Longest bridge causes village displacement on
Beelu Kyun Island
January 20, 2006)
Moulmein -- The
longest bridge in Burma finished in 2003 has caused widespread
erosion with over 100 acres of farmland in Chaung Zone or Beluukyun
Island township, Mon State, affected, sources say.
Due to the
foundation of the bridge, the water flow has changed and over one
hundred acres of land surrounding the bridge has been eroded by the
flow of water. "Some parts of the island are now being slowing
inundated with water," says a Mon environmentalist from the island
who requested not to be identified.
He added that
boats running between Moulmein, the capital of Mon State and the
island must divert their route and land ashore on another other part
of the island with higher ground.
Two more villages
in the near future are under threat of erosion, he added. The bridge
spans five joint rivers that connects Moulmein and Martaban or
Muttama town. The bridge construction project, the brainchild of
former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, took over six years to complete
and was finished in 2003. It was thought that the bridge could bring
about economic development in the area and alleviate poverty in
addition to being a symbol of goodwill between the New Mon State
Party and SLORC after they brokered a ceasefire deal.
"The bridge has
also affected maritime trade in the area after the imposition of
higher taxes at checkpoints. Most of the small island dwellers and
people who live along the five coastal ports including Salween river
must cross the bridge to get to the capital of Mon State and other
parts," the source explained.
SPDC spreads out to confiscate more land, show of
Kaowao, January 15, 2005)
Ye -- With the
same number of force, SPDC military spreads operation in Mon State,
a source from central Mon State reported to Kaowao.
Sources from the
NMSP estimate the real strength of SPDC today in Mon State stands at
the same number of just one LIB Battalion No. 61, which has been in
the area since the ceasefire. The troops are spread out to form more
battalions for the sole purpose of taking over more land to help
finance the SPDC's war machine.
In Ye township
alone, there are over ten new battalions being introduced over the
past decade. According to the Mon political community source 'the
SPDC cannot extend its troop base, but only confiscates more Monland
to help finance itself through its self-sufficient policy.'
'The number of
battalions have increased, but we see the same soldiers everywhere,'
says a young political activist from Thanbyuzayat township, who
wishes not to be named for security reasons. 'They are moved or
exchanged to other locations over and over again' he explains.
'We have seen
between 20 ad 30 troops from the same battalion in different
locations,' points out the political activist. Some local Mon people
in Ye township, the source says, who are abused by the Burma Army
want to take revenge on SPDC troops stationed in the military camps
since they know the real number of troops are not high.
The SPDC just
wants to demonstrate its military strength to the NMSP while the
party conducts a month long review (in the party caucus) on whether
its ceasefire is working or not. However, the NMSP is not concerned
on whether the SPDC will break the ceasefire in the future,
according to the sources.
Local Mon community workers fear for their future
January 9, 2006)
Ye -- Mon people
who have a good working relationship with the New Mon State Party
fear at being targeted by the SPDC when the cease-fire ends in the
near future, sources say.
have been voiced by several Mon community workers, one youth who
works with the Mon Culture and Literature Organization from Chaung
Zone township who requested not to be named for security reasons
told Kaowao 'I will have to flee if the cease-fire ends.'
'There is a lot
of fear of what will happen after the ceasefire ends among Mon
community workers who have a good relationship with NMSP members and
who are in charge of urban offices' he explains. 'As community
workers, we could be targeted one day due to the fact that we have
had a good relationship with them (NMSP).
community leaders and activists have kept their distance from the
NMSP since the party reached a cease-fire agreement June 29, 1995.
'We don't want
the NMSP to assist us in the summer season Mon literature activities
because we worry the SPDC will harass us in the future' says, Nai
Parla, a Mon Buddhist monk from Ye.
A young political
activist in Ye township said that he may have to flee when the
cease-fire ends since he has had a good working relationship with
the NMSP. 'I have prepared to flee in the future and as part of
preparation I do not want to own any real estate, instead I gave it
to my parents' he says.
