Tin Soe: Striving for democracy in Myanmar

Tin Soe: Striving for democracy in Myanmar

Posted by Sit Mone  written By A. Junaidi, The Jakarta Post,

Jakarta06/04/2008

Tin Soe knows how difficult it is to be a minority Burmese Muslim — suffering discrimination and insecurity — as well as a journalist working in an authoritarian country like Myanmar.

Along with other inter-faiths activists, Tin, who is also known as Mohamed Taher, the editor of Kaladan Press Network, has been struggling against Myanmar’s military junta and dreaming of a democratic country.

“I’m fighting the military junta through the media. No foreign media are able to cover … the junta are not giving permission to enter the areas,” Tin said in an interview with The Jakarta Post recently on the sidelines of his visit together with a group of Buddhist monks at the Post’s office in Central Jakarta.

The visit included a discussion on the recent rally in Myanmar, which thousands of people joined, including Buddhist monks in Yangon, the capital of the country.

Hundreds of people, including the monks and a foreign journalist, were reportedly killed during the demonstration after police brutally dispersed the crowd.

Through his news agency, which is based in Chitagong, a Bangladesh border town, Tin coordinated reporters inside Myanmar, particularly in Yangon, to collect information on the rally.

Tin said he was jailed twice in 2004 — in January (seven days) and November (15 days) — in Bangladesh for distributing news about the military junta.

“The military junta would also attack Buddhist monks if they felt threatened … it’s not just Muslims who suffered discrimination for years under the regime,” self-exiled Tin said.

The muslim population of Myanmar comprises about eight percent or one million of the total population. The religious group is divided into four sub-groups: Muslims of Indian origin, from Bangladesh, India or Pakistan; Arakan Muslims, called Rohingyas; Panthays Muslims, who originate from Yunnan, China and use Mandarin language; and Burmese Muslims, of Persian origin.

Tin said Burmese Muslims in Mynamar were discriminated under an assimilation project commonly called “Burmanization”, a socio-cultural project in which Muslims were not allowed to use Urdu (the main language of Muslims of Indian origin), Arabic and Mandarin, instead of Burmese language. Islamic schools, mosques and cemeteries were also closed under the project.

“We were banned from holding Islamic functions such as the Idul Adha and Idul Fitri celebrations,” Tin, who received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Rangoon University, Burma, said.

Another form of discrimination, he said, was the one citizen law, which had forced thousands of Arakan Muslims (who resided in predominantly Muslim state of Rakhine) to take refuge in Bangladesh, as they were not legally acknowledged in Myanmar and not permitted to hold identity cards. Many Muslims also took refuge in Malaysia, while others sought protection in Thailand.

After graduating from university, Tin worked at a private company in Chitagong. He was also active in the Arakan Roping Islamic Front as an intern who collected information from inside Arakan on abuses carried out by the military junta from May 1982 to December 1988.

Tin, who was born on May 20, 1955, went on to study mass media and joined several training programs on various topics, such as public relations, photography and news gathering in Baguio city, the Philippines, and web design and ICT in Thailand.

From January 1989 to December 2003, he worked as an assistant (overseas) information secretary for the Arakan Rohingya National Organization in Saudi Arabia. He reported to the head office in Bangladesh on the settlement of large number of Rohingyas refugees in the Middle East, and set up networks with government officials and local NGOs.

The military junta’s brutal action against Buddhist monks was an indication, Tin said, that the violence in Myanmar did not discriminate religion or ethnicity.

It was once thought that the junta supported Buddhism — as shown by their participation in Buddhist rituals and celebrations — and discriminated other minority religions, including Islam.

However, the junta has always claimed that a firm government is needed to prevent the country, which is diverse in terms of ethnicity and religions, from breaking up. Burmese comprise the largest ethnic group in Myanmar. Other ethnic groups, including the Karen and Shan groups, are still involved in armed conflict with the military junta.

The current military junta is dominated by Burmese (top opposition leader Aung San Su Kyi is also Burmese).

International countries, including ASEAN states like Indonesia, have condemned the brutal military action against demonstrators in Myanmar.

Tin said international support would help Mynamarmese activists to free the country from military repression. He and other activists, including monks, are now traveling overseas to seek that support.

“We have shown that we, Buddhists and Muslims, as well as people from different ethnic (groups) can cooperate. We believe a democratic country can protect their citizens without any discrimination.

Copied from Art of Patience Free Burma

Political Prisoner, ‘Afraid of Nothing,’ Dies of TB

Political Prisoner,

‘Afraid of Nothing,’ Dies of TB

Copied from Irrawaddy By SAW YAN NAING

A political prisoner, Win Tin, also known as Annul, a youth member of the main opposition National League for Democracy, died on Thursday in Tharrawaddy Prison in Burma, while serving a 24-year sentence of hard labor, according to a human rights group.

Win Tin, 30, died of tuberculosis in the prison in Pegu Division, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma).

A Muslim, Win Tin was arrested in 1999 for his political activities.

