ASEAN LEADERS ARE BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE WITH THE WRONG CAUSE AND WRONG OBJECTIVE

ASEAN LEADERS ARE BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE 

WITH THE WRONG CAUSE AND WRONG OBJECTIVE

 

ASEAN leaders are complaining about the convenient way to solve the Rohingya problem.

But for the Rohingyas or Burmese Muslims or Christian Chins/Karens/Kachins and Buddhist Mons/Shans/Burmese etc AND the NLDS  and political opponents and armed rebel groups_

Whether the SPDC would accept them back is not their main concern. What is the consequences after repatriation is their only problem.

Jailed? Tortured? Is the main concern for all but ‘Village arrest’ (for Rohingyas only) is the problem.

No democracy, no Human Rights, no political life, no respect for the Rights of religious minorities and Ethnic minorities is their main concern.

But the lack of development, economic problems back home are the most important fact for all of them.

There is no clear cut line to DEFINE OR CATEGORIZE THEM INTO POLITICAL OR ECONOMIC MIGRANTS. 

Continue reading

Dear John Letter to the Dear Nan letters and Burma Digest

 Dear John Letter to the Dear Nan letters and Burma Digest

Dear Nan @ Burma Digest, 

We  first met and fall in love in April 2006, National Day of Burma and Shan National day. You even proudly published my first letter.

Since then, I started and continue to write my compassionate letters to you, followed by more than  300 letters. I thought that our union and love would last forever. Alas, it sadly last roughly two years only. I was quite stupid not to take the numerous comments criticizing my eleventh letter because I wrote about the history of Burmese Muslims. So I sadly stopped my series of love letters or compassionate letters to my estranged wife Nan, who represents the Shan State. Although I am a practicing Muslim, I took the place of a Buddhist Burmese and tried to stop the separation of the Shan State. 

I know that our different faith would tear us apart one day but never expect it to be too soon.

I tried to translate some of these letters about you into Burmese on our first anniversary that fell on 2007. This year on the second anniversary, I have done a great research, spend a lot of time and wrote 8 letters about you, SHANS. I think no one had done for the Shans like this in SHAN/BURMESE HISTORY.

But once there is no more love, hatred even blinded you and you dare to even blame me for those 8 Shan letters as unnecessary venturing into past. If you care enough, I have tried to write on all of your given topics or themes that you had requested in two years. Your words are my command Nan (Burma Digest). But all is finished now. (Even to call them theme was my idea given to you Nan.)

Although they said that “Rome could not be built in one day” but now I understand that it could be destroyed in one night.

But may be because of my daring revealing to be a mixed blooded Muslim, I know, your parents, relatives and and friends had pressured you, so you decided to write a quite rude “Dear John” letter to me.

We have known each other for not a very long time, but this poem describes our short lastest relationship.

We may have known each other for just a short time, but it feels like we’ve been together forever. But that’s water under the bridge now.

Goog bye Burma Digest or Shans or Nan.

With regards

Your ex-husband

 

Dr San Oo Aung

 

The following was my letters theme heading. 

Valentine Present with Love

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Please read the concept of MM daughter of Tun Dr M.
  1. I have no interest in joining any political party.
  2. I just have this thing against political parties;
  3. they all have a tendency to be a bit like organised religions_
    • where dissent is not tolerated
    • and dissenters condemned to hell.
                  
  4. If anyone agrees with me, that is welcomed but purely coincidental. If anyone doesn’t, well, that’s normal and to be expected. I only wish people had less problems with me disagreeing with them, than I have with them disagreeing with me. :-)
      Marina Mahathir     

    NOTE:
    Although I wrote this letter as if I was writing to my wife, I am just referring to the Shan State at first. These letters are purely political and it comes out from my heart which love the UNION OF BURMA AND SHAN STATE.
    But in this particular letter I am writing to Burma Digest and its Chief Editor. I even do not meant the Nan that represents Shan. I will never say good bye to my Shan State.
    And I never, never  had meant or aim to write to any one else through these letters.
    Sorry, if I have offended my own wife with this,  “Dear John Letter.”
    GOD KNOWS THE TRUTH!
    SOA

The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I

The Golden days of the

Great Mon  Empire I

References 

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Cambodia History
  3. Thailand History
  4. Mon Web pages
  5. Hariphunchai, Wikipedia 

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Mon state Flag

 The Mon are an ethnic group in Southeast Asia. They live in Mon State, historic lower Burma and the area around the southern Burmese-Thailand border.

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New Mon State Party Flag

There are believed to be around 8 million people who claim Mon ancestry and retain their culture and language, but the majority of the Mon (possibly 4 million) use the modern Burmese language for daily business and are literate only in Burmese (not in their native language).  The majority of Mon live around the city of Bago or the site of their historic capital, Thaton and the port of Mawlamyaing.

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Mon Children (boys)

They also constitute a significant percentage of the population further south along the lowland coast to the city of Ye, Burma.

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Mon Children (girls)

 Early history of Burma_ 

Humans lived in the region that is now Burma as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilization is that of the Pyu although both Burman and Mon tradition claim that the fabled Suvarnabhumi mentioned in ancient Pali and Sanskrit texts was a Mon kingdom centered on Thaton in present day Mon state.

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Khmer Arts

The Mon were one of the earliest distinct groups to occupy Burma, moving into the area as early as 1500 BCE or possibly earlier. The Mon are primarily associated with the historical kingdoms of Dvaravati and Haripunchai.

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Ankor Wat

Up until the 14th century, outposts of Mon culture continued to spread very Far East, including modern Thailand and Isan plateau cities such as Lampang and Khon Kaen.

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Mon Khmer Empire

Look, Thai’s Upper or North Western region was under Pagan.
Remaining Thai, Laos, Upper Malaysia and Lower Burma
was under Mon-Khmer rule.

As late as the 14th and 15th centuries, it is believed that the Mon were the ethnic majority in this vast region, but also intermarried freely with Khmer and Tai-Kadai populations.

Archaeological remains of Mon settlements have been found south of Vientiane, and may also have extended further to the north-west in the Haripunchai era.The Mon converted to Theravada Buddhism at a very early point in their history.

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Mon Buddha

Unlike other ethnic groups in the region, they seem to have adopted Theravada orthodoxy before coming into contact with Mahayana tendencies, and it is generally believed that the Mon provided the link of transmission whereby both the Thais and Cambodians converted from Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism to Theravada Buddhism (increasingly from the 1400s).

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Mon Buddha (side view)

Although the precise date cannot be fixed, it seems that the Mon have been practicing Theravada Buddhism continuously for a longer period than any other extant religious community on earth, except for Sri Lanka, as the lineage was destroyed in India.

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Mon Scripture Wheel

Like the Burmese and the Thais, some modern Mons have tried to identify their ethnicity with the semi-historical kingdom of Suwarnabhumi. Today, this claim is contested by many different ethnicities in South-East Asia, and contradicted by scholars. Historical scholarship indicates that the early usage of the term (as found in the edicts of Ashoka) indicated a location in Southern India, and not in South-East Asia. However, from the time of the first translations of the Ashokan inscriptions in the 19th century, both the Burmese and the Thais have made concentrated efforts to identify place-names found in the edicts with their own territory or culture. Sometimes these claims have also relied upon the creative interpretation of place-names found in Chinese historical sources.

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(Mon Khmer) Grand Palace Bangkok

The 6th century Mon kingdom of Dvaravati in the lower Chao Phraya valley in present day Thailand extended its frontiers to the Tenasserim Yoma (mountains).  With subjugation by the Khmer Empire from Angkor in the 11th century the Mon shifted further west deeper into present day Burma.  

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Khmer Women in the field

Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC and had received an envoy of monks from Ashoka in the 2nd century BC. 

The Mons adopted Indian culture together with Theravada Buddhism and are thought to have founded kingdoms in Lower Burma including Thaton in the 6th or 7th century and Bago (Pegu) in 825 with the kingdom of Raman’n’adesa (or Ramanna which is believed to be Thaton) referenced by Arab geographers in 844–8.The lack of archaeological evidence for this may in part be due to the focus of excavation work predominantly being in Upper Burma. 

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Shampoo Island

The first recorded kingdom that can undisputedly be attributed to the Mon people was Dvaravati, which prospered until around 1000 AD when their capital was sacked by the Khmer Empire and most of the inhabitants fled west to present-day Burma and eventually founded new kingdoms.  These, too, eventually came under pressure from new ethnic groups arriving from the north. 

Mon kingdoms ruled large sections of Burma from the 9th to the 11th, the 13th to the 16th, and again in the 18th centuries. About the same period, southward-migrating Burmans took over lands in central Myanmar once dominated by Pyu city-states and the Tai started trickling into South-East Asia.  

The Burman (Bamar ) established the kingdom of Bagan.  In 1057, Bagan defeated the Mon kingdom, capturing the Mon capital of Thaton and carrying off 30,000 Mon captives to Bagan. 

