Kachin call for prayer not celebration to mark Kachin State Day

    With peace yet to come to Kachin State, many Kachin people feel it is not a time to celebrate. Kachin Independence Army patrol in Laiza, Kachin State on August 3, 2014. Photo: Min Min/Mizzima

    Residents of Kachin State, citing ongoing fighting and lack of peace, have called on their state government to cancel the traditional Manaw dance celebration.

    From January 5, 2015, theKachin government is celebrating Manaw Festival for a week.

    Lanan Bawk Ja, one of the organizers of the ban, said that when Kachin residents and the local government discussed the festival in the first week of December, the government said that they had already prepared for the event and did not want to cancel it.

    Although the local government is holding the festival, the youth are not participating, just some government officials and some organizations which has been call on by the government using force to join the festival, Lanan Bawk Ja, a project coordinator with the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand, told Mizzima on January 5.

    “We just focus on praying for Kachin State Day, January 10,” she said, with the services being organized by churches from Myitkyina, capital of Kachin State.

    “One of the essences of theJanuary 10Manau dance celebration is peace, yet the state is still at war, hence the public object to it,” Lanan Bawk Ja told Mizzima earlier.

    The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand or KWAT sent out a press release on November 28in which they condemned the killing of 23 cadets by the Myanmar army and several other little-reported attacks in Kachin State that are “destroying trust in the current peace process.”

    Citizens seeking a ban on the Manaw dance celebration sent a letter to the Kachin State government datedNovember 28saying their forefathers signed the Panglong Agreement on February 12, 1947 and suffered decades of war at the cost of many lives. While they welcome the marking of the 67th anniversary of Kachin State Day on January 10, 2015, continued fighting and human rights violations make it inappropriate to celebrate with the festive Manaw dance.

    The last time the Manaw dance festival was celebrated was in 2011, Lanan Bawk Ja said.

    In addition to the lack of peace, hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced from their homes due to fighting and lack of security, and many children have been unable to attend school.

    Source: www.mizzima.com