Myat Hla, the chairman of the NLD office in Pegu, said, “He [Win Tin] had been suffering from tuberculosis for a long time. We heard often that his health condition was bad, and he didn’t receive medical treatment in prison. This morning, when his family members went to see him, he had already died.”

Win Tin is survived by his wife. He joined the NLD when he was teenager and was very active in the political movement, said Myat Hla.

“He was afraid nothing,” he said.

Bo Kyi, the joint secretary of the AAPP, said Win Tin had suffered from tuberculosis since 2002. He didn’t receive proper medical treatment in spite of specific requests from his family members to prison authorities, he said.

“Medical treatment in Burmese prisons is very poor,” said Bo Kyi. “If the authorities don’t provide sufficient medical treatment, more prisoners will die in the future.”

The military government charged Win Tin with activities destructive to the stability of the regime.

The AAPP estimates that there are 1,864 political prisoners in Burmese prisons.

Ko Htun Sein stopped singing “God save the King”

Ko Htun Sein stopped singing

“God save the King”

At Rangoon University Student Meetings

During one of the student meetings, in late 20’s, at the Rangoon University all the students stoop-up to sing the “God save the King” in front of the British Colonial ruler’s Union Jack flag as a respect and salute.

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But one student defiantly refused to stand up to sing the song and continue sitting in front of all the students. At the end of the song, he stood-up and addressed the student in English as it was the norm for all the university students.

“Comrade Students, please kindly allow me to speak for a moment. All of us here are Burmese but there is not even a single white English student amongst us, coming here from England to study. During our Myanmar national students’ meeting, if all of you just think over carefully about the song you all just sang, “God save the King”. I am trying to prove here a very important point; every right thinking person with the capacity to see the truth understand that the King of England is the king of the white people but not our king. It is shameful to pray for the occupier colonial master King of England.

He was Ko Htun Sein, a Burmese Muslim Mathematic Tutor, invited by Ko Htun Lu, the famous First (1920) Student Boycott leader. He later resigned from the tutor post and enlisted as a student to read Law at Rangoon University.

Since then, student meetings were held without the singing the “God save the King”. University authorities tried to take action for Ko Htun Sein’s action of instigating, But they were not successful but just let off the hook with stern warnings because of Ko Htun Sein’s smart rebuttals.

Ko Mya Aye, Burmese Muslim 88 Students Group Leader

Ko Mya Aye

Burmese Muslim  

(88 Students Group Leader)

“So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannise will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.”


– Voltaire

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Surely there must be a “How-to-Govern” manual somewhere that says:

‘Thou Shalt Not Martyr Thy Opponents

Unless Thou Really Is Not Interested in

Winning the Hearts and Minds of Thy People’.

Marina Mahathir

 People’s views on Ko Mya Aye 

In BURMA DIGEST year-end poll for “Politician of the Year 2006 Burma”, new leader of 8888 generation pro-democracy student activists in Burma Ko Mya Aye was deservedly overwhelmingly elected as the Politician of the year.Here below is some interesting quotes from remarkable remarks made by our readers on Ko Mya Aye. 

¨       SPDC fears 88 generation student leaders most and they can succeed in bringing Burma to democracy.

¨       88 generation student leaders led a wide campaign for a signature petition to release all political prisoners. That campaign was a very amazing success after the 8888 People Uprising in 1988. In spite of the SPDC junta’s lawless authority to its own people, they did it very strategically, leading a possible path to democracy now and forever.

¨       He is more organized and gives truthful message to the people of Burma where Burmese people didn’t know how to show their democracy movement peacefully.

¨       I am very exciting of their works for people.  Now, many students from inside who are studying at different university joined hands with 88 GSG and are working together for democracy movements and to free political prisoners. I liked his speeches with media……

¨       Ko Mya Aye and 88 GSG (inside Burma; people from inside supported them and join with them as their voice of truth.

¨       The most interesting political group 2006 for Burma is Ko Mya Aye and 8888 Generation Students Group.

¨       They, 8888 generation students, are leading towards democracy movement in Burma and stimulate and try to develop human …..Their have perseverance, tolerance…

¨       During the 8888 uprising they had successfully lead the people’s uprising causing the downfall of three successive governments of General Ne Win, Sein Lwin and Dr Maung Maung.

¨       When you look through the events this year- petition and white expression campaigns that he and his group organized inside Burma showed full commitment and bravery of them, more importantly their moves inspired all pro-democracy activists and people of Burma.

¨       He took over all the responsibilities after Min Ko Naing, Pyone Cho, MinZaYa, Htay Kywel and Ko Ko Gyi were arrested. I like his speeches in Media; it made us wake up to involve in Freeing up Burma.

¨       He is a good leader of us after Min Ko Naing.  We support him.¨       Greatest generation of Burma after independent heroes

¨       We are new generations, they are model for us.

¨       I support him.  I like his speeches with media; it encourages people to fight for truth and against unlawful military rule.

¨       The student activists have been sacrificing their lives endlessly. They are national heroes.