After the fall of Bagan to the invading Mongols in 1287, the Mon, under Wareru an ethnic Tai (Shan), regained their independence and captured Martaban and Bago, thus virtually controlling their previously held territory. 

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Shampoo Island

Mon kingdoms A main body of ethnic Shan / Tai migration came in the 13th century after the fall of the Kingdom of Dali to the Mongol Empire and filled the void left by the fall of the Bagan kingdom in northern Burma forming a loose coalition of city-states. These successive waves of Bamar and Tai groups slowly eroded the Mon kingdoms, and the next 200 years witnessed incessant warfare between the Mon and the Burmese, but the Mon managed to retain their independence until 1539. 

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Mon State Mudon

The last independent Mon kingdom fell to the Burmese when Alaungpaya razed Bago in 1757.  Many of the Mon were killed, while others fled to Thailand. Hanthawaddy (or Hanthawady; in Thai หงสาวดี Hongsawadi) is a place in Burma.  Hongsawatoi ( Bago/Pegu/ Handawaddy )  Hongsawatoi, Capital city of old Mon kingdom.  

It was destroyed by Burman King, U Aungzeya or Aloungpaya in 1757.  Hongsawatoi (Mon language pronounce) (Pali Hamsavati) Bago is about 50 miles from Rangoon. 

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Shampoo Island

According to legend, two Mon princess from Thaton founded Bago in 573 AD.  It was written in the chronicles that eight years after enlightenment, Lord Buddha along with his disciples went air-borne around Southeast Asian countries. 

The earliest mention of this city in history is by the Arab geographer Ibn Khudadhbin around 850 AD.  At the time, the Mon capital had shifted to Thaton. The word Mranma, in both Mon and Myanmar inscriptions came into being only at about the same time, lending support to this claim that the Pyu were an earlier vanguard of southward Tibeto-Burman migration who were entirely absorbed into a newly formed identity by later waves of similar people.  

The Pagan Kingdom grew in relative isolation until the reign of Anawrahta (1044-77) who successfully unified all of Burma by defeating the Mon city of Thaton in 1057. The area came under rule of the Burmese from Bagan in 1056.  

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Kyansittha, Alaungphaya, Bayintnaung and Nga Paw

Consolidation was accomplished under his successors Kyanzittha (1084–1112) and Alaungsithu (1112-67), so that by the mid-12th century, most of continental Southeast Asia was under the control of either the Pagan Kingdom or the Khmer Empire.  The Pagan kingdom went into decline as the Mongols threatened from the north. The last true ruler of Pagan, Narathihapate (1254-87) felt confident in his ability to resist the Mongols and advanced into Yunnan in 1277 to make war upon them. He was thoroughly crushed at the Battle of Ngasaunggyan, and Pagan resistance virtually collapsed. The king was assassinated by his own son in 1287, precipitating a Mongol invasion in the Battle of Pagan.  

The Mongols successfully captured most of the empire, including its capital, and ended the dynasty in 1289 when they installed a puppet ruler in Burma.  

After the collapse of Bagan to the Mongols in 1287, the Mon regained their independence. From 1369-1539, Hanthawaddy was the capital of the Mon Kingdom of Ramanadesa, which covered all of what is now lower Burma.  

The area came under Burman control again in 1539, when it was annexed by King Tabinshweti to his Kingdom of Taungoo.  

The kings of Taungoo made Bago their royal capital from 1539-1599 and again in 1613-1634, and used it as a base for repeated invasions of Siam.     A Mon dynasty ruled Lower Burma after the fall of the Pagan dynasty from 1287 to 1539 with a brief revival during 1550–53. At first Martaban was the capital of this kingdom and then Pegu.

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Mawlamying jetty

The Mon king Rajadhirat, who waged war with the northern Burman kingdom of Ava during the whole duration of his reign, unified and consolidated the Mon kingdom’s domains in Lower Burma.The most famous Mon monarchs during this period were Queen Baña Thau (Burmese: Shin Sawbu; reigned 1453–1472) followed by Dhammazedi (reigned 1472–92). Queen Baña Thau personally chose Dhammazedi to succeed her. Dhammazedi had been a monk before he became king of Pegu. Under Dhammazedi, Pegu became a centre of commerce and Theravadan Buddhism. These two devout Buddhist monarchs initiated a long period of peace in Lower Burma.Many foreign traders were attracted to the capital, which became well-known to the outside world as a centre of commerce. As such it is mentioned by the Russian merchant, Nitikin, who traveled in the East about 1470.

Its fifteenth century rulers were, like those of old Pagan, chiefly interested in the development of religion. Missions were sent to Ceylon and on their return stimulated an important religious revival, which affected the whole of Burma.

Its centre was the Kalyani thein near Pegu, so named because its original monks had been ordained on the banks of the Kalyani River in Ceylon. Kalyani ordination became the standard form for the whole country. The story of the reforms is told in the Kalyani inscriptions erected by King Dammazedi (1472-92). Dammazedi was the greatest of the rulers of Wareru’s line. His reign was a time of peace and he himself was a mild ruler, famous for his wisdom. A collection of his rulings, the Dammazedi pyatton, is still extant. He maintained friendly intercourse with Yunnan and revived the practice of sending missions to Buddhagaya. He was a Buddhist ruler of the best type, deeply solicitous for the purification of religion. Under him civilization flourished, and the condition of the Mon country stands out in sharp contrast with the disorder and savagery which characterized the Ava kingdom. When he died he was honoured as a saint and a pagoda was erected over his bones.

The Mon kingdom possessed two great pagodas of especial sanctity, the Shwemawdaw at Pegu and the Shwe Dagon at the small stockaded fishing-town of Dagon, now Rangoon, the capital of modern Burma.

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Shwe Dagon

The last Mon kingdom was Hongsavatoi—they re-conquered much of their lost territory until the energetic Burman leader U Aungzeya forced them back and captured the kingdom by 1757, massacring a considerable part of the population. The Mon religious leaders were forced to flee to Siam and the Mon have been harshly repressed from the 1750s to the present day. 

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Shwe Maw Daw (Pegu)

King Mingyinyo founded the First Toungoo Dynasty (1486–1599) at Toungoo, south of Ava, towards the end of the Ava dynasty. After the conquest of Ava by the Shan invaders in 1527 many Burmans migrated to Toungoo which became a new center for Burmese rule. The dynasty conquered the Mohnyin Shan peoples in northern Burma. By this time, the geopolitical situation in Southeast Asia had changed dramatically. Mingyinyo’s son king Tabinshwehti (1531-50) unified most of Burma. The Shan gained power in a new kingdom in the North, Ayutthaya (Siam), while the Portuguese had arrived in the south and conquered Malacca. With the coming of European traders, Burma was once again an important trading centre, and Tabinshwehti moved his capital to Pegu due to its strategic position for commerce. Tabinshwehti was able to gain control of Lower Burma up to Prome, but the campaigns he led to the Arakan, Ayutthaya, and Ava in Upper Burma were unsuccessful. When Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, Bayinnaung (1551-81), Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, succeeded to the throne he launched a campaign of conquest invading several states, including Manipur (1560) and Ayutthaya (1569). An energetic leader and effective military commander, he made Toungoo the most powerful state in Southeast Asia, and extended his borders from Laos to Ayutthaya, near Bangkok.  His wars stretched Myanmar to the limits of its resources, however, and both Manipur and Ayutthaya, which had remained under Myanmar domination for 15 years, were soon independent once again.  Bayinnaung was poised to deliver a final, decisive assault on the kingdom of Arakan when he died in 1581. Faced with rebellion by several cities and renewed Portuguese incursions, the Toungoo rulers withdrew from southern Burma and founded a second dynasty at Ava, the Restored Toungoo Dynasty (1597–1752). Bayinnaung’s grandson, Anaukpetlun, once again reunited Burma in 1613 and decisively defeated Portuguese attempts to take over Burma. Encouraged by the French in India, Pegu finally rebelled against Ava, further weakening the state, which fell in 1752.                 

         

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Mon Shan dominence
Indo China

The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

The Golden days of the

Great Shan Empire VII

Detention of Ethnic Shan and other opposition Leaders

Read detail in Irrawaddy, “Detained Ethnic Leaders Denied Outside Medical Aid” By Shah Paung on January 8, 2008

Detained ethnic Shan leaders are being denied medical treatment from outside for serious health problems, according to the Shan National League for Democracy.

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SNLD chairman Hkun Htun Oo

SNLD spokesman Sai Lek told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that prison authorities had rejected or ignored requests by the families of SNLD chairman Hkun Htun Oo and SNLD member Sai Hla Aung for medical attention from outside.

Hkun Htun Oo suffers from_

  1. prostate problems,
  2. diabetes,
  3. heart disease
  4. and high blood pressure.

Sai Hla Aung has_

  1. a hyperthyroid condition,
  2. diabetes
  3. and heart disease.

They were arrested in February 2005, together with_

  1. SNLD General-Secretary Sai Nyunt Lwin,
  2. Shan State Peace Council President Maj-Gen Sao Hso Ten
  3. and Shan politician Shwe Ohn, who was later released.

