Burma Today Mizzima Democratic Voice of Burma Irrawaddy Kao Wao S H A N Network Media Group
  Vancouver celebrates Burma's Independence Day

Mizzima News (www.mizzima.com)

Vancouver, January 4, 2004

Burma, which gained independence from Britain on the 4th Jan. 1948, is still struggling to get rid of herself free from the shackles of the military clutches led by a tyrannical Junta. The people of Burma who had managed to seek asylum in Vancouver, B C, and Canada have taken the initiative to commemorate this occasion in order to remind them as well as to highlight their cause to the world.

The theme of “From the first to second independence” which is the words of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was chosen not only to highlight the cause but also to honour her, who is still under house arrest up to this day.

A simple Buddhist Memorial Service ceremony to give merit and recollect those compatriots who had made a supreme sacrifice for autonomy, democracy and the prevalence of human rights in Burma. They especially remember the latest episode of Depayin, where the military instigated thugs attempted to murder the only Burmese Nobel laureate and pro democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The Buddhist ceremony was followed by a short candle light service (Christian ceremony) led by Assistant Pastor Soe Kyaw Thu.

A keynote speech was given by Dr Chao Tzang Yaunghwe, (Eugene Thaike) the de
facto leader of the Burmese Diaspora. It was his father Sao Shwe Thaike, the
first President of modern Burma that lowered the Union Jack and raised the flag of the Union of Burma way back in 1948 and ironically after half a century, his son was still leading the people of Burma in the struggle for second independence from the yoke of military rule. He emphasized of how the brave Burmese army was waging war not against the armed resistance groups but to the women and children with their scotch earth policy of four cuts. Messages from Amnesty International, Canada Asia Pacific Resource Network, Vancouver Burma Round Table Conferences were read as it is the first time Burmese Independent Day ceremony ever held in Vancouver. The ceremony was organised by the grass root level people like Kyaw Thi Ha and Soe U in co-operation with the Canadian friends.

Many Canadian friends showed their solidarity by braving the -- 7 degree temperature and turning up at the ceremony where a potluck lunch was provided.