(KNU's Struggle for Democracy & Equality of ALL Nationalities)接上页博讯www.peacehall.com
However, differences in nature and mentality are not the main reason for the Karens’ refusal to throw in their lot with the Burman. There are other more important reasons for sticking to the Karens’ demand for their own State within a genuine Federal Union.
1. The Karens are concerned that the tactics of annihilation, absorption and assimilation, which have be practiced in the past upon all other nationalities by the Burman rulers, will be continued by the Burman of the future as long as they are in power.
2. The Karens are concerned about the postwar independence Aung Sun-Atlee and Nu-Atlee Agreements, as there was no Karen representative in either delegation and no Karen opinion was sought. The most that the Burman would allow the Karens to have was a pseudo Karen State, which falls totally under Burman authority. In that type of Karen State, the Karens must always live in fear of their cruel abuse of that authority over them.
On January 4, 1948, Burma got its independence from the British. The Karens continued to ask for self-determination democratically and peacefully from the Burmese Government The Karen State requested by the Karens was comprised of the Irrawaddy Division, the Tenasserim Division, the Hanthawaddy District, Insein District and the Nyauglebin Sub-Division, the areas where the bulk of the Karen populace could be found. But instead of compromising with the Karens by peaceful negotiations concerning the Karen case, the Burmese Government and the Burmese Press said many negative things about the Karens, especially by frequently repeating their accusations that the Karens are puppets of the British and enemies of the Burman. The Burmese Government agitated the Burman people toward communal clashes between the Karens and the Burman. Another accusation against the Karens demand was that it not the entire Karen people who desired a Karen state, but a handful of British lackeys who wanted the ruin of the Union of Burma.
To counter the accusations and show the world that it was the whole Karen people desire for a Karen state, a peaceful demonstration by the Karens all over the country was staged on February 11, 1948, in which over 400,000 Karen took part. The banners carried in the procession contained four slogans, namely: 1.Give the Karen State at once 2. Show Burman one Kyat and Karen one Kyat 3. Wedo not want communal strife. 4. We do not want civil war.
The slogans of the Karen in this mass demonstration voiced the same desire as the three slogans of the British Colonies after the Second World War: Liberty, Equality, and Peace. The Karens followed the established democratic procedures in our request for a Karen state. A few months after Burma got its independence, successive desertions in the AFPFL put U Nu, the then Premier, in grave trouble. The revolts of the Red Flag Communist Party in 1947, the Communist Party of Burma in March 1948, the People Volunteer Organization in June 1948, and the mutinies of the 1St... Burma Rifles stationed at Thayetmyo and the 3rd Burma Rifles stationed at Mingladon, Rangoon(August 15, 1948), prompted U Nu to approach the Karen leaders to help the Government by taking up the security of Rangoon, and save it from peril. The Karens did not take advantage of the situation, but readily complied to U Nu’s request and helped him out of his predicament. The KNDO(Karen National Defence Organization), officially recognized by the Burmese Government, was posted at all the strategic positions and all the roads and routes leading to Rangoon. For months the KNDO faithfully took charge of the security of Rangoon. The KNDO was given several tasks in forming an outer ring of defence, particularly at Hlegu an Twante. Most important of all was the reoccupation of Twante town, Rangoon’s key riverain gateway to the Delta towns and upper Burma. This little town had fallen several times to the communists. Each time it was retaken by regular troops, only to fall back into the hands of the rebels as soon as conditions returned to normal and control was handed back to the civil authorities and the police. This time, a KNDO unit under the leadership of Bo Toe and Bo Aung Min was ordered to retake Twante, which was once more in the hands of the Red Flag Communists. They succeeded with their own resources and without any support from the regular army other than river transport. After wresting the town from the Red Flag Communists hands, they garrisoned it in accordance with their given orders.
The two Burma Rifles that had mutinied marched down south, unopposed along the way until they reached Kyungale bridge, near the town of Let pa-dan, where they were stopped by a company of Karen UMP(Union Military police). Their truck carrying arms and ammunition received a direct hit from mortar five of the Karen UMP and was destroyed. So, they retreated after suffering heavy casualties.
But even while all this was happening, the ungrateful Burmese Government was hastily organizing a strong force of levies to make an all-out effort to smash the Karens. By December 1948, they arrested the Karen leaders in many parts of the country. Karen personnel in the armed services were disarmed and put into jail. General Smith Dun, General Officer Commanding(GOC) of the Burma Army, was forced to resign.. Many Karen villages were attacked and many Karen hearths and homes burnt and destroyed. On the 30th of January 1949, the Burmese Government declared the KNDO unlawful. Early the nest morning on the 31st of January, the Burmese troops attacked the KNDO Headquarters at Insein, a town about 10 mile north of Rangoon, where most of the top Karen leaders lived. There was no alternative left for the Karens but to fight back. An order was issued to all the Karens throughout the country to take up whatever armsthey could find and fight for their lives, their honor, and their long cherished Karen state: Kawthoolie. When the Karens took up arms, they attained great successes and occupied many towns and cities. They soon suffered military reverses, however, as they had not prepared for revolution and therefore, had now stockpile of arms and ammunition. The Karens had to withdraw from many fronts, this allowing Burmese troops to reoccupy these areas. Compounding this, the Burmese Government called for unity with all the other uprising Burman rebel groups. These Burman rebel groups saw the Karens as the greatest obstacle to their seizing exclusive power and they joined hands with the Burmese Government and fought against the Karens. As a result, the Karens found themselves fighting against all the armed elements in the country. Another reason for Karens’ setbacks was that all along, they had to stand on theirr own feet and fight alone without aid of any kind from any other country. In contrast, the Burmese Government received large amounts of foreign aid, including military aid from both capitalist and socialist countries and even from some so-called non-aligned nations. Many times then and since the situation of the Burmese Government has been precarious, but it has managed to continue mainly through aid from abroad. Many times it has been in dire straits, but it has not been ashamed to go begging. And as hard as it is for people to believe, its begging bowls have always come back filled. Present Day Situation:
Under the rule of the Burman, the Karens have been oppressed politically, economically, and culturally. In education, the Karen schools and institutions were taken by force and many were destroyed. The Karens are no longer allowed to study their own language in Burmese schools. Many of the Karen newspapers and literary books were banned. Economically, their fields and plots of land were nationalized and confiscated. The Karens have to toil hard all year round and have to take all their products to the Burmese Government for sale at its controlled prices, leaving little for themselves. Culturally, the Burmese Chaovinists have attempted to absorb and dissolve the Karens’ language, literature, traditions, and customs. The Karens have been denied all political rights and militarily, Karen people have all along been systematically exterminated as part of the annihilation, absorption, and assimilation program of the Burman. The Karens’ educational quality and living standards have dropped considerably, falling far behind the Burman in all respects. There efforts and actions against the Karens are as strong, or stronger, today as ever before in the past.