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Burma's exiled ethnic nationalities seminar held in North America

Debate on National Convention
 
WHAT SHOULD THEY DO?
 
(By Lawi Weng)
 
Some Mon leaders are proud of the idea that the cease-fire has entitled the Mon political party to participate in the national convention.
 
"Because of the ceasefire, we can maintain our land," stated a New Mon State Party leader. Yes, because of playing politics for three years, 7,889 acres of land were confiscated from the local Mon people by the Burmese troops. Was this a consequence of the cease-fire?
 
Regarding Mon politics today, it makes me think of a village headman from my hometown. He became the leader because he was well educated, but to keep the peace he had to feed and bribe the Burmese troops at every turn. When his term was up, he sold three gardens to them.
 
When the cease-fire ends should the Mon give up their land?  Today the Mon live in a military zone. During the term of the cease-fire, more than 30 military camps were moved into Monland. Some people were forced from their land and became internally displaced persons.  Even those who still have land are not allowed to go freely about their farms because the Burma Army controls the area. Thousands of IDP have escaped into the Mon controlled areas or have fled across the borders.
 
Is the New Mon State Party concerned to see thousands of IDP fleeing into their controlled areas? The Mon people will slowly disappear day by day if Mon politics becomes too diseased, like a person afflicted with polio, they must take a firm position and challenge the regime. Many Mon have escaped to Thailand seeking jobs for survival after their land was robbed, what laws will there be to protect the people from criminal behavior in Burma in the future.
 
"Land is our mother. We are born and brought up in her lap, and to her we must return as we die. It is the living link between our ancestors and us", said a Maori indigenous people from New Zealand . Land is important for people, to have peace the Mon have to hand over their land to the Burmese troops, but the Mon should not be forced into this kind of situation, reduced to paupers in their own land, deceived into giving up their rights.
 
Do the overseas Mons think they can come back to Monland after the national convention? What’s in store for the Mon, what is the advantage of this convention? The national convention is the first step toward a political solution after an eight-year ceasefire agreement. The Mon people will be far from their hometown when the national convention begins, and the regime can play any trick up their sleeve to appease those who are susceptible to deception. The regime's national convention is like a train—which moves from station to station picking up passengers and the Mon are like a dog barking at the moving train, like the Mon political party, they will not be heard unless there is a firm consensus among the Mon to achieve their rights.
 
Kao Wao asked some of the Mon diasporas whether or not they agree with the Mon attending the convention? Most disagree, but the NMSP will not cancel their invitation to the national convention because they have already accepted Khin Nyunt's invitation and they are worried the ceasefire will be broken and fighting will continue. 
 
The Mon should attend the national convention to seek a political solution and not be pushed into whatever the regimes wants. The convention should be an intensive debate to gain recognition and their basic rights, so the Mon can study and teach in their own language and live freely on their land. These are legitimate concerns among all Mon people today who want to return to their homeland. 

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Kaowao Newsgroup is committed to social justice, peace, and democracy in Burma. We hope to be able to provide more of an in-depth analysis that will help to promote lasting peace and change within Burma.
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