They were arrested days before a resumed session of the National Convention opposed by Shan leaders.

  • Hkun Htun Oo was sentenced to 92 years imprisonment and is detained in Putao prison, Kachin State.
  • Sai Nyunt Lwin received a 75 year sentence and is in Kalay prison, Sagaing Division.
  • Sao Hso Ten was sentenced to a total of 106 years imprisonment and is in Hkamti prison, Sagaing Division.
  • Sai Hla Aung received a sentence of 75 years and is in Kyauk Pyu prison, Arakan State.
  • Meanwhile, arrests of National League for Democracy members continue. NLD spokesman Nyan Win said five members of the NLD youth wing had been arrested between Burma Independence Day on January 4 and January 6. No reason has yet been given for the arrests.
  • According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), based in neighboring Thailand, there are more than 1,400 political prisoners in Burma.

SPDC Junta and Myanmar Tatmadaw failed to understand that patriotism is not the sole property of the Myanmar Tatmadaw and its Generals alone.

Each and every citizen_

  • regardless of his race,
  • religion,
  • social status
  • or political alignment,

has the right and is duty-bound to show his sense of patriotism to the country he loves in his own way.

Tatmadaw failed to acknowledge that the opposition parties like NLD, SNLD etc are equally patriotic, if not more so than SPDC leaders.

Many opposition leaders, to name a few_

  1. U Gambari lead real Buddhist monks,
  2. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led NLD leaders like U Tin Oo,
  3. U Hkun Htun Oo led SNLD Shan leaders,
  4. Min Ko Naing lead 88 Student leaders, like Ko Ko Gyi etc,
  5. Burmese Muslims such as, Daw Win Mya Mya (NLD Mandalay, Panthay) and Ko Mya Aye (88 Student leader)

Are unlike those in the SPDC and Tatmadaw,

  • have given up much of their comforts in life,
  • endured so much pain and humiliation
  • and even have been detained
  • and tortured
  • under the illegal, undemocratic, unjust, draconian laws of the SPDC.

SPDC Junta should answer my question even if their brain is slightly larger than a bird’s brain.

If sacrificing the major part of one’s life for the nation is not patriotism, what is it then?

It is extremely distressing that the ruling Myanmar Generals and Tatmadaw want to cling onto power instead of being an instrument for the peace, progress, prosperity, unity of Myanmar and power house to start an inertia of change to democracy.

Not only the different Races and religions have become the cause of disunity, hate, violence and turmoil but the Myanmar Generals and Tatmadaw show the world that they are even willing to assault, arrest, torture and kill their own monks to stop the momentum of people’s peaceful struggle to initiate the changes to democracy.

So what’s left now to think about the safety or guarantee of other minority races and religious groups’ fate, life and property ?

We all now witnessed that Myanmar Tatmadaw is even willing to sacrifice and annihilate any one or any obstacle on their way to the road to their permanent dominance of Myanmar. 

But the whole world looks quite cool, slow and looks like willing to patiently waiting forever for the SPDC promised, “Rice presenting on the moon-plate”

SPDC Generals should stop playing the politics of fear and intimidation on the unarmed Myanmar civilians. They should not politicise or use the national security as an excuse because it would be the most unpatriotic act, amounting to treachery.

We have journeyed together, sharing a common brotherhood for 60 years and we have attained wisdom and maturity to effect change that would create an environment where all of the Burmese/Myanmar citizens can have our voices heard, rights respected and continue to live together without fear or suspicion of each other.

We should not allow selfish Military Generals to sow the seeds of disunity, suspicion, hate and jealousy that will only be detrimental to us in this multi-racial and multi-religious nation of Burma/Myanmar.

As Barrack Obama, the US presidential candidate, said after his first defeat in the primaries:

‘Change is hard. Change is always met by resistance from the status quo. The real gamble is to have the same old folks doing the same old things over and over and over again and somehow expect a different result’.

We cannot and should not expect a better outcome from the same old Tatmadaw system over and over again. They will try to keep all the issues and dialogue in the back burner.

In order to create a just government for all of the Burmese/ Myanmars, we must strive to effect a change.

We have no much time to wait for the evolution, until or unless, UN and Mr Gambari could forced the snail paced present (almost effectively stalled) dialogue on the rocket louncher to install on to the fast track.

To bring about that change may not be that easy, it may be a monumental task, but there must be a beginning for all good things to happen.

Why shouldn’t it be now?

Is the saying, “Time and Tide wait for no man” irrelevant to the inhumane, noncivilized uniformed Tatnadaw?

Why did UN and the whole world allow the Junta to procrastinate when all of us already know that what the SPDC want was TIME only.

SPDC stupidly thought that time could heal the bleeding hearts of the people seeing their beloved revered monks beaten, arrested and killed.

It is now in our hands to make that change.

Do we have the will and courage to do so?

Except for the USA and EU leaders,

  • are ASEAN leaders,
  • OIC leaders,
  • Common Wealth leaders,
  • Non Allied movement leaders
  • and UN member countries’ leaders

all became cowards? Eunuchs with any B–ls? Greedy Crooks?

Or are they all willing to close their eyes, as the Burmese saying, “Myauk Thar_ Sar Chin Yin_Myaul Myet Nher_Ma Kyi Ne’.” meaning. “if you want to eat the flesh of the monkey, avoid looking at the face of the monkey.”

So carry on world leaders, just close your eyes to avoid seeing us beatened, tortured, arrested and killed by the Than Shwe Junta.

Please continue to enjoy the following article I republished from Irrawaddy.

Pro-Democracy Political Prisoners in Poor Health Condition
By Shah Paung
January 16, 2008

At least four detained political prisoners in Burmese prisons are in poor health and need medical attention, according to their family members.

The four political prisoners are Hla Myo Naung and Kyaw Soe of the 88 Generation Students group, who are both in Insein Prison in Rangoon; Win Maw, a pro-democracy activist, also in Insein Prison; and Myint Oo, a committee member of the Magwe Division of the National League for Democracy, who is in Mandalay Prison.

Hla Myo Naung has eye problems and is nearly blind in both eyes, according to a family member. He has had eye problems since October 2007, and was arrested while he was enroute to a Rangoon clinic to have an operation on the left side of one eye.

After he was arrested, authorities performed an operation on one of his eyes, but it was not successful and an eye nerve was damaged.

Family members of both Win Maw and Kyaw Soe said they received medical treatment in prison after they were tortured by the authorities in an interrogation center.

However, Win Maw has now contracted pneumonia. Kyaw Soe suffers from fainting spells. Both men were victims of water torture, according to sources.

A family member of Win Maw said they have not been allowed to visit him for nearly three weeks.

Myint Oo, who also suffers from pneumonia, began receiving medical treatment in a Mandalay prison hospital three days ago, according to family members.

Tate Naing, the secretary of the exiled-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), said that since August 2007, the military government has arrested more than 7,000 people, including pro-democracy activists.  Prisoners are not allowed to receive outside medical treatment.

88 Generation Students leaders Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi also have health problems, say their family members. They were arrested by authorities in August 2007.

According to the AAPP, there are more than 1,850 political prisoners in Burmese prisons.

 

The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI

 The Golden days of the

Great Shan Empire VI

Country Profile 

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Size:
Lies between 19 and 24 degrees latitude North, and Stretches from 96 to 101 degrees longitude East, covering approximately 64,000 square miles; shares boundaries with Burma, China, Laos, Thailand and the Karenni.

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Topography and Drainage:

Bisected north to south by the Salween River, one of the longest rivers in Asia. It lies at an average of 2,000 feet above sea-level, and the highest point, Mount Loilaeng, is 8,777 feet. It is composed of broad valleys, thickly wooded mountain ranges and rolling hills forming scenic landscapes.

Jong-ang, the biggest waterfall (972 feet) can be found near the town of Kengtong in Mongnai State.

Climate

There are three seasons:

  1. Monsoon (May to October),
  2. Cold season(November to January)
  3. and Summer (February to April).

Annual rainfalls average between 40-60 inches.

The overall temperature is equable throughout the year: not too cold and not too hot.

Vegetation

Pine and evergreen forests can be found in abundance. Teak and various kinds of hardwood cover over 47,210 square miles.

Minerals
The bulk of the so-called Burmese natural resources are in the Shan State: silver, lead, gold, copper, iron, tin, wolfram, tungsten, manganese, nickel, coal, mica, antimony, fluorite, marble, gemstones and even uranium.

Major Operating Mines are:

  • the Mogok (Mognkut in Shan) and Mongsu ruby mines,
  • and the Namtu Bawdwin silver mines discovered by the Chinese traders and renovated in 1904 by none other than Herbert Clerk Hoover (1874-1964) who became the 31st President of the United State.
  • A study of the Indian geological reports made by Drs Cogging and Sondhi in 1993 reveals Northern Shan States as incredible mining potential…
  • As for Southern Shan’s remarkable resources, they can be studied from the reports made by a G.V. Hovson (Shanland’s Grievances, by Htoon Myint of Taunggyi, )

People :

The population of these multi-racial people, described by ancient travelers as the most peace loving people who trust everybody and envy nobody is estimated at 7-10 million, the majority of whom are Tai, of the same ethnological stock as Thai and Laos, plus several other racial groups including Pa-o, Palaung and Wa of Mon-Khmer stock; and Kachin, Akha and Lahu of the Tibeto-Burman stock.

