Oh, I see...December 6 2004 at 4:43 PM
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from IP address 188.8.131.52
Response to Why dint we think of this?
Well, it was a cute idea, anyway!
Darn those jihaddist spoilsports!
December 6, 2004, updated 12:35 p.m.
Origami peace gesture met with violence in Thailand
Airdrop of paper 'birds of peace' is followed by bombings, shootings, and arson attacks.
By Matthew Clark | csmonitor.com
A creative peace offering has been met with renewed violence in the troubled south of Thailand.
Hours after 50 Thai army planes dropped some 100 million Japanese-style origami cranes over the predominantly Muslim region Sunday, suspected Muslim militants shot dead a former prosecutor in Pattani province, reports The BBC.
On Monday morning four Thai troops were wounded when a bomb was detonated remotely by a mobile phone at a rest-stop for patrolling soldiers in Narathiwat province, reports The Associated Press. Hours later, writes AP, another bomb exploded nearby seriously injuring an assistant district chief as he parked his car.
BBC reports that the paper bird drop was arranged to coincide with the 77th birthday of Thailand's king.
...ordinary Thais across the country wrote messages on paper birds they had folded.
As the birds fell to their targets in the provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, and Pattani, school children rushed out to collect them and seek the notes inside. Some students constructed giant nets stretched across school yards to capture the paper cranes.
One bird folded and signed by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra offered a scholarship if found by a child, or a job for an adult. The cranes could also be exchanged for food as The Bangkok Post reports.
Twenty cranes can be exchanged for one egg, 50 cranes for 1kg of sugar or rice. All cranes collected would be given to authorities who will boil them and mix with lime to build a monument to peace.
Thaksin said the effort had achieved an "enormous, positive psychological effect" toward peace, reports AP.
But southern leaders have criticized it as a gimmick, according to the BBC.
Critics said the campaign ... would not solve the complex problems that have caused the violence in the south, where more than 500 people have been killed this year. ...
Our correspondent says the Muslim majority in the south appeared bemused by the idea of the aerial onslaught of paper cranes. But, while reluctant to reject any goodwill, they said a political solution would have more meaning.
On October 25, more than 80 Muslims died after security forces broke up a protest at Tak Bai in Narathiwat province. Most died of suffocation or were crushed in army trucks, which prompted fresh criticism of the Thai military's heavy-handedness and sparked increased violence.
The Bangkok Post reports that "relatives of those killed in the Tak Bai tragedy have belittled the release of millions of paper cranes, saying it won't make their loved ones come back to life or end unrest in the deep South."
"Other critics, including political columnists and Muslim officials, described the scheme as an insult because residents would be forced to pick up tons of garbage after the air drops," reports The Asia Times Online.
Another worry was that some birds may contain offensive messages, reports the Times.
The millions of paper birds collected made it impossible to check if any had offensive messages written on them that would "add more fuel to the fire" if read by Muslims on the ground, warned Niran Pithakwatchara, chairman of the Senate committee on social development and human security.
This warning may have come true, according to Agence France-Presse
...some southerners reportedly discovered a series of ugly messages that some fellow Thais had written on the birds. Mae-eya Bula, a 15-year-old in Narathiwat, told the Bangkok Post she collected a paper bird that said "I want to kill militants".
Other residents found birds with messages including "Stop killing Thai people" and "All bandits must die," the daily added.