Autonomy to Successes


December Thaw

I was a grandchild of grandparents who are too innocent that are harshly killed by the Burmese military. I was born in Thailand refugee camp, but all my family was originally from Myanmar. Whenever someone asks me, "Where are you from?" I respond, "I am from Thailand." I do have some kind of struggle to answer this question because I don't speak Thai or not I am born in Myanmar. I was taught by my parents that I am the blood of Karen (Kayin). I should have kept my culture, speak my language, hand for my Karen people, above all, I should have to value everything that is for me. I am too grateful for having parents who raised me and worry about my future. I am sure all parents would do anything for their kids to lives well. Compared to my situation now and with other kids, peers, brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, and grandparents who live in the village in Myanmar could be different. They live under the roof of leaves, floors of flatting bamboo. Whole bamboo for house stand and clothes as blankets. I'm here have been to a great school. I can speak English. I can have anything I want that is possible. One thing I cannot have is my hometown. A place where I can call my country. Still, I am also grateful to have my Karen leaders who have been fighting for many years after years. They give up their life just to get a country to call our own. So, for a new generation can have a better life situation. Saw Ba U Gyi was known as a founder of the Karen National Union and modern Karen armed revolution. He once told Karen leaders that there are three ways for the Karen struggle for freedom and autonomy to succeed. 
The villager got torture by the Burmese military. Ladies got rape and can be killed at any time anywhere. The villages got bomb and plantation get fired. Villagers are afraid to go back home because of the landmine are everywhere. Gentlemen got criticism and killed wrongfully. This is such a painful discrimination. Just as Ba U Gyi told leaders, the first way to get freedom is Armed Struggle. Since 1947, Karen starts a group of armies to defend ourselves. We have to fight back but not to give a ravage to our enemies. Karen people are truthful, peace lovers, welcoming, and willing to sacrifice themselves for what they are precious of.  It's been seventy years since 1949 when the Karen army getting into civil war. Of course, Karen military is trying its best to protect citizens. It is never best for armed struggles because armed struggle are killing life. Armed struggle is soldiers who are too brave. If it about something they have to remove, they have to remove. If it about something to kill, they have to kill. Even the whole world mark that armed struggle is against peace for all nation. All nations have to have an armed struggle at least in one base. For the best of armed struggle is to protect ourselves. It helps us kept the land secured and protect Karen people from enemies. If Karen doesn't fight back, there is no more Karen. Back in England controlling; in B.T.F. (Burma Territorial Force), U.T.C. (University Training Corp), B.A.F. (Burma Auxiliary Force), and Burma Army Signal, only Karen people showed up more percentages than any other ethnic in Myanmar. Even when country agitation, only Karen people willing to volunteer to help out England. After 1941, since England moved out to India, Japanese military start controlling. They partner up with Burma Rifle and harm any other ethnic who lives in Myanmar. Even after the Japanese controlled; killed, raped, tortured, burned, discrimination, criticized, and other harmful ways do not stop Burma Rifle and the military. Karen people don't mind of killing or discrimination but what Karen hated most is when women get raped. Karen can't take those anymore so, just to protect ourselves self they fought back. Then the civil wars never stop between KNU and BIA. Burmese Rifle will never stop what they are doing. Aung San says once, they will do it until the culture of Karen people will be in the historical museum. This means, there no more Karen people but only in history. Still, Karen leaders kept fighting for Karen independence. The armed struggle has been carried out longer and longer, but nothing change.
    The second way to get freedom is political dialogue and a negotiated settlement with the Burmese governments. It a good thing to fight on the table because there is no physical harm. An elder once said that your tongue can kill others. Something odd is when there is no honesty. I can say that Burmese Rifle is dishonest. Eight years ago, KNU and the Burmese government sign the paper of Ceasefire to mark that it is the end of hostilities. I never heard of my Karen people said, "Our country is safe." That signature is fake. "Never lie to someone who trusts you, and never trust someone that lies to you." This far, Karen leaders shouldn't get fool by anyone anymore. Your action speaks louder than your words. In the book of Karen History said that they once regret for not having a vision. It a lesson to learn because when the difficulty right in front of us; as leaders, where there is no vision, it will be more challenge for the citizen who is looking up for help. Groups of the Karen army should get back together and stand one for the whole nation. Some of the Karen generals are still controlling land that does not belong to them. Landowners couldn't do any back because they the gun and the power. What I am saying is as our great grandparents are lived traditionally and simply. We as a great-grandchild should take after them and then we will be a blessing. When KNU leaders keep trusting our enemies, Karen will always be got fool. Karen might fell apart. This kind of mistake has been continuing since the beginning. Karen trust England for help to become independent. Still, Karen trust the Burmese government that they will give them peace. Political dialogue and a negotiated settlement with the Burmese governments carried over years after years but still, there is nothing change.     
