U Phyinyarthami (also known as Taungalay Sayadaw), the Abbot of Taungalay Temple in Hpa-an Township in Karen State, talked to Karen News about the Karen National Union’s (KNU’s) work and the current problems within the political organisation. Here are Abbot Taungalay Sayadaw’s views.
“If I am to give my opinion on the KNU, I would say that every KNU leader has to listen to the voice of the people. If the people’s voice is not taken into account, it will be very difficult for the peace process to be successful. The recent differences within the KNU leadership, the lack of respect for each other and the different understanding on the current political situation are obstacles that could lead to a political deadlock for all Karen people. It will be very difficult [for KNU] to operate inside now. It is sad to say that with these difficulties it looks like the KNU has more difficulties then some other groups.
It is very important that the KNU needs to understand political strategy from all the various perspectives. It is equally important that the KNU train and get younger people involve and promoted to the leadership level. At the moment, there are very few young people in the KNU leadership. This has turned the majority of young people away from politics. If the situation goes on like this, the KNU will have a huge generational gap. I want to say that the KNU leadership should have young and old – different ages working together. We have to work together and help out each other – old in the old roles and young people in the younger roles.
In order for us all to live a peaceful and prosperous life under the leadership of the KNU, old and young have to work together, they have to be brave and to be straight with each other. If we are brave and straight, we will definitely reach our national goals. It is important for Karen people to understand their cultural and history.
Another point I’d like to make is that we, Karen can be at times unwilling to give respect to each other. But at the same time we can be easily deceived by other people and believe in what they are ‘selling’. I would like to stress that we should not have this kind of heart in the KNU.
Finally, I would like to say to the Karen National Union, that when we should strongly stand for the benefit of all Karen people, we will need to careful to not be deceived by ‘other people’, not to be too proud when these ‘other people’ say good things about individuals and to be vigilant and never believe the lies they offer.
I pray for the KNU to be strongly united, to be successful, to have peace and to embrace all the happiness and goodness in the future and to work for the Karen people.