¨       they show their desire for democracy without fear and people from inside were very interested of their work for democracy movements

¨       I like his speeches which are very exciting for our people.  He is the one who voice out for people through media without fearing of SPDC.

¨       His speeches make me keen to involve for democracy movements and I really support him and his friends

¨       He suffers the same as people suffer.

¨       He never gives up fighting for truth.  I like his speeches.

¨       I like his personalities, he did things right and he encourages people to express the truth.

¨       We need a leader like Ko Mya Aye after Min-Ko-Naing was arrested

¨       I am surprised by his courage and we need him for the future of Burma.

¨       He is the second “Min-Ko-Naing”

¨       He who speaks out for our people.  He is the one who respects his “Ye baw Ye bat” inside Burma.

¨       We like him because of his work for people.

¨       He courageously express his view of truth and he encourages people not to fear of expressing truth

¨       He is a Hero after Min-Ko-Naing.  

¨       He is a good leader and fighter for truth.

¨       I could not work for my country people like him.  I admired him.  I am strongly vote him for the most interesting political personality 2006 for our country.

¨       I would like to vote for him. Although I don’t know him in person, I listened his speeches in media.  It made me very excited and felt like suffering same as him. 

 (Reported by Dr. Tayza)

Also See in Burmese_

Copied and pasted below

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Junta pins democracy activists to the wall

Ko Dee
Mizzima News
 

April 6, 2007 – Pro democracy activists in Burma are slowly and steadily being pushed to the wall by the military junta which has stepped up restrictions and suppression both in economic and social terms, political dissidents in Rangoon said.

The 88 generation students, a group of pro-democracy activists, in a statement yesterday said, the junta, which grabbed power in 1988, after brutally suppressing student and civil protestors, despite their promise to install a democratic government, has continually suppressed political dissidence.

“In reality, however, those who are trying to restore democracy are marginalized from others as political activists, and have consequently become victims of oppression against the free practice of their economic and social rights,” the statement said.

The 88 generation students issued the statement following the junta’s order to shut-down a business venture run by the family of a former political prisoner and a second-rung leader of the 88 generation student – Ko Mya Aye.

On March 30, the municipal authorities in Rangoon ordered the closure of the Rangoon-Mandalay Thamadi Carrier Service headed by Maung Maung Aung, a younger brother of Mya Aye.

A letter from the municipality directed the office to be closed and informed the authorities to cancel the license to operate or action would be taken.While no reasons were given as to why the order was passed, activists viewed it as an attempt by the junta to muffle the voices of dissidence.Nyan Win, the spokesperson of Burma’s main political opposition party – National League for Democracy, said, “I agree with what the students said in the statement. It is not only the students who are targeted but also other political activists. Doctors have had their license withheld, and business ventures are being close-down.”

BBC Report about Ko Mya Aye

Speaking to the BBC, 88 Generation student leader Ko Mya Aye – one of the petition’s organisers – said they were seeking a peaceful political transformation in Burma and encouraging the people to participate.

 We will continue with peaceful and legal means to help achieve national reconciliation in Burma

 Ko Mya Aye

“We will continue with peaceful and legal means to help achieve national reconciliation in Burma”, says Ko Mya Aye who is one of the leading members of 88 Generation Students group.

The campaign began on October 2 and concluded on October 23.

 

RFA REPORT ABOUT KO MYA AYE

Mya Aye, a student leader during the 1988 uprising, said in an interview from Burma that the three men, with whom he had been meeting regularly, hadn’t committed any crimes and were in fact being treated well in detention.

“We talk solely about the paths to national reconciliation-how to bring it about how to rebuild our country. We didn’t commit any crimes,” Mya Aye said.

Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, and Htay Kywe were being held separately and “well looked after,” Mya Aye said, citing well-placed sources.

said in an interview from Burma that the three men, with whom he had been meeting regularly, hadn’t committed any crimes and were in fact being treated well in detention.

“We talk solely about the paths to national reconciliation-how to bring it about how to rebuild our country. We didn’t commit any crimes,” Mya Aye said.

Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, and Htay Kywe were being held separately and “well looked after,” Mya Aye said, citing well-placed sources.

Call for reconciliation

“When they were under detention, they were called in a number of times and asked about their views and convictions—I think that’s what is happening now,” he said. “We are closely monitoring the situation and will contact the authorities as necessary.”

“We believe only in national reconciliation. We don’t want to hurt anyone or favor anyone. The basic principles we hold are that any solution should be based on the results of the 1990 general election, on dialogue, democracy, and human rights,” he said.

“Our spirit is our only defense, and if they come to detain us we will just have to face it.”

Our spirit is our only defense, and if they come to detain us we will just have to face it.

Mya Aye, student leader in 1988 uprising

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said it was “deeply troubled” by the reported detentions and called on the ruling junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), to release them immediately and unconditionally.

“Our spirit is our only defense, and if they come to detain us we will just have to face it.”

Our spirit is our only defense, and if they come to detain us we will just have to face it.

