On 7th February, 2023, it is going to be the 76th Shan National Day occasion and as I’m on the road, I won’t be able to write a lengthy message, on the celebration.
Actually, I don’t even know whether we should celebrate or mourn on this special occasion for the Shan and the people of Shan State.
Last year, I penned an article, which reflects the Shan people’s erosion of unity and even lack a common goal-setting for the place we called Shan State and its people, actually a multi-ethnic state, in every sense of the words.
As reflected on the last year’s Shan National Day article, the situation of the Shan/Tai unity and the whole people of Shan State are still the same this year, as the inter-ethnic conflict or brotherly wars between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), United Wa State Army (UWSA) on one side and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) on the other hasn’t been resolved yet, even though the actual armed conflict situation has died down a bit this last few months.
Politically the Shan State’s armed forces also have different outlooks regarding the ongoing civil war, heightened by Bamar population’s uprising against the military junta followed by the military coup in February 2021.
The Ta’ang National Liberation (TNLA) and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) or Kokang are openly against the military junta and have announced support to the National Unity Government /People’s Defence Force (NUG/PDF) although they haven’t joined it officially yet. The Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) or Mongla, and United Wa State Army (UWSA) are for negotiation with the military junta, even though they are not overly friendly and often deal with the junta on a cautioned, guarded stance. The RCSS has been on the negotiation term with the junta.
Then, lately there are new formation of PDF and local resistance groups that want to fight together with the NUG/PDF in Shan State, although they are not much effective and strong enough yet for the moment.
In short, the Shan State resistance groups are not in unity and as fragmented as ever before.
In party politics, looming general elections that the military junta is trying to hold, Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) headed by Sai Aik Pao is geared to enter the election, while the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) led by Sai Nyunt Lwin isn’t very keen to do so, because it considers the election is designed only to keep the military proxy party USDP and the military in power and cannot be a free and fair election. But it still has still to take a more clear stance, on whether it is for it or against it.
In sum, the message in this 76th anniversary Shan National Day occasion, the people of Shan State will have to rethink their identity politics and find a common ground, if we all want to live harmoniously in a multi-ethnic state. And politically, it will do all of us good, if we can pitch in, in unison to empower the Bamar people’s revolution or uprising so that we can uproot the military dictatorship, once and for all.
This in turn will pave the way to get rid of all forms of dictatorship, ethnocentrism and create a wider range of multi-ethnic state, based on ethnic equality, democracy and universal human rights.
NOTE: Last year’s article is attached as it explains the making of Shan National Day in historical context.