Some people in
rural areas have been warned not to welcome the NMSP or to give
accommodation to their members. Some young political activists and
community leaders joke that the NMSP will not have more soldiers
when it goes back to the jungle to fight again because of its
inability to organize the public.
Eight baht an hour in border town
January 11, 2006)
Burmese workers employed in Thai industries at Three Pagodas Pass
opposite Thai side earn less than 10 Baht per hour with most working
over time to earn extra money, residents say.
A majority of the
over 570 workers earn 100 per baht per day with over 70% being
women, said a Mon businessman from the Thai side. The workers' shift
starts at 7am and ends at 5pm, take home pay is roughly 75 baht per
He added that the
Thai authority was pleased with the industries opening up at the
border and told the Border Joint Committee that it would help stop
migrants entering Thailand.
The cheap labor,
he said, would make the employers or companies rich. There are three
companies employing Burmese workers which produce shoe and gas
lighters. The two shoe industries employ 50 laborers and the gas
lighter employs about 70 laborers.
'Even though the
wages are low, the town residents have no other job options
available to them and must work in these industries to make a
living' he added.
Illiteracy rate high among Mon children in
Thailand and Burma
January 15, 2006)
The lack of
proper education and poverty for Mon in Thailand and Burma has
contributed to the rise of Mon illiteracy.
There are over
30,000 Mon migrant children under the age of 15 living in Samut
Prakan province of Thailand with the majority missing out on their
primary education according to a Mon community source. About 90% of
migrants living in the port city are Mon and only about 300 Mon
children can attend the only school available to them which is run
by a Mon volunteer group and some Thai non governmental
Mon parents in
the province who work in the fishing industries often work overtime
to earn extra money and cannot look after their children. 'So what
happens is that many youngsters wind up working alongside their
parents, to kill two birds with one stone, to help pay the bills and
to watch over the kids' says Nai Gongsakar, a migrant worker from
'We have 80
children in our school' says Nai Lun a member of the school
committee. Mon volunteers led by a young nationalist also teach Mon
and Thai languages to adults on the weekends. 'One problem is that
we need more volunteer schools, to help combat the problem in
offering education' says the community leader.
In Mon State, a
source from Mon Relief and Development Committee said that just
about 20 percent of children in the internally displaced camps,
under the control of the NMSP, can attend the school free of charge.
'Their parents and teachers do not encourage them to attend school'
says, Charn Lun, a staff member of the Mon NGO. The volunteers worry
for their future since the Mon children do not attend even primary
In Thailand in
the many hundreds of migrant worker camps, including the
construction, fishing, and rubber plantation industries, migrants
live in poor housing with either no electricity or education
available. 'Many thousands of young people cannot read or write in
their mother tongue and most cannot converse in Thai either' says a
human right's activist. 'Those who can speak Thai are able to secure
better employment, such as in the tourist industry in Thailand,
especially in Phuket and Ranong' she added.
Most Mon children
in the rural area in Mon State leave school before they finish
middle school. 'Only a few go on to finish university,' sources
estimate. Many young Mon in the southern part of Ye and Yebyu
township cannot read and write in Mon or Burmese, sources say. 'They
stop going to school before they finish primary school,' says a
former Mon school teacher. 'Many families are hard pressed to send
their children to school, mainly because of poverty in which they
are unable to pay for their children's education, but also because
of the lack of an educational infrastructure in Burma' the source
Mons born in Thailand approved for Thai
Mons born in Thailand who have been
demanding Thai citizenship have finally been approved for
citizenship after waiting for a long time said Interior Minister
Mr. Wantana said about 2,350 Burmese were
granted Thai citizenship and about 825 Burmese were given green
cards (travel document). But the Interior Minister did not mention
About 2,000 Mon people in Sangkhlaburi
(near the Thai Burma border) were granted Thai citizenship and
about 700 got the green card. But we arent sure when the local
authorities will issue citizenship cards to us because no timetable
has been set, said Nai Su Mit (32) who was also granted
For this (Thai citizenship) Mon people
have trying for many generations. The problem is we dont know and
understand how to go about getting our rights. But now the Thai
government has realized the reality of Mon peoples lives in
Sangkhlaburi and granted us citizenship said Nai Su Mit.
