August 19, 2016

It pays to have unity of purpose

Our country has learned bitter lessons from past disunity that led to the disintegration of the union and ended up in foreign occupation twice. It was for the restoration of independence that all the ethnic groups came together at the Panglong Conference in Panglong, southern Shan State, on 12 February 1947.
The agreement underpinned the ethnic aspirations of unconditional freedom from colonial rule, self-administration and equality. Thus, this impressive conference was hailed as a display of unity by all the ethnic groups under the leadership of the then national leader General Aung San. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the restoration of his beloved country’s independence. Our country reclaimed independence from the British on 4 January 1948.
With another Panglong conference in the offing as hinted by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of General Aung San, in a meeting with the representatives of the army and the eight ethnic armed organisations last month, one important step the government is to take first is to ensure that the army and political parties back its peace initiative.
It is absolutely imperative that the conference this time must be all-inclusive and put national development and human security before anything else. Now is not the time for the stakeholders to talk about it but the time to do something beneficial for all. It is hoped that this conference will offer a paradigm shift from a Catch-22 to a win-win situation.


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