I’M MUSLIM TOO! Heading to the border
(AKA: THE LIFE & TIMES OF AN ISLAMIC INSURGENCY)
Director/Writer: Zan Azlee
Executive Producer: Ang Swee Poh
Producer: Zan Azlee
Music: Arif Rafhan Othman
Duration: 74 minutes (or 22 minutes x 4 episodes)
Shooting Format: HDV
Zan Azlee is a Malay Muslim documentary filmmaker living in Kuala Lumpur. Being a lazy cook, he often has his meals in the many Thai/Kelantanese food stalls known as Tom Yam Kung stalls. While eating dinner one day, he remembers a news report saying that the South Thailand insurgency in Patani was mainly supported financially by Tom Yam Kung stalls in Malaysia (the Thai military government made the claim but the Malaysian government says it is absurd). The news story amused him and seeing that the people in South Thailand are Malay Muslims just like himself, he decides to pack up his video camera and head on up to South Thailand to see what is going on there.
Zan befriends a local journalist by the name of Tuan Daniya Meriking who brings him around the area (and keeps him safe!). He flirts with women at the hectic Patani market, prays at the 500 year old Krue Se Mosque which saw a bloody massacre in 2004, visited a village where more than half the population has left for Malaysia, attends a pre-marriage course, and also drops by several ‘sekolah pondoks’.
During the journey, Zan meets up with everyday people in Patani who are trying to lead their lives as normal as they can in spite of all the violence that is happening. He discovers that they are extremely content and happy people who have a strong sense of culture, religion and identity. All they want is to live as they always have since the 15th century when they were known as the Langkasuka Civilisation, the oldest Malay Islamic Kingdom in the Malay Peninsula.
The South Thailand insurgency is a separatist campaign by Islamist terrorists which is taking place in the predominantly Malay Patani region, made up of the three southernmost provinces of Thailand, with violence increasingly spilling over into other provinces. Although separatist violence has occurred for decades in the region, the campaign escalated in 2004.
In July 2005 the Prime Minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, assumed wide-ranging emergency powers to deal with the insurgency. In September 2006, Army Commander Sonthi Boonyaratkalin was granted an extraordinary increase in executive powers to combat the unrest. Soon afterwards, on 19 September 2006, Sonthi and a military junta ousted Thaksin in a coup. Despite reconciliatory gestures from the junta, the insurgency continued and intensified. The death-toll, 1,400 at the time of the coup, increased to 2,579 by mid-September 2007 and to nearly 2,700 by January 2008.
The South Thailand insurgency has made the area one of the most dangerous places in the world with an average of 5 people being killed and murdered everyday. It just hasn’t been given enough media attention.
- Freedom Film Festival 2009
- Islam Today Arts & Culture Festival 2010 (University of California, Berkeley)
- 6th World Islamic Economic Forum 2010 (Kuala Lumpur)
View the book version titled ‘OPERATION NASI KERABU: FINDING PATANI IN AN ISLAMIC INSURGENCY‘.
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