Message of Greetings from President U Win Myint
on the occasion of the 72nd Anniversary of Shan State Day celebrations
(7 February 2019)
Dear esteemed brothers and sisters of
On this auspicious occasion of the 72nd Anniversary of Shan State Day, I am happy, and deem it a great honor, to be able to send this Message of Greetings to this event, and I send greetings to our brothers and sisters living in the Shan State and all ethnic people of the country, wishing them health and happiness, fortune and prosperity.
Since time immemorial, all the people from different ethnic nationalities have been living in weal and woe. We lost our independence and sovereignty and came under British colonial rule, when the unity in our country disintegrated. Though the country came under British colonial rule, the people who opposed servitude, including our ethnic races across the country, revolted against the British with a nationalistic spirit, sacrificing their lives.
The British colonialists practiced a policy of divide and rule, as they separated the hilly regions from the plain regions, and used local residents at the grass root administration levels. After the Second World War, the Pha-Sa-Pa-La, led by Bogyoke Aung San, demanded independence from the British, and the British proposed granting independence to the country, except for the hilly regions. However, to demand independence for the entire country, Bogyoke Aung San, our national leader, independent architect and the father of Tatmadaw, held a conference with Shan and other ethnic leaders from the hilly regions at Panglong in Shan State and tried to reach an agreement.
Therefore, on 7th February 1947, Shan nationals and other hilly ethnics, including Chin and Kachin nationals, were able to reach a decision to seek independence, along with the central plains. To honor the 7th February, the day on which the central plains and the mountainous regions decided to demand for independence together, this day was designated as Shan State Day and we have been celebrating this day every year, and this is the 72nd anniversary. Therefore, Shan State Day is the day the ethnic people of the Union agreed to work together and laid a foundation for building a Union.
Though the people from the ethnic nationalities of the Union worked together to gain independence, armed conflicts arose because of diverse political ideologies, mistrusts and misunderstandings among ethnic brethren, and it is regrettable that in some part of our country, the people are living amidst gunshots and the odour of gunpowder.
It is especially required to turn the ethnic nationalities’ dream of building the Union this day, begun 72 years ago in Panglong, into a reality. It is very important to build a democratic federal Union which shall guarantee democratic rights, human rights, and equal rights among ethnic nationalities, leading to the end of the over 70-decade long armed conflicts.
Today’s political dialogues, demanded insistently by our ethic brethren, emerged as a rare opportunity, for the first time in our history. The meetings at the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong are historic political dialogues for building a genuine democratic federal Union by solving political problems through political means. The third session of the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong has been held successfully.
I therefore send this Message of Greetings, as I remind and urge all ethnic national brothers and sisters residing in this Union to join hands together in unity and harmony forever, with the spirit of Union or the spirit of Panglong, and with unity between the hilly and the plain regions, work to ensure the goal of a democratic federal union, which shall guarantee justice, freedom, equal rights and self-determination to all the ethnic people of our country.
Sd/ Win Myint
Republic of the Union of Myanmar