Thai Embassy Formal Response
This is Thandokwakhe Sibiya from South Africa. I saw these images and was so disgusted that I decided to write to the Thailand Embassy here in South Africa to demand explaination for what was happening in those pictures.
Here is a formal response from one of their Counsellors:
From: Kudatara Nagaviroj [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 14 February 2011 03:58 PM
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: RE: Thai Cannibalism
Dear Mr. Sibiya,
First of all, please accept my apologies for intruding your privacy. My name is Kudatara Nagaviroj, Counsellor from the Royal Thai Embassy in Pretoria. I have received a query from you regarding the file called "Metlholo" that has been circulated around and causing fears. The file contains photos of a group of people dissected a corspe in an open field.
For your perusal, I would like to send herewith the facts regarding the abovementioned photos as follows:
1) The photos were taken on 13 March 2009 at a cemetary in a southwestern province of Thailand (Prachaub Khiri Khan Province)
2) For people who practice Buddhism in Thailand, there are two religious rituals to honour the deceased. First is to cremate the body. Second is to bury the body.
3) For Buddhists in Thailand, the bury of the deceased is not as widely-practiced as the cremation. The deceased (who are Buddhist) is normally buried when he/she has no relative or the relatives does not have enough financial means to pay for the cremation.
4) Cemetaries in rural provinces Thailand oftentimes ran out of space as a result of too many deceased bodies being buried in limited amount of land. So the Buddhists in Thailand practice a religious tradition called "Lang Pa Cha", which means "the cleaning and tidying of the cemetary", where volunteers will dig up the bodies of the deceased unclaimed by any relative and cremate them to honour their spirits in accordance with the Buddhist religious rites. Such ritual is considered to be a good deed and a merit-making process.
5) At every "Lang Pa Cha" religious rituals, a large number of unclaimed bodies are always found (in the case of the photos taken, 64 unclaimed deceased bodies were found). To cremate the whole body will take a long time. So only the bones of the unclaimed bodies are cremated -- thus the reason for the dissection of the flesh from the bodies as you have seen in the photos.
6) The volunteers in this ritual are mostly the medical staff or emergency response crew who are the first unit to arrive at the accident scenes to save lives (easily identifiable by their blue / white uniforms and id cards). That is why they are used to seeing a deceased body and looked nonchalant in the photos.
7) According to Buddhist tradition, the volunteers who will be allowed to participate in this religious ritual must be strictly on vegetarian diet in order to clean their mind both before and after the ritual.
8) The images of the vounteers cooking and having their lunch are just normal vegetarian lunch and have no connection to the deceased body or the dissected flesh.
9) The circulation of the images is thus an ill-intended attempt that meant to mislead the public into believing that one race of human will commit genocide or inhuman act against another and thus create fear and hatred.
10) The deceased body shown in the photos is of a Thai make with dark complexion (which had been even darker after his death) -- not an African male.
I hope this email provides you with a factual information regarding this ill-intended document and photos. I responded to the same enquiry to a large group of Sasol employees. They do understand the fact of the matter and we have now become very good friends.
I also do hope that you will give Thailand a chance to show you how beautiful, friendly and diverse the country is. The Embassy will be running a series of activities, festivals and competitions throughout the whole year to enhance the reputation of Thailand in being the World's Best and Unbeatable Value Destination. Please participate if you are interested.
Kudatara Nagaviroj (Don)
The Royal Thai Embassy, Pretoria
+27 82 709 7854