All in all, it’s various indigenous races have lived harmoniously together for centuries. This fact is supported by the political analyst Josef Silverstein, who say’s:

“Although the Shans dominated the people in the area both politically and numerically, they never assimilated the minorities; as a result, cultural pluralism existed through out the Shan States”. (Politics in the Shan State, The Question of Secession from the Union of Burma, 1958, by J. Silverstein).

The Shan’s stand on the racial question is best described by Sao Shwe Thaike, who in his capacity as the Speaker of the Constituent Assembly,

countered the objection that Muslims could not be considered as being indigenous by saying :

“Muslims of the Arakan certainly belong to one of the indigenous races of Burma. If they do not belong to the indigenous races, we also cannot be taken as indigenous races.”

Culture:

Shan is still the first language of the majority, though due to 60 years under the British Protectorate and 40 years under Burmese neo-colonialism, usage of English and Burmese has become fairly common.

As for attire, Shan men, unlike the Burmese, who wear longyis or long skirts, don long baggy trousers. Theravada Buddhism is the pre-eminent faith, and perhaps due to this tolerant religion, Hinduism, Christianity, Islamism and even animisms flourish in this land.

Agriculture:

Primarily a self-sufficient agricultural economy, being blessed with fertile soil, it produces rice, tea, cheroot leaves, tobacco, potatoes, oranges, lemon, pears, and opium.

Cattle-and horse-breeding is also a common sight in low grasslands. Added to the fact that it is rich in mineral resources and abundant in teak timber, there is no reason why the Shan State could not become one of the richest and most economically dynamic countries in Southeast Asia, given a favorable political climate. 

Shan States is a beautiful and fertile land, with green hills and mist-covered mountains. 

Shans are on the whole, good natured gentle, independent people.

Shan States have a diverse mix of ethnic groups; Tai Yai, Tai Khurn, Tai Lui or Tai Neir, Tai Keiy, Pa-O or Daung Su, Daung Yoe, Palaung, Kachin, Dai Nawng or in Burmese Intha, Danu, Lisu, Lahu, Wa, Kaw, Padaung, as well as Chinese, Indians, Burmans and others. 

The Shans are the most widely scattered of the ethnic people in Myanmar and they can be found in every part of the country.

Their Mans (villages), Mongs (city-states) and settlements stretch from the northernmost region of Hkamti Long down to Tharrawaddy and then to southern Taninthayi (Tenasserim) and from the tip of Kengtung in the east to Hsawng Hsup, Kabaw valley and Ta-mu in the west.

In central Myanmar many Shan settlements can be found around Ava, Pinya, Sagaing, Toungoo, Pyinmana and Pyi (Prome). 

Now-a-days, Shan people are spread around the world, many having left Burma to escape the persecution and brutality of the SPDC, many to study overseas. 

Shans live overseas in Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Europe, Taiwan, China, Japan and elsewhere.  Many overseas groups are actively campaigning for freedom in Shan States and Burma. 

Until recently many groups worked almost independently.  In recent years the more widespread use of e-mail and internet technology means that overseas Shan groups can communicate more easily with one another, sharing ideas, discussing campaigns and global change.

Shans feel immensely sad that their beautiful homeland has been ravaged and abused by SPDC, and because they have deep love for their motherland, they feel deeply bereft and betrayed.

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Two Soa Hso Kham Pha is the eldest son of the late Last year Soa Hso Kham Pha, also known as Tiger Yawnghwe, founded the Interim Shan Government with the cooperation of a group of Shan elders. Recently the ISG has established a freedom fighting force called Shan State Army (Central) with thousands of troops to fight against the neo-fascist military regime in Burma.  

List of Shan state rulers

 Read more in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.The Shan State of Burma (Myanmar) was once made up of a large number of traditional monarchies or fiefdoms. Three ranks of chiefs where recognized by the Burmese king and later by the British administration. These ranks were Saopha or Chaofa (Shan for king or chieftain) or Sawbwa in Burmese, Myosa (”duke” or chief of town), and Ngwegunhmu (silver revenue chief).

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Contents

1 Shan states

  1. 1.1 Hierarchy and Precedence

  2. 1.2 Baw (Maw)

  3. 1.3 Hopong (Hopon)

  4. 1.4 Hsahtung (Thaton)

  5. 1.5 Hsamönghkam (Thamaingkan)

  6. 1.6 Hsawnghsup (Thaungdut)

  7. 1.7 Hsenwi (Theinni)

    1. 1.7.1 North Hsenwi

    2. 1.7.2 South Hsenwi

  8. 1.8 Hsihkip (Thigyit)

  9. 1.9 Hsipaw (Thibaw)

  10. 1.10 Kehsi Mangam (Kyithi Bansan)

  11. 1.11 Kengcheng (Kyaingchaing)

  12. 1.12 Kenghkam (Kyaingkan)

  13. 1.13 Kenglön (Kyainglon)

  14. 1.14 Kengtung (Kyaingtong)

  15. 1.15 Kokang

  16. 1.16 Kyon

  17. 1.17 Kyawkku Hsiwan (Kyaukku)

  18. 1.18 Laihka (Lègya)

  19. 1.19 Lawksawk (Yatsauk)

  20. 1.20 Loi-ai (Lwe-e)

  21. 1.21 Loilong (Lwelong)

  22. 1.22 Loimaw (Lwemaw)

  23. 1.23 Mawkmai

  24. 1.24 Manglon

  25. 1.25 Monghsu

  26. 1.26 Mawkmai (Maukme)

  27. 1.27 Mawnang (Bawnin)

  28. 1.28 Mawsön (Bawzaing)

  29. 1.29 Möngkawng (Mogaung)

  30. 1.30 Mongkung

  31. 1.31 Möngleng (Mohlaing)

  32. 1.32 Mönglong

  33. 1.33 Möngmit (Momeik)

  34. 1.34 Mong Nai (Monè)

  35. 1.35 Mongnawng

  36. 1.36 Mong Pai (Mobye)

  37. 1.37 Mong Pan

  38. 1.38 Mong Pawng (Maing Pun)

  39. 1.39 Möngping (Maingpyin)

  40. 1.40 Möngsit (Maingseik)

  41. 1.41 Möngtung (Maington)

  42. 1.42 Möngyang (Mohnyin)

  43. 1.43 Möngyawng

  44. 1.44 Namhkai (Nanke)

  45. 1.45 Namhkok (Nankok)

  46. 1.46 Namhkom (Nankon)

  47. 1.47 Namtok (Nantok)

  48. 1.48 Namkhok-Nawngwawn

  49. 1.49 Panglawng

  50. 1.50 Pangmi

  51. 1.51 Pangtara (Pindara)

  52. 1.52 Pwehla (Poila)

  53. 1.53 Sakoi

  54. 1.54 Samka

  55. 1.55 Tawngpeng

  56. 1.56 Wanmaw (Bhamo)

  57. 1.57 Wanyin (Banyin)

  58. 1.58 Yawnghwe (Nyaungshwe)

  59. 1.59 Ywangan (Yengan)

  60. 1.60 Bibliography

Shan states

State Area (sq. mi) Classical Name Notes
Sawbwas
Kengtung 12,400 Khemarata Tungaburi
Hsipaw 4,524 Dutawadi
Mongnai 2,717 Saturambha/Nandapwa
Yawnghwe 1,392 Kambawsarata
Tawngpeng 800 Pappatasara
South Hsenwi 2,400 Siwirata or Kawsampi Also known as Mongyai
North Hsenwi 6,330 Siwirata or Kawsampi
Mongmit 3,733 Gandhalarata
Mongpai 730
Lawksawk 2,362 Hansawadi?
Laikha 1,560 Hansawadi
Mawkmai 2,557 Lawkawadi
Mongpan 2,988 Dhannawadi
Mongpawn 366 Rajjawadi
Manglun Jambularata
Kantarawadi 3,015
Samka 314
Mongkung 1,593 Lankawadi
Myosas
Nawngwawn 28 Pokkharawadi Amalgamated with Mong Pawn, 1931
Mongnawng 1,646 Nandawadi
Mongsit
Kehsi-bansam 551
Mawnang Amalgamated with Hsamongkham, 1934
Loilong (Pinlaung) 1,098
Hsahtung 471
Wanyin 219
Hopong 212
Namkhok 108 Amalgamated with Mong Pawn, 1931
Sakoi 82
Mongshu 470 Hansawadi
Kenglun 54 Amalgamated with Kehsh Bansam, 1926
Bawlake 565
Kyetbogyi 700
Hsamongkham 449
Baw 741
Pwela 178
Ngwegunhmus
Yengan (Ywangan) 359
Pangtara (Pindaya) 86
Pangmi 30
Loi-ai 156 Amalgamated with Hsamongkham, 1930
Kyaukku 76 Amalgamated with Pwela, 1928
Loimaw 48 Amalgamated with Yawnghwe, 1928
Kyone 24
Namtok 14 Amalgamated with Loilong, 1931

