Thailand and Cambodia fighting in Preah Vihear Temple

Thailand and Cambodia since a couple of years are the subject of conflict and violence. This time the clash was due to an ancient temple dedicated to Shiva in the mountains Dangrek the border between Thailand and Cambodia. For thai is the Phra Viharn, for the Khmer Preah Vihear.

The latest clashes, described by Cambodians as “invasion,” are the most violent in recent years: between Friday and Saturday, before it was declared a curfew fragile, were killed a Thai soldier, a civilian and a cambodian thai a village on the border hit by a grenade. Fourteen Thai soldiers were wounded and three civilians.

Once again, this temple becomes a key piece in the eternal domain that is played in South-East Asia. A long range in Thai territory in 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded to Cambodia by the borders drawn by the French in 1904. In 1975 it was occupied by the Khmer Rouge in 1979 and became one of the shrines of the men of Pol Pot, fled to Anlong Veng, 65 km to the east. That year was the scene of one of the bloodiest episodes of the civil war. About forty-five thousand Cambodians fled to Thailand were forced to return down the mountain side. Where they were decimated by landmines.

The temple was reopened in 1998, for a time became a tourist attraction and historical shared, the thai and cambodian Chei governments presented a joint that was declared world heritage site. When it did, however, in July 2008, the temple reappeared even stronger as a symbol of national pride for both countries and a pretext for new territorial claims. It was also one of the central tenets of fierce domestic opposition in Thailand: According to the opposition (represented by the current government), Prime Minister Samak (loyal to the exiled premier Thaksin Shinawatra) khwampenthai sacrificed, the sense of Thais, a dark interests. The Cambodians, however, were confident of their political majority, the military support of the Vietnamese and French cooperation in the future management of the site. But then, for them, the temple became a cornerstone of national policy: are used to move the growing popular discontent towards the Vietnamese (increasingly seen as an imperialist presence) against historical enemies thai. Not to mention that a test of strength against Thailand, the next richest, was the demonstration of the renewed power Khmer.

To rekindle the spirit, then, we thought the “Yellow Shirts” Thai’s People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), in particular members of the Thai Patriots Network (TPN), and the Buddhist sect Santi Asoke, which in recent weeks have declined in the field to urge the Prime Minister Abhisit to a greater determination on the disputed temple. The spark that detonated the crisis was the arrest of seven ultra-nationalists in thai cambodian territory.

As the government has tried to mediate, the situation is worse. Today, as foreign minister, wrote the cambodian at the United Nations has become “explosive”.

Fabio Chiarini