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Friday, February 15, 2013

Tribute to Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan on the fifth anniversary of his assassination

14 February 2013 On the 5th anniversary of the assassination of our father, Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan, we would like to offer our sincere thanks to everyone who has given us sympathy and support since he was killed. Today in Kawthoolei a ceremony is being held in his memory, attended by his eldest son, Saw Say Say Phan. As his children it was very difficult for us to lose a father, but it gave us comfort to see how so many other people also felt the loss of our father so deeply. He was a man who was widely loved and respected. Since his death, we have tried to live up to the principles and ideals that he held, and to follow his wish that we would also do what we can to win peace, freedom and rights for the Karen people and all the people of Burma. One of the ways we have tried to carry on his work is through the Phan Foundation. We set up the Phan Foundation in memory of our father and mother. It focuses on issues close to their hearts, working to alleviate poverty, provide education, promote human rights, and protect Karen culture. The Foundation has identified young leaders by giving the Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award every year. We have given grants to young people to enable them to receive an education. We have also provided funding for emergency aid to Karen people who have fled Burmese military offensives. As part of our long-term commitments, we support Karen teachers through the Karen Education Department, Kwekalu for its news services, a community run orphanage in Doo Tha Tu District in Karen State, Karen Student Network Group for the Student Friend Magazine, and Youth Empowerment for Future Group for its education project. This community work is very important to us as we know very well that our people still need support. When our parents first joined the resistance they thought the struggle would only take a few years. After many years of struggle they learned and taught us that we must always plan in the long-term. This lesson is important to remember now, as the situation in Burma is changing. We must also be ready to change and adapt to new situations, but we must also look ahead. We must not only be ready to respond to what the government of Burma does, we must also be setting the agenda, planning for the future, talking about our vision of what a free and democratic Burma should look like. We must never lose hope in our struggle for freedom, peace, self-determination and federal democracy, where human rights are respected for our people and for all. We must be prepared to use new paths to reach these goals, but be careful that new paths do really take us closer to our freedom. It is difficult times like this when our strength of will, our determination and our unity will be challenged the most. Now more than ever is the time when we must keep hope, keep our unity, and keep working for our freedom. It may take time, it may be difficult, but as long as we believe, then we can win. Our father’s dream is the dream of all Karen, and all the people of Burma: to be free. Let’s join together to make our dream of freedom come true. Saw Say Say PhanNant Bwa Bwa PhanNant Zoya PhanSlone Phan……… ------ Nant Bwa Bwa Phan Founder & Director Phan Foundation 28 Charles Square London N1 6HT United Kingdom Email: bwabwa.phan@phanfoundation.org Web: www.phanfoundation.org

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