“Because Mon people wherever they are celebrate Mon National day every year on this day, it is a symbol of the loyalty Mon people have for their nationality,” said Nai Hong Sar at Japan Well Village, in NMSP’s controlled territory near Three Pagodas Pass (TPP), Burma.
NMSP was less optimistic about the democratic reform process underway in the country. From a released statement on the day of celebrations, Nai Hongsa Bonkhine, NMSP’s foreign affairs department officer read that “concerned with the government’s democratic transition, human rights and enforcement of law and order, we have not seen anything special and improved yet after 3 years or so”.
The statement pointed out little has changed. There are more tourists, and freedom of speech and association to form political and civil society organizations, but a minority of military and their affiliates still control the economy. At the same time, the majority of the nation’s population remains impoverished and under threat of their land being confiscated with little recourse to their availability, the statement said.
“Only when a federal union is formed can our country have lasting peace,” Nai Hong Sar told attendees at an evening event in TPP later in the day. TPP government IB 32 commander and a township administrator spoke at the event put on by the Mon Literature and Culture Association.
At Japan Well, NMSP’s armed wing, the Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA), marched before 2000 people made up of villagers, civil society groups and representatives from National League for Democracy (NLD), Karen National Union (KNU), and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). A government IB 32 battalion commander based in TTP was in attendance and joined by a township administrator and other officials.
MNLA’s battalion No. 5 soldiers saluted and a flag was raised to the tune of the female drum and bugle corps. In closing, people shouted slogans, “the whole Mon national shall be united”, “the future of Mon people shall be determined by us” and “Federal Union shall be established”.
Mon National Day is observed all over the world where ever Mons have resettled. The central location in Burma was in Kamarwet village, Mudon Township but celebrations took place in Rangoon, Mandalay, Moulmein, Chaungzone, Ye, Thanbyuzayat and other areas.