    The third way is international intervention and arrangement on the Karen people's behalf. This will be awkward if our Karen gets our own country this way. To get your own country, you have to fight with your own sweat and drop our own blood. For example, America is giving up many lives to get their own country. Before he was the first president, he is General George Washington. He has his own dream. He believes one day the United States will have its own land. All the military have a loyal heart to their own country and truthful to their own people. What I am saying is if we have one vision and follow the same goal will be faster for us to the achievement. Just in case, if we have our independence, the image of the new generation will face the words that are something like having our independence through others but not our own blood.  This is okay because Karen people are loyal since day one. Even those Karen people working so hard under England controlling, they won't help us get our independence. The book of Karen History said, "Even those I have the heart for Karen people, my other leg is with Burmese." Said long leg. Which is means they are not helping Karen to be independent. No matter how hard Karen tries and hardworking, they still don't have the heart. Since International Commission is stand up straight and they are the balancing equations which also mean the same as the judge. It best to arrange the document that there are groups of ethnicities in Myanmar who still do not have peace.    
    In conclusion, the best thing is to get Karen states independence. To be independent is to get international intervention and arrangements on behalf of Karen people. It has been many years for armed struggle and I never heard there is peace. A lot of Karen people have given up their life and the family was left behind. Some of them came home with one leg or one arm. Our governor doesn't have the fund to take care of the family's needs. Especially the family that left behind would be in a more difficult situation. Think of it, there is only volunteer in the military of Karen. There is no fund to support them. Even those the conference of signing Ceasefire of ending the hostilities, I still have not heard there is peace for Karen people. Karen has to flee away from the homeland. Not enough blanket and not enough foods to take with them and them full of worriedness. It all up to KNU who is working for our nation. The best way to get peace is from international intervention. The international commission on intervention and state sovereignty (ICISS) can try to navigate the conflict again. Back in 2018, Karen went to the White House to protect to ask for peace. Karen leaders who went to speak with the committee, they don't let people know what going on. Either way, I am pretty sure something changes there. UN World Summit can adopt another outcome document on the responsibility to protect. Karen people just need to put more hard work into what they are doing. Mean what they are saying and what they are doing. Act the ways how is the situation is like. Said one thing and act differently would be difficult for ICISS to make things change. Said one word today and said another word next days will also make international committee confuse. Before all this thing happens and starts off with World nation committee, we need to see our self-reflection. Questioning ourselves that if we are truly working for peace. Are we really working for our Karen nation? The conflict between Karen must be understood as a youth revolt against established corrupt systems run by older men. Let everyone speak up and take what are good. Stay positive and Carrie things strongly. Just know that citizens are waiting for the work to succeed. They are looking up to KNU leaders. Karen is logging for peace. Build an integrated peace movement between each one of Karen. Protect political space and also governments must follow public dissent. Display less hubris, make more policy change, and built up rules that are fair for everyone. Share out wealth fairly by paying taxes. Bring about true equality between women and men, as well as religious. United Nations General Assembly, the security council, and the human rights council might have the passion to help out our Karen. 
    Overall, three ways of Ba U Gyi left the words for the Karen struggle for freedom and autonomy to succeed is armed struggle, political dialogue and a negotiated settlement with the Burmese governments, and international intervention and arrangement on the Karen people's behalf. The greatest thing to do now is getting an international committee to involve. Otherwise, we will be losing our culture, languages, traditions, and group of people called Karen. Think once and think twice, we have the blood of Karen, and are we really working for our nation?