A magical night in Rangoon – January 12, 2012

23 Nov

A magical night in Rangoon – January 12, 2012

 

by Daniel OpackiOn January 12, 2012, the underground group Burma Prisoners of Conscience
held a welcoming party called We Are Flying to Be Free at Sein Le Supi Park at Inya Lake in Rangoon. The now disbanded group comprised of some ex-political prisoners in Rangoon who assisted the families of  XPP’s and eventually newly released prisoners.

 

Ko Ye Lwin’s song was especially emotional, bringing tears to the eyes of some in the crowd and at the end of this video, Min Ko Naing makes a humble tribute to the singer.
Ko Ye Lwin

 

 

The welcoming parties were happy and emotional affairs and effectively reached out to the people released from prison during the period leading up to “reforms.” Before January 12, 2012, the parties were secret affairs and eventually, at one party held at the American
Center, a large crowd of journalists (and of course MI and Special Branch police), gathered in front of the American Center

Among many aspects of personal assistance the group gave to people, there was an English class for XPP family members at the American
Center, quietly and secretly, until it was shut down, banned by the APAO and the American Center Director of Courses because the classes were free and unscheduled. It was a very screwy period at the American Center. It will be explained in my forthcoming book about my time in Burma.
One major political prisoner release included a release of many famous 1988 Generation activists such as Min Ko Naing and required a larger than a typical venue. By then the brain trusts had pretty
much closed off the American Center from any political activity. Without the auditorium, the “We Are Flying to Be Free” party was compelled to be held outside in the park, with fingers crossed for luck. When no repercussions occurred after the next couple of weeks, it was evident then that at least for a while, such gatherings would be tolerated even though officially illegal.Currently, students, journalists, and activists in Myanmar are again under threat. With the 2015 elections approach, expect more journalists to be under threat or prosecution for doing their jobs.

 

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