Activists: “poverty gap expanding in rural communities…”

Ko Nay Myo Zin, who works to help farmers and rural villagers’ fight for the loss of their farmlands and for their rights, spoke publically in Karen State about the poor living conditions that ethnic people are having to endure. Ko Nay Myo Zin who is a former Burma Army officer and served jail time as a former political prisoner said in a speech that conditions in rural Burma were appalling.

Ko Nay Myo Zin was speaking at ceremony to mark the 18th Anniversary of the formation of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army on December 23 and talked about the lack of opportunity and the lack of infrastructure in rural areas, including transportation.

Speaking to Karen News, Nay Myo Zin said.

“I have seen the living conditions and the expanding poverty gap in communities in remote rural areas. I have seen that many of the communities have been left behind. This is not just happening in Karen State, the situation in the Irrawaddy Delta is the same – it’s as if there are only people who are either too rich or too poor.”

According to a number of reports by humanitarian organisations rural communities in live in dire poverty.

A report, ‘Protracted displacement and chronic poverty in eastern Burma’, by the Thai Burma Border Consortium, deatiled the declining living standards of people in rural areas. Half of the people interviewed for the report said their main source of income was from casual labor or by collecting and selling firewood, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, yams and hunting.

Ko Nyein Thit, a poet, former political prisoner and the current editor of the De-hliang Journal was among those attending the DKBA 18th anniversary ceremony. Ko Nyein Thit told Karen News that he was there to support the ongoing struggle for peace.

“We would like to hear a peaceful song in this place forever. We fight for peace. For us, we fought with people power in the city, but here the fight has been with weapons. We are here to support the struggle for peace.”

Ko Nay Myo Zin said that he believes that if everyone worked hand-in-hand and are willing to compromise there will be an Union of Burma in the near future.

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