By Khin Yadana; Photo: Bo Bo
This 19 July, Myanmar will mourn the country’s martyrs who died by assassination 68 years ago.
Martyrs including General Aung San were assassinated at 10:30 on the morning of 19 July 1947, while holding a meeting at the Secretariat Office in Yangon. The martyrs were assassinated at a crucial juncture in the struggle to free the country from colonial rule.
That day has since been commemorated as Martyrs’ Day across the country as a token of gratitude to their sacrifices for national independence.
Leading figures of religion and politics have shared their feelings about that momentous event.
“General Aung San is gone but his memory, his love for the country and the people, and our gratitude to him will go on forever. That is to say the General will always be remembered in the hearts of good citizens,” Venerable Sitagu Sayadaw Ashin Nyanissara told a centenary birthday celebration of General Aung San. The Sayadaw defines martyrs as individuals who devote themselves entirely to the welfare of the people and the country at risk to their own lives. U Ohn Pe, a driver for the Salvation Army, recounted the fateful day. He drove an army officer to the Secretariat Office on the rainy day and waited at a garage there.
“I heard reports of guns fired, and I still visualize the sight of the blood-covered bodies of our leaders taken to hospital by ambulance.”
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of General Aung San, said that she was too young at that time to remember the details of what had happened.
“The day taught us a precious lesson that the violent approach to political issues never works,” she said, describing peaceful negotiations as the best way to find solutions to political issues.
On 19 July, she holds a vigil for the murdered leaders of the country at her party’s headquarters without missing a single year. In addition, she always lays wreaths at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum.
She urged the people to continue marching on to the democratic goal set by her father, saying that “it is the right way to honour and respect the martyrs.”