gLost loved ones:
Portraits from the Deep South into the Red Zoneh


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Masaru Goto has been documenting people in the south of Thailand since early 2004.
He has traveled through rural armed Buddhist villages, as well as Muslim villages,
which are classified as "red zones" where support for the separatists is strong.

Since 2004, more than 2,300 people have been killed and over 6,000 injured in the deep
south of Thailand, where Buddhists live side by side with Muslims.

The number of widows has risen to 1,000, and 1,740 children have become orphans.
Violence in the region has affected people in all aspects of life, especially in that
people have lost their families and suddenly lost their loved ones.

The series of portraits shows the faces of those who have lost their loved ones in the conflict. The documentary series shows the reality of the situation in the south.

The photographer wishes to show in this documentary that violence has increased to
an extent where it affects almost all areas of life for local people, both Muslim and Buddhist.

 


Background of conflict:

Located close to Malaysia, 80% of the population in three Deep South provinces\Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala\is ethnic Malay Muslim.

Long ago, the Sultanate of Pattani (Muslim Kingdom) ruled in this region, but the area was annexed by the Royal Thai Government in the early 20th century. Since the beginning of the annexation, separatist groups have called for independence.

In January 2004, Muslim separatist groups calling for independence from the central Buddhist government have launched the attacks, setting bombs in the middle of the city and killing Buddhist villagers.

The Thai government enacted an Emergency Decree and reinforced troops; young Muslim men have been "blacklisted" by authorities and assumed guilty with no reason given. An unknown number of people have "disappeared" but local Muslims never see justice, so local Muslims sympathized with separatist group and joined them.

Now most rural Muslim villages in the south are classified as "red zones" where support for the separatists is strong. At the same time the government has reinforced its troops in the Deep South.

                                                                         


                                                                     Masaru Goto/July 2007

                                                             Text edited by Karen J.Coates

                                                             

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