Thailand: A Rite of Forgiveness

A Rite of Forgiveness

In the battles of Elephant Pass, fought more than five years ago, the Royal Thai Army ended two decades of Communist sway over most of southern Thailand. Last week the army and several thousand ex-Communists met again, but this time under very different circumstances. They came together for a ceremony of forgiveness, a mass cremation of 523 Communists killed at Elephant Pass.

Thus the dead, who were effectively declared misguided, were accorded a sacrosanct rite of passage that permits them, according to Buddhist belief, to be reborn. Responding to the ceremony of forgiveness, 51 Communists who came to the mass burial...