Commentary on " UWSA fires a salvo of criticism at peace process"

The UWSA venturing into the national-level politics, through its acceptance of the legacy in being part of the "Federated Shan State", that came into being in 1922 under the British and later as "Shan State" on the eve of the independence, could be said as a progress.

It is a progress as it seems to be abandoning the approach that it could directly handle its aspiration of separate statehood directly with the Burmese center and starting to accept the fact that its future is tied to that of the Shan State as a whole, somewhat similar to the arrangement of Federated Shan State within the context of decentralization and self-rule.

This is not to say that the Federated Shan State that had to answer to the British Governor was perfect but only the way in managing the territories in a federal sense and its decentralization. The Federated Shan State then had some 33 principalities. The Wa, Danu, Pa-O and Palaung all had their own principality with their own chosen traditional leader.

The second point that the Wa now become a staunch supporter of the Panglong Agreement, and also equating or interpreting it with "the right of self-determination, democracy and equality" as the Shan and ethnic nationalities "political legacy" that could not be nullified, is that it now sees the situation that all ethnic nationalities should be united in their struggle to regain back their lost rights that have been robbed by the successive Bamar-dominated military governments, since 1962 military coup.

It should be noted that prior to the 1962 military coup, the then U Nu government and all the ethnic leaders had sought to correct the flawed 1947 Union of Burma Constitution, within the parliament, to be more equitable and federal, as it was federal only in name but in essence it was unitary.

The recent 21st Century Panglong Conference is, in fact, a replay of the 1962 Federal Amendment Debate and history is now repeating itself. It is not a wonder that the ethnic nationalities don't want to be tricked again this time.

As the Wa and many ethnic leaders see that the recent peace process is lop-sided and in favor of the Bamar political class and the Tatmadaw, it needs to be corrected to become a level playing field, more thoughts and consideration should be given to the Panghsang initiated peace overtures rather than just to reject it out of hand.


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