National leader Bogyoke Aung San had a firm belief, which spread and took root. He believed that due to lack of unity among Myanmar people, our lands were attacked and annexed by the British, resulting in the loss of independence and imposition of servitude. He also believed that national unity was vital for independence, and therefore, if the people of Myanmar were united, then, they were sure to regain freedom.
National Unity means
Bogyoke Aung San delivered an address to the first Congress of AFPFL on 20 January 1946 and said, “This leads me to come to the task of organizing and mobilizing our entire people in the country for our common national objective. Of course the first thing before us is national unity. Now we have the AFPFL as the central organization symbolizing this. We must further consolidate its position, systematize it and develop it. We have placed our suggestions for its constitution and further improvement before you. But here I want to discuss what we mean by national unity and what form it should take. By national unity, we don’t mean only unity; we mean the unity of the entire people, irrespective of race, religion, sex and sectarian and party interests, in action and not in words for national takes and objectives. As for the form this country is to take, there are some views that all parties should merge their identities completely with the national organization. Those holding such views are genuinely concerned that the existence of parties may undermine the strength of the national movement. But we must face this question as a practical one.”
Bogyoke Aung San also delivered a proposal to the first Congress of AFPFL on the necessity of national unity by saying that working for independence needed the unity of the people; that if there was no unity then it was impossible to enjoy the independence by the people and the nation; that if we were not in a position to get united then it might tantamount to the betrayal and disgrace to our ancestors who fought and gave their lives for the independence.
Unity meant to have the common interest, the common work, the common destination, the common agreement, and that it meant for the whole of the country and the entire people. It should have the same work, the same interest, and the same goal, and only then it deserved to be termed as unity.
At the City Hall public meeting, Bogyoke Aung San said that in Myanmar, the unity was a necessity, especially unity among the nationalities and also among the people, and that in the absence of this combination, no matter what type of party or government ruled the country, the nation would remain nominally independent in the name sake but it would be identical to prostitute like nation.
As the diverse nationalities were residing together in Myanmar, it was necessary that all nationalities were to be respected and acknowledged including language, culture, tradition and faith, and only then the unity could be built upon was the belief of Bogyoke Aung San.
With this belief, Bogyoke Aung San wrote in his letter of 19 February 1945 sent to Kayin national conference mentioning his conviction and his future vision.
As all the national leaders joined hands in unity with Bogyoke Aung San, the independence was regained on 4 January 1948, and that the unity of the nationalities was manifested in the Panglong Agreement.
After regaining independence, the national unity started to crumple and collapse, and that the leaders of successive eras tried their best to reconstruct the unity of the nationalities.
The desire of the people was also the same to build the unity of the nationalities and enjoys the fruit of peace in the country.
Despite the efforts, the people were deprived off the national unity and peace for over (70) years. On many occasions, the national leader Bogyoke Aung San urged and inspired to unite in acquiring the independence and that State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also urged for national unity from time to time.
No unity….No Peace
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi believes that without the national unity, it would not be able to create peace, and it is therefore, among the organizations and the forces must construct unity by all means.
Moreover, the expectation, the feeling, and the belief of a nationality must be respected and valued by other nationalities, and only in this way, the genuine unity could be fostered and the peace could be implemented. In March 2013, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that first requirement among the nationalities was unity in the country, and that in building a united union we must understand and respect the expectation, the anticipation, the feeling, and the belief of the nationalities.
Without mutual understanding and the reciprocal admiration among the nationalities, it would not be able to acquire genuine unity.
Devoid of warmth and feeling of genuine unity, it would not possible to achieve long term internal peace. Diverse ideas and different thoughts are there in the mindsets of the individuals, the organizations, and the groups, and it is therefore, mutual respect and shared understanding must be constructed.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was of the view that the existence of diverse and varied outlooks of the nationalities was not to be worried, and pointed out the following reasons. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that our nation is a union, and that the unity is very much essential for a union, and that the unity among the diverse groups is crucial for the country and thus building understanding among ourselves is necessary. We must decide in advance how to transform the diverse outlooks into potency and strength.
Common aspiration must be identified for national unity
In order to create unity, it was necessary to build trust and confidence first and that on the journey towards national unity, a common ground of agreement was to be identified said State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who delivered a speech at the signing ceremony of National Ceasefire Agreement at the MICC – II in Nay Pyi Taw on 13 February 2018.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said, “ I wish to say with great seriousness that we need to bring forth National Unity which has been lost in our country for many years. If we can achieve National Unity, there is nothing we cannot accomplish together. In the same way, if we cannot achieve National Unity, we will meet many difficulties when we have to overcome huge challenges. Resilience is not weakness. Negotiating does not mean giving in. It is important not to be afraid of meeting for negotiations. As we march towards National Unity, we need to reduce issues that could cause disunity and discord among us. We need to seek out common points of agreement that could bring us together and make us more united.”
In conclusion the writer hailed the 72nd anniversary of Union Day, that all the political forces must have the desire for unity for the sake of solidifying the democratic foundation, the national reconciliation, the internal peace, and the building of democratic federal union in line with the aspiration of the people.
Translated by UMT