貌强：Bo Mya’s Revolutional Life |
By Maung Chan (Burma’s Chinese)
General Bo Mya, the legendary leader of the Karen people, suffered from diabetes for a long time. He was in a wheelchair for many years.
On 24th December 2006 at 2:00 a.m. we were shocked to learn that he had passed away at 79 years of age on the Thai-Burma border, leaving his wife Naw Lar Poe and six children behind.
I was born and grew up in Pantanaw, a rich land of rice and fish in the Irrawaddy Delta, living side by side with Karen people. Since my childhood my Karen relatives and friends told me General Bo Mya’s heroic story, and his devotion to the Karen National Liberation.During my studies at Rangoon University, I was taught by the progressive teachers and students, as well as political leaders,about his skill in guerrilla warfare against the Burmese junta.During my specialized studies in Germany, and working in Germany and Holland I heard from the former premier U Nu, and the ethnic leaders such as SDU General Secretary Sai Wansai and KNU General Saw Sarky etc about his hates, his loves and his political objectives.
General Bo Mya, belonging to the Sqaw Karen tribe, was born and grew up at Hteemukee Village in Mudraw District. He was born an animist until he subsequently met his wife Naw Lar Poe and came to accept the Baptist Christian faith.
Without any formal education he learnt everything through his own experiences of life and hard self-teaching. He was honest and open-minded and loved justice and equality. He spent his whole life in defence of his Karen people. He led his people and the KNU (KarenNational Union) since 1948-49, struggling for national rights, dignity and self-determination. He founded the Karen National Liberation Army and was its Commander-in-Chief until 2000. So needless to say, he earned the love and respect of Karen people from all backgrounds,both Pwo and Sqaw, from urban as well as rural.
In the 1980’s he was not only the paramount leader of the KNU, but also the beloved leader of all nationalities of Burma, both those in the armed struggle and in the democratic movement. At that time he united other ethnic armed forces, such as those of the Karenni, Mon,Shan, Kachin, Chin, Arakan etc building the National Democratic Front, using the countryside to encircle the cities. In 1988-90, the junta lost the General Election but refused to hand-over power to the people. The junta even dared to oppress the democratic parties and kill the peacefully demonstrating students, farmers, workers and monks.
All oppressed peoples came to his liberated area. Bo Mya’s army and people accepted them warmly and with them built the Democratic Alliance of Burma. General Bo Mya was elected as its president. The revolutionary base at Marnerplaw became the anti-junta stronghold and lighthouse for all nationalities in the whole of Burma.
At the 13th Conference of the KNU in December 2004, General Bo Mya resigned from his executive position due to health problems, but remained the leading advisor. General Tarmalarbaw, 81 years old,succeeded him in this hard-working position.
General Bo Mya was the revolutionary leader of armed struggle who never bowed before the enemy, however he was a peace-loving great leader as well. Whenever there was a chance for peace, he never gave up. In 2004, he got the chance to make “a gentleman’s agreement” with General Khin Nyunt, then the Premier. He went personally without any fear to Rangoon, trying to do his best for the peace-talks. In 2006,his successor General Tarmalarbaw continued these peace-talks twice,in Moulmein the capital of Mon State.
General Bo Mya always spoke the truth. He hated Burmese Chauvinism and the military dictatorship, he loved social justice, national equality and self-determination, and he pursued the genuine Federal Union of Burma.
"Our revolution is one that must fight against evil and all the wrongs. We must never go against the masses of the country." said Bo Mya.
The passing away of General Bo Mya is indeed a great loss to all nationalities of Burma, either from the armed forces or from the democratic forces. Therefore, we Burma’s Chinese, conveyed our heartfelt condolence to the family members, the party and the people of the Karen on 26.12.2006 as follows:
Office of the Supreme Headquarters
Karen National Union
We, Burma's Chinese, express our hearty condolence to the family members and Karen people upon the expiry of General Saw Bo Mya ,the national hero and respectable leader of Karen people struggling for national rights and genuine federal Union of Burma.He is indeed a historic leader not only for Karen people,but also for all nationalities living insde Burma.