During the Karen traditional wrist-tying ceremony in Bangkok on August 27th, Pita shared his sentiments and thoughts.
“Everyone no matter where they live, should have the rights they deserve, such as health and education. These are basic rights for all people, showing that strength comes from our diversity”, he stated at the event.
Pita, the leader of Move Forward, which secured the most parliamentary seats in the mid-May Thai election, has a strong connection with the Karen ethnic group. Pita, dressed in Karen national costume, gave a speech to the Karen community and vowed to continue the fight for equality for all ethnic minorities in Thailand.
The popular leader of Thailand’s reform campaign commented, “Similar to Karen traditional clothing, the pattern of which is symmetrical and the same on both sides, my honesty and sincerity to all brothers and sisters, will always be the same”, he said.
The annual Karen traditional wrist-tying ceremony, organized by the Overseas Karen Refugee Social Organization (OKRSO) and held in Bangkok, saw increased participation in its 31st anniversary this year. Notable attendees included the leader of Move Forward Party ,and two Karen ethnic parliamentarians from Thailand, OKRSO Chairman Saw Hsiet Plong told KIC.
“We invited Pita due to his close connection with Karen community in Chiang Mai province. Our intention was to help him gain a deeper understanding of our people and to share information about our traditions. Also we wanted him to experience the love and unity of the Karen community”, Saw Hsiet Plong said.
According to OKRSO, this year’s Karen traditional wrist-tying ceremony in Bangkok gathered over 100000 attendees, marking the event’s largest audience in its history.
Move Forward, led by Pita, secured the highest number of votes in the Thai election. However Pita was disqualified as an elected representative and removed from parliament due to dubious and politically -motivated allegations of breaching election regulations. He garnered a clear majority in the Lower House of Representatives but in the military- controlled senate he was predictably thwarted by 250 unelected members of the Senate.
The Karen traditional wrist-tying ceremony is held in War Khaung, a traditional Myanmar month, and it is customary for Karen families to gather together at the village and township levels to celebrate.
Every year, Karen communities around the world organise the wrist-tying ceremony, in which the white threads tied around the wrist represent protection from misfortune and evil spirits.
Other materials are used in the ceremony, such as cold water, rice balls, sticky rice, bananas, bunches of flowers and pieces of sugarcane, as symbols of unity, good health and growth.
This year, Karen communities from Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, and the United States joined local Karen people in celebrating the traditional Karen wrist-tying ceremony.
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