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241st Fall of The Mon Kingdom


May 18, 1998

To the Mon people and all our friends in the struggle for freedom and

Today marks the 241st anniversary of the fall of the Mon kingdom,
Hongsavatoi.  At the height of its greatness, the Mon kingdom flourished in
peace and prosperity for several centuries in the lower part of Burma.  But
this glorious history turned into a nightmare when the Burmese king, U Aung
Zeya, annexed Hongsavatoi (Pegu) and destroyed its civilization.  Over
three thousand learned Buddhist monks were massacred and the holy
scriptures and monasteries were burned when the last Mon kingdom was
brought to ruin in 1757 (CE).  Tens of thousands of Mons, including
children and pregnant women, were killed in that holocaust and many Mons
had to flee to Thailand to escape further persecution, oppression and

More than a century later, the conquerors of the Mons lost their own
freedom and all of Burma became a British colony in 1886.  After Burma
finally regained its independence in 1948, a protracted civil war between
Burman and other ethnic nationalities broke out, because the Burman
majority refused to honour the terms of the Federal Union agreement
granting rights of self-determination to the minority communities.  Taking
advantage of the unstable situation, a military clique, led by Gen. Ne Win,
siezed power in 1962, and people of all nationalities and classes were
denied their basic rights to economic, social and political development.  

A country, that had been the richest in the region, was reduced to being
among the least developed nations in the world.  As a result there was a
student led, nation-wide uprising in 1988 which was brutally put down by
the army.  Over 10,000 demonstrators against the regime were put to death
all across Burma and another military regime calling itself the State Law
and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) was installed in power and quickly
earned a reputation for being one of the most oppressive regimes the world
has ever seen.

In order to keep power for itself this military regime, now called the
State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), has systematically divided the
democratic forces and the ethnic nationalities in Burma.  Separate
cease-fire agreements have been signed with the ethnic armed forces, but no
political solution to the nation's problems has been attempted.  Instead
the military junta has expanded its control over the ethnic areas and
depleted the natural resources of the other national peoples of Burma.  In
the last year alone hundreds of thousands of people have been forcibly
relocated in the Shan and Karen states, which are the homelands of two of
Burma's largest ethnic minorities.  Moreover hundreds of others have been
killed or tortured in the same areas.

Burma still lacks peace and stability.  Overspending of scarce resources on
the military, centralization and corruption have weakened the economy and
most social services have collapsed.  Wide spread arrests, torture,
disappearances, forced labour and portering and the relocation of whole
districts and villages in urban and rural areas continue and there is no
end in sight.  Freedom of expression and opinion do not exist.  Hundreds of
thousands of Burmese of all nationalities have fled to the borders as well
as to neighbouring countries and are living there as displaced persons,
refugees or illegal immigrants.
The refusal of Burma's military regime to resolve the troubled issue of the
rights of the ethnic nationalities and to allow for the development of free
and democratic institutions in the country is causing the situation to
worsen day by day.  

In view of these circumstances and aware of the world-wide movement of
support for the right to self-determination, the Mon National Organization
of Canada urges the international community to join with us on this tragic
241st anniversary of the Fall of the Mon Kingdom (Hongsavatoi) in the
following program of action:

The immediate summoning of a tripartite dialogue comprised of the ethnic
nationalities,  the democratic forces led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and
representatives of the military junta (SPDC);

An immediate withdrawal of the military regime from the homelands of the
ethnic nationalities and a stop to the practices of forced labour, forced
portering and forced relocation;

The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners;

Access by the United Nations and international human rights observers to
all detention centres and ethnic areas in Burma;

A boycott of all companies doing business with Burma's military regime and
a stop to the building of the gas pipeline in Mon State;

The imposition of trade sanctions against Burma through a resolution of the
United Nations.

Thank you, one and all, for your consideration and invaluable support.

Mon National Organization of Canada

Box 142 - 6416 Fraser St.,
Vancouver, BC, Canada  
V5W 3A4