Coping with Violence in the Thai-Cambodian Border: The Silence of the Border
Journal of Contemporary Eastern Asia, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 35-40, 2011
6 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2011
Date Written: May 12, 2011
The recent listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site has awakened a longtime simmering border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over a few square kilometers surrounding the ancient Khmer Temple. While the listing of the site by UNESCO was expected to revive the economy of the impoverished border towns near the temple due to the increased tourism and funding for the preservation of the archeological site, it has had the opposite effect due to the sharp increase in violent conflict carried out by the armed forces and nationalist activists from both sides. Military skirmishes and violent protests have brought the local economy to a halt in addition to causing considerable physical damage to the local infrastructure and to the local transnational network of ethnic Kui, local business owners, Khmer and Thai villagers. This paper shows how the dispute is viewed and undertaken by three distinct communities involved in the conflict, the militaries, the metropolitan political elites and activists, and the local villagers. The three communities represent three different cultures of conflict with different interests and most importantly with differential access to the media and official representations of the dispute.
Keywords: Thailand, Cambodia, Conflict, Border, Conflict
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