Article and Photo by Moe Lwin Oo (Loilem)
peaceful coexistence can be enchanting among nationalities, but it also comes with its share of unity, harmony and loving kindness, as Myanmar is a union of 135 ethnic groups with their own languages and dialects.
The major races are the Kachin, the Kayah, the Kayin, the Chin, the Mon, the Bamar, the Rakhine, and the Shan residing in flat lands and hilly regions, since time immemorial.
Anglo-Myanmar Wars, (1824–26, 1852, and 1885) collectively forced Myanmar into a vulnerable position from which it had to concede British hegemony in the region of South East Asia. Revolt against the rulers by the patriotic nationalities failed due to imbalanced of strength, but the fight went on to regain independence.
With the show of marvelous strength and unity, Bogyoke Aung San and the national leaders successfully signed the legendary and unforgettable Panglong Agreement which stands out as the hard rock instrument in regaining the independence of the nation that would remain in our hearts for eternity.
Time flies by, some memories slowly fade away, but sometimes, just one little moment, captured in feelings, can last a lifetime, and that is the Union Day.
Over (70) years ago, on 12 February 1947, Bogyoke Aung San met with (23) ethnic leaders, mostly Shan, Kachin and Chin, and concluded an agreement unanimously in a town named “Panglong” and that the agreement became known as the “Panglong Agreement”, and thus the Union Day was born.
Declaring Independence on 4 January 1948, a sovereign nation was born on this planet as Myanmar, but the people could not enjoy the taste of freedom as the motley assortment of insurgents popped up across the country. The unending conflicts and the civil wars dragged on in the country until today.
With the vision to transform into multi-party democratic system, the general elections were held in 2010 in the whole country, and the civilian government administered by the people came into power. Subsequently, the internal conflicts were zipped up with the NCA. The Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) was a landmark ceasefire agreement between the government of Myanmar and representatives of various ethnic insurgent groups, officially known as “ethnic armed organizations” (EAOs) by the government. The draft was agreed upon by a majority of the invited parties on 31 March 2015, and the agreement was signed on 15 October 2015.
The signing was witnessed by observers and delegates from the United Nations, the United Kingdom, Norway, Japan and the United States. A ceremony is held by the government annually on the anniversary of the signing of the agreement.
Peace process being initiated in the five-year term of the previous government, and that the endeavor continues in the five-year term of the incumbent government.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, the State Counsellor and the daughter of Bogyoke Aung San, is working hard in diligent, energetic and indefatigable approach.
Auspicious Union Day is just around the corner on 12 of February 2019 to be celebrated as 72nd Anniversary across the country with stately or magnificent display in ceremonial splendor, especially in the Panglong Town of Loilem District in Shan State (South), centering at “Panglong Agreement Pillar” or the Union Spirit Monument enveloped with cool environment.
The author of this article looked back to the 70th Anniversary of Union Day held in Panglong, and remembered the images of all the local elders and the people.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered a speech where she said, “I used to say the legacy left by my father is people’s love. This will not be lost how much I spent. But we should not spend it. We must value and keep it forever. In this way, I want the present generation and those trying for the Panglong conference to succeed to save and leave legacy of peace.”
The natural resources of the country such as that of gold, silver, gems, rubies, and all the elements would be depleted if we utilized and abused them all, but the legacy of peace would remained for eternity.
The legacy of peace is very much decisive and influential and also supportive for the ongoing national unity endeavor, the national reconciliation, the internal peace, and the ceasefire agreement.
The National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) issued a Press Release on 21 December 2018 that it will continue to strive towards strengthening the ceasefire with 10 EAOs that had signed the NCA and to achieve political agreements and it will also strive towards the participation of eight EAOs that have not signed the NCA in the political dialogues of the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong.
Following is an announcement about ceasefire and eternal peace made by the Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief Office on 21 December 2018. With regards to Myanmar’s peace process on 12 December 2018 MNTJP, PSLF and ULA announced that they will stop all military operations and will continue to participate in national reconciliation and peace process without resorting to military means and Republic of the Union of Myanmar Peace Commission also made an announcement on the same day welcoming the announcement made by the three groups and said that it will continue to cooperate and coordinate in reaching a ceasefire agreement and to conduct political discussions.
With regards to this matter Tatmadaw considered that discussions need to be conducted with each ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) in Northern Command, North East Command, Eastern Command, Middle East Command and Triangle Command that had not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).
In order to conduct these discussions Tatmadaw will cease all its region wise military operations from 21 December 2018 to 30 April 2019. During this period when troops movements are suspended military operation area wise ethnic armed organizations are to coordinate and discuss about ceasefire and peace matters with National Reconciliation and Peace Centre, and when required a Negotiation and Discussion Group consisting of Tatmadaw senior officers from Commander-in-Chief (Army) led by Lt-Gen Yar Pyae and Commander of the relevant Command will also hold discussions.
In paragraph (11) of the ceasefire announcement, it declared that on the third anniversary of signing the NCA, Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief had told both signatories to the NCA and the EAOs that have not yet signed the NCA that the Tatmadaw is committed to finishing the peace process in 2020 and to achieving eternal peace desired by the people.
This announcement is made to urge all EAOs to make the same commitment and to continue the implementation of the work towards signing the reintegration for security and the Union Accord.
Blending and combining the three messages, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech, the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) press release, and the announcement by the Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief’s Office, offers the people an optimistic, confident, and peaceful view of the country.
In hailing the 72nd Anniversary of Union Day of 2019, it is the best time to come together for the government, the Tatmadaw, and the people with collective strength in creating the eternal peace in the country, and then stepped into the developed, disciplined democratic nation.
Translated by UMT (Ahlon)