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1st Tha Lay, 2736 (09.01.1997)

On this auspicious day of the first of Thalay, the year of 2736, may the
choicest blessing be upon every one of you. In deep appreciation and
gratitude, we praise the democtatic governments and people around the
world for their humanitarian assistance and kindness rendered to the
Karen people who are suffering.  We know that on the occasion of the
year 2736, Karens in many places, near and far, are also holding new
year celebrations. We, Karen people in Sydney will join together in one
mind and celebrate the new year on 11 December 1997. We wish the entire
Karen people to have complete peace, happiness, health and prosperity,
and all the choicest blessings in this new year.

We, the Karen people, are not an insignificant nationality. Racially,
the Karens belong to the Sino-Thai family of language group, and come
under the Mongoloid stock. According to history, our forefathers started
to migrate in B.C. 2017 from Mongolia, passed through East Takistan and
Tibet and reached the Yunan Province of China in B.C. 1385. Again, our
forefathers started to migrate from Yunan in B.C. 1128 and the first
wave reached the country now known as Burma in B.C. 1125. The second
wave of migration left Yunan in B.C. 741 and reached Burma in B.C. 739.
In counting the years of the Karen Era, that time of arrival was taken
as the beginning. The early waves of migration coming into Burma finally
settled down in Playloklo Delta (Irrawaddy Delta), the Gawloklo River
Basin (Sittang River Basin) and the lower part of the Hkoloklo River
Basin(Salween River Basin). Some following the Hkoloklo River went past
the estuary and reached as far south as the southern part of Tenessarim
regions and the adjoining areas in Thailand. Some remained as far north
as the southern part of Shan State and the northern part of Thailand
close to the Thai-Burma border. The majority of the Karen people lives
in the country known nowadays as Burma and forms about 20% of the entire
population of the 

Dear Karen nationals,

We, the Karen people, possess all the attributes of a nation. Our
population is more than eight million. We have our own culture, history,
tradition and literature. We have our own national anthem and national
flag. Our national flag bears the rising sun and a bronze drums. Among
them is the auspicious drum played on joyous occasions. The drum on our
national flag is such a drum. It signifies prosperity, unity and
cooperation. The rising sun signifies the rise of the Karen people for
progress and dignity. The red colour signifies courage, the white colour
signifies integrity and the blue colour signifies the honest and royal
character of the Karen people. In the past, not many countries knew
about us. Now more and more peoples have come to know us and have shown
their sympathy and understanding for us.

Dear Karen nationals,

We, must know that we are not a trivial people. There is a great future
for us. Let us not be wavering. Let us leave our bad habits, hesitation,
pettiness and etc.,., behind with the old year and march on with new
determination, new spirit, firm unity and enthusiasm in this new year
for the progress of our entire people.

We would like to give the first Karen New Year?s Day Message which is
still reminding us what our Karen people must do for ourselves and our
nation. The message is as follows:


Date: 21.12.39

To The Karens

This is an historic day. It is our first officially recognized National
Day. It is a day of opportunity. We are emerging from isolation into the
stream of national affairs. Our conviction is that our two million
Karens have a significant part to play in Burma?s destiny.

We owe our existence as a people not to organization or any political
arrangements but to certain distinctive qualities that have been given
us. Our traits include simplicity, a love of music, honesty, steadiness,
and a sense of God. We believe that we can best keep and develop these
characteristics in free association with other peoples.

We are at a crisis. For us the choice lies between seeking protection
through isolation and venture through active participation in the life
of Burma. United ourselves we could help to make Burma a nation. We
recognize that as leaders we must be fully committed to our country-free
from fear, personal ambition, racial and religious prejudice.

Today we recall our heritage, our ancient poet and prophets and our
tradition of Ywa (God). We believe every individual, every home, every
village has a place in the new advance. Progressive in thinking,
constructive in planning, and courageous in living, we can share
responsibility with other communities for the making of Burma a united
people. Are we ready on this New Year?s Day to put the best traditions
of our people at the service of this whole country,

(Signed-  San C Po, Shwe Ba, Hla Pe, Sydney Loo Nee, Saw Pe Tha)

We, all Karens must remebmer and put in practice the Karen New Year?s
Message given by the Karen National Leaders in 1936. All Karen people
should think globally and act locally. Each of us must get up and stand
up for our rights. We must continue to fight unitedly for restoration of
democracy , human rights, justice and peace in our motherland.

May this Karen New Year brings abundant blessing, unity and happiness to
every one of you!	

Thank You.