June 29, 2005

On Virtual Karen People's Square

The Karenissues Forum: A Virtual Karen People’s Square?

by -- Saw Kapi

While it is not a real tangible space, Karenissues Forum indeed resembles a virtual People’s Square for Karen people.

We read and hear often about the Tiananmen Square (in the center of Beijing), Red Square (in downtown Moscow), and Independence Square (in Kiev, Ukraine), where people of respective country come to express their political opinions, display their national spirit, and proclaim their patriotism. Less noticeably, there also are those who come to these public squares to just quietly walk around and enjoy listening or reading the opinions of others.

There is one striking historical commonality that all the aforementioned places share – they all serve as places where voices of dissent are raised, authorities questioned, and, at times, political victories pronounced. So, in essence, these public squares are the symbols of freedom of expression. Precisely put, they accommodate the age-old yearning of the people for freedom of expression.

It is hoped, while we do not yet have a public square of our own in the physical sense, that this Karenissues Discussion Forum be genuinely utilized to express our opinions (not attitude) on current events, to share our positive views (not negative perception) about the society we live in, and to present our thoughtful analysis (not deceitful propaganda) aimed at progressing the people we claim to love.

Having said that, it is perfectly understandable if we (some of us) want to remain primly silent but attentively listen, read and learn from what others have to say. But, we as a people cannot remain indifferent to injustices that we witness with our own eyes. We can no longer be fence-sitters, even if that is our nature, on issues of national importance.

After almost two years of exercise, the Karenissues Forum indeed has become a virtual public square especially for those who possess the courage to speak their minds, the craving to express their thoughts, and the poise to do so with responsibility.

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