~Meaw & More~


Reactive blogger (~and more~)

A walk in mine (mind?) field.

I was recently asked to give an short talk on safe place. Nah, it was not that good talk and the whole file mysteriously disappeared after some worms attack. As I was reading Bangkok Post’s online headline, the Preah Vihear, Thailand’s objection and a preparation of riot police for the next ASEAN summit.

Writing comfortably in an area of Bangkok, considered safe and urban, with its back to communities under express way and the front of my soi to handful of central government agencies, the narrow strip of the area is a buffer zone, if one considered there are certain values attached to both places, almost concentrated zinc roofed house packed under an expressway, government building and business areas on the other.

There are many buffer zones I had entered during the past two or three years that I started bloging. It began with fenced long walk to the first yellow shirt mobs, road blocks, post coup protest, and a space before people were faced with fences, telling if you do not belong to authorized institutions, you shall not cross. in some areas during recent April uprising in Bangkok. These are space in the everyday life, not tabula rasa, but a place waiting to be inscribed with activities, meanings, values, force and power. The buffer zones are likely to be the place for temporary refuge and a departure point if one wanted to move on.

When I was working researching about landmines, I noticed the mine map of Thailand as being fenced by tiny black or red dots or patches of color, most of them along the border. The fences were actually dots, then dots make lines, from an over-view, one could see that the lines purportedly were fro filtering invasion from outsiders as well as access from insiders who wanted to go out. It is a warning, perhaps invisible to newcomers that the lines were not to be crossed. Transgression is expensive, if not deadly. Most anti-personnel landmines were not for taking life, they were manufactured to take limbs and spirit to move further away from relatively safe zones.

Categorization is a mission of states. There are levels, if Manichean dualities are not sufficed, of threats and safely. In some relatively safe areas, there are unsafely. However, at the border, the thin lines will be packed with intense threats to safety as if to keep people in their places. It is likely that we will not travel form black to white and vice versa. There are warning signs, informing of the road ahead and inscribing the landscape where people should be and how near to the line they should not transgress.

“Mined. Keep out. Do not enter.”

Unlike walls, mines are underground, explosive but barely visible.

There is fencing in the news. There is fencing in the minds. A fence asked if you belong to red or yellow. I am standing in the buffer zones, willing to go to both destinations but each visit could be unpleasant: the lines not many people wanted to cross. So I was silenced, discontented and decidedly becoming passive.

Red areas.

Do you want to enter? Questioning police lines and fences were ahead. They would block us anyway, blocking people from what they should see, hear or do. When the fired blank bullets, the army reiterates the line, for good citizens, do not step further, go home or move backward. If you move further, explosion could be inevitable.

The last lines of “rational thoughts” or “official histories” perhaps I crossed this long time ago, a journey out of the national History and rationality, to the void, where prior knowledge and beliefs would explode.

There were fences and narrow strips of minefield in the mind. That was, perhaps, one of the reason I felt gagging effects when I was about to talk about “politics.” Should I transgress my relatively safe buffer zone to talk to a stranger? Which color is she? Will we argue? If someone write something about that mine, will it trigger and explosion, a violence in itself and a caution to others.

Do not cross the line.

And who build those fences we, willingly, do not want to cross. Who built the mine fields?

It is in the mind. Who will de-mine?


Filed under: Political Sciences, ,

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