I spent February 12, Myanmar’s Union Day, among the Karen.
Union Day celebrates the signing of the Panglong Agreement between the majority Burmans and the minority ethnics to struggle together for an independent Union of Burma.
The meaning of Union remains contested among the minorities. Indeed the Mon and Karen minorities were not even original signatories. But more on that another time…
I did not see any signs of the differences that are being negotiated with gunfire in the jungles. For most it seemed like just a day off for a swim at the water hole or a convenient holiday to get the family together for a wedding. And for others, it looked like business as usual – whether collecting alms or buying and selling at the market, doing the wash, working in the family rice fields and vegetable patches or just running around wild among the village pagodas.
A bit of normal in the now.