New Doors are Opening in Burma
By AUNG ZAW Monday, January 16, 2012

(Page 2 of 2)

He stressed that even the authorities now have to accept democracy and said the people have been vindicated after more than two decades of relentless struggle.

Min Ko Naing, 49, has spent 20 of the years since 1988 in prison. In 2005, when he was released from his first stint of 16 years in jail, most of it in solitary confinement, he was uninformed about the outside world and the outside world was uninformed about him.

But with Suu Kyi under house arrest, Min Ko Naing and his colleagues formed the 88 Generation Students group and led the peaceful pro-democracy movement. At the start of the 2007 Saffron Revolution, however, they were once again detained, and afterwards were sentenced to 65 years in prison and sent to remote jails.

Many observers feel that this time around, Min Ko Naing and his 88 Generation Students group colleagues—including Ko Ko Gyi, Min Zeya, Htay Kywe and Mya Aye—have come out stronger and more up-to-date than before. Though they lived in appalling prison conditions, they appear healthy and fit and are poised to play a crucial role in Burmese politics.

All now in their 40s or early 50s, they are veteran members of Burma’s democracy movement who, along with injecting new hope and energy into the pro-democracy opposition movement, will be lead strategists and drivers behind policy implementation in the new phase of political struggle.

It is still unknown whether or how Thein Sein and the other government leaders—who are now reaching out to ethnic groups, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy and other opposition groups—will establish contact with Min Ko Naing and his 88 Generation Students group.

However, these newly freed pro-democracy leaders have the respect and admiration of the Burmese people, will be key players in the country’s efforts to reform and achieve national reconciliation and will likely be looking towards the 2015 general election.

Thein Sein made the bold step of freeing Min Ko Naing and the other 88 Generation Students group leaders, now the next step is to open another door and offer them the ability to participate in the conversation he has begun with Suu Kyi. This is not only necessary for Burma to move forward, it is also smart politics. Because where Min Ko Naing and his colleagues lead, the people will follow.

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Moe Aung Wrote:
Thank heavens for our younger leaders. Reminiscent of an older era in our history when the older diarchy politicians such as Dr Ba Maw and U Saw collaborated with the colonial govt for self administration and reforms, the younger Dobama Thakins such as Aung San and Than Tun pushed for a radical program and full independence.

Phillip Wrote:
I think everything is going too fast. I hope it doesn't implode.

Tettoe Aung Wrote:
It could be new doors but what if they are 'trap doors'? You could called it 'reforms delusion' but without any 'legal framework' to fall back on everything that are said to have been 'change' are just resting on 'flimsy' basis of trust. Which I might add the military regime is not very good at. It's more like having sex without any kind of protection and hoping that you might not get and STD (sexually transmitted disease). The risk are high and we just have to hope that the sky might not fall in.

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