Today Aung San Suu Kyi led a march of 3,000 on the streets of Rangoon. This marked the biggest public demonstration since the Saffron Revolution in 2007. What drew people out is the important holiday known as Martyr’s Day. This day commemorates the assassination of Burma’s independence leaders, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s father General Aung San. He is widely respected in Burma as being the key strategic leader that brought independence to the country. Martyr’s Day for many people is the unhappy day of pondering “what if.” What if General Aung San hadn’t been assassinated, would Burma have gone down a different path? Would Burma have become a country where the military listens to the people? If he hadn’t died, could he have lead the way for peace and prevented civil war?
Aung San Suu Kyi’s essay Freedom from Fear paints a picture of the courage of her father: ” The words used by Jawaharlal Nehru to describe Mahatma Gandhi could well be applied to Aung San: ‘The essence of his teaching was fearlessness and truth, and action allied to these, always keeping the welfare of the masses in view.”
Today, the NLD in their statement showed how General Aung San was the leader Burma needed to have lived, “The whole people including the [ethnic] nationalities worried about the future of the country because [General] Aung San and the leaders had given emphasis upon the equality of the nationalities, basic rights of the citizens, establishment of the democratic state as much as upon the national liberation.”
General Aung San’s reputation and reverence is so wide, that leaders of the new sham government wanted to hijack his memory and today held a big ceremony at the Martyr’s Mausoleum in Rangoon. They even allowed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to come.
Despite the regime’s theater, the NLD had their own alternative vision of the day. After attending the government ceremony the NLD went back to their offices and held a special ceremony. They then proceeded to march back to the Martyr Mauseleum followed by over 3,000 supporters. This was a clear sign that they were not going to allow the government to succeed in their plot to take over the martyr’s memory. General Aung San is seen as an irreplaceable leader in Burma’s history, but it is strongly apparent that people from all walks of life, young and old, are working to still fulfill his vision.