By Maung Thaung Win (Ex-diplomat)
Translated by Khin Maung Oo
On July 13, 1947, Bogyoke Aung San, the Architect of our Independence, gave the people a verbal warning speech at the mass meeting held at the City Hall in Yangon, “So long as the country is void of unity both among the nationals and the people, the country will still be the blankety-blank country under any ruling party or government, though independent. I want to say like this.”
Bogyoke’s speech is not euphemistic to ears, but it is concise and meaningful. He stressed the important fact every citizen must always keep in their minds. It is still right until now. The essence of the speech will always be right until the end of the world. He warned how much important national solidarity was in building up the nation, as the forethought about the future of the country.
Long ago, in the reign of ancient Myanmar kings, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar stood tall in the midst of world countries. Yet, after 3 invasions of colonialists in later part of Konbaung Dynasty, the country fell completely into the hand of the colonialists on 1st January, 1886. At that time, edifices of all citizens’ hope were lost.
The national people fought against the colonialists with their weapons, such as it was. Due to the great difference of the volumes of firearms between the two sides and lack of systematic and organized fighting tactics, Myanmar faced defeats only. They, however, did not abandon their sprits of wanting to fight against colonialists and to achieve independence. Depending upon chances that occurred to them, they did fight against them.
Starting from 1920s, spirit of patriotism strengthened among youths. They launched activities by forming YMBA, GCBA and DAA (Dobama Asiayone—We Burmans Association). From there, national movements—Workers’ Revolution, Peasants’ Association & 1300 BE Revolution were born. There remarkably appeared a patriotic youth of iron spirit conceived in his mind, with an unswerving resolution to achieve Independence. He was none other than Bogyoke Aung San, the architect of Myanmar Independence, who existed and will exist for ever in the hearts of all Myanmar people.
Burma Independence Army to drive colonialists from Myanmar’s Land was initially formed on 26 December in 1941, in Bangkok by 30 comrades led by Bogyoke Aung San. From then on, a glimmer of hope for the independence was vaguely seen. On account of wholehearted support of the people, concerted efforts of the Tatmataw and the arduous devotion to independence, Myanmar gained its Independence on 4 January in 1948, reaching 69th anniversary of Independence on 4 January 2017.
The Independence Day is a day of nobility for Myanmar People. On that day, in villages and towns across the nation, stone monuments with written declaration which reads—on 9 Waning of Pyatho, 1309 ME, Myanmar, our country became the independent and sovereign State, “the Republic of the Union of Myanmar”
Evil Legacy Left
Though able to achieve independence by driving away colonialists from Myanmar land, the country was left with evil legacies. That is, disintegration among brethren led to increasing doubts and armed conflicts. Some nationals are still taking arms. As a result, peace covering the whole country could not be implemented to the full. Noises of fighting are being heard in some areas sorrowfully.
It is going into 70 years that we gained independence. Demands through armed conflicts are not beneficial deeds. Only round-table talks can lead us—brethren who live on the same land and share woes and benefits, to win-win solution.
To Make Independence Survive For Ever
National solidarity plays a vital role for sustainable survival of the independence of a country. With the deterioration of solidarity, the country will bring about negative results. For example, we should take lessons from Syria and Libya in the Middle East. People in those countries are suffering a lot of troubles and children are losing their future.
In addition, if solidarity is dissolved, its country can be broken into pieces, like Soviet Union. Whatever it is, national solidarity is a driving force for the development of a country. So it is necessary to get rid of doubts among brethren and to build up eternal peace.
Successive governments sculpted various shapes of the country’s Peace. The incumbent government is also implementing the task. In October, 2015, Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) was signed, with Union Peace Conference—21st Century Panglong held successfully in August 2016. And, it has been being arranged to hold 2nd Union Peace Conference in February 2017.
Build Up Strengthened Solidarity
Only then watertight solidarity can be built among our brethren, will the strength of the country be great. Any countries dare not invade and make aggressions against a country of great strength. That is to say, that country can safeguard its independence & sovereignty eternally through the power of solidarity.
Every citizen living in Myanmar is responsible to maintain the independence and sovereignty of the country for ever. So as to perform our responsibilities dutifully and become good citizens of great value, we should try our best. Especially, armed ethnic groups which did not cease fires yet should find solutions through dialogues with the government. Local populace living in areas which did not achieve peace yet, are feeling hatred for aimless wars and battles.
Respect For Bogyoke’s Words
In term of independence, Bogyoke Aung San gave a noteworthy word on 13 July in 1947, “If you want to achieve independence, you need to live in accord with disciplines which are access to independence, concurrently to maintain unity and to rehabilitate. After performing these, if you want to enjoy the taste of independence, it is necessary for you all, to work hard, to be disciplined and to correct yourselves of your evil and old habits.” These are Bogyoke’s speech with a good intention (Cetana speech). Value of independence is well convinced just at the time when we are not free, that is, we live under the influence of others. National people sacrificed their lives in fighting for independence. It is the responsibility of new generations to maintain it. Presently, people have had freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of belief, right to access of getting education, right to invest and other rights. Had we have no solidarity and lived in negligence, those rights and freedom will be lost in a moment.
Responsibility of every individual
To sum up, it is incumbent upon all citizens in the country to keep independence in perpetuity. The independence can be maintained through the solidarity built among people only. Our forefathers gave their lives for regaining the independence which was lost easily. It is reasonable to love and value the independence that claimed many lives. Present young generation does not have bitter experiences of living under the conditions of lack of freedom, thus they are likely to forget the essence of independence. Therefore, in honor of 69th Independence Day, I described in the present contribution that our posterity need to love and value the Independence Day that is vital for the country and the people.
By Maung Thaung Win (Ex-diplomat)