Myanmar to Bid to Add 88 Uprising to UNESCO Memory of the World Register

By Zue Zue 20 December 2017

YANGON — Myanmar will make a bid for the inclusion of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising in the Memory of the World Register, according to the committee for the establishment of the 8888 historical museum.

The committee has asked the Union minister for religious affairs and culture by letter in the last week of November to coordinate with UNESCO for the nomination.

“We committee members have agreed in principle to nominate it for inscription. The ministry however has not made an official reply. But the minister said that it would be better if we had made preparations. So, we are making preparations,” U Ye Naing Aung, the spokesperson for the committee, told The Irrawaddy.

The committee is set to meet this week after consultation with historian Dr. Kyaw Win for the nomination, he said.

The1988 pro-democracy uprising was a series of nationwide protests that peaked on August 8, 1988 against the military dictatorship. The protests began as a student movement, but later were joined by people from all walks of life across the country.

If the uprising is inscribed in the Memory of the World Register, it will be an honor to all of the people who joined the 1988 pro-democracy movement, said U Ye Naing Aung.

“In addition, we can then get technical assistance from UNESCO to build the 8888 museum,” he added.

“We want the world to recognize this movement so that no future governments can erase the history recorded in this museum,” said one of the committee members U Ant Bwe Kyaw.

The nomination for the register has to be submitted to UNSECO before March, and will be put forward to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture around the last week of January or first week of February.

In November, Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, the 88-Generation Peace and Open Society, and the organizing committee for the 8888 museum had a meeting, however, they were unable to reach an agreement regarding land acquisition for the museum.

The temporary 8888 Memorial Hall opened on Aug. 8, 2015 in Yangon’s Thingangyun Township on the 27th anniversary of the uprising.

So far, Myanmar has four tangible objects inscribed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register—the Kuthodaw Inscription Shrines in 2013, the Myazedi Quadrilingual Stone Inscription and the Golden Letter of King Alaungpaya to King George II of Great Britain in 2015, and the King Bayinnaung Bell Inscriptions in 2017.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.