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Right focus needed

Re: "No end in sight for carnage in deep South, despite peace talks", (BP, Jan 12).

I'm sad, but not surprised, that "over the past 16 years, there has been little progress in the peace talks between the government and groups linked with violence in the deep South which are seen as a key mechanism in bringing the unrest to an end ... although the severity of incidents per year is tending to decline, the degree of severity of each incident appears to rise".

Have we studied the problem at the root or just the end result? It seems to me that we're fighting for the hearts and minds of the southerners and our failure to win their hearts and minds is manifesting in deadly incidents. There are no foreign invaders, so why has the military been in command, for example, putting generals in charge of the National Security Council? As the saying goes, "to a man with a hammer, everything is a nail", similarly, to a man with a gun, everything is a target -- but treating people as targets will not win hearts and minds.

We should consider is looking at the conflict through the lens of those involved -- the southerners. What do they want that they have a right to but are not getting? How about finding out, through impartial polls, and boosting community relations at the local administration level?

Also, free and fair elections are great for making leaders responsible to the voters who chose them, so we should have direct gubernatorial elections in the four southernmost provinces. Bangkok should always be fully supportive -- as and when asked.

Police will play a key role in keeping the peace. The police will have to report to the provincial governor and be fluent in the local dialect to effectively woo the populace.

Burin Kantabutra


Blind to reality

Re: "PM's blunders are a laughing matter no more", (Opinion, Jan 14).

The prime minister's intellectual limitations helps me understand why the elite are using him as their puppet.

If he were brighter, he would realise that he represents the interests of just a small group of privileged people, who like himself are quite happy with the status quo, and would understand that those of us not in that group might want some changes.

He appears to be a decent human being, grumpy, not quite as arrogant and spoiled as some rich people are, but it is apparent that he has lived a privileged, sheltered life and has never suffered from the real fears and anxieties (not enough money, bad air, drought) that most of us are suffering from on a daily basis.

Observer


Empty promises

Re: "Sugarcane growers defy burning ban", (BP, Jan 13).

Where is the prime minister's iron fist now? Where is the provincial governor? Where are the police? In the end, it's all talk no action, all potatoes, no meat.

All these people do is complain about air pollution and brag about how they will do something to fix the situation. In the end no one really gives much of a damn.

Yankeleh


Poetic aid

Re: "Insults are 'fair game'," (PostBag, Jan 13).

Further to Darius Hobers' sound advice on how to respond to bullying (not restricted to educational institutes or otherwise as the Immigration Office amply demonstrates), I would like to add recourse to Rudyard Kipling's poem If, which has helped me during difficult times over many years.

Ellis O'Brien


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