Myanmar- an Unstable Union
The 1947 Panglong Agreement, like the DNA which is in the chromosomes of human beings, is embedded in the heart and soul of all the Shan and other ethnicities within Myanmar. The 1947 Panglong Agreement, made the federal Union of Burma- without it, there is no union and each member states are independent of each other.
Unless the Panglong Agreement is honored, the conflict between the different ethnic or racial groups in Myanmar will continue. If a small country like East Timor can become an independent country, so can the Shan State within Myanmar.
We must stop the war in the Shan State before it is too late. The quiet and peaceful villages have become killing fields, war zones with violence, terrorism, crimes against humanity and drug- trafficking. This seems to be spreading like wild-fire and if not contained soon, will become like Syria, Libya etc.
Innocent villagers are bearing the brunt of it all: their villages burnt down and they are homeless, refugees in neighboring nations. Conflicts can be resolved with compromise, and this is what Myanmar must reach.
A History of The Tai / Shan people
As far as history goes, the Tai People have had many ups and downs. From an area of the extreme climatic condition in Central Asia, they came down along the dangerous, rugged mountain passes to find a warmer place. The watershed of three rivers in Qing Hai province, Northern China provided a good resting place and became the cradle of the Tai. Until today many choose to live along the banks of these rivers: the Nu Cang(Nam Khong), the Lan Caing ( Mekawng) and the Yangtse to cultivate wet-rice and other food products. Along these rivers, they dispersed into all parts of China and South-east Asia, founded many baan -mongs, even small kingdoms.
The Burmese Tatmadaw is so very afraid the Shan State would use its rights to become an independent country that for the last sixty years it has been using every treacherous tool to stop it. It has not succeeded because it does not have the right tool, ‘Human Psychology’- It does not understand how to win friends and influence people. The more force used the more people will rebel. The Tatmadaw has not shown any reason why the Shan and other ethnic nationalities would want to be part of their Institution, when the Institution has treated them so terribly, so full of violence, anger, hate, and resentment. For the sake of peace, the majority of other ethnic nationalities are willing to forgo full independence and are willing to be members of a Federal Union of Burma, and to be treated with consideration, fairly and equally. Is that too much to ask? They fought many wars, won and lost. But it seems the Tai seek to live in small communities where it was peaceful, quiet and where they were not being disturbed or bothered by others. The Tai Yai, a sub-group of the Tai, migrated, founded Baan Mongs in the Shan States or Seing Mong Tai, which became their homeland for thousands of years until they were invaded by their next-door neighbour, the Burmans in 1962, a dictatorial army, called the Tatmadaw, who completely devastated their ancestral homeland and paralysed the people until present.
Marginalized by the Myanmar State
When Aung San Suu Kyi and her party became a legitimate government, People kept an open mind and gave her the benefit of the doubt. But as time goes by their doubt is increasing and the benefit is decreasing. The NLD with false promises won many seats in areas where people are ignorant of politics. She made an NLD Burman instead of a Shan as head of Head of the Shan States, which had never happened before, even during the Thein Sein period. It seems she is continuing and supporting the process of Myanmarnisation of the two military regimes. She still has no control over the military, as the military is expanding in ethnic areas and attacking innocent villagers. Therefore I doubt whether she could bring reconciliation to the conflict between the Bamar political institute and the other ethnic nationalities. If she thinks she can fool the other ethnic nationalities by calling for the 21st Century Panglong Agreement, without honoring the 1947 Panglong Agreement with all its principles she is mistaken.
Friendship is not formed by waging war, by bullying, threatening and by using force but by mutual trust and respect, Which have to be earned. I hope Aung San Suu Kyi will make great effort to make the Military Generals understand this. U Saw was one of the Bamar Politicians who thought Bo Gyoke Aungsan should not have agreed to the principles and signed the Panglong Agreement. The same is still felt by the Bamar Military/ Political Institute of today. The Institute does not believe that the non-Bamar should have equal status, equal freedom and equal rights as the Bamar; According to them Bamar are too superior and should be above others. This has been the cause of the conflict between the Bamar Institution and the non-Bamar ethnic nationalities for the last five or six decades. The Military dishonored the Panglong Agreement and destroy the 1947 Constitution and to succeed they must use any and every tools, violence and human rights violations.
A Human Rights Crisis
Killing just for the sake of killing- one of many crimes committed against the Tai/ Shan people has been going on for the last fifty years or more, and is continuing until today. It is part of the strategy of the Burmese Military/ politician to destroy every trace of the past that relate to the existence of the Tai Race in the Shan State, the identity of the Tais, their culture, language and their heritage buildings, and to destroy the truth and alter what would be written in history. These crimes against the Tai people, can be summed up in one word “ethnic cleansing” or is it genocide?
The Burmese Army/ Politicians go deeper and beyond just trying to win the war against the Shan and Other Ethnic nationalities due to conflicts. Since they occupied the Shan States they tried to destroy the Tai/Shan, and their culture by ethnic cleansing: destroying lives, destroying even the DNA by forcing or rewarding their Bamar soldiers to marry Shan women, Shan history, e.g the Kengtung Palace,now Yawnghwe, and everything that is Ta/Shan in the Shan State.’…
The Members of the Northern Alliance are retaliating against what the members of the Tatmadaw have done to them and other ethnic nationalities for the past 5 decades. But worse of all, the Northern Alliance is imitating the Tatamadaw in their actions of violence, terrorism, and human rights violations against not only their enemies but against innocent villagers. The Tatmadaw should show good examples and the Northern Alliance should stop imitating bad and immoral actions. I don’t think Burma can be peaceful as long as the junta is still occupying the ethnic states and the Constitution remain unchanged. They have hijacked all the other seven states put it as Naypyidaw territories.
In the Tai history, the only periods that they were able to withstand and fight against aggressors were during the Nanchao period. In 618-907 AD, the Tang Dynasty tried to incorporate the Chao States into their Kingdom. Leaders of six Chao State united and founded the Nanchao Kingdom. Together they built a strong army, and so the Nanchao was able to strengthen its man and military power to defend its Kingdom against the attack of the Tang and the Turbo(Tibetan). Nanchao was destroyed by the Mongol Army during the early 13th. Century AD. The second period was when the most resourceful of the Mao Kings, Sao Hso Hkan Hpa and his brother Sao Sam Long Hpa united and lead a large army and set out to regain all the Tai Mongs in S.E Asia which were destroyed by the Mongols. They were successful in regaining the old territories and also acquired several new Mongs and even founded the Tai Ahom Dynasty in Assam, India.