A highlight from Episode 262: The Fight for Democracy in Myanmar

Newt's World


Some of our listeners will still remember the country of myanmar burma. That's the name they grew up with but it was changed by the burmese government. And it's now called me and mar so. Don't be too confused. Is that pretty large country just southeast of india and due south of china while i knew welcome. Thank you for joining. I want to start with your personal story because it's so powerful. It's such a model for other people. You talk just for a couple minutes about growing up in myanmar your father's role in government. And how you ended up with your family in prison sure. It's an honor to be here. So i was born in western part of Myanmar in kind state as a member of hinduja where majority of jolliffe resides in. So i was born. There grew in brooklyn state until like nine in. It wasn't early nineties there. Were you know repressions around my communities than i somehow witness some of those repressions which were not as severe as today then. We moved to young mainly due to my father's political activism. He was an elected parliamentarian. In one thousand nine hundred elections in he was chased by the police and military and those days and he was actually locked out for about a month and he was released later however there has been governments meetings and other activities ongoing in the capital city and young so my father decided to move from rookie. Young go so basically majority of my childhood i spent in yengo angolan. Who's an instrumental power of my life. And who i am today growing up with him being very close to him and see and you know what he does all the time and like learning politics sleight just being with him has been incredible experience for me. After thousand nine hundred elections. The military did not transfer the power to the wing in political parties including the national league for democracy led by the aung san suu itchy. That history is repeating today like today in those days. They locked up. Major political leaders and there were severe form of political repressions. My father was one of the leader. Among the eighteen political leaders come up as a coalition called committee representing people holloman led by the onset suci nobel laureate in the current leader who has been jailed recently the military so due to his political involvement with har- and opposition with this opposition group. He was targeted. At that time. It was in two thousand five. I was eighteen years old. He was arrested and then two months later the entire family was arrested. My mom my sister my brother and meet and after two months of close trial within the prison without having legal counsel or access to legal representations appeal we was sentenced to seven years in my father was sentenced to forty seven years. We had to spend almost seven years in prison and we were released in two thousand twelve with the political opening in at that time in two thousand eleven along with other six hundred twenty three political prisoner through the presidential. Amnesty occurs understand. Why the military would target your father. Why did they target. The whole family is a great question so they talk the whole family because the hated my father more than other politicians because of his identity be in a row hinge although other political activists wear targeted but the target against their populations has been there since early ninety s. We believe part of the reason behind what an anti of family in prison was due to our identity and one of the charge was the immigration act so basically they were saying that moving from raquin state too young goal within the country one state to another state it's violation of law but there has been no law that prevented but they were practising like local directive and all of which were confidential and they sent us jail so part of the charges was that may gration act and the other charge. Was that political act. Which in those days five day the national security act to the military focus on the hendra. What was there in the story relationship or the ideology ethnicity said something. Where on costa was the ambassador. Got it contract work with the church in trying to find ways to help real hindrance clearly was very deep austerity from the the an mardika. That's another great question. I think a lot of people try to understand when we look at the repressions than prosecutions and human rights violations in denmark we also need to understand psyche the ideology of the military institution itself. The burma's institution was born during the independence movement before nineteen ninety five in one thousand nine hundred forty two appeared our of strong burmese nationalism to fight against british colony. But then ever since we've got independence in nineteen forty eight the military institutions felt. They are entitled to the country than they should be seen as guardians of the nations. But then with this political change leads started to feel losing their power. We have an internal coup in one thousand nine hundred fifty eight under this parliamentary democracy and then we have actual coup in one thousand nine hundred sixty two by a general they win. Who was part of the independence movement so since one thousand nine hundred sixty to the military has become more aggressive and their ideology has shifted to. What's a more buddhist ideology from the solely like or anti colonial ideology so they have to trust long as a protector of not only nations but also buddhism and but also booms majority burman populations with this ideology. They created an image among the military individuals and institutions that the nation's belong to their buddhism and the nation's belong to the ethnically burman people group which is majority group indian show basically very systematically promoted buddhist nationalist ideology and with this ideology they

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