The translation into the Burmese language of the book “Outrage: Burma’s Struggle for Democracy” by Bertil Lintner, which deals with the 1988 popular uprising during Myanmar’s (formerly known as Burma) dictatorship, has brought a reliable and easily accessible source of information about a historic event which has been largely excluded from popular learning.
The 1988 Uprising
The book, first published in Myanmar this month, deals with the period leading to the outburst of pro-democracy feelings in the country, during which the protests of the citizens were violently quelled by the government’s military forces. The result of the uprising which started in August 1988, and the successive military oppression was the death of thousands of citizens. After these events, many citizens decided to flee the country, which was forever changed by what happened that month. Outrage: Burma’s Struggle for Democracy is entirely based on first-hand information and it strictly tries to avoid deviating from the testimonies given. Lintner has held interviews with over 100 Burmese who were seeking refuge in the camps located on the border between Thailand and Myanmar.
Over the last decades, those who were interested in learning about this series of events beyond what the memory of the witnesses could recall had to resort to online search engines. The lack of information offline, in books, magazines or newspapers, forced people to resort to a very poor internet connection, which was further limited by censorship of the media.
A Result of the Effort
The publication was a result of a combined effort of the author, Bertil Lintner, and the book’s publisher, Lwin Oo. Oo stated he did not dare publish the book some years ago due to the oppression and scrutiny board of the military government. The publication therefore implies a relaxation of the State’s censorship.
Lintner played his part by showing his predisposal towards having the book translated. He cooperated with the translator and asked for no royalty payments for his work, mainly because he regards the availability of information in Burmese, for Burmese people, as more important than his own economic interest. The editor has also added that the publication is a way of paying homage to those young Burmese who became involved in the process of democratization of the country.
Lintner recognizes the importance of keeping the rebellions of 1988 vivid in the population’s collective memory and further wishes “Land of Jade,” which deals with the country’s frontier areas, would get translated into Burmese as well. The author assures that an easy access to this book would help the Burmese people understand what is happening and what has happened in the past.