Thursday, October 28, 2010
The Zomi National congress was held on October 22, 2010 in Kalay town, Upper Burma. Ethnic nationalities and Burmese pro democracy leaders called for a second Pinlon conference by signing a declaration called “Kalay Myo Declaration.” It was signed by Kachin, Shan, Chin, Mon, and NLD leaders.
The main purpose of the declaration is to stop the coming civil war, which has been burning Burma inside out since it gained independence from Britain in 1948.
After Burma gained independence from Britain, the new government, which was led by Prime Minister U Nu, faced challenge from communist, socialist, and ethnic nationalities. Civil war broke out and communist and ethnic insurgencies spread throughout the country for decades and still exist today.
Gereral Ne Win’s duty was to fight against the insurgents and he emerged as a powerful military leader. The army became a very strong institution with well trained and obedient soldiers. Ne Win shifted his stance from protecting the country from insurgencies to ruling the country as a dictator by way of a staged coup in March 2, 1962.
Under Ne Win’s rule ethnic resistance groups still existed and controlled the dense forest areas in their respected states. The goal of the ethnic resistance is to form its own country, free from Burma. However after 40 years of civil war and achieving nothing ethnic leaders realized that it is not possible to set up their own. Kachin leaders toured around the world to realize no other country supports their separation from Burma to become an independent country.
After the 1988 uprising, students and activists came out from the cities and joined with the ethnic resistance groups. Both students and ethnic leaders learned from each other and agreed to establish the Federal Union as the best way for all people living in Burma. Ethnic leaders voluntarily abandoned their previous demand, as independent state was a big achievement after 1988.
Ethnic leaders realized that fighting the military dictatorship only to free its own state was narrow minded and it will only benefit for the regime. They are shifting from previous mentality of fighting for their own people for their own state to fighting for the whole country and joining together hand in hand with all ethnic groups.
The current regime has reached a cease-fire agreement with 17 ethnic resistance groups after a decade but after the 2008 constitution was approved by a fake referendum the regime took the next step by pressuring the cease-fire groups to change as border guard forces under the military control. Small groups obeyed the order and changed as border guard forces but stronger resistance groups that have combat experience for four decades refused to accept the regime’s demand. Kachin, Wa, Karen, Mon and Shan resistance groups rejected the regime demand and now their controlled regions are preparing for the very possible oncoming war against them.
These are the situations that Burma is facing now. The calling for Second Pinlon conference is the right approach and it will stop the coming blood bath. Kachin, Wa Karen and Mon areas have been in peace for more than a decade. The newly developed infrastructure and more importantly human lives will be destroyed if the war breaks out.
I demand the international governments and pressure groups to consider the situation in Burma. The coming one sided election will not produce peace and stability to the Burmese people, and the new constitution will not give the rights that ethnic groups deserve. Only ethnic conference inside Burma will produce understanding and bring national reconciliation, which will lead the country into a peaceful place.
Htun Aung Gyaw
Posted by Mr Htay Tint at 2:12 AM