Mya Aye, student leader in 1988 uprising

Original reporting by RFA’s Burmese service. Additional reporting by Richard Finney. Produced in English by Luisetta Mudie and Sarah Jackson-Han

 

DVB Report_

88 students call for agreement on reforms

 

Reporting by Aye Naing

June 28, 2007 (DVB)—The 88 Generation Students today called on the Burmese government and opposition actors to cooperate with each other over political reforms and to engage in genuine dialogue.

In a statement, the student group said that the National League for Democracy, the winners of the 1990 election, the State Peace and Development Council and ethnic minority leaders needed to work together on Burma’s new constitution.

“A friendly political society where all the issues of disagreements and suspicions can be raised, discussed, compromised and made clear in independence and in honesty is essential,” the 88 Generation Students statement said.

“We, the 88 Generation Students, would like to urge the Tatmadaw government to create such a political society and that the National League for Democracy and all the ethnic parties to put effort into making this good political society possible.”

Former student leader Ko Mya Aye said the holding of the final session of the constitution-drafting National Convention next month provided the government, the opposition and ethnic minority groups with an opportunity to cooperate.

He also said that the 88 Generation Students group believed that as the final session of the National Convention will focus on the amendment procedures and revisions of the current constitutional draft it dialogue was now essential.

“We hope a good situation comes out of it . . . This constitution will look significantly better if the National League for Democracy, whose representatives have won a lot of seats in the 1990 elections, and all the ethnic representatives had a chance to participate in creating it,” Ko Mya Aye said.

 “Dialogue is essential if this is to happen . . . People should not ignore this . . . If we do, our country will go under this dark cloud of extreme chaos. We cannot let this happen. Dialogue should be initiated whenever and wherever possible,” he said.

FRONT LINE Human Rights defenders 

On 22 August 2007, a rare public protest over a sharp rise in fuel prices led to a wave arrests by the Burmese junta. Those arrested included the senior leadership of the 88 Generation Students group as well as members of other student and civil advocacy groups.Hundreds of demonstrators had taken to the streets to express their anger at the surprise increase in fuel prices. Natural gas prices have risen 500% and petrol and diesel prices have almost doubled, according to the Guardian. The rise has hit poor labourers particularly hard, swallowing up to half of their daily income.

The 88 Generation Students group is an organisation synonymous with the long struggle for democracy in military-ruled Burma and take their name from a 1988 student-led uprising crushed by the military. In a rare announcement in all state-run newspapers, the junta said that the dissidents were arrested for undermining the peace and security of the state, according to The Epoch Times.

Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Ko Mya Aye, Ko Pyone Cho, Ko Jimmy and Ko Yin Htun were among those from the 88 Generation Student group arrested.On 21 August 2007, 14 student leader of the 88 Student Generation of Democracy were arrested.

The 14 members are Paw U Tun (also known as Min Ko Naing), Ko Ko Gyi, Pyone Cho (also known as Htay Win Aung), Min Zeyar, Ko Mya Aye, Ko Jimmy (Kyaw Min Yu), Zeya, Ant Bwe Kyaw, Kyaw Kyaw Htwe (Marki), Panneik Tun, Zaw Zaw Min, Thet Zaw, Nyan Lin Tun, Ko Yin Htun,They were arrested by security officials and members of the state backed Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA).

Front Line previously wrote to the Burmese Government on 27 August 2007 expressing concern about the arrest and detention of Paw U Tun, Ko Ko Gyi, Pyone Cho, and Min Zeyar.All 14 human rights defenders were arrested by police officials on the eve of a major protest in Yangon on 22 August 2007.

No warrants were produced for the arrests and according to an article published in the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar they will be charged under Law 5/96, which provides for up to 20 years in prison, for their involvement in “acts undermining the efforts to successfully carry out peaceful transfer of state power and facilitate the proceedings of the National Convention.” Following the arrests, members of the security forces allegedly searched the homes of the afore-mentioned individuals and confiscated documents and compact discs. Reports claim that they were detained at Kyaikkasan Detention Centre before being transferred to the notorious Insein prison outside Yangon where they may be at risk of torture, including beatings and electric shocks.

88-Generation Student leaders including Ko Mya Aye won the Politicians of the year 2006 for Burma, awarded by Burma Digest.

During the 8888 uprising they had successfully lead the people’s uprising causing the downfall of three successive governments of General Ne Win, Sein Lwin and Dr Maung Maung.

1.       The whole world know that the 88 Generation Students have been relentlessly calling peacefully for the non-violent ways of resistance.

2.       They are advocating for national reconciliation and

3.       even claimed openly that they could forgive and forget every thing even the imprisonment and injustices done on them.

4.       Their only fault is they are asking for a peaceful dialogue and pressing for the democracy, human rights and individual freedom.

Politician of the Year 2006 Burma

Who is Politician of the Year 2006 Burma?

The politician of the year is a person who has led the people in the most significant and most important political movement during the year.

The most significant and most important political movement during this year is the White-coloured people power movement signifying people’s innocent and peaceful desire to get freedom, democracy and human-rights. And it was led by new generation student leaders.

