Felicitation Letter on 68th Anniversary of Karen National Day

Karen National Union
Supreme Headquarters

KNU President Gen. Mutu Sae Poe’s Felicitation Letter on
68th Anniversary of Karen National Day

3rd Waxing Moon,
Htayku Month,
2755 (K. E.)

February 11, 2016

Dear All the Karen Nationals,

The 68th Anniversary of Karen National Day, falling on the 11th of February 2016, is a special and sacred day for the entire Karen nation. On the basis of historical experiences, which our Karen people had to go through and the unusual events, our national leaders and forefathers had designated special days, and we the Karen people honor and observe them yearly. Among the special days of the Karen nation, the 11th of February was designated as the Karen National Day, because on this day in the Karen history, national unity was demonstrated and national aspirations were voiced nationwide by the Karen people. On this Karen people’s special and sacred day, I would like to wish all the Karen nationals to be filled with Karen national spirit, attributes and characteristics.

Dear All the Karen Nationals,

Our Karen people have all the necessary characteristics of a nation such as their own separate history, culture, traditions, language, literature, way of life etc. In accordance with being a nation, we have the desire to live, in our daily life, according to our own customs and traditions. Likewise, for the social development of our people, we would like to undertake peacefully and without worry, in accordance with our own aspirations. However, throughout the entire Karen history, the Karen people have to bear all kinds of oppression by other nationalities trying to degrade and destroy our Karen national characteristics and historical roots.

In order to remain distinct as a people and progress peacefully, the Karen had avoided living intermingled with other peoples by moving from one place to another and had preserved their traditions, culture and characteristics. Mistrust had developed within our Karen people against the peoples, who had persecuted them. After gaining modern education and knowledge, and acquiring more insight and wisdom, they came to realize that bullying and oppression could not be terminated by avoidance. In time, they developed the awareness and ideology that they have to co-exist with the other nationalities and strive for their freedom and legitimate rights by confronting, overcoming and ending oppressions. Accordingly, for freedom, progress and prosperity of life, – unity and cooperation among the Karen people had become strengthened incrementally. The Karen started to form national organizations. The Karen National Association (KNA), which was the first organization of the Karen people, was formed in 1881. Then, the Buddhist Karen National Association (BKNA), Karen Central Organization (KCO) and Karen Youth Organization (KYO) were formed and, in the interest of the Karen people, they operate in separate fields.

Dear All the Karen Nationals,

For the strengthening of Karen people’s movement, a Karen conference was held in 1947 from February 3 to 7 and, for leading the Karen people’s movement, the conference formed the Karen National Union (KNU) on February 5. Under the leadership of the KNU, the Karen people’s hope, movement and cooperation had become stronger. On February 11, 1948, under the aegis and arrangement of the KNU, for the gaining of a Karen State yearned for by the Karen people, in the various towns and cities where the Karen people lived, more than five hundred thousand Karen demonstrated silently and in peaceful processions, holding placards bearing the slogans:

(1) Give Karen State Right Away;
(2) Show Karen One Kyat, Burman One Kyat Right Away; (3) We Don’t Want Civil War;
(4) We Don’t Want Racial Strife; –

which expressed the Karen people’s political needs and aspirations for self-determination, freedom, equality, mutual recognition and respect, and peaceful coexistence with the other nationalities.

That day was the day on which our own Karen people unanimously voiced, for the first time in the Karen people’s history, the real need and yearning of the Karen people for national freedom, equality and love of peace. At the first Kawthoolei Congress held from November 23 to 25, in 1953, after the emergence of Karen national armed resistance, the date ‘February 11’ was designated as the Karen National Day. Those views, positions, needs and aspirations of the Karen people are alive and firmly planted in the hearts and minds of the Karen people, up to this day. The national movement that started in 1947, for the maintenance and protection of Karen people’s views, positions, needs, aspirations, attribute sand characteristics has developed to the extent of revolutionary armed resistance, and the process of realization is being carried out by various means up to this day.

Dear All the Karen Nationals,

We have been in armed struggle for obtaining our Karen people’s needs and aspirations for more than 60 years. Though revolutionary armed resistance had not been the original choice of the Karen people, it is a just struggle for the protection of our Karen people’s attributes and characteristics, and for obtaining our birth rights. As it was unavoidable, we have faced it unitedly and courageously. For a people to flourish freely in accordance with aspirations of the nationals, armed struggle is not the one and only way. There are many means and ways and they can be undertaken in any place and at any time. Our Karen people have striven to maintain our Karen people’s attributes and characteristics in our own region and field, and we have endeavored to raise the welfare of our nationals in the field we are skilled in.

In accordance with the political development of today the KNU, which has led the struggle of the Karen people’s political movements, has signed a ceasefire agreement with the government and armed forces. Ceasefire does not mean the abandonment of the Karen people’s political movement and political objectives. It is to hold discussions on our Karen people’s aspirations and political stands, and find resolutions to the fundamental causes that have led to the civil war. It is the undertaking to gain the political objectives hoped for by our nationals, after analysis of the experiences we have gone through the entire course of history and the various relevant conditions.

As we have faced together the armed struggle courageously and unitedly, it is necessary to participate unanimously, courageously and unitedly also in the political struggle. Just like our Karen people have participated together in the armed struggle, it is a time to strive for discussion of political matters in the field of political struggle. As to our Karen people, they are but to cooperate with the entire people, together with the fellow ethnic nationalities, and endeavor in the field of political struggle.

In the field of political struggle, we need to perform with ingenuity, wisdom, caution and alertness. Political dialogue and discussions do not mean gaining a victory but exploration and discovering a correct solution, acceptable to both sides in conflict. Though it is not a struggle where blood and sweat have to be sacrificed, if the endeavors are not right and the methodologies are not correct, it could become a great loss and damage for the entire nationality. At the same time, in order to be able to fulfill our own national aspirations in the political battle field, and to raise the tempo of the political battle field, it is necessary to make preparation, in advance, on the basis of all our knowledge and expertise.

Dear All the Karen Nationals,

Our Karen people have to write their own history. It is necessary to be pragmatic and write in consonant with the developing situation, based on the objective condition of our Karen people. It is not gainful to cultivate with fanciful talk and writing. It is necessary to depict and show unanimously and truthfully that our Karen people appreciate freedom, peace, equality and justice, and value the right to decide their own destiny.

In addition to publicizing, talking and showing on the basis of our Karen people’s actual yearnings and aspirations, to practice, think and live as an example in our daily life is writing our own true history, which is actually yearned for by our Karen people. Our Karen entire history shows that we have the moral tendency not to give in to oppression. At the same time, our Karen people need to nurture the spirit to achieve victory on the basis of truth and justice.

Dear All the Karen Nationals,

In conclusion, on this Karen National Day, I would like to urge our Karen people, as it is especially necessary, to consistently and unitedly maintain and demonstrate, from now on, the Karen people being a national entity, the Karen national characteristics and attributes just like our Karen national mass had demonstrated on the 11th of February 1948 that our Karen people loved and valued self-determination, freedom, peace and unity. Our nationals are a nationality that loves and values self- determination, freedom, peace and unity. If we are able to maintain and protect, and unitedly bring out and promote our Karen peoples’ attributes and characteristics from our own various sectors, our Karen people’s aspirations and objectives will certainly be achieved.

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