Myanmar Martyrs' Day

Myanmar Martyrs' Day

July 19
The Union of Myanmar, known as Burma until 1989, is bordered by China, Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh, and India.
Throughout most of the 1800s, Burma was ruled by the British. Under British rule, the Burmese people were considered second-class citizens. Over time, this led to discontent among the Asian population, and they began to organize independence movements. Toward the turn of the century, in an effort to appease the Burmese citizens, the British gave them a bit more autonomy. However, this was not enough to satisfy the Burmese. In 1930, a Burmese man named Saya San led an armed rebellion against the British. San was executed by the British, but he served as an inspiration to other Burmese.
Aung San, a student at Rangoon University, was an outspoken proponent of Burmese independence. He collaborated with the Japanese to overthrow the British empire. The Japanese promised San that if he helped to overthrow the British, they would make Burma an independent nation. With San's help, the Japanese succeeded in removing the British from power in 1942. The Japanese then ruled Burma, but it soon became clear to San that the Japanese had no intention of handing Burma back to its people. He sided with the Allies during World War II, and on March 27, 1945, he helped them remove the Japanese from power.
The British granted Burma its independence in 1947. On July 13, 1947, Aung San gave his last public speech. In this speech, he urged his fellow Burmese to mend their ways and be more disciplined. On July 19, 1947, Aung San and six of his cabinet members, including his older brother, were assassinated during an Executive Council meeting. His political adversary, U Saw, was found guilty of participating in the assassinations and was later executed for his part in the killings.
July 19 has been declared Martyr's Day, a national holiday on which the people of Myanmar remember their slain leader Aung San. On this day, the country holds a moment of silence, and a ceremony is held as family members of Aung San and the other assassinated cabinet members lay wreaths on their tombs.
Unfortunately, the promise of an independent nation was short-lived. Burma was initially a democratic republic until 1962, when General Ne Win led a military coup d'etat. Since that time, the country has been ruled by a military government. In 1990, multi-party elections were held and the main opposition won a landslide victory, but the repressive military junta refused to hand over power. The United States has refused to recognize the name Myanmar, which has been used since 1989 by the military government, and continues to use the nation's previous name, Burma.
Today, Aung San's daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi, has followed her father's lead. She is very involved in the political struggle for human rights and has called for a democratic government. She has been placed under house arrest several times. While under house arrest, she was awarded several awards for democracy and human rights, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
CONTACTS:
Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board
Marketing Committee
c/o Traders Hotel
Level 3, Business Centre
223 Sule Pagoda Rd.
Yangon Myanmar
www.myanmar-tourism.com
References in periodicals archive ?
NLD holds Myanmar Martyrs' Day ceremony at party head office

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