So now thousands of readers of BURMA DIGEST have overwhelmingly voted new generation student leader Ko Mya Aye as The Politician of the Year 2006 Burma!

Final Voting Results

(validated at two decimal points)

* Only one vote from one IP address is counted.

¨     Ko Mya Aye 21.52%

¨     Daw Aung San Suu Kyi  18.83% 

¨     8888 students 9.97%         

¨     Ko Min Ko Naing 9.07%

¨  Nurul Islam  3.73%

¨ Dr. Cynthia Maung  3.69%

¨     Snr. Gen. Than Shwe  3.16%

¨     Sao Yawd Serk  3.12%

¨   U Aye Thar Aung  2.79%

¨  Dr. Nay Win Maung  2.59%

¨     Su Su New  2.27%

¨     U Maung Sein  2.21%

¨     U Win Tin  1.83%

¨     U Maung Maung (NCUB)  1.80%

¨     Nan Charm Tong  1.78%

¨     Ko Jimmy  1.75%

¨     Karen National Union & Saw Bo Mya 1.55%

¨     U Myint Aye (Human-rights Defender) 1.45%

¨  John Bolton  1.35%

¨  Nan Ohn Hla (NLD)  0.25%

¨  Daw Nan Khin Hla Myint (NLD)  0.15%

¨     Ludu U Sein Win  1.10%

¨ Ko Thet Win Aung  0.98%

¨  Ko Ko Gyi  0.85%

¨  Dr. Thaung Htun  0.75%

¨     Ko Aung Din  0.65%

¨     Ko Htay Kywe  0.54%

¨     Ko Min Zeya  0.46%

¨  Zoya Phan  0.35%

¨ Ma Phyu Phyu Thein (HIV NGO)  0.23%

¨  Ko Tun Tun (political activist)  0.17%

¨  Gen. Maung Aye 0.05%   

Multiple votes from a single IP address are discarded. One IP address, one vote only.

Although I was in the Editorial team I voted for the whole team of 88-Generation Student leaders and never had the access or had  influence the results. Please see the following article which I wrote as a vote.

                          My article in Burma Digest_ 

There is precedence to giving out an award to an organization for the award initially or usually meant for a person e.g. Noble Peace Prizes and Times magazine’s “man of the year” awarded to organizations.

Therefore, I hereby wish to nominate 88-Generation Student leaders for the Politicians of the year 2006 for Burma. During the 8888 uprising the had successfully lead the people’s uprising causing the downfall of three successive governments of General Ne Win, Sein Lwin and Dr Maung Maung.

Paw Oo Tun was a 3rd year zoology student in Rangoon University in 1988. He was a prominent leader in the 8888 people’s uprising. His nom de plume is Min Ko Naing or in English Conqueror of King! 1988 Student uprising started with the death of 2 RIT or Rangoon Institute of Technology students Ko Phone Maw and Ko Soe Naing on 13 March 1988.

In a 1988 speech, the fiery student leader said: “If we want to enjoy the same rights as people in other countries, we have to be disciplined, united and brave enough to stand up to the dictators,” according to Amnesty.

Min Ko Naing was arrested on 23 March 1989, sentenced to 20 years in December 1991, which was later commuted to 10 years. He was not released after completing his sentence in 1999. Moe The Zun, Ko Ko Gyi, Jimmy, Min Zayar, Pyone Cho and Htay Kywe are prominent leaders of 88-Generation Students group. Min Ko Naing was freed in Nov 2004. Immediately after his release, he had two interviews with the BBC and the RFA or Radio Free Asia.

Ko Min Ko Naing was only free for 11 months after a 16 year term in the Akyab prison; Ko Ko Gyi was released in March 2005 after nearly 14 years imprisonment.The SPDC Junta rearrested the 88 Generation Student leaders Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Htay Kywe on September 27 and Min Zayar and Pyone Cho on September 30, 2006. The arresting law enforcement persons told the student leaders and their family members that the top generals wanted to see them for discussions.

  1. In many civilized countries that practice Rule of Just Laws, the arresting authorities must tell the person why they were arrested, the reason for their arrest, under which Section of the Law and may need to show the arrest warrant.

  2. If any thing wrong or even if the warrant is technically defective they could be released with the Habeas corpus application at the respective court of law. Actually,

  3. Human Rights and individual freedom covers all the aspects of humans_

  4. All the citizens must enjoy the Freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture like this re-arrest of the 88 Generation Student leaders.

  5. All individuals are “innocent until proven otherwise”

At the press conference, the SPDC falsely accused that they had detained the student leaders for questioning related to terrorist attacks and for the financial aid received from the foreign embassies. SPDC claimed that they have to arrest in order to prevent internal unrest and instability The embassies had denied the accusation of given any financial support and the whole world knew that the 88 Generation Students are not terrorists at all. If SPDC could not prove their ridiculous accusations, their international credibility and dignity would go down the drain further more.

1.       The whole world know that the 88 Generation Students have been relentlessly calling peacefully for the non-violent ways of resistance.

