Sharing the treasures of independence

Perspectives

Myanmar will celebrate the 71st anniversary of its Independence Day in 2019. The citizens of the country have been living as a free people since 4 January, 1948. As we enter the 71st year of independence, we need to take a step back and assess how freely we have worked and lived over the years.
One way is to take a long, hard look at how the people have enjoyed the fruits of independence, which include people-centered democratic rights. Democracy encompasses freedom of speech, expression, creativity, thought, and the right to work, among other things.
Myanmar’s journey to democracy can be divided into three parts. In the pre-democracy era, our forefathers sought the wellbeing of the ordinary people while struggling for independence. They wanted a democratic system to be implemented once the country attained independence. However, this was not to be. The parliamentary democracy established in 1948 post independence came to an end more than a decade later in 1962.
Although it was short-lived, people did see some positive effects of the parliamentary system. But, with some regions facing insecurity and distress within their borders, including internal armed conflicts, a divide appeared between political factions, parties, and ethnic organizations, and the people were unable to fully experience the fruits of independence.
After the parliamentary democracy ended in 1962 an era of dictatorship began and the fruits of democracy rotted away, one by one. The people were divided under the new rule. They had their freedom limited and their rights curtailed. The new system was the opposite of a democracy. The dictatorship lasted a long time and people were driven into poverty.
After a period of 50 years, democracy was once again revived in 2010. The first steps in the transition to a democracy were taken slowly, with a civilian government elected by the people. We are still in the early stages of the transition and have just begun on our path to democracy.
We are trying to achieve the full value of democracy and all of its virtues, including freedom, equality, peace, stability, and development. As we head towards our goal of a full-fledged democratic system, it is important that we adhere to the democratic principles and work to ensure unity.

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