(Mizzima) – The Karen National Union (KNU) and ethnic Karen refugees worldwide will hold traditional peace ceremonies outside Burmese embassies and other venues on Thursday, coinciding with renewed cease-fire negotiations with Burma’s military-backed government.
Events will take place in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Norway and Netherlands, according to a press statement.
The peace ceremonies are being held to call on the military-backed government to agree to a cease-fire and to engage in dialogue to solve the political problems behind the decades-old conflict.
The current cease-fire talks are the sixth effort in the past 63 years that official talks have taken place. There have also been many informal discussions. Past negotiations have failed because the Burmese government has always effectively demanded surrender, and has refused to seriously discuss the political problems that are the cause of the conflict, according to the statement.
A cease-fire alone tackles the symptoms, not the causes, said a Karen spokesperson, who added that the military backed government says it wants to talk peace but it is still attacking Karen villages, still executing unarmed villagers, and recently jailed Mahn Nyein Maung, a senior KNU leader.
A traditional peace ceremony involves Karen standing or sitting in a circle. A village head pours a drink, usually a traditional wine made from rice, makes a wish for peace on whatever issue is important, and then passes the wine to the person on their right, who then does the same. They then pass on the drink until everyone in the circle has drunk from the cup.
For information about the ceremonies and events, contact Mahn Denis Saw Htoo +60197778303 (Malaysia); Saw Lat Thein +66816204486 (Thailand); Mahn Thaung Tin +1315368 4315 (USA); or Saw Lwin Oo +614123 44009 (Australia)