2.       They are advocating for national reconciliation and

3.       even claimed openly that they could forgive and forget every thing even the imprisonment and injustices done on them.

4.       Their only fault is they are asking for a peaceful dialogue and pressing for the democracy, human rights and individual freedom.

Min Ko Naing and his colleagues were slowly reactivating Burmese People for a political awareness and taking the leader role from the senile and inactive NLD leaders. Although they had suffered a lot in the jails for a long time, they are not scared and started their political activities again. They organized the 18th anniversary of the 1988 uprising in August this year where few thousands of people dare to attend. They requested the military leaders to start a dialogue with the opposition and ethnic leaders instead of continuing the National Convention.

The top leaders were arrested on 27th June 2006 on the 18th anniversary of the founding of the National League for Democracy.

On the 02nd October the remaining 88 Generation Students group started

  • the first-ever-public- campaign against the SPDC

  • and gathered signatures for a petition calling for the release of political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

More than half a million people sign the petition although they were harassed by SPDC Kyant Phuts and their thugs. The signatures were later presented to the UN.

Later they organized

  • “White Expression”

  • requesting the people to wear white clothes to protest the SPDC. It was continued until the 44th birthday of Ko Min Ko Naing on 18 October.

On the 29th October, they started a third campaign,

  • called “Multi Religious Prayer Campaign,”

  • and requested the people to wear white clothing and hold candlelight vigils and prayers in temples, churches and mosques.

Ko Mya Aye & Ko Jimmy, the remaining ones of the 88 Generation leaders told the BBC Burmese fearlessly_

“Burmese people have to stay away from politics, because the government has kept them out. They are always looking for a way to participate in politics, so that is why we are trying to involve them.”

So the 88 Generation Student Group and Leaders are the prime movers and shakers of Burma Politics in 2006.

Campaigners and relatives said among those arrested were Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Ko Mya Aye, Ko Yin Htun and Ko Jimmy, leaders of a 1988 democracy movement that was crushed by the regime.

Min Ko Naing, whose name means “Conqueror of Kings” and who was released last year after 15 years in jail, is probably the best-known activist after Aung San Suu Kyi. She remains under house arrest, having spent nearly 17 years imprisoned.

“Military intelligence and government intelligence seized their houses and searched their houses,” another dissident, Htay Kywe, who escaped, said from neighbouring Thailand.Despite the arrests, reports from Burma said campaigners again took to the streets yesterday to protest against the government’s recent increase in fuel prices. 

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Niemoller said:

“In Germany they (the Nazis) came first for the Communists

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

“Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up for me”.

Martin Niemoller, in his masterpiece, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – A history of Nazi Germany” (New York, Touchstone, 1990; first published in 1959)

I believe that Ko Mya Aye is a better Muslim than most of us who prays five times a day etc. (I don’t mean to say that he doesnot pray) as there is more to Islam than mere rituals. Islam is not just about rituals. Islam is also about values. And one of the most important values of Islam that Ko Mya Aye had practically shown all of us is to_

  1. ‘propagating good and
  2. forbidding evil’.

     

‘propagating good and forbidding evil’ _

  1. is not optional.
  2. It is compulsory.
  3. Islam makes it mandatory that we oppose evil.

We are asked to oppose evil with our hands.

Our Prophet (pbuh) has been asked by God:

“I have been ordered to dispense justice between you.”

“Whenever you judge between people, you should judge with (a sense of) justice” (4:58).

The Prophet has said:

“If any one of you comes across an evil,

he should try to stop it with his hand (using force),

if he is not in a position to stop it with his hand

then he should try to stop it by means of his tongue

(meaning he should speak against it).

If he is not even able to use his tongue

then he should at least condemn it in his heart.

This is the weakest degree of faith”

(Muslim).

  1. “Co-operate with one another for virtue and heedfulness

  2. and do not co-operate with one another

  3. for the purpose of vice and aggression” (5:2).

This means that_

  1. who perpetrates deeds of vice and aggression,

  2. even if he is our closest relation or neighbour,

  3. does not have the right to win our support

  4. and help in the name of race, country, language or nationality.

I believe that Ko Mya Aye is a better Muslim than most of us who prays five times a day etc. because Rituals are not values. Rituals are merely a demonstration that you have values. It is pointless performing rituals if you lack values. Rituals are not important if you lack faith or values. Rituals are the end result of the values you hold.

Our prayers are between God and us. Whether we perform them or not is between God and us. It does not concern anyone else. The same goes for all other rituals as well.  

But if we do not stand up for justice and fight against evil, oppression, persecution, etc., then it is no longer between God and us.

  1. God can forgive us for not praying. (I don’t mean to say that we should not pray)
  2. God can forgive us for the sins of not performing Haj, fasting etc.. (I don’t mean to say that we should not perform Haj, fasting etc.. ) I just wish to emphasize that doing good for the society, our country, Burma/Myanmar is MORE IMPORTANT DUTY FOR ALL OF US, BURMESE MUSLIMS.
  3. But God will never forgive you for your sins against society.

By not opposing evil we have not sinned against God.

