About those bombings…

A few people have remarked about how little information I gave about the New Year's Eve bombings in Bangkok.� I apologize for not explaining the situation adequately.� Unfortunately, there just isn't a lot of information to give.� At some point on the evening of Dec. 31 (it was well before midnight) some bombs went off simultaneously in different areas of Bangkok.� One was at Victory Monument, one was in Chinatown, and there were others in places I've never heard of.� All of the New Year's Eve festivities were cancelled in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai (the other big city in Thailand).� Later in the evening, some more bombs went off in other areas of town.� One of these was at Siam Paragon, a mall I like to visit when I'm in Bangkok.� Since all of the events had been cancelled, these last few bombs didn't hurt anyone; they just damaged some property.� In the end, 3 people were killed and 48 were injured.

I wasn't affected by the bombings because I was in Loei.� Loei is way far away from Bangkok.� In fact, it's so far away that when Thai people want to say that they're going someplace far away, they sometimes say "I'm going to Loei".� It's kinda like how we might joke about someone living all the way in Timbuktu when they really just live in Chandler.� Anyway, I was a good 8 hour drive�away from Bangkok.� Nothing bad happened in Loei, and even if it had, I wasn't at any big city celebrations.� I spent the evening at a small house party.

It's still a mystery as to who is responsible for the bombings.� The general consensus is that the bombings were planned either by supporters of the ousted prime minister or Muslims in the south.� I'm sure you already know the story of Thaksin, but you might not know about the situation with Muslims in the southern areas of Thailand.� There are 3 provinces in the south�that want to be separated from Thailand.� The 3 provinces are primarily Muslim and they feel that they've been discriminated against by the overwhelmingly Buddhist Thai government.� Those 3 provinces are very dangerous.� I've even heard stories of communities killing teachers sent to work there.

It seems a little strange that no one has taken responsibility for the bombings.� The bombs were small and they went off�early enought in the evening that there shouldn't have been that many people in the surrounding areas.� It could have been much worse.� So it seems (to me) that the bombs were meant to send a message and make people afraid.� But we don't really know much yet.� I suspect that I'll learn about it at the same time that you learn about it.� I get most of my news from CNN.� If I somehow get a super-secret tip-off from someone here, I probably won't be writing about it in the blog.

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