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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.

KNU President Saw Tamla Baw’s Address on 62nd Anniversary of Karen National Day

11 Feb 2010

Respected Karen Nationals, Members of the KNU and Officers and men of the KNLA,

Today, the 11th of February 2010, is the 62nd Anniversary of Karen National Day. The day is one of the greatest and most imbued with dignity, in the history of the Karen people’s national movement.

On this auspicious occasion, I am very much delighted and honored to be able to speak as President of the KNU. At the same time, I would like to extend my best wishes to the entire Karen people and populations of Burma to have the best of health and peace of mind.

We, the Karen are a people who had lived together with other nationalities, starting from time immemorial, with the ideology based on multi-ethnic friendship, mutual respect, freedom, equality, tolerance, justice and peace. While living in co-existence that way, the Karen people lost their birth rights due to enslavement, oppression and maltreatment by some, with the ideology of chauvinism.

For that reason, throughout the annals of Karen history we see that our past leaders and forebears had struggled whenever opportunity favored, for liberation from enslavement, oppression and maltreatment by the chauvinists. Momentously, on the 11th of February 1948, farsighted patriotic Karen leaders, with visions based on freedom, equality, peace and multi-ethnic friendship, led over 400,000 Karen people in silent demonstrations in all the towns and cities of Burma, where the Karen were present. Demands made to the AFPFL government for freedom and self-development, equality, peace, multi-ethnic friendship etc., and written on the placards borne by the demonstrators were:

1. Give Karen State At Once! (Freedom & Self-development)

2. Show Immediately Karen One Kyat and Burman One Kyat! (Equality as promised by Aung San)

3. No to Civil War! (Peace)

4. No to Racial Strife! (Multi-ethnic Friendship)

However, the ruling government not only rejected and ignored to resolve politically by peaceful means, the Karen question, but also started military attacks on the innocent Karen civilians, we had no choice but to resist in self-defense.

Thus, armed conflict between the AFPFL government and the Karen people started. At present, we are witnessing and experiencing the sowing of dissension and division among us, through various kinds of subterfuge, by the ruling military clique with the ideology of chauvinism, in order to enslave, oppress and exploit the entire Karen people, forever. Accordingly, the entire Karen people must keep constant watch, with political alertness, and demolish the enemy’s plot of sowing dissension and creating division among us.

With mindfulness to lessons taken from our bitter experiences of the past, we must continue to build firmer and stronger unity. We must eradicate clannishness, dogmatism, provincialism, factionalism, self-seeking opportunism etc. which are narrow minded and harmful ideologies. Only then, we will be able to build true and solid unity among the entire Karen nation.

In conclusion, I would like to urge the entire Karen people to be politically alert and united. Oppose and eradicate racism. Expressly oppose and eradicate defeatism among us. Accept the revolutionary resistance of the Karen people as your individual historic task, and continue the struggle together with the entire Karen people, under political leadership of the mother organization, the KNU. At the same time, struggle on together with the entire people, the various democratic forces and the ethnic armed organizations, without prejudice and with unity, for the establishment of a genuine federal union, for democracy and human rights until victory is achieved, by various means and with indomitable spirit.

Chauvinism and Military Dictatorship Must Definitely Fall!

The Just Revolutionary Resistance of the Karen People Shall Be Victorious!


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