We have sinned against  millions of fellow-Muslims and other humans. And you will have to seek forgiveness from all of them. God can’t forgive you. Burmese Muslims and other Burmese Citizens will have to do that.

U Razak

Abdul Razak

By Yeni

The honor roll of Burmese “martyrs” assassinated alongside Gen Aung San in 1947 includes a Muslim name: Abdul Razak, elected chairman of the Burma Muslim Congress.

Razak was just 50 when he was gunned down with his comrades on the fateful July day that has since become “Martyr’s Day.”

He studied at Rangoon University, took part in the anti-British student demonstrations in 1920 and then demonstratively switched to a Bachelor of Arts course with the alternative Council of National Education established by Burmese nationalists. Though a Muslim, the young Razak became highly proficient in Buddhist studies and the Pali language.

For 20 years—from 1922-42—he worked as superintendent of the Central National High School in Mandalay, and insisted on cultivating national spirit among his students. A staunch nationalist, he once declared that for every civil servant turned out by British colonial places of learning, his school produced “10 revolutionaries.”

Razak encouraged his pupils to form a student union and to participate fully in social activities, particularly sport. He employed a former Indian boxing champion to train his students, some of whom went on to represent Burma at the Olympic Games.

During World War II he was detained, along with other Burmese nationalists, by Japanese police. Gen Aung San organized a rescue plan, but Razak rejected it because it did not include his comrades. “He didn’t want to be free alone,” a retired colonel recalled.

British troops freed him from Mandalay prison, and Razak became a prominent leader of the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League of Upper Burma. He also organized the Muslims throughout Burma under the AFPFL flag, in preparation for the approaching struggle for independence.

Razak rejected the idea of a separated Muslim country when Pakistan initiated its separation from India. In May, 1946, he used the press to call upon Muslims not to show any sympathy toward Pakistan and urging them to be a strong and respected community in Burma, without weighing down the national development.

He was appointed minister of education and national planning in Burma’s pre-independence government—the start of a political career brought brutally to an end by assassins’ bullets on July 19, 1948.

“For us, he is a great leader, like Gen Aung San, said the editor of a Rangoon journal. Not, however, for the Rangoon regime—who have effectively removed his name from Burma’s pantheon by suppressing his biography.

U Razak

U Razak  (20 January 189819 July 1947; Arabic: Abdul Razak) was a Burmese politician who was a respected educationalist. He was a minister and was assassinated, along with his cabinet, on 19 July 1947. July 19 is celebrated in Myanmar today as Martyrs’ Day. U Razak was Minister of Education and National Planning, and was chairman of the Burma Muslim Congress.

Abdul Razak was born in Meiktila on 20 January 1898. He studied at the Wesleyan School in Mandalay, and continued his studies at the Rangoon College, earning a B.A. degree in English. Throughout his school years, Razak was involved in athletics.

In 1920, Razak was a leader in organising the first Burmese student boycott to the British colonial education system. In 1921, he became headmaster of Mandalay National High School. Razak’s natural charisma was effective in persuading the Mandalayans. When Japan invaded Burma in World War II, he was imprisoned.

In 1945, Abdul Razak was named chairman of the Mandalay branch of Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) and was elected a Member of Parliament to represent Mandalay. He was Minister of Education and National Planning in Aung San‘s Cabinet. It is stated that when U Razak was attended to in the immediate aftermath of the assassination on 19 July 1947, he asked that his colleagues be taken care of before himself. He died on 19 July 1947 together with other cabinet members.

Razak initiated calls for unity between Burmese Muslims and Buddhists. He was a devout Muslim, but maintained ties to Buddhism, educating himself on Pali, the sacred script of Theravada Buddhism, and helped found the Mandalay Degree College (modern Mandalay University. Razak fathered three children.

 

 References

  • Burmese Encyclopedia Vol 11, P 73 printed in 1970

 External links

U Shwe Yoe

U Shwe Yoe

 

U Shwe Yoe, also known as U Ba Ga Lay was a prominent Burmese Actor, Comedian, Dancer and Cartoonist. He was a Burmese Muslim.

U Shwe Yoe and U Shwe Yoe dance

U Shwe Yoe dance was U Ba Ga Lay’s jolly joker dance sequence in, 1923 “Ah Ba Yae” (Oh Ah Ba. Ah Ba means old man or father in Burmese) which was one of the pioneer films of Myanmar movie history about rural life. The dance is full of fun and joy and it appealed so much to the Myanmar audience and is adopted as a dance for all festive occasions.

“Ah Ba Yae” movie was his second movie with Myanmar Asway (friend of Myanmar) company. The first was “Taw Myaing Soon Ka Lwan Aung Phan” (nostalgia effects of the jungle)in 1923. He later shoot another seven films with the same company.

With thick eye brows, long curved mustache, traditional Myanmar headdress (Gong Baung), long muffler around the neck, traditional Myanmar jacket (Tyke Pone), checked long sarong (Taung Shae Pasoe) and the small Pathein Umbrella. This became the trademark of U Shwe Yoe. Later the dancers easily copied his image by using special comical sunglass with artificial plastic nose and eyebrows.

