Karen people have started to make their annual pilgrimage to the Karen National Liberation Army 7th Brigade’s headquarter in Hpa-an district to commemorate the 66th Anniversary of the beginning of its resistance against the former Burma military regime.
The Karen Resistance Day falls on 31st January and is celebrated every year in Karen National Union controlled territory. This year, the KNU headquarters has joined with its armed wing, the KNLA 7th Brigade to commemorate the historical day.
Padoh Thaw Thi Bwe, joint secretary of the KNU spoke to Karen News about the importance of the day to its people.
“This special occasion is celebrated in many places. We encourage our fellow comrades to hold this event in any place. In the past, it was different as there was fighting. Now we are in the ceasefire period.”
Padoh Saw Lay Taw, an organizing committee of the event spoke to Karen News of the days agenda.
“Events will include a military parade” said Padoh Lay Taw, adding that although other Karen armed groups were invited to join the celebrations, “we have no arrangement yet to include other Karen armed groups to join in the parade.”
General Mutu Sae Poe, chairperson of the KNU in his speech prepared for the occasion said.
“I urge all the Karen nationals to value, respect and honor this historic day as a special and noble day. I thank, honor and put on record also all the patriotic Karen nationals, who have made sacrifices and struggled in their respective corners to carry out their national duties, since the start of the resistance.”
In his address, General Mutu said that Karen Resistance Day today is different from 60 years ago as some people find the current situation as “motivating expectations” and other have “feelings of concern, suspicious and frustration”.
General Mutu address said.
“Instead of armed engagement, it is now the time to learn how to prevent armed clashes from breaking out and to give our comprehensive support for the progress of political dialogue.” General Mutu it was important to find a politically resolutions and to maintain the struggle to build trust.
“We have to make ourselves to be more politically and militarily mature, and to become fully self-confident. It is necessary not to make one-sided demands and adhere to a single position dogmatically on the basis of mistrust of one another, as a consequence of bad history leading to the crumbling of national unity.”
General Mutu also called for every Karen to take part in the peace process.
“I urge Karen – political and military leaders and all the community based Karen organizations, in their respective roles, to make the effort to understand really the current process and to get involved actively and work to coordinate between individuals and between one organization for national reconciliation.”
General Mutu in his role as KNU chairman said in his address by stating.
“I urge you to make an all-out effort for peace, in accordance with the changed political situation, with full trust and courage at the “dialogue table”. Just like we had courageously fought in the battlefield even though our strength was unequal.”
General Mutu said it was “necessary for all Karen people, all the Karen resistance armed forces and the Karen organizations of all classes, to have a positive attitude, be united, we have to work in the “leading” role by taking responsibility for both pessimistic and optimistic views.”
General Mutu concluded his address by calling on Karen people to pull together as one nation.
“We have to work together for the achievement of the political rights to equality, self-determination and the federal union, we all desire.”