We all know about the devastation in Burma, but do we all really know the true history behind Burma?
For a deeper understanding of Burma, we must go back in time to 1942. Burma until then was ruled by Aung San. Then in 1942, the Japanese invaded Burma, and Aung San became the Minister of War in the Japanese-occupied Burma.
Aung San had a daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK), who is an important figure later on in the history of Burma. She was born on June 19, 1945.
In 1945, Aung San led the Burmese army against the Japanese. The fight continued for about 2 years; during that time, the British occupied Burma. Aung San was then assassinated in 1947 but before this he negotiated Burma’s independence from Britain. Aung San was assassinated when Aung San Suu Kyi, his daughter was only 3 years old. Shortly afterward, in 1948 Burma gained independence.
In 1960 Ma Khin Kyi, Aung San Suu Kyi’s mother became Burmese ambassador to India. Ma Khin Kyi moved to New Delhi and ASSK followed her mother there, graduated from LSR College in India in 1964. ASSK then moved to UK, where she got her BA and her PhD. In 1972, ASSK married and had two children.
In 1962, General Ne Win seized power and established a one party rule. In 1975, the Democratic National Front was created by the people who wanted Democracy.
But, 1988, there were anti-government demonstrations, and Martial Law was proclaimed in the region. By coincidence, ASSK came back to Burma to care for her ailing mother.
Blood- shed was rampant. In August of the same year, Aung San Suu Kyi or ASSK, the daughter of Aung San gave her first speech. Then in September the (SLORC) State Law and Order Restoration Council was established. On September 27, 1988 The NLD (National League for Democracy) was established. The NLD was led by ASSK.
On July 20th, 1989, ASSK was put under house arrest, and SLORC imposed martial law. She was offered her freedom if she left the country, but she did not. She gave her famous “Freedom From Fear” speech.
Her speech began with, “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
Not surprisingly, the NLD won the general election, but due to martial law, the NLD and ASSK was not allowed to take office.
In 1991 she won the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1992 she won the Jawaharlal Nehru peace prize by the Government of India for her peaceful and non-violent struggle against the militant government in Burma.
Finally, in 1995 after 6 years of house arrest, ASSK was released, however she was not allowed to leave Rangoon.
The UN Commission on Human Rights in 1996 reported that torture and forced labor was existent in Burma. In August of the same year Burma became a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The SLORC was still in control and Martial Law was still in place in Burma.
In 1997, a Washington-based PR firm encouraged the SLORC to change its name to the “State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).
In 2000, ASSK leaves Rangoon against the order placed on her and she is again placed on house arrest.
In May of 2002, ASSK is released from house arrest.
On July 2002 a statement regarding ASSK was released claiming that ASSK was hard-headed, autocratic, vain, inflexible and liable to make rash judgments. The SPDC stated that she would remain in prison for her own protection. She had been in prison for 13 years in July of 2002.
During October, Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer became the most senior Western official to visit Rangoon following ASSK’s release. Downer welcomed “commitment” by SPDC to reform the political and national reconciliation process.
In 2003, ASSK and NLD members were imprisoned for their own protection after an attack on their motorcade by Junta-affiliated thugs. The NLD members were doing a tour in North Burma when they were attacked and 70 people were killed.
In 2007, Buddhist Monks led a revolution against the Junta, called the “Saffron Revolution”.
But sadly, in 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit the region and brought death to the Irrawaddy delta. The Junta restricted foreign aid.
ASSK lost the roof of her home, and lived in virtual darkness in a lakeside bungalow.
Today, the Junta continues to rage war on ethnic minorities.
Thousands of people are awaiting assistance in the cyclone devastated area.
If you want to help Burmese Families in need, go to the following website to find out how.