Saw Ba U Gyi 3 Strategies Laid Out
Saw Moe Zat Aye
To all our Karen People, do you still believe Karen's struggle for freedom, autonomy to succeed and able to decide our political destiny in this current political conflict situation that we have been facing until now? I strongly believe and have faith in my courage, motivation, and struggle as I was born a Karen people to inherit the true equality and freedom. We can't lose faith, never give up and we must be stronger than we used to be. We all will get to the place where we wish to live. Recall what our enemy said. “The Karen people will no longer exist in this world if you want to see Karen people, you will be able to see them only at the museums.” Nevertheless, the Karen people now have separated all over the world and our populations are growing bigger than we expected. So how could we lose our faith to succeed? If we are united, everything will be possible for us to achieve. Saw Ba U Gyi laid out 3 strategies for Karen people’s freedom. The first is for Karen people to engage in an armed struggle for their freedom. The second is through political dialogue for a negotiated settlement with the Burmese government. And the third is by international intervention or arrangement for the Karen people. He said we will gain freedom by one of these strategies. In my opinion, the last strategy is happening now and I think it is the right way to gain our freedom. Let support this strategy and succeed for it if not we wouldn’t be able to have our autonomy to achieve and able to decide our political destiny.
Our revolution started in 1949 is still ongoing until now. It has been over 71 years. We can’t continue our revolution like this year by year, and generation to generation. We don’t want to see our next generation suffering like we have suffered from war, oppression, poverty, and persecution. I believe that our current generation should be the last to suffer from hostility. Our people have been oppressed for several decades. Our land has been taken, our home has been burnt, and our opportunities, cultures, tradition, languages, and freedom have been destroyed. Many of us have lost our lives.
We have realized that armed struggling could not completely give us freedom and enable us to decide our political destiny. Therefore, we had lost more than what we should have. We couldn’t even defend our land and our people. Moreover, many of our territories have been taken by the enemy who also control many our people. This is not a drama. This is the reality that we all are facing. I don’t mean that armed struggle is inferior and not working properly. I think it’s suitable for us to protect ourselves. However, war is always harmful to life and causes destructions. Our people have been divided into different armed groups because of war. Women and children are especially vulnerable to war. War has separated families, leaving women and children to support their families on their own in much difficulty. I grew up with incomplete support when I was a child of 8 years old; I was segregated from my family. I have been facing with various problems and got in terrible situation. My father couldn’t come back home for many years in addition, my mother couldn’t stand alone to look after us and cover the medical bills. We couldn’t go back home and we were hiding in the forest. We were thirsty, not adequate food, terrified, worry and hopeless. I saw my mother’s tears fall down slightly on her face, furthermore; in her tear, I saw poverty, worry and sadness. Nobody knows that we were worry and sad because it was really difficult to service. I just only knew to pray to God.
A large number of our civilian have been killed, and many have had to flee abroad and become refugees. As we are being oppressed and discriminated our people have fallen apart and not able to unite. In 1994 Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), In 2007 KNU/KNLA Peace Council (PC), in 2009 Border Grad Force (BGF) broke away from KNU. After we split, we became enemies against one another and killing each other. I don’t recommend gaining our freedom with armed struggle because we have been trying for that and we know the results.
Saw Ba U Gyi’s second strategy, political dialogue for a negotiated settlement with the Burmese government, cannot not either completely give us freedom or enable us to decide our political destiny. Our leaders have pursued this strategy. But this strategy will only work if our leader leads us correctly and decisively with honesty for the benefits of the people.
They are currently negotiating with the government. After we began negotiation with the Burmese government, they signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement on 15 October 2015. The process is still ongoing. There has not been improvement for us to achieve equality and freedom. The ceasefire has enabled civilians to travel and conduct business more freely and safely. Some of our people who fled abroad could return. But the situation is still very fragile because there is no progress in negotiation.
The ceasefire has also allowed DKBA, PC, BGF and KNU/ KNLA for more corporations. However, concerns among the Karen people persist because the ceasefire is fragile. There are thousands of people suffering and distress; moreover, we are prejudicial treatment of vary categories of people. We desire equal opportunity and adequate education, place to live, job, work and gain our own right. Now I don’t see that much change in my community and society, even nationwide ceasefire agreement has been sign, there are some part of place still have fighting and violence. Actually, Rohinya has faced the extremely hardship in 2017 killing by the military government. I feel really sorrowful for the children and mercy on them. I have been facing the same situation in my community. There are numerous children don’t get fair opportunity as others children obtaining. The government has taken advantage over the ceasefire by sending more troops to KNU controlled areas and others ethnics control area that have resulted in armed clashes.
Instead of complaining about each other or blaming others, we must be united to find solutions for the problem. I have seen that during the NCA some of our leaders are looking for their personal gains. They have lost courage and strength to fight for freedom while ordinary soldiers have to suffer due to lack of supports for their families in terms of food, health, and education. This has also caused the ordinary soldiers to lose faith and moral in the struggle for freedom.
This insincere ceasefire has created distrusts between the stakeholders and cannot deliver equality for us. We have seen many times when the government side has broken the agreement. In my perspective, if we want to continue with the NCA we must be tough, decisive, and united among all the Karen. We cannot just stand and watch or retreat while our people are being cheated and attacked during a negotiation process. We must be prepared to push back both at the negotiation table and in the battle ground when necessary.
Saw Ba U Gyi’s third strategy says that international intervention or arrangement will deliver freedom for the Karen people we believe this strategy is possible for us. This strategy is currently occurring with us. This strategy is also happening with us during the negotiation process. We have seen this trough the intervention of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the Burmese government over the genocide the Rohingya. Furthermore, the Karen Thai Group (KTG) delivered an appeal letter to the US embassy to seek justice for a Karen woman named Naw Mu Naw after she was killed by Burmese soldiers recently. This represents an international intervention arrangement for our people. Our people around the world have staged demonstrating whatever injustices happen to our people. For example, Karen people in the USA protested at the White House for justice for our people. So now I think it is the best time for us to be united as one big nation so that our life will be free and beautiful.
We have also seen a growing number of many young educated Karen who have the motivation, courage, strength, and willingness to work for their people. In my opinion, our leaders should create opportunities and encourage this young generation to work for their people. In this is a modern world, the it is important that young and educated Karen participate in the revolution and help their people by informing the world about the plights of the Karen people and get the international community involved.
Let us reunite all of our divided armed groups be prepared for both negotiation and armed struggle. But most importantly, let us implement Saw Ba U Gyi’s third strategy to get more international support for our freedom. Especially, for the other two strategies we had done with it and knew the result. It is not completely giving us our freedom. Our people have been through a lot of sufferings. We cannot let this continue. It is time for us to fight for our liberty. We must strongly support the third strategy all our people around the world. It is time to raise up our voice make the change for the children who suffering, innocent women who rape, and killed. It is time to gain our freedom. Let support this strategy and succeed for it if not we wouldn’t be able to have our autonomy to achieve and able to decide our political destiny. Don’t let the women and children suffer we can do it together. Let us all unite and fight for our freedom that will give us chance for wisdom, youth future and security for us. The government lie us not fulfill their promise. Let’s fight to fulfill that promise and fight to free our people. We are human being we live by each other happiness not by each other misery.
Finally, I would like to say that do not be despaired. Our freedom is in our hands. The hatred of men will pass, dictators will die, and the power they took from us they will return to us. Don’t give ourselves to brutes, men who despise you enslave you; who regiment our lives, we are not machines we have love for humanity. Let’s fight for it. We are the people who have the power to make our life free and beautiful. So let’s make that happen. In the name of democracy, let us use that power.