(7 February 2020)
Dear esteemed ethnic brothers and sisters living in the Shan State,
On the occasion of the 73rd Anniversary of Shan State Day which falls on 7th February, I am very happy and deem it a great honour to have the opportunity to send this message of greetings.
Myanmar, where all ethnic national races have been living in close friendship since time immemorial, lost her sovereignty and independence in 1885 and came under the rule of British colonialists. Myanmar national races who did not wish to become slaves opposed the British in many ways and the British created disunity among the ethnic national races and governed the central plains and the hilly regions separately by causing disunity.
After the Second World War, all the people worked hard to gain independence in unity under the leadership of national leader General Aung San. In granting independence, the British left behind the hilly regions. Therefore, General Aung San and Shan leaders, including leaders from other hilly regions met and discussed in Panglong, Shan State and had to try and reach agreement for the central plains and the hilly regions to get independence together. Shan, Kachin, and Chin ethnic leaders reached an agreement on 7th February 1947 to get independence together with the central plains without delay. Thus 7th February, the date on which it was decided to gain independence without separating the hilly regions from the central plains was designated as Shan State Day to honour this day. We have been celebrating Shan State Day every year and this year marks the 73rd anniversary.
It is a cause for regret that although we have gained independence for over 70 years, mistrust and disunity among ethnic brothers led to armed conflicts and therefore in some areas the sound of guns have not ceased; we are still far away from peace. To materialize the hopes and dreams of the ethnic national leaders who are born of the union and who worked together to establish this union, we have been striving hard for equality among nationals, national unity and for the emergence of a constitution that can guarantee in full measure democracy and fundamental human rights without losing sight of these objectives.
With the aim of creating the Democratic Federal Union which has been the aspiration of our ethnic national leaders who are our forefathers, who worked together for the establishment of the Union, at this time we have been convening the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong meetings and have already successfully convened the third session. We have also reached agreement on many fundamental principles relating to democracy and federalism. We all need to work together in unity for harmonious development without any discrimination between the central plains and hilly regions in accordance with the saying “No stability, no peace; no stability, no development; no development; no modernization”.
I firmly believe that we can regain the same type of unity, trust and understanding that we have achieved at Panglong in 1947. Just as we achieved independence for the whole country by showing the unity of ethnic national races in the small town of Panglong 73 years ago, we will achieve durable peace at this time with the united strength of all the ethnic national races. Together, our ethnic national leaders laid the foundation for our Union with Union spirit or Panglong spirit, and gained independence for us. For the perpetuation of independence, in our age and time also, we need to strive to build our Union, which has been the aspiration of our ethnic national leaders with union spirit.
Based on mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual trust among our ethnic national brothers and sisters, we need to establish union spirit by laying aside our suspicions. The unity of all our ethnic nationals is the main driving force for peace, prosperity and development of our union.
As I send this message of greetings, I strongly urge all the ethnic national brethren to work together in unity towards the goal of establishing the Democratic Federal Union imbued with the essence of justice, freedom,, equality and right of self-determination, successfully without fail.