4: Shan National Day
Honoured Guests and Pi Nong Tai
Although I am not able to be personally here today to celebrate our National Day at Loikawone Shan Army Base, I am very much present in Spirit.
Today marks that February Day at Panglong in 1947, when our National Flag was first raised. The raising of this Our Flag in the presence of British Government Officials and the lowering of the British Union Jack then, signifies that our Sovereign Status and independence was recognized by the British virtually one year before Burma got her’s in January 1948.
Yes we also agreed to join the Union, but it was a conditional one that we can exercise the right to secede from that Union, 10 years after 1948 and at the signing of the Panglong Agreement the other States of the Chin. Kachin and Karenni had that similar right. And to be honest, I remember that most of us young and old could hardly wait for 1958 !
But unfortunately in 1958, Ne Win on the secret instigation of Thakin Nu of the AFPFL established the so called “Caretaker Government” but really a military coup to forestall our leaving the Union and it was during this period, that the Saophas were put under intense political pressure and Burmese military presence in Mong Tai to relinquish their ruling and executive powers. This they did – but it is well to remember that their Powers were relinquished to the People of the Shan States and to the Shan Government and NOT to the Burmese. This is a crucial and important distinction that we must not forget – but unfortunately many of our Pi Nong Tai misunderstood this distinction & significance and even to this day, the Princes are accused of selling out to the Burmese. It is not so, because that Power they relinquished belong to the People of the Federated Shan States.
Successive Burmese military regimes from Ne Win’s 1962 BSPP through SLORC and SPDC our People have suffered, murder, torture, rape and wholesale displacements and eventually in 2000 in a secret canvassing and poll of our Se-Viengs, undertaken by our leaders inside including those of the Shan Nationalities for Democracy, resulted in a massive vote for Independence in a 48:8 majority of Se-iengs. This secret poll was confirmed again in 2004 when I, on instructions for the leadership inside Mong Tai Declared our Independence on April 17, 2005 and following this Declaration, in another secret conclave the leaders of the Se-Viengs met again & on Feb.26/ 2006 -. voted again for Independence with an increased majority of 54:2 of the Se-Viengs of our country.
Since our Declaration on April 17, 2005 the Interim Shan Government has been quietly seeking and gaining the support of our many resistance army groups and in gaining support from abroad. We have established the non profit Shan Relief Foundation, and the Tai Help Centres in Bangkok and Chiangmai, set up with the generous assistance of General SS and his legal associates and staffed by Tai compatriots to register displaced persons and migrants in Thailand and to render assistance to them.
I can say too that the Interim Shan Government is striving relentlessly but without fanfare to deliver the Mandate for independence given to us by our People of Mong Tai and I give you my pledge as do my colleagues - the Interim Shan Government will deliver and affirm our freedom.
Last but not least, we thank Col Kwan Zerng and the soldiers of his command in hosting our National Day Celebrations at Loikawone.
Maisoong Mong Zerng Tai.