The U Shwe Yoe dance has been an essential part of charitable and other ceremonies traditionally observed by the Myanmar. U Shwe Yoe dances to the music of the Ozi and Doebut troupes. He dances to the rhythmic sounds of the accompanying dobat or double-faced short drum, cymbals and bamboo clappers. U Shwe Yoe does a good job twirling his umbrella to make his performance more interesting. This dance is always performed to make amusement by village lads in procession at festival. This popular traditional Myanmar dance is presented with delightful and humorous movements to please spectators. It is also an entertainment component at Pagoda festival, at Shinpyu ordination ceremony, and other festive occasions. Myanmar folk dances developed together with folk music and songs. So they are inseparably linked with folk music and songs. These three performing arts are complementary and rural-based. The music is provided by ozi and dobat troupes.

Duet Dance of U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe

Originally U Shwe Yoe was an individual dance performance, but over time the Daw Moe Dance was created and appended to the original version. Now the art form is popularly known as the U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe Dance. U Shwe Yoe dances with his comic moustache and comic movements trying to woo the spinster Daw Moe. The U Shwe Yoe Dance has been an essential part of charitable and traditional ceremonies. U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe are the comic characters. They sing, they dance and they flirt, and make the spectators (audience) laugh. The dance is presented with humour in order to make the spectators merry and gay. No religious procession is considered complete without the dance of U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe.[1][2]

 Acting career

He acted in 18 movies during 12 years of his carrier. Fifteen were without voice and only three were with voice. His first movie “Taw Myaing Soon Ka Lwan Aung Phan” (nostalgia effects of the jungle) was from Burma Film’s first movie. Lead actor was Maung Nyi Pu (first Burmese actor) and actress was Ma Mya Nyunt. U Ba Ga Lay was a support actor, comedian. There was a scene in the movie, Daw Moe wanted to be splashed with water in the water festival but pretended not to be. He acted as a naive old man Shwe Yoe, trying to splash water with a short pump. In his second movie he rose to fame with his Shwe Yoe dance.

The full list of his movies_

  1. “Taw Myaing Soon Ka Lwan Aung Phan” (nostalgia effects of the jungle)1923

  2. “Ah Ba Yae”(Oh Ah Ba. Ah Ba means father or an old man.) 1923

  3. Pauk Kyine (Myanmar Folk tale) 1924

  4. Ta Khine Lone Shwe (The whole bunch of gold) 1924

  5. Ta Khine Lone Sein (The whole bunch of diamonds) 1924

  6. Mhine Wai Wai. Hazy or foggy 1925

  7. Pa Loke Toke Toke Sakya Shin 1925

  8. Village boy Shwe Yoe 1926

  9. Shwe Min Won 1926

  10. Where is Shwe Yoe 1926

  11. Shwe Yoe and San Phae 1927

  12. Shwe Talay 1927

  13. Khin Maung Gyi 1927

  14. Honeymoon period 1929

  15. Wai Lwin Lwin 1929

  16. Mr Batchelor 1930

  17. Love Triangle 1930

  18. Shwe Pay Lhwar (Golden Message)

 Personal life

U Ba Ga Lay was born in Bassein (now Pathein) in 1893 (9th waning of Tabodwe month 1254 Burmese calender). His parents were Bassein High School teachers U Pho Thi and Daw Thae Mhone.

He had head and back injury when the kitchen of his house collapsed in June 1938. Treated for three months in Rangoon and later shifted to Bassein. His mental condition deteriorated and when Cartoon U Hein Soon visited him with the donations from the friends in Rangoon, he asked about the famous journalist Zawana.

Later because of the bombings, he shifted to Hinthada and again to Gambi town. He passed away at the age of 52, on 5th June 1945.

References

  1. ^ U Shwe Yoe’s alias U Ba Ga Lay by Tin Soe. Al-Balag Journal, Published by Ko Min Lwin. In Burmese. Nov-Dec 2001. page 80,81 & 82

  2. ^ Ludu Daw Ah Mar, Shwe Yoe, Ba Galay – Artists of the same names in 2 volumes 1969

See also

External links

  1. U Shwe Yoe dance,Mintha Theater[1]

  2. U Shwe Yoe dance,Goldenland [2]

  3. U Shwe Yoe dance,Mandalay marionettes[3]

  4. U Shwe Yoe dance,Myanmar.com[4]

  5. U Shwe Yoe dance,Myanmars.net[5]

  6. U Shwe Yoe dance,htweoomyanmar.com[6]

  7. U Shwe Yoe dance,ibiblio.org[7]

  8. U Shwe Yoe dance,Myanmar.gov.mm[8]

  9. U Shwe Yoe dance,mrtv3[9]

  10. U Shwe Yoe dance,Mizzima.[10]

  11. U Shwe Yoe dance,mwaf.org.mm[11]

  12. U Shwe Yoe dance,Fascinating Myanmar[12]

  13. U Shwe Yoe dance,Sein Moottar[13]