By Naw Poe Kler
Before his assassination Saw ba U Gyi instructed Karen leaders of his manifesto based around three key points: 1) armed struggle; 2) political dialogue and a negotiated settlement with the Burmese government and 3) international intervention and arrangement on the Karen peoples’ behalf.
The overall objective of the competition is to pay tribute to the Karen’s revolutionary leader Saw Ba U Gyi and its Martyr’s Day that falls on August 12, 2020.
KOA organizers said participants entered from a wide range of countries including the USA, Canada, Norway, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Burma.
Saw Greh Moo, spokesperson of KOA told Karen News “as expected we see a very diverse group of young people ranging from high school, college, university students and community activists – the majority of them are college and university students in their twenties.”
Saw Greh Moo said they are expecting a very competitive process when it comes to selecting winners.
“These are very talented and articulated young people who have so many good ideas and thoughts on the subject. We are pleased to see so many young Karen from different parts of the world entering the competition and contributing their thoughts and ideas – we expect to learn a great deal from them.”
Naw Gay Ka Mwee, a registered participant studying at Metropolitan State University College Junior in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA told Karen News that her interest in the Karen Revolution stems from her admiration of the tenacity, perseverance, and courage of her Karen people.
“Most people my age do not fully understand the struggles of our people in Burma, I’m interested in this revolution because it fills me with a desire to help, learn more, and draw attention to the difficult conditions facing our people.”
Gay Ka Mwee said that through her essay, she hopes to make a small contribution to the Karen struggle.
“I hope I can do something, however small, to get our people to honestly evaluate the effectiveness of our [current] strategies, so that one day our people can be truly free. We must continually reform our efforts for change. I hope my essay awakens all Karen people.”
Saw Taw Ka Lu Gaw Moo, from Thailand said he would be proud if his essay made a contribution to the struggle.
“If I win this competition, I would rather be honored for my thoughts instead of being recognized with prizes. I would be happy if my contribution is recognized and I will also keep doing what I think it is helpful for the Karen revolution. Winning is not the end for me, being recognized is the way that stimulates me to be a more competent person.”
Saw Kane Hay Tha, an university student who registered in Italy said his interest in the Karen revolution has been his passion since he was a teenager. Saw Kane Hay Tha said he feels there is a need for all Karen to partake in the world’s longest revolution.
“In this critical time, one [Karen] should contribute to revolution regardless of their professions, especially young and enthusiastic Karen”.
“This essay competition topic is dear to my heart, I try to make time to give a fresh and different solution to the Karen political struggle. Coming from a human rights background with fresh ideas, I believe that my ideas could provide a new solution for our long-waited political autonomy.”
KOA said prizes for the winner are 1st prize, $USD 1,000, 2nd prize USD $700 and 3rd Prize USD $500. Through a collaboration with Karen News, the winner of the first prize will have his/her work published by Karen News. The winners will be announced towards the end of August.