General Mutu Say Poe, chairperson of the Karen National Union (KNU) in a speech addressed to all Karen people to mark the 65th Karen Revolution Day, called for a peaceful solution to the civil war that it has fought for the last six decades. Thousands of Karen people made their way from Thailand, from overseas and within Burma to sites inside Karen State to commemorate its Revolution Day held on 31st January.
Gen. Mutu Say Poe used his speech to reaffirm his call to solve the country’s political problems by peaceful means.
“Now is the time that every leader and organisation [should] stop the civil war and peacefully find solutions to the political problems, and in this way, write the history of the Karen and the Union and leave a legacy of peace and prosperity that the next generations have longed for.”
Gen. Mutu Say Poe reinforced in his speech that peace could only be achieved when there is equality in Burma.
“Peace and national prosperity can be guaranteed only when there is ethnic equality, the right to self-determination and a Union based on a democratic political system.”
Gen. Mutu Say Poe said that, “in order to achieve sustainable prosperity for everyone in the country, it is necessary to cooperate with all the ethnic nationalities, political organisations and other stakeholders hold responsibility, leaders in all different sectors of the government who are willing to pursue political justice and peace in the country.”
The KNU’s chairman speech warned that although the government and Ethnic Armed Organisations, signed ceasefire agreements with the government and had recently gathered to prepare to sign a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement they had learned from past experiences that they “need to be prudent and cautious.”
Saw Kapi, the founder of the Salween Institute agreed with Gen. Mutu Say Poe call for ethnic equality, the right to self-determination and a Union based on a democratic political system.
Speaking to Karen News, Saw Kapi urged that everyone has to take responsibility for the struggle for equality.
“We all have to understand that our Karen national struggle is still at the stage of revolution. The main purpose of the Karen National Union led Karen struggle is for ethnic equality and the right to self-determination. All Karen have to share the responsibilities for the protection and development of the union of Burma.”
The Karen Youth Organization (KYO) in a letter to mark the 65th anniversary of the Karen Revolution Day stated that the great Karen leaders had struggled for the Karen cause and that the KYO believes that there will continue to be sacrifices and effort to ensure the freedom of all Karen people.
The Karen people took up arms on 31st January 1949, after they were denied their demands for political inclusion and for the rights of ethnic nationalities.