REPORT BY WINRAW SAW HTEL NAY
FRIDAY, 08 JANUARY 2010 13:21
KAOWO- The large crowd filling the chairs in front of the stage at the recent Karen New year celebrations, held on the grounds of the Mae Towe Clinic, in Mae Sot, rose to their feet in unison to focus their attention on the most venerated symbol of their shared hopes and aspirations for freedom.
The Karen national flag has deep meaning to Karen people, because it has been a rallying point during their decades long armed struggle against the Burmese military.
Many in the audience wore clothing displaying the vivid colors Karen traditional dress has become famous for. But, nine year old Saw Zin Min beamed with pride as his mother helped him wrap his head in a scarf with red, white and blue stripes- the predominant colors in the Karen flag.
“I want to wear it because it’s Karen new year. All Karen people respect their flag,” he said.
The young boy’s sentiment was echoed by Master of Ceremonies, Mahn Shwe Hnin, Headmaster of CDC School, in Mae Sot.
“You have to love your flag and be proud of it,” he said. “If not, maybe one day Karen people will disappear from the world.”
Karen people are proud of the fact that their flag is widely recognized.
Dr. Tee Than Pyar founded The Karen National Association in 1881, becoming its first chairman. Afterwards, Dr. Tee Than Pyar, Sayar San Baw from Thararwaddy served as a chairman between 1930 and 1940. During this period, he and other Karen leaders petitioned parliament for the creation of a Karen flag and national anthem. Continue reading “Karen youth bow in unity to honor their national flag.”