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Analysis of Saw Ba U Gyi’s three strategies


Ku Paw

For as long as I can remember, from my grandparents’ generation to my parents' and now to mine, we, the Karen people, have always wanted peace, autonomy and freedom. However, we have never achieved that goal or even gotten close to a slight taste of it because we are continuously being oppressed, introduced to violence, being chased out of the land our ancestors have called home, being stripped off of our culture, and so much more that should not have happened to a human being. If you are wondering who our oppressors are, well they bear the colors yellow, red and green but you should know that they are not the only one. It pains me to say this but even some of our own Karen people who no longer know what it means to be Karen have become our enemy because they are blinded by greed and power. I have come to realize that the more we are deprived of peace and freedom, the more divided we become using religion and different views as an excuse when instead, we should be fighting together with the help of our Leader, Saw Ba U Gyi, and his wise words to help us get closer to what we desperately want and need. After analyzing his three strategies on how to succeed, I have reached a conclusion of International intervention being the number one choice, Armed struggle second, and Negotiation with the Burmese government last.
     To some, a negotiation sounds way better than using violence to solve a problem but they only think that way because they have not encountered our enemy nor do they have background knowledge about them. A negotiation is supposed to be a peaceful compromise where both sides benefit and learn to coexist with each other. However, it is impossible for our Karen people to make a negotiation because we will only fall into the traps that the Burmese government has laid out. We will be taken advantage of and lose more than we will gain by making a negotiation due to the fact that the Burmese government hates us. They hate us because we are an Ethnic group and they hate us because we are Karen. They hate us because we love our culture and are not afraid to show it off. Lastly, they hate us because they can not silence us and stop us from letting the world know that we, the Karen people, exist and also walk this Earth. It is also impossible to make a negotiation happen because the very people who we call our leader and share our Karen blood and the same people whom we put our trust and faith in to represent us have come back brainwashed. They have become puppets with its strings being controlled by the Burmese government and they have been programmed to tell us promises that every Karen knows are lies. We know they are lies because after every promise, things are still the same. Our people are still being forced out of their home, our men are still being treated like dogs, our childrens and women are still being assaulted and abused, our villages are still being burned, and our elders are still being mercilessly killed. So, how can we negotiate with someone who does not even listen to what we have to say and does not even have any respect for us? How can we negotiate with them when they are already taking everything by force? A negotiation will not work even if we want to believe it will because the Burmese government will not put their pride aside and will continue to try to be the most dominant group. They will resist and refuse to see us as human beings and they will keep going until their goal of trying to wipe us, the Karen people, off of the face of the Earth is complete. 
    Wise people will say violence is not the key and it will not solve anything but the Karen people know that that is not entirely true. Armed struggle does include violence but because of it, we are able to keep our feet firm on some part of our land. Bearing arms and holding up weapons has worked well to prevent our enemy from reaching us and to prevent our people from perishing. It has allowed us to remain strong and prove to the Burmese government that we will most certainly not back down and will continue to fight for our freedom and peace. To continue using this strategy means that we are slowing the Burmese government process down and are also giving them a warning that it will not be easy as easy as they think to take us down. Although the strategy, armed struggle, has its perks, it also has its con that prevents it from being the best strategy. We have sent our people that are brave and courageous through this strategy and most of them do not make it back. Sometimes, they lack resources such as food and medicine which is crucial for their survival. We have also let our young boys bear arms because of how long this injustice has been taking place. We have also let them head into battle knowing that they could be spending their childhood differently but this situation we are in will never let them have normal. I also know that we can not continue to fight off the Burmese soldiers forever because they have more advanced weapons than us. So many of our brave souls have lost their lives to this war and the number has not ended yet either. Nevertheless, it is important to remember not to only mourn for them, but to also be thankful for how much they have done for us and how far they were willing to go. It is important to know that they did not die in vain because they died with the will of fire in their heart and the hope of being a step closer to a free kawthoolei. 
    The quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”(MLK), really resonates with me and I know I am not the only one which is why I believe that international intervention is the best strategy. We have been fighting this war for 70 years and are still fighting which is why it is time to let the whole world know our name and the struggles we are facing. We have to let the world know the inhumane treatments that are being brought upon us and the crimes the Burmese regime is committing against humanity. With international help, we will have a stronger foundation to support us and to let the Burmese government know that we are not alone. It will also let the world know what resources we need and how they can help. I have seen organizations that started because of the Karen people and it has helped many of those that do not know us get to know us. This then led to them starting donations in hope of helping our Karen people get the things they need. This is why international intervention is crucial because as more people get to know us, they can spread the words about us and soon it will start to spread like wildfires. I have recently seen the film, Free Burma Rangers and it brought me to tears seeing the continuous suffering from the Burmese regime but it also gave me hope knowing that there people out there that care about us and are also willing to put their life on the line for us. With international intervention to get enough of the world behind our back, we can raise our voice as one and use it to report the Burmese regime to the UN Security Council to refer them to the international Criminal Court. It is time for the Burmese regime to be held accountable for all the crimes and genocide they have commited and for the UN Security Council to do their civil duty and instead of just letting this to be further ignored because we, the Karen people and those that are supporting us, are tired and angry of seeing this never ending injustice that is a disgrace to the human race.
    In conclusion, international intervention is the best of the three strategies by our leader Saw Ba U Gyi because negotiating with the Burmese government will only continue to trap us and things are still the same after talking. Armed struggles have helped slow the Burmese government’s plans down but it will not hold forever and most of our people who have gone into battle do not even make it out alive. I may not have experienced what my ancestors have gone through to make sure I get to live my life comfortably but I still feel their pain and anger. I know that this is the same for all our Karen people out there no matter what continent or which country we are in because deep down, we all know that our true home is Kawthoolei and it is desperately calling out for help. I also know that we have let different beliefs, faith, and religion divide us which is time to put an end to that. A wise man that I will forever look up to who is also known as my father said and I quote,”we have to stop fighting each other and start fighting with each other”. Our enemy is not each other but the Burmese government so instead of continuing to let our differences separate us, let start embracing each other with love and use the dream of a free Kawthoolei to unite us. Although I am young, my father who fought in the army for our Karen people has taught me well about my background and to never forget it. He taught me to never be ashamed to be Karen and to never let the struggles that he went through to be put aside just to fit in with my foreign friends. From time to time, I would get frustrated when someone asks me what I am and I answer Karen but they would correct it to Korean. This also motivated me more to make sure that I use my voice and my education in America to advocate for my Karen people. It is also time for the younger generation to speak up and not be ashamed because no matter how hard we try to blend in with other cultures, we are still Karen and Kawthoolei’s rivers still run in our blood. This is why me and you need to keep fighting for our people and to never give up until our kawthoolei is ours again. Until our grandparents can lay under the shade peacefully, until our children can run around with laughter instead of tears, until we no longer have to make others’ home our home, until we no longer have to explain what Karen is and most of all, until we are all gathered together again in our true homeland and in harmony singing our national anthem; Kawthoolei we love so much.