Burma Link | February 1, 2017

Karen Revolution Day was celebrated in a number of locations along the border area and inside Burma. One of the celebrations took place at the Karen National Defense Organisation (KNDO) General Headquarters in the Karen State. Major General Nerdah Bo Mya, the Head of the KNDO, told Burma Link about the celebration and his feelings on this special occasion. General Nerdah strongly encouraged the movement towards unity and for never giving up. “After the celebration this morning, I feel very confident about what is happening and with the current situation.  Unity is strength and unity is victory.  And we will live to see the freedom and democracy in our lifetime,” he said.  


“Because of the revolution, we still have the Karen today”

We are very happy.  We had a celebration this morning.  It’s the 68th Karen Revolution Day celebration and we saw a lot of people this morning, some leaders, also some religious leaders and some of our leaders from KNU [Karen National Union], they came to the celebration. It’s a new spirit, new beginning after 68 years of the struggle, and some people feel like it’s a long struggle and when are we going to achieve [our goals]. We had many speeches this morning from many different leaders and they gave encouragement and we feel like we are still fresh and we keep moving forward.  And this is like the new day, new fresh day, new beginning, with a good vision.  We know that we have to achieve our goal and our objective.  At the same time, we also talked about unity among ourselves and unity with other ethnic groups.  We can go on and work together for freedom, self-determination, democracy, and peace.  Peace for everybody who lives in Burma, and unity and strength. We also talked about how unity is peace, and we also talked about hardship, how we have to go through hardship.  Freedom is not free.  And nothing is more important than freedom.  We keep moving and never stand still.

Because of the revolution, we still have the Karen today.  We are still called the Karen people.  We still have our identity, but we need to be recognized by the world.  We know that we are having peace talks right now and we talked about the Burmese mentality and how they’re manipulating the situations and they are taking advantage of the situations.  While we’re having peace talks, they’re moving into our territories and taking control of our areas and they are putting their administrations in Karen administrative areas.  This is something that we can see that is not real peace.  It’s a fake one and also they have their own strategies to defeat us.  They want to overcome, they want to defeat, they want to control our situation.  So there are no other choices.  We have to keep on moving, we have to keep on struggling until we achieve our goal.

When you look at the situation, the military regime has so many problems of their own that they have to solve.  So, when you look at the whole situation, it’s all up to us, whether we can defeat them.  We can achieve our goal by having unity.  The choice depends on us, whether we want to be a slave or we want to be free.  Freedom or slave, the choice is all up to us because they have so many problems and all we have to do is choose, whether we want to be free or whether we want to be a slave.


“We will live to see the freedom and democracy in our lifetime”

Looking back, 68 years of the struggle, we realize that the Burmese [army] cannot really defeat us.  They have tried it in many ways, but they cannot really defeat us.  And today we must realize that.  After 68 years of battling with the Burmese army and they cannot defeat us, then today we have to think about how can we defeat them.  How can we achieve our victory?  So, we know for sure that they cannot defeat us, so now it’s time for us to think about victory, think about defeating them and we get people from all over the world.  The Karen people are spreading all over the world.  We’re in America, we’re in Canada, we’re in Thailand, we’re inside Burma.  We [ethnic nationalities] are not a minority, we’re a majority.  But only if you believe in the Burmese propaganda, and then if you don’t know yourself, then you will feel like we are a minority, we cannot really achieve that.  ‘There are only a few of us,’ if you believe that, you can never achieve your goal.  All you have to do is don’t believe in the Burmese propaganda.  Believe in yourself.  Look back where you came from. Know about your history, and definitely we are very powerful.  Once you know about ourselves, we know about our history, we know where we came from, we know who we are.  Then you will say, “Yes!  I can do it.  Yes!  We can defeat them.  Yes! We can gain recognition.”  No doubt about it.  All you have to know is know yourself.  Don’t listen to the Burmese.  Don’t listen to their lies.  They keep lying to us, so many, many years.  And the problem is because we believe them.  That’s why we could never defeat them.  Now, we have to believe in ourselves, believe in the reality, believe in our history, then you can say, “We can do it.  We can achieve our goal.”  We can easily gain back our victory.  We can easily gain back our rights.

After the celebration this morning, I feel very confident about what is happening and with the current situation.  Unity is strength and unity is victory.  And we will live to see the freedom and democracy in our lifetime.  Not next decade or the next generation, but in our life time we will live to see the freedom of the Burmese people [all people of Burma].


“The more you face the problems, the stronger you will be”

Life is not very easy in the real world.  Life is not like in a Hollywood movie.  And all we have to do is face the reality.  Don’t try to run away from reality.  Face the problems.  Face the reality and get some gaining out of it.  And once you get over it, then you will feel like you are the winner.  And a lot of people, when they are faced with problems and hardships, they give up.  No, you shouldn’t be giving up.  We should continue facing the problems [head on].  Once you get over them, once you overcome the problems, then you feel like a winner.  And the more you face the problems, the stronger you will be.  This is how you build yourself up.  Problems should be your teacher.  Facing the problems, see to the problems, enjoy facing the problems.  Once you get everything under control, you get over it, and you feel like you are climbing up the hill.  Once you get to the top, you will say to yourself “YES!  I made it up to the top.”  And then you will gain more self-confidence. This is about the revolution, about the struggle, it is the same thing.