THINK PIECE ON 71ST SHAN NATIONAL DAY ANNIVERSARY : Reverting back to pre-Panglong Agreement period a way out from the present peace process stagnation?

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A lot of non-Bamar ethnic nationalities are now asking if it is worth pursuing to invest the energy in rebuilding a federal union that our forefathers had envisaged in the aftermath of Panglong Agreement signed in 1947.

The era of democracy from 1948 to 1962 could be generally taken as the “voluntary union”, while not perfect. In 1962, in the course of amending the Union of Burma Constitution to be more federal, the Military took over the reign of the country under the pretext of upholding national unity and protecting the country from disintegration.

The Military then equated federalism to secession, when in reality the call for amendment of the constitution was to make all ethnic nationalities equal, including the Bamar.

Today we are still putting our hopes on the return to “voluntary union” from the now “forced union” status held together by sheer military occupation and suppression.

But the Bamar political elite and Military are not ready to honour the Panglong Agreement in words and deeds, which is the only legal bond between the Bamar and the ethnic nationalities, as could be seen by their statements and actions in the course of peace process from 2011 until today.

As such, it might be time for all ethnic nationalities to rethink their negotiation involvement in the ongoing peace process. In this sense, reverting back to the pre-Panglong period situation could be a good start.

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