This is probably the hardest of all conflicts that Ariglit Boonyai had been to in this first season of this series. This is the mother of all conflicts and does not look to be dying down any soon. It is a historical conflict, with a lot of emotional tag involved going back into hundreds of years, perhaps. West Bank is the epicentre of the conflict or maybe it is Jerusalem or Hebron. West Bank has both Jewish and Palestine settlements and there is a 700 kms wall made of steel and reinforced concrete so that sort of gives some peace to the area because previously there were lot of bombings, attacks, knife attacks etc. There are hardliners on both sides of the divide and people just don’t want to trust the other side. Both sides are not ready to give up. There might have been umpteen attempts at peace and reconciliation between the two parties, but it does’nt look like settling any time soon. Hebron is the holy place where the burial chamber of Abraham and his family are located and it is on Palestinian side but there are Jewish settlements here too. There there is Jerusalem which is revered by three religions and that’s sacred as well with Palestinians claiming Jerusalem to be their property. Boonyai does meet with some Israeli peace lovers who are trying to mend the divide by providing solace to the hundreds of Palestinians who travel every day to Jerusalem to work and then there are teachers who teach both Jewish and Palestinian kids in the same school, teaching them both the languages. So the children are really the hope for this land in future but time will only tell.
This is a good series and there are enough conflict spots around the world for it to explore. But next season, i would like to see less of the camera on Boonyai. He can just come in and go, maybe stay during interviewing.
Picture taken from the internet and not with an intention to violating the copyright.
The next episode of Danger Zone takes Ariglit Boonyai to southern Philippines where there there has been an armed conflict brewing between the Abu Sayyaf group and the Philippines army. The Abu Sayyaf group is a breakaway group from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) which fought for autonomy decades ago. The Abu Sayyaf group indulges in kidnappings mainly nowadays for ransom monies. Boonyai was unable to meet any of the Abu Sayyaf rebel leaders but he did manage to speak with one kidnapped victim who returned but she was obviously too scared to speak anything openly. As recently as 2019 the Abu Sayyaf group bombed a cathedral in Jolo so they are very much active on the group with weapons. Now the MNLF is also against the Abu Sayyaf group because of their human rights abuses. Jolo, Mindanao & Zambaonga are the hotspots where militancy is rampant.
Picture taken from the internet, not with an intention to violating copyright.
The next episode of Danger Zones takes Ariglit Boonyai to Fukushima, Japan and here it is not a conflict of war, but a nuclear disaster that has made Fukushima and Tomioka a danger zone. An earthquake on 11th March 2011 followed by a tsunami created the disaster. The Daiichi nuclear plant was located close to the sea and bore the brunt of the waters rushing into its plant and thereby the fuel rods melted and creating the worst ever radiation exposure after Chernobyl in 1986. The area was evacuated immediately the next day and none of the them ever came back to their previous homes in Fukushima. The area is now being decontaminated but estimates say it might take decades and even centuries to completely clean up the area. Normally radiation levels occur 30 to 40 years after the accident, so it would be the children who will bear the brunt of the disaster. Few hardy souls do stay back in Fukushima to cater to the large number of animals left behind by the residents. The parks and playgrounds are dangerous for children to play around in.
Picture taken from the internet, not with an intention to violating copyright.
The next episode of Danger Zone takes Ariglit Boonyai to his own home country in Thailand, where an insurgency has been brewing for a long time in Southern Thailand in Pattani which borders Malaysia. So far we have seen all insurgencies are border conflicts. Pattani was once a Malay kingdom which got integrated into Thailand, but the Malay speaking people never accepted Thai rule and want autonomy for their region. But surprisingly there is little known about any group or its leaders who are fanning this insurgency. Apparently there is one group called the BRN which is involved in this conflict, but little is known of them or their leaders. The Thai police have apparently not been able to break this group, but repeated bombings take place in which innocent citizens are killed. Boonyai did manage to speak one rebel leader but he apparently turned out to be a confused citizen with no burning motive for creating havoc. Interesting this, because nobody in the outside world are aware of this conflict going on for decades.
