Com­mit­tee told to re­write his­tor­i­cal record

The Myanmar Times - - News - AUNG KYAW MIN aungkyawmin@mm­times.com

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.”

Photo: Than Naing Soe

An elec­tion com­plaint al­leges ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties oc­curred at the Pyi­gy­ita­gun town­ship polling sta­tion on elec­tion day.

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