During former Prime Minister Chuan
Leekpais government, the Mon people in Sangkhlaburi were granted
Thai citizenship but the local government did not inform the people
said Nai Su Mit.
After getting Thai citizenship the Mon
people have to be careful about both the positive and the negative
impact. The positive side is they will have a chance for education,
occupation, and a future while clinging to their own culture in
Thailand. But its very important for Mon people not to forget who
they are They must remember they are Mons and not forget their own
people, said anthropologist and researcher on ethnic people in
Thailand and Asia, Professor Dr. Ms Cholthira Satyawadhana from
I am happy to know people in Sangklaburi
have been approved for Thai citizenship. Even their parents are not
Thai citizens. They were born here and it is their right. They
should get the right to education, and travel freely like Thai
people said a Thai student Phumrin Norsuriwong, (21), who has many
After getting Thai citizenship, we
should also help and work for other Mon people who are waiting to
become Thai citizens added Nai Su Mit.
Both Mon people born in Thailand and those who moved to Thailand in
Sangkhlaburi long ago are waiting for the Thai government to approve
them as Thai citizens.
Children infected by chickenpox in Mon refugee
(Chan Mon, IMNA:
About 35 children in a small Mon refugee camp called Ched-Dike about
35 kilometres west of the Thai border in Three Pagoda Pass have been
suffering from chickenpox.
The infection came to light about a month
ago and it came from a child from another village who had come for
treatment to the village clinic, claimed a medical worker. The camp
has a hundred houses and almost all the children in the camp have
been infected, according to the chief medical worker Nai Banya Mon.
Some elders are also infected.
We do not have medicine for prevention
and treatment. We just have a few medicines for fever, Banya Mon
added. The medical workers are worried given the lack of medicine
and because the camp has not received support from Medecins Sans
Frontieres (MSF) like the others camp. Some of the other Mon camps
have also reported the infection. Some children in Hlockhani have
been sent to hospital for treatment. But Hlockhani has medicine
stocks for six months because MSF has withdrawn support.
A month ago children in Hlockhani were
infected with chickenpox and MSF from France which helped Mon
refugees provide injection to the children in the camp stopped
work. According to a Mon medical worker, chickenpox infection was
in evidence twice in Mon camps. Due to the current infection and
MSFs withdrawal of support from the area, the camp leaders are
worried and are looking for medical support.
Although chickenpox is not always fatal
but if the eyes are infected people can become blind, said a medical
Riot broke out in Karen refugee camp after a refugee
A Thai militia force guarding a Karen Refugee camp in southern
Thailand brutally beat a male Karen refugee in the last week of
December. The situation created a riot and about 200 Karen men
marched on the militia forces camp trying to get revenge, said a
source from the camp.
Four militia men
came to the camp in the night of December 23 after drinking heavily
and beat a male Karen refugee then took him to their militia camp
and beat him repeatedly. They denied the demand of the people in the
camp to release the man. said a source from the camp.
The source said,
the people in the camp could not be patient with the behavior of
militia force. So they marched to the militia forces camp at about
nine pm after the riot broke out at 7:30 or 8:00. The source
requested not to be named for security reasons.
A man aged about
30 from the camp said, Four militia men were repeatedly beaten by
the mob of about 200, camp committees came to rescue the militia men
from the hands of mob.
Authorities have imposed a curfew on the camp and also another POC
camp, Tham Him, which are very close each other.
This is not the
first time that militia men have abused their authority, in the past
they have tortured the refugees often. the source said.
The militia men
have harassed Karen refugee women sexually many times. The Thai
national flag was drawn to the ground and the pole was broke down by
the mob, he added.