Third episode of Danger Zone where journalist Ariglit Boonyai travels to Erbil, in Iraq which is also the capital of Kurdistan. Erbil is located up north in Iraq and has Iran, Turkey and Syria as borders, so it is a border state. There is an ongoing conflict in this part of the world, with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces wanting an independent Kurdistan, the Iraqi army opposing them and then there is ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group which is also occupying large parts of the area including the city of Mosul. There are approximately 2 million internally displaced people in Iraq including the Yazidis who follow a mix of Islam and Christianity. Many of the refugees occupy uncompleted buildings or malls and live in terrible conditions. There are oil assets in that part of Iraq so the Iraqi government is averse to giving leeway to the Kurdish or the ISIS forces. Children are abducted, women are raped, men are killed, there are landmines everywhere. Boonyai does manage to meet one Kurdish commander and the head of the UN mission there. One Iraqi ex-advisor says that unless the Islamic nations do not take action or react, ISIS will get entrenched in every Islamic state in a few years. The Kurdish commander wants the world to know what they are fighting for. Interesting series, this, so far has been good, the only issue is with excessive close up shots of Boonyai which i think is overdoing it. Otherwise good to watch series.
Picture taken from the internet for representational purposes only, not with an intention to violating copyright.
In the second edition of Danger Zone, Arglit Boonyai travels to Shan State in Myanmar where there has been a raging conflict going on between the ethinc rebels and the army for more than 7 decades. There are more than four rebel groups including the Kachin independence group who are involved in the conflict. The rebel groups want independence or autonomy for their region but the Myanmar President has promised to set up a federal structure in the country. But still both sides are refusing to budge. The rebels want the army and police out of their area because apparently that is creating distrust, besides the army supposedly indulging in rape, torture & destruction. Boonyai travels to some restricted areas where foreigners are not allowed to visit and does manage to meet a couple of the rebel leaders. The main conflict is raging in the Kachin state and the Shan state and if you look at the Myanmar map, both these states constitute roughly little more than half of the entire Myanmar territory. No wonder the army and the government does not want to cede control of these regions. Plus the area is rich in natural resources including silica, which is another bone of contention between the groups. Boonyai does not look at any cultural aspects of the Shan state, because apparently there is’nt anything to report about. A lot number of Myanmarese are incarcerated in refugee camps.
Picture taken from internet and used for representational purposes only, not with an intention to violating copyright.
Amazon Prime Video series Danger Zone in which journalist Arglit Boonyai goes to different hot spots in the world to give a first hand account of the situation there. First up he goes to Kabul, arguably the most dangerous place in the world even today. with Taliban controlling swathes of the country.
Afghanistan is a country with a rich history and past but all that changed with the then USSR invading it in 1979 and then continued one internecine war after another. US and NATO agreed to pull out their troops in their agreement post 2014, but there was one clause which allowed them to station one regiment permanently there, which has apparently riled the Taliban.
Boonyai covers politics as much as he is allowed to, speaks to one Taliban commander who says that they do not want even one soldier to remain in their country. Daily there are numerous suicide bomb attacks killing so many innocent people.
But some change is surely taking place. Boonyai did not talk to the Afghan cricket team, but they surely are doing a great job playing for their war ravaged country and winning occasionally. Still they cannot play their matches in Afghanistan and have to keep India as their home ground, but that sure is a success story. Then there are film makers and artists who are surely coming out of their shell. I recently saw one Afghan movie Osama, which was brilliantly made by Siddiq Barmak, you can read about it here https://vramonline.wordpress.com/2020/07/30/osama/
There is also one Afghan singer i have heard, she is quite good – Mozhdah Jamalzadah she sings quite beautifully.
Looks like a good series to watch. Hoping to catch up on the remaining danger zones and writing about it.
Picture taken from the internet and not with a view to violating copyright.