Optimism Surrounds Upcoming Chin Gathering
Preparations are in full swing for what is widely expected to be an historic political progress among the Chins with the setting up of an organizing committee for the first ‘Chin National Assembly’ late last month. The Political Affairs Committee of Chinland, a body set up to spearhead a united Chin political movement, has announced the establishment of a Convening Committee charged with organizing the historic gathering in the summer of 2006 at a location on India-Burma border.
Positive reactions immediately poured in from Chin compatriots all around the globe.
Reacting to the news from his home in Germany, Salai Kipp Kho Lian, a leading member of Chin political movement comments, ‘For the military dictators such a political gathering of rebels and the results that may follow will be enough to chill their spine. So each and everyone of us has the obligation to make it a successful one,’ noting that such progress comes from years of hard-works by all those involved in the past.
‘I am profoundly optimistic,’ says Salai Ngun Cung Lian from Indiana University in the U.S.A, but he cautions that success depends on the maturity of Chin people to put the national politics and interests ahead of all other considerations.
The Political Affairs Committee of Chinland was a product of the 2004 gathering of Chin political parties and civil society organizations, which laid out a joint vision for a united Chin political struggle. The PACC is composed of members from Chin National Front, Chin National League for Democracy (Exile), Zomi National Congress (Liberated Area), and the Mara Peoples Party (L/A).
The creation of the PACC was ‘a very important historical milestone,’ notes Pu Lian Uk, a independent Chin Member of Parliament elect. He encourages all parties to see beyond ‘party politics’ and to work for a common cause of ‘national politics’ and to be aware of the historical background of the Chin people as a nation with its own geographical boundaries.
When asked about what would be accomplished out of the Assembly, a spokesperson for the PACC told Chinland Guardian, ‘The Assembly will serve to strengthen unity and solidarity among Chin political parties, civil society organizations and activists. This will also be a step in the direction towards reaffirming and implementing the four national goals set out by the Victoria Agreement: (1) To dismantle the military dictatorship; (2) To regain national liberation and self-determination;(3) To establish a genuine Federal Union; and (4) To develop and promote Chin political, economic and social progress.’
The PACC told Chinland Guardian that funding for the meeting will be raised primarily through individual donations among Chin compatriots and only those that are not met by these donations will be supplemented by supports from other funding sources.
‘We believe that this is consistent with the idea of self-reliance that is an important element of our struggle for self-determination. This could become an important precedent for others as well,’ the Committee’s spokesperson said.
‘The upcoming Chin National Assembly, if successfully convened with significant results, would be most welcomed by the Chin general masses as a whole and inspire our other ethnic brothers to follow suit,’ comments Salai Kipp Kho Lian.
The Political Affairs Committee of Chinland emerged out of the 2004 Chin Consensus Building Seminar held at Camp Victoria, the former Chin National Army’s stronghold. Four major Chin political parties, including those contested in the 1990 general elections and civil society organizations participated in that Seminar. It led to the signing of the historic Victoria Agreement among the Chin National Front, Chin National League for Democracy (Exile), Mara People’s Party (liberated area) and the Zomi National Congress.
By Salai Za Uk Ling
March 4, 2006