the project together, these three individuals shared a common goal: to publish a volume that amplifies the victims' voices. The main part of the book contains 15 narratives written by Muslims and five by Buddhists. Of these stories, 17 are written by women and three by men. They provide a testament to how the lives of mothers, wives, daughters and the victims' families have been impacted by the violent conflict.

In the 34-page introduction, Holt provides readers with a background to the conflict, including its historical and comparative contexts. He compares the insurgency in Thailand's Deep South with the Buddhist-Muslim conflicts in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, and discusses the contemporary context and significance of religion and education in the Patani region. Holt argues that the crux of the problem...

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