According to the
source the people in the camps phone access was cut off. To have
phone access they must climb the mountain range nearby for about
Mon youth workshop in liberated area
January 8, 2006)
Eighteen Mon youth from inside Burma attended a two-week workshop
for capacity building. It was sponsored by several NGOs based along
the southern border of Thailand and Burma.
most of them are young women from Mon State, said that they were
happy to study. They learned about current Mon politics, the federal
system of Burma, the environment, and human rights. Three Mon NGO
groups and two other ethnic groups lectured in the eleven-day
workshop from December 26 to January 6.
interested in current Mon politics and other affairs," said a young
Mon female participant. She requested not to be named for security
"I promise all of
you that I will share these experiences with the people in my area,"
she said in the closing ceremony of the workshop.
are NGO workers, Mon community leaders, and some of them are Mon
political activists in Mon State. Many of them are interested to
learn about Mon NGOs along the border since they know nothing about
their activities. Most of them did not know about Mon media groups,
human rights groups, and women rights groups based along the border.
"I had never read
a Mon Newspaper, Magazine, or journal. I, for the first time, have
read Mon Newspapers and other publishing here." Said a young Mon
female NGO worker when asked how much she knew about the activities.
requested the Mon media workers to provide them newspapers and other
publications. It is very difficult to get it to them, for most of
them live in the center of the Mon State, not in rural areas.
"We have found a
way to get them Mon Newspapers after discussing the issue with Mon
media workers." said Nai Saik, a male participant and community
said that he needed to have access to media resources for his
capacity building. He added that access to the media is important
for him to keep advancing.
The young female
NGO worker said that people in Mon State lack general knowledge,
including how to live long. She added, "Some young women in my
township marry business men suspected of being HIV positive, also
some young men have sex with female sex workers even though they
know that the woman is HIV positive. We need more general knowledge
and media access."
Progressive Organization or MYPO, which was cracked down on by the
Thai authority in 2001 initiated the workshop. The effort of the
youth political organization was the first attempt since then.
Are the Mons capable to form its own government?
I don't think we
can run a government due to administration structure and tradition
believing are confused in Mon community. I am saying this due to
when ever new creative idea is introduced most of Mon get stuck with
tradition, this is very disadvantages.
We should have done training youth to become next leaders along time
ago. The problem is we don't have much idea in this area. There are
a few unanalyzed experiences.
We Mon don't have idea to work out between Advantages and
Advantages. That is why we are in
delay. I wanted
to say such as We Mon are traditional farmer and self help people
and hard to seek help and not thinking of someone will help us.
Moreover, there are 3 groups of Mon in generally, first parents who
raise their children who has no chance to analyze politic. Second,
students with higher education who are able to be train whatever
they are capable of doing for further study. Third, young Buddhist
monks, there are several thousand of them learning pariyatti mainly
Mon to Pali and Burmese Pali. They are not related to daily
international relation. If half of them can move to Office
administration, Law studies, political science, civil engineering,
environmental issue and so on. Non-educated Mon cannot go any
studies due to entry requirement.
We both agree
that the Mon Youth should have more education and training. You
seem to say that the Mons are not ready to form a government because
some are very conservative and resistant to change, some are
confused, some are not trained and therefore do not know how to run
a government, some are just farmers. You probably know more about
the situation of the Mons in general and so you are speaking from
I do not know the
specific situation in detail. But I know you must be correct,
because I do read the Kao Wao news, reports of Human Rights
violations, harassments, injustices and have been struck by
the how the War Crimes have devastated the Mon People for many
years. So it is not surprising that they are just like how you
You are speaking
from a realistic, practical point of view and you are correct. The
Mons are not ready to form a government.
I am speaking
from an idealistic, theoretical point of view: Whether you are
ready or not, the Mons NEED a govt. which can help organize,
develop, and represent them in the eyes of the world. There are
enough educated Mons to form an expatriate organization to do this.
If not a full-fledged govt., at least a nucleus of a govt.
If not the whole
body, at least the skeleton outline. The flesh and the various
organs and tissues can come later.
In 1988, when the
entire country was in revolt, it caught the overseas people by
surprise and they were not able to help effectively.
In 06-06-06 this
year, who knows? there might be another uprising. If not this year,
maybe in 7-7-07 or 8-8-08 or 9-9-09.
