Thein Sein Reaches Out to 88 Generation

Burma’s “88 Generation” activists commemorate the 24th anniversary of the famed democracy uprising on Wednesday. Min Ko Naing, or “Conqueror of Kings,” was one of the leaders of the 1988 nationwide demonstration and is preparing to hold a commemorative event in Mandalay, Burma’s second largest city, along with close colleagues.

To the surprise of many, including Min Ko Naing and other veteran activists now in their late 40s or early 50s, some unexpected guests arrived at around 4 pm on Tuesday. Two prominent government ministers, Soe Thein and Aung Min, who are very close to President Thein Sein and have been involved in recent ceasefire talks with ethnic armed groups, appeared at a monastery in Mandalay to meet the 88 Generation.

The Naypyidaw representatives said that they came to pay their respects on the day and donated one million kyat to the group. They also confirmed that their visit came with the official blessing of the president himself. This move no doubt appeased the dissident community.

In contrast, on July 7 students and activists were prevented from holding an anniversary event to mark the historic Students Union building being demolished in 1962 amid young protestors ruthlessly being gunned down. Some activists were briefly detained last month but later released.

Thein Sein was stationed in Sagaing Division when the popular uprising took place in Burma. He was a young army officer who reportedly captured some student activists attempting to flee to the India-Burma border after the brutal military coup of September 1988. However, he did not detain or arrest any but instead sent them home.

Recently, Thein Sein received backing from the international community for his political reform program including negotiations with minority and ethnic political parties.

Meetings, according to opposition members, have been warm and candid. Thein Sein has thus gained more confidence to work closely with all sectors of society to achieve much-needed national reconciliation.

Political analysts also suggest that ministers close to the president are making bold moves to reach out to several political groups in order to build an image of an “understanding government.”

Thein Sein plans to meet 88 Generation Students in the near future although the exact date has not yet been fixed, according to government sources. Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi, the latter also a charismatic group leader who spent several years in prison, have confirmed that they plan to meet the president.

Political analysts also admit that this exposes divisions in Thein Sein’s administration, as several cabinet ministers and conservative factions in the ruling Union Solidarity Development Party feel left behind and outcast as “hardliners.”

Some ministers who still serve in the current government were former army officers known to be involved in the 1988 killings. The previous regime never admitted the armed forces’ involvement in slaughtering unarmed civilians, activists and monks in broad daylight.

The regime instead blamed “destructive elements” and both right and left wing involvement as well as conspiracies to usurp state power to justify its clampdown and bloody coup. So far there has been no independent commission to investigate the 1988 massacre in which at least 3,000 people died.

Several ministers, who are also involved in various corruption cases and scandals, have reportedly been undermining Thein Sein’s political reforms. The president was due to reshuffle his cabinet and remove certain disruptive figures but delayed the decision for unknown reasons. Political pundits, however, suggest that he faces an internal power struggle and had to postpone the move.

Recently, the Ministry of Information shut two publications and increased media censorship. Information Minister Kyaw Hsan has been dubbed a hardliner and reports suggest that he will soon be purged from the cabinet. Several other ministers who are also considered dishonest and incompetent are due to share a similar fate.

However, the government has not yet nominated a new vice-president—previous incumbent Tin Aung Myint Oo abruptly resigned in May for health reasons. Until this vacant seat is filled, and with the powerful armed forces obliged to nominate the replacement, the reformist credentials of the Thein Sein’s government remain in question, despite what benign intentions he may have personally.


11 Responses to Thein Sein Reaches Out to 88 Generation

  1. President Thein Sein is one of the most incredible person in the entire Myanmar Army General. During 88 students demonstration he was assigned in Kalay myo based Light infantry ( 89 ). He got the order from his superior to shot demonstrator in Kalay Myo but he never did. Instead of shooting the demonstrator he told them not to harm public property and demonstrate patiently.

    A friend mind Mr. Mang Lian Pau ( deceased ) told me one story. When the time U Tawng Aye challenge the demonstrator and the demonstrator attacked U Tawng Aye and his associate U Thein Sein was busy with guarding at kalay Myo Airport . Whom came to overview Kalay Myo situation. Later, some of the Army superior associated with Former Lt. General Htun Kyi accuse Col. Thein Sein for not to protect U Tawng Aye, whom is Secretary of Myanma Hlan Sin Party Kalay Myo.

