Let’s try imagining that you are at a deep area of a cave and it is certainly dark without any light making you feat and worried! To eliminate such fear and worry from your mind, you are required to do everything to except from such darkness. When you immediately find the light at the end of the tunnel, your fear and worry will be completely gone and you will have some hope to escape from such darkness making you feel delighted to see your bright future.
Such darkness can be compared as “problem” that one society has to encounter without any immediate solution. Such solution can be compared as “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Similarly, the problem on insurgency in southern border provinces that has been occurred for over two decades is also compared as darkness of conflicts imprisoning related persons until they find the way to leave “the cave of conflicts” in one day, i.e., “discussion for peace” that is compared as “the light at the end of the tunnel of conflicts.” If related persons follow such light, they will finally find “pigeon of peace” that is flying at the entrance of the cave, i.e., sustainable peace.
Building of efficient vehicle for driving along the road of peace started in 2014 from discussing and consulting with persons with significance towards success, i.e., discussing and consulting with Malaysia. This discussion or consulting was compared as the first button of the way to the light of peace that was considered as the most important step.
Buttoning of the first button as mentioned above led to concrete achievement that could be concluded as follows:
Since travelling along the road of the light of peace is full with obstacles inside Thailand and from other countries, especially the most significant obstacle like “understanding level on discussion for peace” of persons related to discussion f or peace, if persons in each related sector lacks of understanding or attach to former theories, principles, and concepts, the progress of discussion process for peace may be restrained. Therefore, the working group that is responsible for discussion process should spend some time to give their efforts in establishing this understanding with related persons.
Besides the problem on “understanding level” as mentioned above, discussion process is also affected by COVID-19 pandemic slowing down discussion process during 2019 – 2021.
Although there are many obstacles caused by understanding level of related persons and natural disasters like COVID-19 pandemic, both parties have never stopped operations but they have tried to continue discussion process for peace via online channels and other communication channels in order to obtain the progress of discussion leading to Face to Face Meeting in Malaysia held from January 11th – 12th, 2022. The results of consulting from such meeting could be concluded into 3 main issues as follows:
The first issue was that both parties already discussed and agreed on general principles under the framework of 3 substances including: 1) Reduction of violence; 2) Consultancy of local people; and 3) Political Solutions. These 3 substances were consistent with demands of local people in southern border provinces who were directly affected by insurgency in southern border provinces. Local people demand to see peace in their local areas, peaceful living, and participation of public sector as well as the solutions of Thai government to solve problems that were the causes of all problems that would lead to sustainable and permanent peace.
When there was the important issue for discussing and consulting, it was also necessary to have “mechanism” to drive such issue to be concrete.
To establish such “mechanism”, establishment of Joint Working Group to coordinate with each issue, especially reduction of violence and consultancy of local people, was also established. For issue on political solutions that were highly complex and delicate, Joint Study Group would be established to study on details and find the appropriate guidelines further.
Both Joint Working Groups were semi-official in order to be flexible for operations and this flexibility would enable discussion process to be continued, especially during COVID-19 pandemic.
Thai Joint Working Group proposed the issue on “Voluntary Reduction of Violence of Both Parties” in order to build environment that was beneficial for the next discussion and make local people to realize on benefits of discussion leading to peace in the area. Thai Joint Working Group and the 4th Army Area have already prepared on such issue partially.
Occurrence of discussion for peace is compared as occurrence of the light at the end of the tunnel and this light will cause concrete progress that is compared as occurrence of “pigeon” that is the symbol of peace. Although we may not be able to see the shape of this “pigeon” clearly at present time but it can be believed that we will see such “pigeon” clearly soon by determination of Joint Working Group of both parties and related sectors, especially local people in southern border provinces.