A day of significance in the pursuit of peace in Myanmar

  • By Maung Thaung Win (Ex-Diplomat)
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    The Ceremony for Signing of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement by New Mon State Party and Lahu Democratic Union. Photo: MNA

It was heartening to read the newspaper which read: “The New Mon State Party (NMSP) and Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) have signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) on 13 Februrary 2018”.
As the news of the signing ceremony came out on 13 February, all the Myanmar nationals were feeling joyous and happy. This good news is one of the significant changes in the country and all the national races across the country are rejoicing to hear this auspicious news. As a result, they can enjoy the fruitful results of peace which we yearned for a long time has come true indeed.

A day of significance
13 February is a day of significance in the history of Myanmar because a boy by the name of Aung San was born in a village in Magway Region, central Myanmar, in 1915.

Early Life
Being a lawyer, his father provided a comfortable but unremarkable middle class upbringing and an education that enabled the young man to attend the University of Yangon.
Young Aung San received his primary education at a Buddhist monastic school in Natmauk, and secondary education at Yenangyaung High School. After he entered Yangon University in 1933, he quickly became a student leader and was elected to the executive committee of the Yangon University Students’ Union. He then became editor of the Oway (Peacock’s Call) Magazine.
During his university days, he was loyal to nothing and no one apart from a single-minded, immovable dream of an independent Myanmar. In October 1938, Ko Aung San left his law classes and entered national politics.
When he entered Dobama Asiayone, the “We Burmans Association”, he acted as its general secretary until August 1940. While in this role, he helped organise a series of countrywide strikes that became known as the 1300 Revolution, named after the Burmese calendar year.
He was known as a nationalist and the founder of the Tatmadaw as well as an architect of Myanmar’s Independence due to his unwavering spirit.

Bogyoke Aung San and the Panglong Agreement
It was on 12 February, 1947, that Bogyoke Aung San and representatives of ethnic races, including 23 signatories, signed the Panglong Agreement, with the determination of living in unity and with equal rights.
Hence, all indigenous people residing in the union are urged to participate in building a democratic federal union while valuing our unity as life.
The Panglong Agreement is the result of the struggle made by Bogyoke Aung San and ethnic leaders with farsightedness.
With the Panglong Agreement, Myanmar, with more than 100 ethnic tribes, showed their unity and strength in regaining independence. Thanks to the unity of all ethnic peoples, Myanmar became a sovereign independent country on 4 January, 1948.

Making Sacrifices
Although Bogyoke Aung San was instrumental in bringing about Myanmar’s independence, he did not live long enough to see the flag hoisting ceremony of the Independence Day. Tragically he was assassinated on 19 July, 1947, six months before Myanmar’s independence. His sudden death at the age of 32 was a great loss to the country.

70 years after Independence Day
Though Myanmar gained independence over 70 years ago, some ethnic groups still take up arms and remain in the past. They are in need of focusing on the present time in order to set up as a democratic union and a Democratic Federation Republic that is acceptable to the majority.

Progress on the Peace Process
After regaining independence in 1948, Myanmar suffered the consequences of insurgencies and unrest mainly due to mistrust, hatred and the evil effects of armed conflicts. Successive governments spoke with ethnic armed groups to halt the unrest, which lasted for many decades. As a result, the government and ethnic armed groups agreed to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in 2015.

Unity is Strength
That is why every year on the 13th of February, Myanmar nationals all around the country honour Bogyoke Aung San and celebrate his birthday as if he was still with us.
As we march towards National Unity, we need to reduce issues that could cause disunity and discord among us. Moreover, we need to seek out common points of agreement that could bring us together and make us more united.
For the emergence of a Democratic Federal Republic, we ought to stand tall and be strong amidst the countries of the world, for a bright future for our next generations.

Ultimate Aim
The ultimate aim should be for the next generation to live in a stable, peaceful and developed nation. It is of crucial importance to set up as a democratic union and a Democratic Federation Republic that is acceptable to the majority.
Hence, all indigenous people residing in the union are urged to participate in building a democratic federal union while valuing our unity as life.

 

Translated by
Win Ko Ko Aung

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