    When things were happened in this ways, the demonstrator whom was arrested by military, came over and stand up for Col. Thein Sein and explained what had happen. When the time U Tawng Aye was attack by demonstrator and the Army officer who arrived in Kalay Myo was the same time. That is the way, Col. Thein Sein could not protect U Tawng Aye and have to do his duty to meet their Superior at the Kalay Myo Airport. Off cause for the Army officer security.

    If, the demonstrator could not help and stand up for U Thein Sein at that time, he will be force to retire from the Army. He will not be Myanmar President at this time. One thing we have to learn from this point ! If, you show some kindness to some people , surely, you will get the fruit that you have plant.

    Thank for irrawaddy.

    • Dear Ko Khine
      thein sein was ordered to protect the Kalay Myo’s airport instead of protecting U thaung Aye according to your writing. So, what do you want to say in this matter as every soldier must follow the order? So, soldier, thein sein had no right to protect to his family members as well when he engaged with another military order from his superior.
      From common sense and in general, all were ordered by late Ne win, than sein to shoot the demonstrators if situation was worsen. Then, the assessment of situation was depended on the army officer( authority at that time). It happened in a lot of cities in Burma while every uprising. Some demonstrators were shot to death in some cities and some cities had no shooting incidences.
      You might be the only person to know a lot about this thein sein’s incidence in Kalay but in one sentence of your writing , you heard this from the deceased Mr Mang Lian Pau. You put the deceased as a witness for your claim(very,very poor evidence). After my review on your writing, it is nothing special for a soldier who must just obey his or her order.
      Please, study the 2008nargic constitution in which you can find how your thein sein and all other bama military thugs can or could kill anybody without concrete logical or reason in Burma if they want or like. This 2008 nargic constitute say the killer bama military thugs could/can not be in court marshell for their wrong doing whatever they do now and did in the past in case of obeying any kinds of military order. In addition, from now on, the bama military thugs can or are allowed to coup the bama thein sein’s government anytime and anywhere if than sein and his associates(national security council -thein sein is a member as well) think there is a national security threat(like Rohyngya incidence or Kachin fighting or all demonstrations).
      I can tell you very sure about the aims of making their surprise visit to 88 generation students. The ministers want to warn the 88’generaltion students for existing of 2008 Nargic constitution as all bama soldiers, including thein sein will follow the order strictly if needed(causal killing right). The second purpose might be to encourage 88 generation students to form a political party to make against DASSK. This is their strategy(to break the unity) as they are/ were applying it on minority ethnics for decades. Be on your second thought before you admire the bama military thugs. Learn why DASSK wants to abolish the 2008 Nargic constitution. Be concentrate how thein sein can solve the poverty of all Burmese. How to make peace, especially ethnic issue in Burma to attract foreign investment. How to low down the sky rising high price of properties, vehicles and foods for basic needs and additional attraction of foreign investment. How to attract the oversea Burmese(like HTC mobile technology and its Burmese CEO) to come back to help the country in term of investment and intellectuals.

      Dear Ko Khine,
      i tell you that i do not know HTC, CEO, oversea Burmese but i admire thein sein’s meeting him, not thein sein’s characters i do not know. Thein sein should allow this HTC-CEO for unlimited Burmese visa if he is no longer Burmese passport’s holder as everybody love or miss their native country. Let him easily to come to Burma for holidays as his free time might be very tight.
      We all hate late Ne win, so we all try and tried to find the green, green grass(oversea) but it is not easy task in foriegn countries to be success in life.

  2. Boy ! Why now meet the boys of 88! Too scared you might get into the same fate like Libya’s Muammar Gadaffi !

    Maybe Gadaffi’s end is haunting you as : –

    Shot when coming out of a sewage gutter & calling out ” Don’t shoot” several times; then his demise went over the air in CNN !

    Come on, man !

    Don’t be scared; you are a soldier by profession.

  3. Thein Sein pays the agitators for their services of joining him in Rohingya bashing which proves to be popular with many.

  4. Nobody can deny this “To every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction”. According to Buddhism “Every impact and consequence is the outcome of the related cause”.He is an unique civilized and adorable leader of Military veteran in the 21st century one should say.

  5. UN Special Rapporteur Quintana visited Rakhine and not Kachin where atrocities are being committed by the very government troops. Perhaps the urgency to visit Rakhine is due to staff of UN agencies are being held in Rakhine?

