A Child of the Revolution
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A Child of the Revolution

By NYEIN NYEIN / THE IRRAWADDY Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Phyo Phyo Aung, front row, third from left, sits among fellow members of the ABFSU's organizing committe (Photo: abfsu.net)
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When demonstrations began in August 2007 following an unannounced increase in fuel prices, the ABFSU quickly became involved and the government arrested some of its leaders, including Kyaw Ko Ko, Si Thu Maung, Han Ni Oo and D Nyein Lin.

The 19-year-old Phyo Phyo Aung stepped up to help fill the detained leaders' involuntarily vacated roles, becoming the spokesperson of the ABFSU. When government forces violently ended the uprising by opening fire on the monk-led demonstrators, she went into hiding and created the alias of Hnin Pwint Wai so that she could continue to talk to the media.

During Phyo Phyo Aung’s six months in hiding, her father stayed beside her and provided her with moral encouragement. Although they had previously had little opportunity to spend time together and talk, the experience brought them close together and they became political colleagues as well as family.
After having been arrested together in May 2008, father and daughter were put on a train together in April 2009 and transferred to separate prisons. Phyo Phyo Aung was sent to Moulmein Prison in the capital of Mon State. Nay Win went to Hpa-an Prison in the capital of Karen State.

During this period of separation, the only way they could communicate was by sending each other letters in which they shared their experiences and political views.

“The letters from prison were far different from her first letter to me, which she wrote at the age of four. That first one was just a full page of walone,” said Nay Win, refering to the circles that form the most basic element of the  Burmese writing system.

After being detained for three years and seven months, Phyo Phyo Aung was released from prison in October 2011 as part of President Thein Sein’s second amnesty. Her father had been released one year earlier, and both of her parents, as well as relatives and colleagues, came out to welcome her.

Having missed out on her higher education due to her involvement in the 2007 uprising and subsequent periods in hiding and in prison, Phyo Phyo Aung contacted the Government Technological College in hopes of going back to school.

The college, however, informed her that their rules did not allow them to accept re-enrollment by students who had not contacted them for more than two years. But Phyo Phyo Aung is determined to resume her studies and intends to pursue language skills and study civil engineering outside of Burma’s educational system.

In addition, her time in prison did not deter her from getting involved again in political activism and the student movement. She remains committed to social justice and recently became the general secretary of the ABFSU’s Organizing Committee.

In her 2011 book “A Country of Heroes in the Dark,” Burmese author Hnin Pen Eain wrote that Phyo Phyo Aung inherited her father’s spirit and commitment, and like her father, she is gentle but dedicated to doing ther best for the sake of her people.

These thoughts were echoed by Kyaw Ko Ko, the chairperson of the ABFSU, who said that Phyo Phyo Aung has a strong commitment to politics and is very dedicated to working for her people and her fellow students.

“She is a future leader who is ready to serve, even for political duties, so the citizens of Burma can rely on her,” said Kyaw Ko Ko.

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Ohn Wrote:
Rise to the sky, you our heroine.

Do not lose track of your noble path for which you have sacrificed so much. The diversions and distractions will be vast.

Oo Maung Gyi Wrote:
Political spirit never die. Look at Mhatama Ghandi, Neru, Indra Ghandi, Binirzir Bhuto and present days ASSK's struggle against the most brutal Tyrant of the morden days Burma military juntas of New Win and Than Shwe.
Dear Phyo Phyo Aung your spirit is higher than Ne Win and Than Shwe you will never die.

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