One day the
country WILL explode, and when it does, the skeleton or nucleus of
the Mon Govt. can go into action and grow as time passes.
Whether it is
like the Interim Shan Govt. for a separate Republic or whether it is
for a Mon State as part of a Union, that part, I am not going to
It is up to the
Mon People. Only they can decide. All that I am saying is, you
need some kind of govt, whether it is a national govt or a state
govt. Since SPDC will arrest and imprison any kind of govt, out of
necessity, it will have to be an expatriate govt., like the ISG and
Don't worry about
not having enough people. It will come. How many people does it take
to have a President, Vice President, Foreign Minister and other
Ministers? One dozen men. How about the rest of the govt? It will
chooses his cabinet of 10-11 people. Each minister then chooses his
own group of 10 directors and each director chooses 10 assistant
directors and each .......etc. It will happen gradually.
OR -- another way
to do will be to form a loosely organized govt framework by
in the various Mon cultural organizations, in the Kao Wao, in
humanitarian groups, can get together and form a govt. committee by
There is a free
program for video conferencing and you can try as a sample, if it
works, you can then subscribe for $45 a year.
members and contact each other by computer video conferencing.
Notice I said
internet such as the Monnet, (it sounds so much like the famous
French artist, Monet--- very famous) you could agree to elect a
chairman, vice chairman, subcommittee chairman and vice chairman,
and so on.
As for not having
enough trained people, you will have to train as you go. And you
agreed the youth must be trained. Remember, we are not aiming for a
full govt, but just a starting committee of 10-12. and later
progress to bigger and better things.
proposed govt has not been elected into power, it will not be an
elected govt., but only an Interim working govt. in which it must be
remembered that when peace and democracy come, there will be
elections and the Interim govt should step down when others are
elected (or they could get elected too)
The part about
not having enough educated Mons is very heart breaking. There is
Nai Tun Thein in Bangkok who is a radio broadcaster and a wonderful
singer. We knew each other since 1969 and we worked together in
1978. He taught me about Mon vocabulary and history. Insein is Ang
Kywein (forgive me because my pronunciation is wrong. 1978 is a
long time ago.) Inya is Ang Hlah. Kyon Pyaw (in Irrawaddy Division)
is Krerng Praw. I came to understand about the many wars and
Portuguese-American roommate found an article about De Brito and how
the Jesuit priest recorded in their historical notes how there were
so many massacres that the boats could not sail. The river was
jam-packed with floating bodies. This is in the 1600's. Then of
course is the destruction of Dagon and renaming it Yangon. More
massacres. and still more.
Mehm Tun Thein
explained to me about the how Anawrahta invaded the Mon Kingdom to
capture the 3 pitakah and how they captured everything from Thaton
and destroyed the rest.
I am getting to
the point I am trying to make.
The point is, the
Mons had a written language and they were literate for centuries
before the Burmese since the time of the two Mon brothers who
brought back the hair strands of Buddha for the building of Maw Tin
Soon and for Shwedagon, Zin Gyaik, Zwegabin and Kyaikti-yo. (I'm
sorry my knowledge of Mon names is so limited and so I am only using
Since the time of
Buddha, they were literate. If any one studies Buddhism, they have
to be literate. So the Mons have a splendid tradition of education
and learning since 500 BC.(correct me if I am wrong)
You are telling
me the present day Mons are not well-trained. Okay, but given the
long, magnificent history that outdates every other ethnic group in
Burma (maybe the Arakanese might have been contemporaries since they
say the Mahamuni was constructed during the Buddha's visit.) ---
that kind of heritage will make every true patriotic Mon to want to
study, and those who already are educated will want to teach the
younger ones. There is a tremendous historical reputation to regain
and to maintain. It is a matter of ethnic pride, and provides a
huge incentive for educated Mons to use their talents to train the
I read in Kao Wao
how there is a Mon CD for learning Mon. That is just one example of
many examples. The training is already being done, and it can only
Mon-Burman reconciliation may help break the political stalemate
in Burma, the Land of Pagodas
(By Nai Thet
shown that a Ghandi-style non-violent political defiance formula
does not work in Burma, the Land of Pagodas and where there has been
the older armed struggle of the non-Burmans. The United Nations is
still trying to find out a correct solution of the political crisis
in Burma. Its experience gained through the two World Wars, the Cold
War and the Post Cold War does not seem to help the United Nations
much in finding out the correct solution for Burma. The complication
of international politics and the disunity among the powerful or
permanent members of the UN Security Council have made the UN
difficult to reach a common agreement on how to help solve the
political crisis in Burma and how to intervene effectively in the
countrys long-standing internal conflicts. I can say for sure that
the ruling Buddhist Burman generals of the State Peace and
Development Council do sleep with a very big fear, not just the fear
of losing power but the fear of going to Hell after death. In my
point of view, they fear the invisible Hell far more than the
visible UN Security Council.