    Chinese provinces with the name Shan

  1. Shan is another name of the Dai, an ethnic group in China.

  2. Shan, an abbreviation for the Shaanxi province of the People’s Republic of China

  3. Shan, or Shan county, also refers a county in Shandong province of PRC

  4. Shan, or Shantou (汕头), a city in Guangdong province of PRC

  5. Shan, name for a region in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

  6. Shan, also refers to the name of ancient Western Regions (西域)

Shan also means hill, peak, or mountain in Chinese languages and Japanese There is also Chinese surname, Shan (surname), is a in Chinese.There is also river name with Shan , in Zhejiang Province of PRC

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Photos of the His Royal Highness Tzao Hso Khan Pha, President and Head of States, Interim Shan Government of the Federated Shan States.The remaining  are Shan Freedom Fighters’ photos, Six photos are copyright of Chris Sinclair mailto:csinclair@pobox.com.Four…….. Four other photos are courtesy of TSY taisamyone@yahoo.co.uk. All are taken from Burma Digest.

The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V

The Golden days of the

Great Shan Empire V

Shans around the world (Tai peoples) 

The Tai or Tai-Kadai ethnicity

The Tai or Tai-Kadai ethnicity refers collectively to the ethnic groups of southern China and Southeast Asia, stretching from_

  • Hainan to eastern India
  • and from southern Sichuan to Laos,
  • Thailand, and parts of Vietnam,

which speak languages in the Tai-Kadai family and share similar traditions and festivals, including Songkran or Thingyan water festival.  

  • Despite never having a unified nation-state of their own,
  • the peoples also have historically shared a vague idea of a Shan or Tai or “Siam” nation, corrupted to Shan in Burma or Assam in India, and most of them self-identified themselves as “Tai”. 

Origin of the Tai Comparative linguistic research seems to indicate that the Tai people were a proto Tai-Kadai speaking culture of southern China, and that they may have originally been of Austronesian descent.

Prior to inhabiting mainland China, the Tai are suspected to have migrated from a homeland on the island of Taiwan where they spoke a dialect of Proto-Austronesian or one of its descendant languages.

After the arrival of Sino-Tibetan speaking ethnic groups from mainland China to the island of Taiwan, the Tai would have then migrated into mainland China, perhaps along the Pearl River, where their language greatly changed in character from the other Austronesian languages under influence of Sino-Tibetan and Hmong-Mien language infusion.

The coming of the Han Chinese to this region of southern China may have prompted the Tai to migrate in mass once again, this time southward over the mountains into Southeast Asia. 

While this theory of the origin of the Tai is currently the leading theory, there is insufficient archaeological evidence to prove or disprove the proposition at this time, and the linguistic evidence alone is not conclusive.

DNA Analysia

  1. However, in further support of the theory, it is believed that the O1 Y-DNA haplogroup is associated with both the Austronesian people and the Tai.
  2. The prevalence of Y-DNA Haplogroup O1 among Austronesian and Tai peoples also suggests a common ancestry with the Sino-Tibetan, Austro-Asiatic and Hmong-Mien peoples some 35,000 years ago in China. 
  3. Y-DNA Haplogroup O1 is a subclade of O Y-DNA haplogroup, which itself is a clade of Y-DNA Haplogroup K, a genetic mutation that is believed to have originated 40,000 somewhere between Iran and Central China. 
  4. In addition to the ethnicities previously mentioned, the progenator of Haplogroup K was probably the ancestor of nearly all modern Melanesian people, as well as the Mongols and the Native Americans.
  5. Haplogroup K, in turn, is a clade of Y-DNA Haplogroup F, which is believed to have originated in Northern Africa some 45,000 years ago.
  6. Haplogroup F is believed to be associated with the second major wave of migration out of the African continent.
  7. In addition to the ethnicities previously mentioned, the progenator of Haplogroup F was probably the ancestor of all Indo-Europeans. 

Subdivisions of the Tai Ethnic Group

The exact structure of the clades of the Tai ethnicity are a topic of present debate among linguists and other social scientists.

There is only a general consensus as to the existence of the following distinct groups: 

  1. the nuclear Tai peoples of China and much of Southeast Asia,
  2. including most notably the  Thai, Lao, Isan, Shan and Zhuang
  3. the Li people of China (also known as the Hlai people)
  4. the Kadai peoples of China and Vietnam (also known as the Geyan peoples)
  5. the Kam-Sui peoples (which may or not include the Biao people)
  6. the Saek people of Laos and Thailand
  7. the Biao people of China  

Other Tai-Kadai speaking ethnic groups of non-Tai ethnic descent 

There is an ethnic group called the Lakkia in the Guangxi Province of China (Tai Lakka in neighboring portions of Vietnam) which is ethnically of Yao descent whose members speak a Tai-Kadai language called Lakkia. These Yao were likely in an area dominated by Tai speakers and assimilated an early Tai-Kadai language (possibly the language of the ancestors of the Biao people).

The Lingao people in the Hainan Province of China speak a Tai-Kadai language called Lincheng, although the ethnicity of the Lingao traces back to the Han nationality.

Geographic Distribution 

  1. The Tai have historically resided in China, India and continental Southeast Asia since the early Tai expansion period.
  2. Their primary geographic distribution in those countries is roughly in the shape of an arc extending from_
  3. northeastern India through southern China and down to Southeast Asia.
  4. Recently Tai migrated to Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina and North America as well.
  5. Greatest ethnic diversity within the Tai occurs in China. 
  6. Nuclear Tai peoples throughout China, India and Southeast Asia 

Further information:

  • Tai ethnic groups in China
  • Tai ethnic groups in Southeast Asia
  • and Tai ethnic groups in India

Li people

The Li reside primarily, if not completely, within the Hainan Province of China. 

Kadai peoples

The Kadai peoples are clustered in the Guangxi, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan and Hainan Provinces of China, as well as the Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Lao Cai and Son La Provinces of Vietnam.

Kam-Sui peoples

The Kam-Sui peoples are clustered in China as well as neighboring portions of northern Laos and Vietnam.

Saek people

The center of the Saek population is the Mekong River in central Laos. A smaller Saek community makes its home in the Isan region of northeast Thailand, near the border with Laos. 

Biao people

The Biao people are clustered in the Guangdong Province of China.

Lakkia people

The Lakkia are an ethnic group clustered in the Guangxi Province of China and neighboring portions of Vietnam, whose members are of Yao descent, but speak a Tai-Kadai language called Lakkia.

These Yao were likely in an area dominated by Tai speakers and assimilated an early Tai-Kadai language (possibly the language of the ancestors of the Biao people). 

Lingao people

The Lingao people are an ethnic group clustered in the Hainan Province of China who speak a Tai-Kadai language called Lincheng.

They are categorized as Han Chinese under China’s system of ethnic classification. 

Other Tai populations throughout Asia

There is a large Shan community within Sri Lanka which settled in Sri Lanka from mainland India.

In other parts of Asia, substantial Thai communities can be found in Japan, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.

 Tai of North America

The United States is home to a significant population of Thai, Lao, Tai Kao, Isan, Lu, Phutai, Tai Dam, Northern Thai, Southern Thai, Tay and Shan people.

There are a significant number of Thai and Lao people living in Canada as well. 

Tai of Europe

The most significant communities of Tai peoples in Europe are in_

  1. the Lao communities of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Switzerland,
  2. the Isan communities of the United Kingdom and Iceland,
  3. the Thai communities of Finland, Iceland and Norway,
  4. the Tai Dam and Tay communities of France,
  5. and the Southern Thai community of the United Kingdom. 

Thai of Oceania

There is a sizable Thai community in Australia, as well as a Northeastern Thai community in New Zealand 

Lao of Argentina

In recent times, large numbers of Lao have migrated to Argentina 

Common CultureLanguage 

The languages spoken by the Tai people are referred to as the Tai-Kadai language family.

The most widely spoken of the Tai-Kadai languages are_

  1. the Tai languages, including Thai, the national language of Thailand,
  2. Lao or Laotian, the national language of Laos,
  3. Burma‘s Shan language,
  4. and Zhuang, a group of languages of southern China.

These languages are tonal languages,

  • meaning variations in tone of a word can change that word’s meaning. 

Festivals 

The Tai throughout Asia celebrate a number of common festivals, including a holiday known as Songkran, which originally marked the vernal equinox. 

Thailand

The Tai migration from the northern mountains into Thailand and Laos was a slow process, with the Tai generally remaining near to the mountainous regions within the region, where they were able to use their specialized agricultural knowledge relating to the use of mountain water resources for rice production.

