Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Absence of students’ unions in Burma, which can operate freely, have led to many sacrifices by students with no guarantee of education, a former student leader of the 7th July student movement said.
The student leader recalled the 7th July 1962 student movement which protested against lack of students’ rights, democratic rights and the military dictatorship in Rangoon University.
The Revolutionary Council led by former dictator Gen. Ne Win grabbed power in a coup from a democratically elected civilian government on March 2, 1962. The students staged peaceful protests against this coup d’etat. The regime quelled the student demonstration brutally by opening fire on peaceful and unarmed students. This student demonstration and massacre was later dubbed the 7th July incident.
On this ill-fated day, hundreds of students were killed and the junta dynamited the student union building situated in Rangoon University campus the next day, July 8 1962.
Though it has been 47 years now, successive Burmese governments still ignore the rightful demands of students and have suppressed student movements brutally till today.
Mizzima reporter Phanida interviewed a former student leader (who wished not to be named on security grounds) on the background of the 7th July student movement, students’ rights and current Burmese politics. The interview is presented here.
Q: Students have sacrificed their lives for democratic rights and an end to military dictatorships in all ages. Why do you think they have not yet achieved their goal?
A: There are two parts to this question, pre-1962 and post-1962. Our democratic struggle took too much time. It took the whole of post-independence period. We must introspect on it. This is very important for all of us. Naturally the sacrifices and losses are inevitable. But Burma experienced two historical ages in its 60-year long post-independence period. This is the significant point of Burma’s history. Another significant point is the complexity of ideology in our movement; the right, left and centrist lines. The last point is there were many separations in our movement. Continue reading “(Interview with former student leader)-Absence of unions has been a bane for students”