I’ve always been attracted to graphs. When done well they can be visually arresting and far more informative than using text to make the same point.

The graph above is the first in a series that I created in support of my earlier research work exploring the ongoing conflict in the deep South of Thailand.

For those unfamiliar with the conflict it is extremely complicated, and that complexity is one reason the conflict is proving intractable.

The conflict, fi tai (the “Southern Fires” in Thai) has deep historical roots. The violence flared again in 2004 and centres on the three southernmost Thai provinces (adjacent to Malaysia) of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala. With these province’s overwhelmingly Muslim population in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country there are, to put it mildly, acute religious and ethnic underpinnings.

The Thai Army, Thai Police, criminals, Thai Buddhists, Thai/Malay Muslims, numerous paramilitary groups and other actors, all moving in and out of the shadows and often with multiple allegiances, make a dynamic and volatile mix of competing ambitions. Among the few constants is the sporadic and horrific violence.

Over coming weeks I will share more of these graphs and, when I have time, offer some comments.