Committee told to rewrite historical record
HISTORIANS have been instructed to rewrite the history of the country – and this time, to tell the truth. Religion and Culture Minister Thura U Aung Ko told a meeting of historians at Kabar Aye Pagoda on October 29 that it was time for an accurate account of some of the country’s most dramatic events.
A review of the historical record could reveal for the first time the facts behind such moments as the 1988 uprising, the 1990 election, the 2003 Depayin massacre and the “Saffron Revolution” of 2007.
The minister convened the 16 expert members of the Myanmar Historical Committee, of which 13 members are part-time, and the secretary, U Kyaw Win, and asked them to produce a report on the project within a month to be submitted to hluttaw.
The minister told the historians that, after six months of democratic government, history should be rewritten to reflect what had really happened. Only thus could the mistakes of the past be known and avoided. The purpose was not revenge, but revitalisation, he said.
“History as recorded by the previous government represented not reality, but a list of their activities, drawn up for their own admiration. The official account failed to reflect the true hopes and feelings of the people that shaped their lives. We must avoid making the same mistakes,” said the minister, who was a lawmaker under the previous administration and served on the central executive committee of the former ruling party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party.
Thura U Aung Ko said the first three eras of Myanmar history, the reigns of kings Anawrahta, Bayintaung and Aung Zeya, should be based on the historical evidence already known.
But it would be up to the historians to establish the truth of what came next, including the true role of Bogyoke Aung San, and to restore facts omitted from official histories compiled under military rule.
The military regime that seized power in 1962 harshly repressed all forms of expression, speech and culture, including history. It was up to the historians to relate the true events of 1988, 1990, 2003 and 2007, said Thura U Aung Ko.
U Kyaw Win, the committee’s secretary, said the task force had accepted their instructions.
“Our experts are ready to write the truth, but will need help accessing all the necessary facts and documents,” he said. “The government has promised its support, and we welcome this initiative.”
An election complaint alleges irregularities occurred at the Pyigyitagun township polling station on election day.