Man­dalay ral­lies in sup­port of Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence

The Myanmar Times - - News - KYAW KO KO kyawkoko@mm­times.com

PEACE is com­ing and all Man­dalay is com­ing out to greet it. Over the next week, po­lit­i­cal ac­tivists, civil so­ci­ety groups and or­di­nary res­i­dents through­out the re­gion will be hold­ing ral­lies in sup­port of the 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence.

Un­til Au­gust 8, pro­ces­sions, the dis­tri­bu­tion of pam­phlets, mu­si­cal con­certs, pub­lic speeches and paint­ing and car­toon ex­hi­bi­tions will be held in ev­ery town­ship to mark what every­body hopes will be a gi­ant step to­ward peace and na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

The 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence, sched­uled for the end of Au­gust, is the cor­ner­stone of the gov­ern­ment’s peace process. Demon­stra­tions in sup­port of the event are also be­ing held in the United States, Aus­tralia, Den­mark, the Nether­lands, Ja­pan and Thai­land.

The first Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence took place in Fe­bru­ary 1947 in Shan State’s Pan­g­long be­tween the Shan, Kachin and Chin eth­nic mi­nor­ity lead­ers and Bo­gyoke Aung San, who was head of the in­terim gov­ern­ment and is also the late father of State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

“All eth­nic groups in our coun­try have suf­fered from civil con­flict for more than 60 years. Only if the fight­ing ends can our coun­try pur­sue na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. We have to es­tab­lish a fed­eral union through na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and we hope the 21st Cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence will bring so­lu­tions. To sup­port the event, we will hold pro­ces­sions for nine con­sec­u­tive days while other or­gan­i­sa­tions put on con­certs and peo­ple make speeches,” said or­gan­iser Ko Thein Aung Myint.

The run-up to the event be­gan on July 31, when more than 50 peo­ple held a pro­ces­sion in Chan Mya Tharzi town­ship in favour of a fed­eral union, na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, an end to civil con­flict and the suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion of the con­fer­ence.

Po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist Ko Aye Thein said the suc­cess of the con­fer­ence was es­sen­tial for the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment and the right of chil­dren in eth­nic mi­nor­ity re­gions to con­tinue their stud­ies in peace, with the co­op­er­a­tion of all the peo­ples of the Union.

“I’m so glad to see pub­lic in­volve­ment in sup­port of the sec­ond Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence un­der our new gov­ern­ment. We’ve re­ceived ap­pli­ca­tions for per­mits to hold big­ger events and we’ve de­cided to per­mit all of them. Some eth­nic armed groups have yet to sign a na­tion­wide cease­fire agree­ment, which is es­sen­tial. We need peace to pur­sue na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, and the search for peace re­quires re­spect for eth­nic rights. I be­lieve this sec­ond Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence will mark a turn for the bet­ter in our coun­try,” said Man­dalay Re­gion Chief Min­is­ter Dr Zaw Myint Maung.

– Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

Photo: Kyaw Ko Ko

Man­dalay res­i­dents are hold­ing ral­lies for the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence through Au­gust 8.

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