The earliest Tai settlements in Thailand were along the river valleys in along the northern border of the country. Eventually, the Tai settled the central plains of Thailand (which were covered with dense rainforest) and displaced and inter-bred with the pre-existing Austro-Asiatic population.

The languages and culture of the Tai eventually came to dominate the regions of both modern-day Laos and Thailand.

In more recent times, many of the Tai tribes of Laos also migrated west across the border establishing communities in Thailand. The Laotian Tai ethnic groups, often referred to as the Lao), are largely clustered in the Isan region of Thailand.

The coming of the Han Chinese to this region of southern China may have prompted the Tai to migrate in mass once again, this time southward over the mountains of southern China into Southeast Asia via the mountains of Burma and Laos to the north of Thailand.

It is believed that the Tai ethnic groups began migrating southward from China and into Southeast Asia during the first millennium A.D.

Tai ethnic fusion

Over the years, the Tai intermarried and absorbed many of the other populations who co-inhabited and/or politically occupied the region, particularly populations of Mon-Khmer, Burmese, and Chinese descent.

This fusion of ethnicity has led to considerable genetic diversity in the modern Thai people, and has resulted in a Tai population significantly different in culture, language and physical appearance from the Tai ethnic groups who remained in China.

In addition, many of the individual Tai ethnic groups have merged under a common Thai identity, and have adopted a nationalistic view of their culture. 

Individual Tai ethnic groups in Thailand

There are presently upwards of 30 distinct Tai ethnic groups within Thailand, making up nearly 85% of the nation’s population. The genetic stratification of the ethnic clades of the Tai ethnicity is a topic of present debate among linguists and other social scientists.

The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV

The Golden days of the

Great Shan Empire IV

The date 7th February 1947 is a defining moment in the record of the Shan history as a modern nation.

On that day, Shan princes and the people’s representatives of the Shan States demonstrated their newfound unity to declare it a “national day” which were followed by the resolutions of “Shan National Anthem”, “Shan National Flag” and the formation of “Shan State Council” on the 11th and 15th of February, 1947 respectively.

The people of Shan States and leaders decided in this very year later at Panglong, on the 12th of February, to join with U Aung San and the AFPFL (Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League) and leaders of other nationalities, to live together under one flag as co-independent and equal nations. This marks the birth of a nation-state now known as “Union of Burma”.

National flag

  1. The design of the national flag is as sanctioned at the Panglong Treaty conference in 1947.
  2. The size of the flag is ( 5ft. x 3ft)
  3. Diameter of the Moon is (1. ½ ft)
  4. The breath of the three colors: yellow, green and reddish (1 ft) each.

Example

 

shanstateflag.png

The meaning of the color:

  1. yellow is religion
  2. green is forest, and rich in natural resources and peace
  3. red is  bravery,
  4. white is purity

Saopha-loong, Soa Shwe Thaike was the first President of the Independent Burma. When Burma fell under military dictatorship, Soa Shwe Thaike was put into jail by the military regime, and later died in jail under suspicious circumstances.

Failed Cohabitation

  • The experiment to living together in harmony within the Union of Burma has been a disaster.
  • In 1962, the General Ne Win led Burmese military sized state power in a coup and declared the Union Constitution abolished.
  • In so doing, the Burmese terminated the only existing legal bond between them and the other ethnic nationalities.
  • So much time has gone by since February 7 1947…
  • A lot of changes have occurred, and many of them have been very painful and unfair. 
  • The leaders of Burma from Prime Minister U Nu in 1948, to General Ne Win in 1962, to General Than Shwe (now), have missed the opportunity_ 
    •  
      • to build a peaceful and prosperous nation based on
      • mutual respect,
      • understanding
      • and cooperation.
  • The problem that exist is not ethic “minority” rights versus the “majority” Burmese rights but rather of equality of rights for all.
  • The 1948 Union of Burma was understood by us to be a federal  union of equals.
  • And though the intent of the 1948 Constitution was federal, in rushing it through the Constituent Assembly by the AFPFL [Fa-sa-pa-la], the federal Union  in practice became unitary. 
  • We during 1958-62 tried to institute constitutional reforms in the Union Parliament towards a more equitable federal system as envisaged by the 1947 Panglong Agreement.
  • Ne Win staged his military coup and he and his successor Burmese military troops in Shan country raped, murdered & tortured to oppress, suppress and intimidate.
  • “Since then, Shan State has been treated as a de facto colony and occupied territory by the Burmese army.
  • Its forced assimilation and Burmanization policies to subdue our national identity have devastated the Shan homeland and make the people homeless and refugees.

Looking at the contemporary situation, one could only term the Shan nation as a downtrodden and battered one, reeling under the occupation of the oppressive Burmese military regime.

Gross human rights violations, genocide and cultural genocide, population transfer designed to make the Shan a minority in their homestead, and robbing them of their birthright sovereignty and self-determination are glaring injustice, which push the Shan into the category of sub-human or slaves, especially in the eyes of their occupiers.    

But even under such circumstances and after more than four decades of brutal suppression and occupation, the Shan sense of “national identity” and the aspiration to be the master of their own faith have not diminish but have grown stronger.

  • The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy’s (SNLD) victory in 1990 nation-wide election in the whole Shan State;
  • the continued political activities of the Shan State Army North within the limited political space provided by the Burmese military junta;
  • the active armed resistance of the Shan State Army South,
  • together with the bulk of Shan State National Army;
  • and the highly self-conscious Shan civil societies in keeping the national identity alive under intense pressure of the Burmese military junta; are indications of a nation, which refuses to be cowed.
  • the mainstream Shan organizations are endorsing the notion to rebuild a new Federal Union – together with all the other ethnic nationalities, Burman included

Practically, the Shan are faced with a dilemma to choose between secession and genuine federalism. But it is also important to note that the Federal Proposal of 1961, before the military coup,

  • is the brainchild of the Shan leadership at that time,
  • which was aimed at changing the Burman dominated unitary system into a genuine federal structure
  • with equal status for all ethnic nationalities.
  • All non-Burman ethnic groups endorse this as a balanced and acceptable solution until today.
  • Meanwhile, this proposed arrangement also find acceptance among most of the Burman opposition camps as a way to resolve the conflict as a whole.

This is perhaps lowering the aspiration to a certain degree but nevertheless, a pragmatic approach and in line with the international mood. But this is not to say that the global trend will stay forever in favor of status quo. The people concerned would eventually adjust their needs and value system, according to the prevailing international norm and structure of the time.    

Finally, if the Shan wants to be heard and advance their aspirations, they would need to seriously think globally and act locally.

  • It would need to sell the idea
  • that it is part and parcel of a viable force,
  • in collaboration with all non-Burman ethnic nationalities
  • and Burman opposition groups,
  • to replace the illegitimate military junta.
  • To do this, “broad coalition-building” among all the opposition is essential,
  • even those within the rank of the enemies, who are ready to reform, embrace justice, equality and democracy should not be neglected.
  • The Shan cannot win this fight alone
  • and it is crucial that the “multi-pronged” approach is employed,
  • coupled with the motto of “diverse actions, common goal”, as urged time and again by the late Chao Tzang Yawnghwe.

If we can bring about change now, in twenty years, Burma can still be a peaceful and prosperous country.

“Yugoslavia did break up into its components parts. The Shan States are larger both in population then Cambodia for instance and larger in area than some 24 States of the US and 20 or so Nation-States in Europe.

“I support all ethnic groups’ rights to have their own federal states, probably in US style or Canadian style. I understand that Quebac Province in Canada is an autonomic federal state. Shan state can be like that.

I never believe that “total separation of Union of Burma/Myanmar into a large number of totally separated & independent but very small tiny little countries” might be a wise decision.”

(From the Dialogue with a Shan Leader“_ Interview with Tiger Yawnghwe )

To understand the History of Shans, we need to review or revised the brief history of Burma (Pagan) 1044.

The brief history of Burma (Pagan) 1044

Anawrattha (d. 1077) seized royal power at Pagan and made it the political, religious, and cultural center of Burma; the Burmese written language was developed and Buddhist scriptures translated;

  • architectural monuments followed the inspiration of Ceylon and southern India.
  • In 1057, conquest of Thaton, Mon kingdom, which was in maritime contact with Ceylon and the Indian subcontinent and was a center for Buddhism as well as overseas trade.
  • Mon had a strong cultural influence at Pagan.
  • In 1060s-1070s, Anawrata initiated communication and exchanges with Vijayabahu I, Ceylon’s ruler (1055-1110), including the sharing of Pali Buddhist texts and monks.  

Rule of Kyanzittha, (1084-1112 )best known for his _

  • synthesis of various cultural developments
  • and the process of assimilation of different ethnic groups that took place during his reign.
  • He created a distinctive Burman style.  
  • In 1106, a Burmese embassy at the Sung capital in China was received as from a fully sovereign state.    

