3 - Yawdserk calls for unity among Shans
In a conciliatory tone apparently directing at his archrival group, the "Interim Shan Government" (ISG), Col Yawdserk, leader of the Shan State Army-South, has urged all Shans to wipe the slate clean and start all over again.
"To all who have sacrificed their lives or been incapacitated during the course of the struggle for freedom, I honour everyone of you, whether or not you are from the same organization," begins the 49-year old chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), the SSA South´s political wing, in an address marking the 48th anniversary of the Shan Resistance Day that falls tomorrow.
"All of us want freedom," he continues. "And each one knows there is only one way to achieve freedom and that is through unity."
Finding fault with and slandering each other should be avoided, he maintains. "If we keep on fighting one another, neither will win and only our people will lose," he says. "But unity will be there for us if we love each other".
Unity however is not enough, he cautions. "We must adopt a common policy and live under the same rules and regulations. We also need to have a division of labour with everyone working to the best of one´s ability."
Prince Hsokhanpha Yawnghwe,
"President", "Interim Shan Government"
Col Yawdserk, Shan State Army leader
The rift between the two sides resulted from the latter´s formation of an interim government on 25 March 2005 behind a closed door meeting followed by its declaration of independence on 17 April 2005. The announcement made a week later by Lt-Col Moengzuen, Commander of the SSA´s 758th Brigade, of his switch to the ISG only served to deepen the rift.
The SSA, on the other hand, achieved in pulling off its own political coup by forming a Shan Representative Committee (SRC) with 13 other Shan groups on 18 June 2005. The SRC´s next move reportedly is to form a Shan State representative body with non-Shan groups.
Shan resistance was launched in 1958 by 31 Shan youths with a handful of guns on the border area opposite Chiangmai. Renaming of 21 May as the Shan Armed Forces Day or Shan State Army Day is not accepted by most non-military activists, who argue the new name excludes ordinary people who are also fighting for freedom. The proper Shan State Army Day, they insist, should be 24 April (1964), when the SSA was formed under the leadership of the late Mahadevi of Yawnghwe.
20 May 2006