As many as 2,000 people joined the celebration of Karen New Year of 2754 and the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army’s 20th formation day that was organized at DKBA’s Sone Si Myaing headquarter in Karen State.
Karen villagers, representatives from political parties, Karen State government officials and civil society groups attended the Karen New Year celebration that falls on the 21st December – one day after the DKBA formation day on the 20th of December and the event this year was co-jointly organized.
People attending the celebration include Myawaddy based government officials and opposition political groups, women’s organisations, religious leaders and local residents.
Naw Sandar Wine, one of the event organizers spoke to Karen News.
“We are glad to see many political and civil society organizations from inside [Burma], other ethnic nationalities and government officials join the Karen New Year celebration. Oversea based Karen organizations have also come back to celebrate Karen New Year with us.”
The ceremony included a military parade, reading New Year messages from various political and religious leaders and Karen traditional dances.
General Saw Mo Shay, vice Chief of Staff of the DKBA spoke to Karen News about the event.
“It is a honor that we can celebrate the Karen New Year this year together with DKBA day. My message for the event is that if there are civilians, there will be a need for an army. Civilians should love the army and the army should not do anything against civilians. With new heart and new mind in the new year, let’s continue our struggle for the liberation of our Karen people.”
Naw Ohn Hla, a social and political activist based in Burma who attended the ceremony spoke to Karen News.
“I wish that all Karen people will be have a joyful life in the New Year. As I come and celebrate New Year in this area, I become closer to communities here. This is a sign of unity for our Karen people. We will work more for our people.”
The event entertainment included boxing, music concert, Karen traditional dance, a musical show and sports – football, volleyball and a sports competition.
The DKBA broke away from the Karen National Union and allied itself with the Burma army until 2010 when they were ordered by the Burma government to transform into a Border Guard Force. While the majority of its troops became BGF, a faction led by Saw Lah Pwe rejected the transformation and remain as the DKBA. The DKBA reached a ceasefire agreement with the government three years ago.