Pagan disintegrated into smaller states in ( 1287 )_

  • Following the rejection of Mongol demands for tribute in 1271
  • and later, Burmese raids into Yünnan,
  • and the death of Narathihapate (who ruled 1254-87),
  • Mongol forces looted Pagan and destroyed its power.
  • The invasion of Shan tribes, forced southward by the Mongols, led to the division of Burma into a number of petty states.

The chief states among them being_

  • Toungoo (established 1280),
  • Pegu in southern Burma,
  • and Ava in the middle and lower Irrawaddy Valley (established as capital 1365).

After the collapse of Pagan authority, Burma was divided.

Sagaing had been established as a capital, but later Sagaing fell to the Shan, the court moved across the river to Ava.

  1. Burmese Ava Dynasty (1364-527) was eventually established at the city of Ava by 1364.
  2. The kings of Ava set about restoring Burmese supremacy, which had disintegrated after the collapse of Pagan to the Mongol invasion under Kublai Khan that ended the First Burmese Empire founded by King Anawrattha in 1057.
  3. The kingdom lacked easily defendable borders, however, and was overrun by the Shan in 1527.
  4. There were repeated Shan/Tai raids on the capital of Ava and Ava sent military northwards to attack Tai fiefdoms such as Mong Mao.
  5. The Kingdom of Ava was involved in continuous warfare with Tai (Shan) princelings to the north on the frontier with Yunnan.
  6. The Ming dynasty that ruled China from the late fourteenth century often tried unsuccessfully to put an end to this warfare through traditional Chinese diplomacy.
  7. Ava occasionally became involved in the warfare between the Ming and Tai in Yunnan such as in the Luchuan-Pingmian Campaigns (1436-49).

Toungoo Dynasty  

King Mingyinyo founded the First Toungoo Dynasty (1486-1599) at Toungoo, south of Ava, towards the end of the Ava dynasty.

  1. After the conquest of Ava by the Shan invaders in 1527 many Burmans migrated to Toungoo which became a new center for Burmese rule.
  2. The dynasty conquered the Mohnyin Shan peoples in northern Burma.By this time, the geopolitical situation in Southeast Asia had changed dramatically.
  3. Mingyinyo’s son king Tabinshwehti (1531-50) unified most of Burma.
  4. The Shan gained power in a new kingdom in the North, Ayutthaya (Siam), while the Portuguese had arrived in the south and conquered Malacca.
  5. With the coming of European traders, Burma was once again an important trading centre, and Tabinshwehti moved his capital to Pegu due to its strategic position for commerce. Tabinshwehti was able to gain control of Lower Burma up to Prome,
  6. but the campaigns he led to the Arakan, Ayutthaya, and Ava in Upper Burma were unsuccessful.
  7. When Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, Bayinnaung (1551-81), Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, succeeded to the throne he launched a campaign of conquest invading several states, including Manipur (1560) and Ayutthaya (1569).
  8. An energetic leader and effective military commander, he made Toungoo the most powerful state in Southeast Asia,
  9. and extended his borders from Laos to Ayutthaya, near Bangkok.
  10. His wars stretched Myanmar to the limits of its resources, however, and both Manipur and Ayutthaya, which had remained under Myanmar domination for 15 years, were soon independent once again.
  11. Bayinnaung was poised to deliver a final, decisive assault on the kingdom of Arakan when he died in 1581.

 The Toungoo rulers withdrew from southern Burma and founded a second dynasty at Ava as the Restored Toungoo Dynasty (1597-1752), because_

  • they Faced with rebellion by several cities
  • and renewed Portuguese incursions

Bayinnaung’s grandson, Anaukpetlun, once again reunited Burma in 1613 and decisively defeated Portuguese attempts to take over Burma.

Encouraged by the French in India, Pegu finally rebelled against Ava, further weakening the state, which fell in 1752.

To further understand the History of Shans, we need to also review or know at least the brief history of   Thailand.

Siam (Thailand)

Early in the 11th century, Dvaravati (See Mainland Southeast Asia) was annexed to Cambodia; Haripunjaya retained its independence.

  • In the 13th century, Haripunjaya was overrun by a migration of Tai, or Shan, peoples from the north.  
  • In the year 1281, Tai leader Mangrai (1239-1317) conquered the kingdom of Haripunjaya at Lamphun. For two decades he fought Mongols who were threatening Tais from the north.
  • He is known as the founder of the kingdom of Lan Na, centered at Chiengmai, with cultural contributions influenced by Buddhist thought.  
  • In the year 1279-98, Ramkamhaeng ruled over the kingdom of Sukothai,
  • which he extended from Vientiane in the east to Pegu in the west.
  • Most important contributions were in areas of literature, sculpture, and religion; these developments strongly influenced Tai (+ Myanmar) cultural attainments as well.  
  • In the year 1350, migration of Tai, or Shan, accelerated by the Mongol conquest of the Tai state of Nan-chao (in modern Yünnan and southern Szechwan) in 1253,
  • led eventually to the suppression of the Khmer kingdoms

and the setting up of the Tai kingdom of Siam, with its capital at Ayuthia, founded by Rama Tiboti.

The early Siamese state was from the first under the influence of both Hinayana Buddhism and Chinese political institutions. The location of the Siamese state at a center of maritime commerce gave it a distinct advantage in its power struggle with Angkor. The ability to_

  • adopt the Angkorian-style administrative skills of the Mons and Khmers,
  • the martial skills of the Tais,
  • and the wealth and commercial skills of the local Chinese merchant communities was its legacy to the Tais’ cultural development.

Toward the end of the 13th century, a form of writing had been invented for the Siamese language.  

Siamese invasion of Cambodia in 1350-1460  finally led to the abandonment of Angkor (1431) and collapse of the Khmer Empire.  

In the year 1371, Siamese embassy at Nanking inaugurated tributary relations with the newly founded Ming dynasty.    

Intermittent friction between Siam and the Tai state of Chiengmai in the northern Menam Valley in 1376-1557 _

  • ended with the destruction of Chiengmai by the Burmese.  
  • During the 14th and 15th centuries, strong Siamese influence was exerted over the disunited states of Burma
  • and the northern part of the Malay Peninsula.

 Siam (Ayutthaya) (Because of this first capital of Thai, Ayuttha, we Burmese called Thais as Yow Da Yar)

Administrative centralization of Siam attributed to efforts of King Trailokanat (r. 1448-88); but most of institutionalized form of government probably resulted from reign of King Naresuen the Great (r. 1590-1605).

  • Under this king, Siam regained its independence from Burma
  • and emerged as most powerful kingdom in mainland Southeast Asia.  
  • Development of overseas trade can be dated as early as 1368. By the early modern period, Siam was a major source for sappanwood and pepper in the Chinese trading network.  
  • Siamese adopted Hinduism along with Theravada Buddhism.
  • Hindu concept of divine kingship,
  • and accompanying rituals, provided important sources of legitimation.

But in Siamese society, the claim to divinity operated without the internal checks characteristic of India, for Brahmans had little influence at the court. This may explain the pronounced aspect of absolutism in Siam.

  • Yet Buddhism was dominant in the cultural system that emerged in the early modern period, particularly in providing signs of legitimation (and delegitimation in the face of popular unrest) for rulers.
  • Royal interaction with sangha (groups of monks) provided especially important occasions for public statements of rulers’ support of Buddhist precepts; nevertheless, Thai rulers closely controlled the sangha through cultural patronage (their support ranged from sponsorship of architecture and sculpture to public processions).  

In 1569, first fall of Ayutthaya to invading Burmese army although_ 

  • In 1538, as a measure of impact of military technology, King Phrachai (r. 1534-46) retained 120 Portuguese to instruct Siamese soldiers in musketry.  
  • In 1550, new fortification style was introduced around the Siamese capital.
  • King Maha Thammarcha (r. 1569-90) also purchased large supplies of foreign cannon.

In 1590, King Naresuen the Great regained independence and utilized political, economic, and military forces to transform fragmented kingdom into relatively centralized state.  

  • Portuguese trading stations were established in the 16th century.
  • Around the beginning of the 17th century large numbers of Japanese were active in Siam in war and trade.
  • In 1602 a Dutch trading post was established at Patani,
  • where the English soon followed, until their withdrawal from Siam in 1623.
  • R. 1656-88 King Narai most energetic in pursuit of trade with foreigners.
  • His curiosity about Persian and French cultures made his court known for its openness.  
  • 1664 By a commercial treaty, the Dutch gained a monopoly of Siamese foreign trade,
  • which was, however, thwarted by French intrigue; a French embassy and military expedition (1685) in turn failed to secure the acceptance of Christianity and French influence and led to 
  • In 1688 a popular revolt that began a period of prolonged civil war. Prompted in part by reaction against Narai’s openness, it became anti-European. European trade languished,
  • But Chinese and Muslim trade continued at a high level to take up the slack.  
  • In 1690s, a dramatic decline in trade with Muslims and Europeans could be measured, although the Chinese trade helped to fill the gap. 

