Thai government drops origami peace bombs
In an innovative nonviolent initiative the Thai government has dropped an estimated one hundred million paper origami birds.
The birds were dropped by military planes over the country's Muslim south after a surge of violence in the area.
Ordinary Thais across the nation have folded and written peace messages on the paper cranes in a campaign devised by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The move will be an encouragement to Christians committed to promoting creative nonviolent options in conflict situations.
At Easter this year Jesus'commitment to nonviolence was highlighted during the celebration of the passion at St Peters' in front of the Pope.
Groups in the UK such as Pax Christi, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and the thinktank Ekklesia also actively promote such ideas.
The "peace bombing" was scheduled to coincide with the 77th birthday of revered king, Bhumibol Adulyadej.
As the birds fell to their targets in the provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani, school children rushed out to collect them and seek the notes inside.
Some students constructed giant nets stretched across school yards to capture the paper cranes.
There is great interest in finding one paper bird in particular - as it has been signed by the prime minister himself.
Mr Thaksin has promised that the student who finds it will win a scholarship.
The flurry of folding ahead of the weekend's bombardment was inspired popular politics from a government that has faced severe criticism over its handling of the crisis in the south.
Mr Thaksin publicised the idea about two weeks after an incident that shocked the nation.
After demonstrations near the Thai-Malaysian border, close to 80 Muslim protesters suffocated when they were taken into custody and piled one on top of another into army trucks.
The government blamed insurgents for inciting violence but critics blamed an over-zealous response by security forces, whom they accuse of fighting a self-appointed war on terror.
The Muslim majority in the south appeared bemused by the idea of the aerial onslaught of paper cranes.
But, while reluctant to reject any goodwill, they said a political solution would have more meaning to a crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 500 people so far this year.
Special prayers for peace were also held in mosques across the south of Thailand.