Burma is a
multi-ethnic society with eight ethnic majorities, including the
ethnic Burman, plus more than a hundred ethnic minorities. Burma is
an overwhelmingly Buddhist country with more than 95 per cent of the
population being Buddhist traditional or devout. The Mon and the
Burman have a common Buddhist religious belief and share a common
Buddhist social culture, whereas many of the other non-Burman ethnic
majorities and minorities have a different religious belief. The
Burman alone is generally estimated to make over 60 per cent of the
entire population of Burma. Religiously and culturally speaking, the
Mon and the Burman are identical. But linguistically speaking, the
Mon and the Burman have completely different languages which mainly
make the Burman and the Mon to be different peoples. Historically,
the Mon people had established and lived in their own independent
kingdoms for a very long time until their last kingdom, Hamsavati or
Hongsawatoi, was invaded and annexed by the neighbouring Burman
kingdom led by King Alaungphaya or Aungzeya in 1757. Since then, as
Halliday puts it, the Mon became a people without a country. The Mon
and the six other non-Burman ethnic majorities namely Karen, Shan,
Kayah/Karenni, Kachin, Arakanese and Chin -- have had a common
political struggle against the ethnocentric Burman rule since
Burmas independence from the British colonial rule in 1948.
While having a
common Buddhist religious belief and sharing a common Buddhist
social culture with the Burman, the Mon has fought against the
post-independence Burman-dominated rule for the last half century to
regain its national self-determination or independence. It is clear
that the Mon has some common ground with the Burman religiously and
culturally on the one hand and has some common ground with the
non-Burmans politically on the other hand, having a foot in both
camps. That is, the Mon is naturally taking the neutral mid-position
which gives it a unique mediator role to play between the two
opposing camps of the Burman and the non-Burmans.
The Mon also has
the longest history with the Burman. The age-old socio-political
problems between the Mon and the Burman are also to be solved for
lasting Mon-Burman reconciliation. The Burman historical perspective
of the so-called First Burman Empire established by King
Anawratha, the so-called Second Burman Empire established by King
Burinaung and the so-called Third Burman Empire established by King
Alaungphaya is totally unacceptable to the Mon, because all these
Burman Empires were established by sheer force of arms and at the
cost of independent Mon kingdoms. Particularly, King Alaungphayas
establishment of the Third Burman Empire by means of an
unprecedented bloodshed genocidal operation against the Mon by
cruelly massacring a large number of innocent non-combatant civilian
Mon men, women and children plus 3,000+ Mon Buddhist monks is
socially unacceptable, politically unforgivable and religiously
unforgettable to the Mon people. The Burman king, Alaungphaya or
Aungzeya, also burned down or destroyed all the Mon palm leaf
literature and stone inscriptions he found. The one and only Burman
king loved and respected by the Mon is King Kyansittha of Pagan.
There are the bright golden peacocks that would follow in
Kyansitthas footsteps. But the short-sighted and narrow-minded
peacocks have unremorsefully been following Alaungphayas footsteps
in their wishful dream and ambitious attempt to establish a Fourth
All the peoples
of Burma both Burman and non-Burmans -- have a common struggle for
termination of militarism and establishment of democracy. The
democracy struggle is the common struggle of the Burman and all the
non-Burmans without regard to race or religion. It is the common
struggle for termination of the brutal Burman-dominated racist
military dictatorship, which was formerly known as the State Law and
Order Restoration Council/SLORC and is currently known as the State
Peace and Development Council/SPDC.
