KNU celebrates Karen revolution day

Feb 1, 2008 (DVB), The Karen National Union marked the 59th anniversary of Karen revolution day yesterday in a celebration at the Karen National Liberation Army headquarters in KNU-controlled territory.

The secretary-general of the KNU, Pado Manh Sha gave a speech at the event calling on all Karen people to take part in the struggle for freedom.

"This is a revolution for the Karen people to free themselves from being enslaved, and so all people of Karen nationality should take part in it," Pado Manh Sha said.

He also said that people should follow the four principles set out Saw Ba U Gyi, one of the KNU's original founders.

"One, never talk about surrender; two, Karen arms should be in the hands of the Karen people; three, we must complete the development of the Karen nation; four, only Karen can shape the future of the Karen," Pado Manh Sha said.

"We have to stick to these four principles set out by Saw Ba U Gyi; we need to march on under the leadership of the KNU," he said.

"The KNU vows to stand firm to the end for the benefit of the Karen nation."

Thousands of Karen people attended the celebration, along with people from various pro-democracy groups.

KNLA military commander-in-chief general Saw Mutu Say Pho was given a guard of honour by KNLA troops.

One KNLA brigade 7 soldier, who was on security duty during the celebrations, said that the Karen people should be united.

"We should always recognise ourselves as Karen people, and we should carry out our duties within this movement with unity and cooperation and without betrayal," he said.

A Karen woman who attended the celebration said she hoped the Karen people would be successful.

"I believe in this revolution because it stands on the side of truth, and I hope we will achieve our goal," she said.

Battalion 101 commander lieutenant-colonel Phaw Doh warned the Karen people against listening to groups who had defected from the KNU, such as the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.

Phaw Doh said that the KNU would welcome back any of soldiers who wanted to return to the KNU.

"It is every Karen's responsibility to play their part for Karen nationalism," Phaw Doh said.

"Whether they have broken away from the KNU or not, it is important for them not to do things the enemy [State Peace and Development Council] orders them to do. We all still share Karen blood," he said.

Revolution day celebrations were also held at other KNU brigades and battalions yesterday.

As part of the celebrations, a medal for heroism was awarded to Brigade 7 commander brigadier-general Saw Johnny.

Reporting by Htet Yazar

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