Ko Ko Gyi 88 Generation Student leader at “Forum 2000” Media and Democracy Prague 22 October 2012

Discussion of Ko Ko Gyi in Forum2000: Media and Democracy
22 October 2012, Prague
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The Powerful Powerless
Ko Ko Gyi
First, I would like to thank to the event organizers for giving me this wonder

ful opportunity. It is my great honor to be invited to talk about the notion of “The powerful powerless” in the context of Burma/Myanmar and its democratic struggle. Since our moral connection to President Havel is so profound, I would like to convey our deepest condolence to late President Havel, his family and people of Czech Republic.

Actually, Mr. Havel has been familiar to our people since DASSK in her speeches repeatedly elaborated Mr. Havel’s teachings, the idea of the power of powerless. Also thank to a report entitled “Threat to the Peace: A Call for the UN Security Council to Act in Burma” jointly authored by Mr. Havel and Bishop Desmond Tutu which I believe he did it on moral ground. The report brought the highest international attention by putting Burma on the UNSC agenda, and also provided a powerful new direction in international effort to bring democracy in our country. President Havel’s contribution to Myanmar was not merely in the policy area but perhaps more importantly in moral and political inspiration. When I was in the prison, I had heard about Havel’s famous essay “the Power of the Powerless” through the new comers, much younger than me. Only when I was released first time in March 2005, I had a chance to read in Burmese. I had a strong wish to meet in person. And then I was arrested again in 2007 and sentenced to 65 years and 6 months. Unfortunately, only when I was going to be released, President Havel passed away quietly. At that same day, I lonely celebrated the golden anniversary of my birthday in a small sell by myself. It was a sad coincidence. He gave me a flashlight to look back the life of a “green grocer”.

I was born and raised in hardworking and poor family. My father was typewriter clerk and my mother opened fermented grocery shop in my home town market. I had to get up early in the morning to help my mother to prepare her shop before I reviewed my homework and headed to the school. It was before 1988 (8-8-1988 Four Eight Democracy Uprising). We lived in the closed society where the military-backed parties run the country under the banner of Burmese Way to Socialism.

Under the socialist regime, the literature available was very limited, mostly ruling party’s crapy propaganda. There were no independent social and political organizations that I could join. My routine was my family work, my school and sitting teashop in my neighborhood. I simply couldn’t comprehend why we were poor even though we worked very hard. Why our factories nearby stopped running despite the state-owned radio station kept broadcasting highest productivity rate and growth year after another. Why some of my elder friends who once took part in student protests in 1970s disappeared from their houses. In short, why poverty, why lie and why repression. I was not able to figure out clearly.  Continue reading “Ko Ko Gyi 88 Generation Student leader at “Forum 2000” Media and Democracy Prague 22 October 2012”