The 88 Generation (Peace and Open Society) to the 66th Anniversary of the Martyrs’ Day Commemoration

PHOTO CREDIT Philosophermg Myathar
PHOTO CREDIT Philosophermg Myathar

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GRAPHIC KO MYOE NY
GRAPHIC KO MYOE NY

It has been 66 years to the day when the Martyr leaders, including the national leader U Aung San, were violently assassinated. The invaluable loss of these leaders came while the country was attempting to traverse the challenges and difficulties of gaining their independence from colonialism, and attempting to rebuild Myanmar into a new independent nation. 6 months after the death of the Martyr leaders, Myanmar finally achieved this independence.
The 8888 democracy uprising, which broke out in Yangon 25 years ago, is approaching its Silver Jubilee. The uprising was overwhelmingly joined by citizens of all ethnic backgrounds, demanding with one voice a free democratic society where the human rights of the people are recognized and respected. These protests were the source of great humiliation to the leading figures in Myanmar, both publicly and privately. However, the political problems the demonstrations were rallying against are still in existence today. Every citizen must have awareness of the political atmosphere they live in. The diligence of the citizen will prevent the aims and achievements of the 8888 uprising from being diminished.
After the Martyrs had been assassinated, independence became a reality with the combined efforts of every citizen. Since independence was declared however, the country has been embroiled in numerous civil wars, the results of years of policy disagreement and ethnic tensions. The history of Myanmar is full of lessons for its future. Today is a time for democracy, human rights and ethnic equality to be at the forefront of change in this country. We can greatly aspire to the hope that every citizen can enjoy the true essence of independence and make the dreams of our Martyrs a reality for all the people of Myanmar.
The 88 Generation
(Peace and Open Society)

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Monks living in a Rangoon monastery were harassed by authorities last week after accepting food donations from opposition party members given to mark Martyrs’ Day in Burma.

Monks harassed by authorities
July 22, 2009 (DVB)–Monks living in a Rangoon monastery were harassed by authorities last week after accepting food donations from opposition party members given to mark Martyrs’ Day in Burma.

Around 20 officials from Thingangyun township authority in Rangoon arrived at the monastery in Laydauntkan ward where monks had received meals from National League for Democracy (NLD) members, a traditional way to celebrate Martyrs’ Day each year on 19 June.
According to NLD member Naw Ohn Hla, the officials “said intimidating words” to the monks and told them to report future donations to township authorities.
“They issued warnings and interrogated them,” she said. “They asked the monks how the offerings were made, how they were blessed with water, what kind of clothes were worn.”
Authorities threatened to seal off the monastery as had been famously done to Maggin monastery during the September 2007 monk-led uprising. Continue reading “Monks living in a Rangoon monastery were harassed by authorities last week after accepting food donations from opposition party members given to mark Martyrs’ Day in Burma.”

Fifty Burmese pro-democracy activists were arrested on Sunday while marching in Rangoon to pay respect to Burma’s independence heroes on Martyr’s Day.

Junta Arrests 50 People on Martyrs Day

Fifty Burmese pro-democracy activists were arrested on Sunday while marching in Rangoon to pay respect to Burma’s independence heroes on Martyr’s Day.

“At about 11 a.m. this morning, 50 activists were arrested near the Martyrs’ Mausoleum in Rangoon,” said a source close to the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). “Not only NLD members but also other activists, who are not NLD members, were among those arrested.”
“On the way to the Martyr Monument, there is a police checkpoint,” said a reporter in Rangoon. “The checkpoint only allows invited people and journalists. Without permission, nobody could enter the monument.”
Rangoon sources said Burmese authorities had tight security around the monument and the Shwedagon Pagoda near the mausoleum. Security forces questioned people were cameras.

The NLD held a Martyr Day ceremony at its headquarter in Rangoon which was monitored by authorities. An estimated 1,000 soldiers, riot police and officers in civilian clothes were stationed near the NLD office.

Sunday was the 62th Martyrs Day in Burma, recognizing the assassination of the nation’s independence hero, Aung San, and his key cabinet members on July 19, 1947.

The arrests in Burma could pose an issue at the Asean Ministerial Meeting now underway in Phuket, Thailand. On Monday, Asean foreign ministers are scheduled to adopt the Terms of Reference of the Asean Human Rights Body.

Since the 1988 crackdown on pro-democracy protestors across the country, Martyrs Day has become a kind of a political confrontation ground between security forces and pro-democracy activists.

Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of Aung San, is currently on trial in the infamous Insein Prison in Rangoon. She donated food to ill inmates in the prison hospital on Saturday, according to her lawyer.

Irrawaddy correspondent Kyi Wai contributed reporting to this story from Rangoon.

Authorities in military-run Myanmar detained dozens of opposition party members on Sunday as they returned from ceremonies marking the death of the father of jailed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, witnesses said.

image5173073g Martyr’s Day Ceremonies Commemorating Father of Democracy Advocate Followed by Arrests

Authorities in military-run Myanmar detained dozens of opposition party members on Sunday as they returned from ceremonies marking the death of the father of jailed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, witnesses said.

Some of the opposition National League for Democracy party members had been attending a ceremony at party headquarters to mark General Aung San’s death 62 years ago. Others had been at the official commemoration ceremony at Martyr’s Mausoleum.

At least 50 NLD members were walking in small groups Sunday when they were arrested, witnesses said on condition of anonymity for fear of official reprisal.

It was not immediately clear why police detained them.

“Some members were roughly taken into trucks, and those who ran away were chased,” a witness said.

Some who ran onto public buses were dragged out and taken away.

At least three journalists and cameramen who had been filming NLD members walking to the mausoleum were detained.

They were released minutes later after police told them not to use video footage that showed heavy security.

General Aung San and other government leaders were assassinated by gunmen during a Cabinet meeting on 19 July 1947, shortly after Britain granted independence to the Southeast Asian colony.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi marked the anniversary of her father’s death inside Yangon’s Insein prison.

She is on trial on charges of violating the terms of her house arrest by giving shelter to an uninvited American man who swam to her lakeside home in May. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison. Her trial is to resume Friday.

Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of riot police erected barricades secured with barbed wire and blocked streets leading to the Martyr’s Mausoleum.

More than two dozen trucks carrying riot police and four prison vans were parked near the monument, located near the famed Shwedagon pagoda.

Flags were flown at half-staff at the mausoleum as officials placed flowers at the tomb, and families of the slain leaders joined the tightly guarded wreath-laying ceremony.

Authorities allowed about 30 NLD members to pay tribute at the mausoleum but turned away others who wore T-shirts emblazoned with images of Aung San.

Suu Kyi, 64, who used to attend the official ceremony, was absent for a sixth consecutive year and instead marked the day by donating food to patients at the hospital inside the prison, said Nyan Win, a spokesman for her party.

Martyr’s Day was an important event on Myanmar’s calendar for years, but has been gradually downgraded as Suu Kyi has become more popular, particularly since a 1988 pro-democracy uprising that was crushed by the junta.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been under military rule since 1962.

Suu Kyi has been under detention for 14 of the past 20 years. Her opposition party won national elections in 1990, but Myanmar’s generals refused to relinquish power.

Her trial has drawn condemnation from the international community and her supporters within Myanmar, who worry that the ruling junta has found an excuse to keep her detained through elections planned for next year.
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