In 1767, Burmese invasion destroyed Ayuthia

  • and compelled temporary acceptance of Burmese rule until 1782,
  • when Rama I founded a new Siamese dynasty, with its capital at Bangkok.
  • Even in period of political anarchy, great cultural activity emerged.
  • Rama issued royal decrees aimed at controlling the sangha and addressing the need to harness the manpower represented by idle monks.

Now the time is ripe to look at the Contemporary Shan State.

Contemporary Shan State

 From the Wikipedia enclyclopedia_

Shan State is a state located in Myanmar (Burma), which takes its name from the Shan people, the majority ethnic group in the Shan State. Shan State comprises 69 townships, including 24 newly-created townships in Special Region 2 (Wa Area). Its capital is Taunggyi. The state is largely rural. Major cities of Shan State are Lashio, Kengtong and Taunggyi.

Contents

  1. Sub states, districts and townships
  2. Geography
  3. Education
  4. Economy
  5. Population History References

Continue to read about the Shan State in the Wikipedia enclyclopedia.

Contemporary Shan Nationals 

From the Wikipedia enclyclopedia_ 

The Shan (Burmese: ; IPA: [ʃán lùmjóʊ]; Chinese: 掸族; pinyin: dǎn zú) are a Tai ethnic group of Southeast Asia. The Shan live primarily in the Shan State of Burma (Myanmar), but also inhabit parts of Mandalay Division, Kachin State, and Kayin State, and in adjacent regions of China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Shan are estimated to number ~6 million; a reliable census has not been taken since 1935. The capital of Shan State is Taunggyi, a small city of about 150,000 people. Other major cities include Thibaw (Hsipaw), Lashio, Kengtong and Tachileik.

The valleys and tableland are inhabited by the Shans, who in language and customs resemble the Thais, Dai, and the Lao. They are largely Buddhists and are mainly engaged in agriculture. Among the Shans live the Bamar, Chinese, and Karens. The hills are inhabited by various peoples, notably the Wa, who are numerous in the north and along the Chinese border.The Palaung People are numerous in the Northern Shan State, in Namkham, Muse, Nampaka, Kut Kai, and Lashio Townships along the Burma China Border and also in the middle of Shan State, in Namsarn, Kyat Mae and Thipal Townships. The population of the Palaung people is over 1 million. Some of the Palaung people in Kalaw and Aung Pan in the Southern Shan State. There is a dwindling population of Anglo-Burmese in major hill stations, such as Kalaw and in Taunggyi, a hold-over from the colonial period.

Contents

  1. Etymology  
  2. Culture
  3. Language
  4.  History List of Shan States and rulers
  5. Politics Independence and exiled government

Etymology

The Shan identify themselves as “Tai”, which means “free men” while “Shan” is a Burmese language term.[1] The Shan share their creation myth with the Lao people and believe their race was founded by Khun Borom the first king to establish Sip Song Pan Na (12 thousand Fields) along the Mekong (Mae Nam Kong).

The Shan people as a whole can be divided into four major groups:

  1. The Tai Yai or “Shan Proper”
  2. The Tai Lue, located in Sipsong Panna (China) and the eastern states
  3. The Tai Khuen, the majority of Keng Tung (Thai:เชียงตุง)
  4. The Tai Neua, mostly in Sipsong Panna(Thai:สิบสองปันนา or สิบสองพันนา).

Culture

The Shan are traditionally wet-rice cultivators, shopkeepers, and artisans. Most Shan are Theravada Buddhists and/or observe their traditional religion, which is related to animist practices.

Language

The Shan language, which is spoken by about 5 or 6 millions is closely related to Thai and Lao, and is part of the family of Tai-Kadai languages. It is spoken in Shan State, some parts of Kachin State, some parts of Sagaing Division in Burma, parts of Yunnan, and Mae Hong Son Province in northwestern Thailand.[2] The two major dialects differ in number of tones: Hsenwi Shan has six tones, while Mongnai Shan has five.[3] Its written script is an adaptation of the Mon script (like Burmese), although several other scripts exist.[3] However, few Shan are literate, and many are bilingual in Burmese.

History

The Tai-Shan people are believed to have migrated from Yunnan in China. The Shan are descendants of the oldest branch of the Tai-Shan, known as Tai Long (Great Tai) or Thai Yai (Big Thai). The Tai-Shan who migrated to the south and now inhabit modern-day Laos and Thailand are known as Tai Noi (or Tai Nyai), while those in parts of northern Thailand and Laos are commonly known as Tai Noi (Little Tai – Lao spoken) [1] The Shan have inhabited the Shan Plateau and other parts of modern-day Myanmar as far back as the 10th century AD. The Shan kingdom of Mong Mao (Muang Mao) existed as early as the 10th century AD but became a Burmese vassal state during the reign of King Anawrahta of Bagan (Pagan)(1044-1077). Note: the Mao people are consider a Shan subgroup.

After the Bagan kingdom fell to the Mongols in 1287, the Tai-Shan people quickly gained power throughout South East Asia, and founded:

  • Lan Xang (Laos)
  • Lanna (Chiang Mai)
  • Ayutthaya (Siam)
  • Assam
  • Ava by Burmanized Shan kings
  • Bago by Monized Shan kings
  • Several Shan states in the Shan hills, Kachin hills, Yunnan and parts of Vietnam.

Many famous Ava and Bago kings of Burmese history were of (partial) Shan descent.

  • The Burmanized Shan kings of Ava fought Monized Shan kings of Bago for control of Ayeyarwady valley.
  • Various Shan states fought Burmanized Shan kings of Ava for the control of Upper Myanmar.
  • The Shan kingdom of Monyin (Mong Yang) defeated the Ava kingdom in 1527, and ruled all of Upper Myanmar until 1555.

Burmese king Bayinnaung (1551-1581) conquered all of the Shan states in 1557. Although the Shan states would become a tributary to Ayeyarwady valley based Burmese kingdoms for many centuries, the Shan Saophas retained a large degree of autonomy and often allied themselves with either ChiangMai, Ayuttaya or Siam.

After the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885, the British gained control of the Shan states and pushed the borders to the mountains, thereby robbing Siam of thousands of square miles of territory.

(The last Burmese king Thibaw was half-Shan.)

Under the British colonial administration, the Shan principalities were administered separately as British protectorates with limited monarchical powers invested in the Shan Saophas.

After World War II, the Shan and other ethnic minority leaders negotiated with the majority Burman leadership at the Panglong Conference, and agreed to gain independence from Britain as part of Union of Burma. The Shan states were given the option to secede after 10 years of independence. The Shan states became Shan State in 1948 as part of the newly independent Burma.

General Ne Win’s coup d’etat overthrew the democratically elected government in 1962, and abolished Shan saopha system. In an effort to extract themselves from under the Burmese thumb, various Shan political organizations have attempted ro reassert Siam’s (Thailand) ancient claim to the Shan States, but without success.

Politics

The Shan have been engaged in an intermittent civil war within Burma for decades. There are two main armed rebel forces operating within Shan State: the Shan State Army/Special Region 3 and Shan State Army/Restoration Council of Shan State. In 2005 the SSNA was effectively abolished after its surrender to the Burmese government, some units joined the SSA/RCSS, which has yet to sign any agreements, and is still engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Burma Army.

During conflicts, the Shan (Thai Yai) are often burned out of their villages and forced to flee into Thailand. There, they are not given refugee status, and often work as undocumented laborers. Whether or not there is an ongoing conflict, the Shan are subject to depredations by the Burmese government; in particular, young men may be impressed into the Burmese Army for indefinite periods, or they may be enslaved to do road work for a number of months – with no wages and no food. The horrific conditions inside Burma have led to a massive exodus of young Shan males to neighboring Thailand, where they typically find work in construction, at daily wages which run about 100-200 baht. However unsatisfactory these conditions may be, all of these refugees are well aware that at least they are being paid for their work, and that every day spent in Thailand is another day that the Burmese government cannot impress or enslave them. Some estimates of Shan refugees in Thailand run as high as two million, an extremely high number when compared with estimates of the total Shan population at some six million.

Independence and Exiled Government

His Royal Highness Prince Hso Khan Fa (sometimes written as Surkhanfa in Thai) of Yawnghwe, lives in exile in Canada. He is campaigning for the government of Burma to respect the traditional culture and indigenous lands of the Shan people, and he works with Shan exiles abroad helping to provide schooling for displaced Shan children whose parents are unable to do so. He hopes to provide Shan children with some training in life skills so they can fend for themselves and their families in the future.

In addition, opinion has been voiced in Shan State and in neighbouring Thailand, and to some extent in farther-reaching exile communities, in favour of the goal of “total independence for Shan State.” This came to a head when, in May 2005, Shan elders in exile declared independence for the Federated Shan States.

The declaration of independence, however, was rejected by most other ethnic minority groups, many Shan living inside Burma, and Burma’s leading opposition party, the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Despite this dissenting opinion, the Burma Army has begun a crackdown on Shan civilians as a result of the declaration, and Shan people have reported an increase in restrictions on their movements, and an escalation in Burma Army raids on Shan villages.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khun_Sa