Religious Issue Between the Mon and the Burman
As stated above,
King Alaungphaya who was also known as Aungzeya indiscriminately and
cold-bloodedly slaughtered 3,000+ Mon Buddhist monks; the slaughter
reportedly included the forced trampling by elephants. This
slaughtering of the 3,000+ Buddhist monks or members of the Sangha
caused and has left a deep and ugly wound in the journey of the
Buddha Sasana in the Land of Pagodas. This ugly wound caused by King
Alaungphaya or Aungzeya, however, has not been given proper
attention by the Burman in general and has not been known to the
outside world, Buddhist or non-Buddhist. Those of the narrow-minded
and short-sighted racist peacocks are even very proud of having had
King Alaungphaya or Aungzeya and put him in the place of one of
their great kings. This ugly wound, in the Buddhist religious point
of view, cannot be neglected. Venerable Akworh, the most famous Mon
monk-writer of the time who experienced this bloody event and who
had himself go into hiding in order to escape the slaughter,
remarked like this:
Aungzeya was of a very fierce and cruel disposition, and made no
account at all of life. He put to death many monks, and their iron
alms bowls and silk robes were taken away, and the homespun robes
were made into foot mats. Of some they made pillows, of some they
made belts, and of some they made sails. The monks robes were
scattered all over land and water. (Translated by Mr. Halliday)
The Mon abbot,
Venerable Akworh, was surprisingly endowed with very high levels of
morality, wisdom and forbearance. He only taught the Mon people for
forgiveness and loving kindness. After seeing the cruel slaughtering
of 3,000+ monks, Venerable Akworh, by cutting one of his fingers and
by making it a devotional offering before the image of Lord Buddha,
vowed that he would truly support the cause of perpetuation of the
Buddha Sasana. Although and after the independent Monland of
Hamsavati fell to the Burman, Ven. Akworh still recognized its
In the Burman
history, there was a boycott, literally the overturning of the
alms-bowl by the Buddhist Burman monastic community against Khondaw
Maung Kyaban who had made some minor oral insults towards members of
the Sangha or Buddhist monastic community. Why should not then have
Alaungphaya or Aungzeya, the barbarous man who slaughtered 3,000+
monks, been boycotted by the Burman monastic community? Why is this
barbaric man who died and fell head first to the deepest hell two
and a half centuries ago still included in the present list of the
Burman national heroes? Now, the time has come for the golden
peacocks, monks and laymen, to be brave enough to speak out and
promise to do what should be done towards truly cleansing and
healing the ugly wound. There are the golden sheldrakes, monks and
laymen, who would help for this. Without properly cleansing and
healing this ugly wound on the Road of Buddha Sasana, we cannot go
any further. As a Buddhist, I believe there are supernatural forces
that have been very angry.
Between the Mon and the Burman
above, the Mon has the longest history with the Burman since the
known beginning of the Burman in Pagan. There is a Burman saying,
the beginning of the Burman was from Pagan. At the time of Pagan,
the Mon had their own independent country namely Suvanabhumi or
literally Golden land. The Burman received Buddhist literature and
cultural heritage from and via the Mon. So, in the practice of
Buddhist literature and culture, the earlier Mon society was
naturally mature than the later Burman society. Buddhism and the Mon
people are undividable. As Ashley South puts it, the Mon has acted
as a vector in the transmission of Theravada Buddhism to the peoples
of Southeast Asia. All through the long period of the Mon-Burman
history, the Burman rulers, except King Kyansittha, have all used
force of arms in relating to the Mon society. Blinded by the racial
and racist pride, in stead of expressing thanks and gratitude to the
Mon, the successive Burman rulers or governments have always bitten
the hand that fed their Burman society.
socio-political problems that have occurred between the Mon and the
Burman from the period of Pagan up to the present day are also to be
solved for the sake of long-lasting or permanent Mon-Burman
reconciliation and friendship. Without the Mon-Burman reconciliation
and friendship, true peace cannot be brought about in this
largely-Buddhist country. The one-sided accounts of the history
written by the war victors are to be rejected. History is history.
