A Tak Bai survivor tries to lead a normal life
Maleekee Doloh could count himself lucky for surviving the deadly journey in an army truck from Tak Bai district of Narathiwat to Ingkayuth camp in Nong Chik district of Pattani on that fateful day on October 25, 2004 infamously known as the Tak Bai incident.
Seventy-eight Malay Muslims arrested by security forces for alleged involvement in violent protests in Tak Bai district died of suffocation during the journey after they were forced to lie face down on top of one another.
Maleekee, then 28, survived but returned home a disabled person after the deadly journey and a brief jailterm. Today, he has only one leg left and can barely use both of his hands which have become deformed.
After being released from prison in the army camp, Maleekee was sent to Hat Yai hospital for medical treatment and rehabilitation for two months. Out of the hospital, he could barely help himself and the job of looking after him left to his mother, Mrs Yaroh, who tirelessly gave him massage and exercise until he could use both of his hands for simple tasks such as tooth brushing and carrying a spoon. Today, Maleekee can drive a four-wheel motorcycle which was modified to be operated by a disabled person.
Thanks to the one million baht compensation he won from a civil lawsuit filed against the state, Maleekee could afford to expand his house and to open a grocery at the house. Also, there was enough money for him to get married and to buy more land to grow rubber trees.
Despite his physical problem, Maleekee is trying to live a normal and humble life. “To go to the rubber plantation with my life to tend to the rubber trees every day. After the job at the plantation, we return to the house to look after the grocery shop,” said the Tak Bai survivor.
Although quality of life has improved, Maleekee is suffering from kidney problem and often falls sick apparently the result of being trapped under the weight of the other suspected protesters while being trucked from the protest site to the army camp.