Going Down Burma Road - Going Down Burma Road by Larry...

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Going Down Burma Road by Larry Smith Goin' down Burma Road...ain' ga lick nobody. For most Bahamians Burma Road refers to the 1942 riots over pay for the men who worked on the wartime air bases in Nassau. Two rioters were killed by British troops, more than 40 people injured and over a hundred arrested, but those unprecedented events also led to long overdue reforms. The name 'Burma Road' had currency because of what went on at the same time on the other side of the world. In Southeast Asia work was underway on the real Burma Road so that the Allies could move troops and supplies into China to fight the Japanese. Construction of that Burma Road began in December 1942. Cutting through mountainous territory in the north of Burma, it was considered a remarkable engineering achievement. The Bahamian equivalent was in the vicinity of Blake Road, which runs from Caves Point to the former pine barren that became Windsor Field - and later our international airport. Explosives were used to cut through the limestone hills behind the caves to provide fill for the new airfield. But there are more significant parallels between what is going on in Burma today, and what took place in the Bahamas 65 years ago. ****** Burma (or Myanmar) is one of the world's most closed and backward societies. The former Buddhist kingdom was conquered by the British in the late 19th century and taken over by the Japanese in the Second World War. They were supported by anti-British Burmese nationalists led by General Aung San. When Aung San realised the Japanese had no intention of conferring independence, he switched allegiance to the British and was able to negotiate Burma's freedom with Clement Atlee's new socialist government in 1947. But shortly before independence, he and his cabinet were assassinated. Only 32 at the time, Aung San became a national hero. A right-wing former prime minister in the pre-war colonial government was executed for the killings, but it was later rumoured that disaffected elements of Winston Churchill's wartime government had hatched the plot because they saw Aung San as a traitor.
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