06/27/2008, 00.00
MYANMAR
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Hero Aung San stricken from the school books

Burmese authorities say they want to bring the manuals up to international standards. But the intention is political: to weaken the influence of the democratic movement on young people. The general is the father of "Lady" Aung San Suu Kyi.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - The writings and speeches of the hero of independence, General Aung San, are disappearing from the textbooks of high schools in Myanmar.  The news comes from the agency  Democratic Voice of Burma.  But rather than having educational purposes, the initiative seems to be motivated by a clear political intention to weaken the influence of the democratic movement on young people.

Aung San - who is respected and remembered all over the country for his role in the achievement of independence - is also the father of democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for years.  Together with the speeches of the general, the poems of Thakhin Kodaw Hmaing, known as "the architect of peace", will also be banned from the classroom.

Officially, the military regime justifies the initiative as an adaptation of the curricula to meet international standards. M. Nyein Khet Khet, a former lecturer at the University of Yangon, maintains that the junta wants to limit the influence of Suu Kyi's democratic movement on the new generations.  "Both general Aung San and Thakhin Kodaw Hmaing's words", explains the former teacher, "are about patriotism, nationalism, freedom, democracy and rights".  Concepts that are too "dangerous" for the military oligarchy that has ruled Myanmar for more than 40 years, and intends to continue doing so.

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