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The Karen National Union (KNU) is a democratic organisation respresenting the Karen people of Burma. Our goal is peace and prosperity in a democratic federal Burma.

Address of KNU President, Gen Saw Tamla Baw, on Karen New Year Day

22 Dec 2011

Dear Karen Nationals at home and abroad
Leaders and Comrades,

The first day of waxing moon of Thlay month 2751 Karen Era, which falls on the 25th of December 2011 AD, is an auspicious and glorious day of the Karen New Year. We, the entire Karen people, will receive happiness and all kinds of blessings as we get the opportunity to welcome this propitious day. On this Karen New Year Day, I would like to wish every Karen at home and abroad to have the power of body and mind abundantly, with the delivery of my address.

Though the Karen people is a major nationality with the desire to live together, in weal and woe, in this country with the other nationalities, many Karens have to depart and live in different countries of the world, as they do not get the rights, freedom and dignity deserving of a nationality, and for the majority of the Karen people, who remain in the country, there is no guarantee for the security of their lives, homes and property. They still have to live in fear and anxiety, every day. They have been deprived by force the rights to own land, property and homes in the lands of their forefathers’. We, the Karen people, have struggled for more than half a century to be freed from oppression and to stand as a free people, but we still have not reached our goal and have to carry on the struggle, because we had been weak in unity and cooperation in our struggle.

In consonant with the current changes in the political situation of Burma and as the military backed U Thein Sein government has made an overture for talks, the Karen National Union (KNU) is making an endeavor for achieving peace in the interest of the entire Karen people and the fellow ethnic nationalities. Since the KNU has always kept open the door to peace for the resolution of political problems by political means peacefully, and in accordance with the political principles, guideline and programs adopted by the KNU 14th Congress, the KNU Central Standing Committee meeting, held from November 8 to 11, has decided unanimously to establish ceasefire and build peace in the country.

On my part, I would like to remind all concerned again to work with alertness so that our unity and beliefs may not crack under the stab by the enemy.  By various means, the enemy is assaulting to destroy the unity of thought within the Karen people. Just as the unity of the entire Karen people is a vital factor for the victory of the Karen people’s revolutionary resistance, it is also necessary for the cooperative action to be present in every sector in our national liberation movement. For achievement of the goal of the Karen people, it is particularly essential for us to work with cooperative spirit, unity of thought and action in the New Year. Since every one of the nationalities has the duty to struggle for freedom and gain the right to decide its own destiny, we all must work with utmost effort. It is necessary for every one of the Karen people living in different countries to maintain the Karen cultural heritage and language, and pass on the practice to posterity so that the Karen people may not become extinct. On the other hand, it is necessary for us to cooperate closely with the other fellow ethnic nationalities and the democratic organizations until the establishment of a genuine democratic federal union, which guarantees politically the rights of the ethnic nationalities.

In closing, I would to urge all the Karen to work hand in hand together with unity, to help one another and to repulse the enemy, which will endanger us, and as well as all the dangers until we can live as a free people.

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