Military Take Over Traditional Kachin Festival
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Military Take Over Traditional Kachin Festival

By KO HTWE Monday, December 13, 2010

People wear traditional costumes and dance during the annual Manau Festival in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state in northern Burma. (Photo: Reuters)

Military authorities are to take over the organization of next month's traditional Kachin Manau festival from the Kachin Culture Committee (KCC).

KCC sources said the Commander of Northern Command, Brig-Gen Zeyar Aung, had appointed his deputy, Brig-Gen Soe Win, to lead celebrations of the festival on Jan. 10 in the Kachin State capital, Myitkyina. Kachin State Day falls on Jan. 10.

The military takeover of the Kachin festival has angered local people and the KCC. “The members of the festival's celebrations committee are not satisfied,” said Aung Wa, chairman of the Kachin Development Network Group.

Aung Wa claimed the military organizers of the festival were ignorant of Kachin culture.

The government's Posts and Telegraphs Minister, Brig-Gen Thein Zaw, a successful Union Solidarity and Development Party candidate in Myitkyina in the Nov. 7 election, raised 50 million kyat (US $50,000) for the festival.

Mar Khar, who contested the Nov. 7 election as a Myitkyina candidate for the National Democratic Force (NDF), said Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers were barred from taking part in the festival. Uniformed KIA soldiers were also banned from participating in last year's festival.

Meanwhile, the Burmese army has deployed more troops and weapons near the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) in Laiza and at other locations across Kachin State.

Tension hit a new pitch last Saturday when Burmese forces and troops of the KIA—the KIO's armed wing—fired warning shots near Lwaigyai, one of Kachin State's border crossings into China. The crossing is closed to all traffic, but on Monday trucks carrying bananas into China were allowed to pass after Burmese authorities held talks with Chinese local officials.

Bananas are an important export in that region of northern Burma.

Kachin State Day commemorates the date the state joined the Union of Burma after Burma won independence from Britain in 1948. The Kachin ethnic group numbers about 1.3 million people.

Entire Kachin communities celebrate Manau festivals and participate in the traditional Manau dance, a large communal dance that unites the Kachin community and affirms their cultural identity. In addition to the Kachin, many ethnic groups come together and dance at the Manau.

The Manau festival is traditionally held to mark various important community events—weddings, funerals, declarations of war and victory celebrations.

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Chintaung MaungMaung Wrote:
This could be either of two things:
1. The Burmese pervert-army officers want to dance with the Kachin pretty girls in a mood during the festival while they have a chance. Or
2. They are launching a cultural war to their rival KIO since they don't accept BGF plan.

Any way, the Kachin people must make sure the committee leaders follow the usual traditional procedures and regulations.

Salai Lairam Wrote:
The military should celebrate Christmas in Chin, Kachin and Karen States too if they really want to participate in the ethnic people's traditional festivals.

KKK Wrote:
Kachins should boycott the junta-led festival.

Zaw Mhai Wrote:
Boycott this year Manau festival. Do not attend it, stay home with your family. If all Kachin can do it, the Burmese soldiers will not take over the Manau again in the future. But..,if you go this year, they will do it again and again. Show your unity.

George Than Setkyar Heine Wrote:
That is Than Shwe's way of showing National Reconciliation, folks!
He is not only robbing people of sons, daughters, land and property he also robs CULTURES as well.
Of course he has gone FAR ENOUGH.
What about the Kachins?
They should have known better than messing with the monk murderer since day one. Signing ceasefires was their mother of mistakes no doubt.
By doing so, the Kachins have lost their territory and their CULTURE as well as evidenced today.
Now that Than Shwe's hordes are in Kachin territory and know their way around, Kachins could do nothing about the matter at hand other than keep a low profile at the moment.
Next door neighbor UWSA headed by ethnic Chinese Bao Youxiang also would not help in the matter as the Chinese have had their fiefdom already on Burma's soil and Kachins' affair is not their concern as well.
Best bet for the Kachins is to gang up with other NATIVE armed ethnic groups like Mon, Karen, Karenni and others.

Chindits Wrote:
There it goes. If you want something that works, don't let the government run it.

Kachin Blood Wrote:
It is better to stop Manau dances rather than dance Manau under control of the regime.
They are testing the Kachin people to see if they can destroy them or not.
I have to say the Kachin will never surrender to the regime untill we achieve our freedoms.
We will continue to fight against those bully regimes generation by generation.

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