    President Thein Sein has yet to visit the Kachin victims of the war he has started right after he has been “elected”.

    You feel pain only when your own flesh and blood get hurt “Ko atha hti ma na” – goes the Burmese saying.

  6. Mr. Norman Hla and all of the irrawaddy news readers. Regarding about the decease Mr. Mang Lian Pau, he was well knew in Kalay Myo. He was one of the best tuition teacher called ( Aungtakhun). Did you think, I wrote this story, because of the witness is dead, no ways, you can ask any one from Kalay Myo. Any one from Kalay Myo will tell you what I am writing. There were none shooting by the Burmese ARMY at that time. It was because of President Thein Sein and he was commander of Light infantry ( 89 ).

    I want to add one more thing. 2008 , constitution and by law? I don”t want to talk about all of this. We all knew that it is a time to build mature understanding for both side. President Thein Sein is doing what he could and the opposition is party is trying to reconcile with the ruling government.
    It is mature understanding.
    I was imprison for participating with NLD in 2003. Let me ask you? How many years or month have you been in prison for what you belief ?? I knew how badly they treat political prisoner. But . for the shake of the country and the people I forgot and for give them.
    President Thein Sein wouln’t be the best person in this world but he is /was the best person we ever seen in the Burmese MiLitary GENERAL.

    I want you and all of Irrawaddy news readers to understand what is our view of point. We are not against each other but we are sharing our view of point. Thank you and have a bless day. I am very glad for what you have command.

    • Dear Ko Khine
      I sympathy on your suffering in the past and now if present. Yes, time is the matter to prove who is right and wrong. One said DASSK will win the 2015 election with having full governing power in NLD.
      With the existing of 2008 Nargic constitution all along, there is no power in DASSK if she win or not. Do you want to say that thein sein wants to change slowly or gradually because Burmese are naive or poor or uneducated or wild as well as there are current threat from ethnics(Kachin fighting) or Rohyngya issue?. Bama military can control any uprisings within days or weeks the most with their casual killing guns. There are a lot of artificial shows in Burma from thein sein for buying their time in survival concepts. Do you think thein sein has real intention to solve ethnic issue? Do you think thein sein wants the Burmese people to be rich and prosperous(analyse what is his concrete economical plans for Burma)? Tell me the current goodness from than sien for Burma(social, education, economic, health, ways of handling in Kachin fighting and Rohyngya issue and medial freedom as well). Thein sein’s poor performance reflexes the bad future of Burma we all predict. I am optimistic on your fighting spirit but pessimistic on their(bama military) real change to democracy after viewing current issues and happenings in Burma.

      • Thein Sein is just a stooge.

        He is just an actor in a play written out well in advance. Any one can play the part. The play will be the same with any actor. He just happens to be there. That’s all.

        This is “passsive revolution” Gramci( google it) described. The power holder makes tactical retreat with superficial show of defeat simply to consolidate the power further and longer.

        The international communities know that but they wickedly/ evil-ly/ short-sightedly play along as there is so much they drool in Burma especially in collusion with this most corrupt government and governing structure.

        Losers are only the wishful, hopeless, helpless Burmese populace brain-washed/ drugged/ exhorted by Aung San Suu Kyi to go along blindly/ happily with military “democracy” charade.

        Only one true indicator of military’s retreat- if the army is smaller and keeps to the barracks.

        The opposite is true here. The only difference now will be the Gun Money will now go the Yanks rather than the Chinks.

        This is sad but true and the Burmese are too cowardly to face it choosing to lie themselves in the face of more and more corruption.

        Note that one businessman who came to see the ‘government’ this week was from ‘Caterpillar”.

        Most import in Burma for next few years will be BULLDOZERS. What for? Does the esteemed parliament know? Care? Have a say? How much tear are they going to wring out?

  7. I sincerely believe that in the forth coming 2015 elections, NLD will become the power holding party.
    Tatmadaw’s duty is to hold the rules and regulations of our country and follow the orders given by the upper echelon. They are not mercenaries, but at the critical time, they have no right to question the orders.
    I hope that by 2015, NLD and its supporters will appreciate the Tatmadaw’s role.
    I sincerely agree that there are many corrupted persons in the Tatmadaw. But once a while please accept that there are a few good men in the Tatmadaw.

  8. Be wary of Thein Sein, who profess to follow history while only noticing those signposts of history that point in the direction which he and his military boss already favour.

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