It is only the accounts of events that had happened in the past. It
might be good or it might be bad. We cannot change it. We should not
conceal the bad nor exaggerate the good. Both the good and the bad
parts are to be learned in order to keep up the good and avoid the
bad for the benefit of the present and future generations. Both the
Mon and the Burman historical perspectives the losers perspective
and the victors perspective -- are to be evaluated in a fair and
impartial manner and to be re-written from the point of view of
wisdom that will benefit not just the peoples of Burma but the whole
What Is the
Correct Political Solution for Burma?
above, there are 8 ethnic majorities and 100+ ethnic minorities in
Burma. When we say ethnic majority, the language is not less
important than the number of population and the historical
background of the people. There is a Mon precautionary saying: If
the Mon written language or literature disappears, the Mon people
will be extinct. Language is the most important organ of the Mon
people. What is the political goals of the peoples or the ethnic
nationalities of Burma, including the ethnic Burman? A democratic
federal union? Or a federation of independent nations?
Will the Burman
agree to recognize the living legitimacy of the independent Monland
of Hamsavati, which was unlawfully occupied and annexed by the
Burman in 1757? The International Court of Justice of the United
Nations will need to be strengthened to grow up to the maximum
possible maturity level. As law has retroactive power, it is very
possible for the Mon to restore lawfully its homeland, which may be
smaller than its original, former size, depending on the present
geographical distribution of the Mon population that should include
those Burmanized Mon descendants who may reclaim their being Mon
nationals. To establish an independent republic of the Golden
Monland of Hamsavati, of course, is the ultimate political goal of
the Mon people.
the Union is not the Burmans concern and none of the Burmans
business. The Burman may also secede from the Union if it wants to.
The Burman people do not need to worry for the non-Burman peoples.
The non-Burman peoples will determine their own fate and destiny,
because they have the right to. The Burman people should realize
that all the non-Burman peoples have hated and feared the chronic
ethnocentric Burman rule. To be loved, respected and trusted by the
non-Burman peoples, the Burman people will need to show their real
broad-mindedness, far-sightedness and fairness of mind. And the
Burman should understand that this process will take time.
The NLD has
expressed its opposition against the recent declaration of the Shan
State independence. This clearly shows that the Burman-dominated
popular National League for Democracy does not recognize the right
of the non-Burman peoples to determine their own fate and destiny.
That is to say, the Burman-dominated NLD has failed to show its
genuine good will towards the non-Burman peoples in order for it to
be trusted by them. If the Shan people decide to secede from the
so-called Union of Burma and choose to live independently, it is
their right to do so. Their secession only means that they exercise
their right. When they are determining their own destiny by
exercising their own right, it is unfair for us to oppose their
decision. Historically, the Burmans concern of disintegration of
the Union has always been mixed with its desire for keeping the
non-Burman peoples under its ethnocentric rule. Disintegration of
the Soviet Union has proved that more peoples have become
independent and are now able to represent themselves in the United
Nations with full dignity as those old UN member nations, thereby
helping the United Nations in finding out the correct solutions of
the crises occurring in the Fourth World and thus strengthening the
UN in its peace-making process.
reconciliation and friendship, it is necessary for the Burman people
to publicly condemn King Alaungphaya and officially put him in the
place of an evil monster for all his unforgivable violence and
insults against the Buddha Sasana and for all sorts of atrocities
that he had inflicted upon the Mon people? And will the Burman
definitely follow in charismatic King Kyansitthas footsteps? It is
only the responsibility of the present Burman leaders to convince
and unite all their fellow Burman people to cultivate and show
Kyansitthas heart and spirit that will be welcomed, applauded and
supported by not only the Mon but other non-Burman peoples. If so,
true peace shall come to Burma, the Land of Pagodas.
The views express here are solely the opinions of the author.