Laiza Peace Marchers Greeted by Kachins

The peace marchers arrive in Laiza on Monday. (Photo: The Kachin Net)

LAIZA — Thousands of ethnic Kachins welcomed dozens of peace activists who arrived in Laiza, the besieged stronghold of Kachin rebels, on Monday evening after walking for 57 days from Rangoon.

Residents of Laiza came out in force as Kachin Independence Army (KIA) fighters lined the streets, forming a welcoming procession that reportedly cost around 60,000 yuan (about US $9,600).

Col Zau Tawng of the KIA said: “We have been following the news about these peace activists, so we knew they were arriving. We have been waiting with great interest.”

Buddhist residents of Laiza said they were encouraged by the arrival of 10 Buddhist monks, who were preparing to give a religious sermon on Wednesday night, residents said.

“We are very happy to have the monks come here to talk,” said Shan Ma, who lives in Laiza, adding that there had been no Buddhist religious events in the town since the start of the fighting.

The conflict in Kachin State has raged since government forces began an offensive in the area in June 2011. The activists made the journey to Laiza to try to end the violence.

The marchers raised a flag bearing a white dove symbolizing peace.

The marchers’ leader, Yan Naing Htun, said: “If we look at how much the people support our movement, this has been a success. The success of our movement has been decided by the people.

“Without having good intentions, we could not walk to Laiza and when we found a lot of people welcoming us, we are very happy about that.”

The activists said many people donated food and money to their cause along the way, even donating 17 million kyat ($19,000) to Kachin refugees.

“I thought we would have many difficulties on this trip, not having enough food sometimes and having to sleep on the street without shelter. There were even people who criticized us for attempting the impossible,” he said.

“But we found lots of support along the way, which gave us hope. We never went without food.”

The government and the KIA recently re-opened peace talks, something the activists say is a positive outcome from their efforts.

“We believed that this is one benefit from our movement,” said Yan Naing Tun.

The activists also thanked the Burmese army, which helped them get to the embattled city, and Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing.

6 Responses to Laiza Peace Marchers Greeted by Kachins

  1. “The activists also thanked the Burmese army, which helped them get to the embattled city, and Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing.”
    Min Aung Hlaing is changing and changing with a good start but let wait and see ” it is trick or not”.

  2. Thereby shows the confusion among the public of Burma.

    It is that very Min Aung Hlaing (baby faced thug) who is the head honcho (under instruction from who?) attacking the people of Burma committing the most atrocious, heinous acts on them depriving hundreds of thousands of their basic essentials of lives and here he was “Thanked” for simply to let some to walk through.

    Obviously a deal has been made for the permission to get through.

    Such deals are prevalent in current day Burma. Unless the people who risk everything to achieve a great thing can differentiate their own real goal from their natural desire to pander power holders, this Mi Aye Nit Khar Nar stories will be repeated ad nauseum. The bigger version of it is seen already with both the “People’s Champions” Aung San Suu Kyi and 88’s ending up promoting the oppressors instead of the oppressed condemning the country into servitude which some people takes delight as “Development” or “Progress”.

    A clear vision and conviction as well as wisdom to see the fake concerns through is required here for the multitudes of “Mi Aye’s” ending up thanking the oppressors and killers and rapists and murderers and torturers.

  3. In this present situation, where the conflict between the Kachin and the tatmadaw has extended into a public relations campaign, this story merits closer analysis. The story would benefit from closer scrutiny of the background of the marchers. The lesson of the week in Burma is that “peace people” come in all shapes and sizes. Their mere interest in peace is not sufficient for the media to give them a free ride. This critique is relevant for Burmese media, international media and donors in general, rather than the Irrawaddy reports. Second, the authors feel apparently feel compelled to mention as early as the second paragraph that the “procession that reportedly cost around 60,000 yuan (about US $9,600).” Such placement in opening of the story indicates that the authors, or editors, either place great importance on this “news” or, or inattentiveness to structure. Either way, what was the money for, and where dit it come from? Is this reporting this event meant to demonstrate the gratitude of the people of Laiza or presumably the extravagance of the KIA? Moreover, where did this info come from? Its completely unsourced. Admittedly, reporting in war zones is difficult, but I would appreciate if reporting aspired to greater detail.

    In passing, the Irrawaddy is one the few Burmese media outfits which has not succumbed to the financial and emotional allure of the transitions. More so now than ever, concise reporting remains important. That’s why I remain your devoted critic.

  4. This campaign is shown that what all Burmese need to do the right thing.Regardless of religions,races .I never imagine before like this.Determination for the PEACE and this move was excellence and shown role model for all Burmese.For the time being,all Burmese must be united as one people.This is the only job for us now and just participate and contribute to build the Democracy country.I am very proud of you and peace is the only way that solve the problems.I know that the jorney to Laiza is not easy.Good move and god bless you.

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