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Min Ko Naing Custody
By ABSDF Info Dept.,
Dawn news bulletin (1990)
They took " Min Ko Naing" into custody in March of 1989.

Our brilliant friend was unfairly arrested under the so-called " laws and regulations" imposed on Burma by a group of individuals not elected into power by the people of Burma. They accused him of violating the law by delivering anti-government speeches and of agitating unrest .

They may try to make their voices heard, but the questions still remain unanswered. What are the laws that Min Ko Naing was said to have violated ?

What sort of a government was he speaking out against ? Why was he agitating an uprising ?

The answers to these questions can be found by looking closel.0y at what sort of character Min Ko Naing has.

Actually, Min Ko Naing is no more than a name. It was a name that awakened our people from the deep slumber their lives had sunk into after living through much suffering and pain. The name Min Ko Naing, (meaning defeater of kings), was born together with the advent of "a thunderous roar of demands for a new nation" by our people.

Paw Oo Tun, alias Min Ko Naing, is a university student. . In June and July of 1988, papers voicing opposition to the oppressive rule and indiscriminate killings of the BSPP regime were distributed throughout Rangoon. These papers called for the people to liberate them from a life of falsehood created by a military dictator. The author of these papers were Min Ko Naing. Min Ko Naing was a person who represented the pain that had taken root in the hearts of the people. The lack of trust in , and the hate that the people had for, the BSPP regime were spontaneously expressed in almost a frightening way by the people on August8,1988. Students laid down their lives to bring into the open the aspirations and the suffering of the people. The motive of the students in making self-sacrifices was so virtuous that it had a profound effect upon the people who then started to unite with the student masses.
A student congress was held on August 28, 1988. During the congress, a committee for the legalization of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, and the Provisional Rangoon University Students' Union was formed. Min Ko Naing became the chairman.

Min Ko Naing tried consolidating the student masses under the umbrella organization of the ABFSU. However, since food shortage problems arose in Rangoon, and communications cut, the ABFSU began concentrating more on the distribution of rice to the poor people.

A short time later, a confrontation developed between the people and the army in front of the War Office. People from all over the city gathered near the War Office, and the tension grew. The people, angry from suffering for so long under the rule of the military, were ready to give up their lives in order to force the military to repent from their wrongful deeds. Blood shed was eminent.

Min Ko Naing then arrived on the scene.

He pleaded with the people to be patient . He said, "I can not let you lose your treasured lives in a confrontation with those who know nothing about the truth, but only about blindly obeying orders. A path were blood flows is not the path that we people must choose. Rather our noble desires must be brought forth through peaceful means. Try to restrain your anger and your hate."

Then the enraged mobs, restraining their anger, departed from the War Office chanting slogans for democracy. An incident that could have resulted in regrettable consequences, was averted.

A gun shot from atop the Trade Department headquarters, sparked another confrontation between the people and the military. The people were told to control their anger, to show forbearance, and not to commit any excesses. The people and the army had another confrontation at the funeral of the wife of Bogyoke Aung San. The people were so sad, hurt and resentful that they did not even want to look at the soldiers. Under such conditions, any " battle cry" could have provoked the people into rushing at the soldiers regardless of the consequences.

What did Min Ko Naing do then ?

He told the army," You can see for yourselves how bitter the people are because of the ruthless acts you have committed. We can defeat you now but we will not do it . Today, we will show you that the people are not the sort to take advantage of every available opportunity. Please make way for the people if you want to avoid bloodshed at this funeral for the mother of our country. Please let the people express their grief freely."

That was what Min Ko Naing was made of. It was a gesture worth of the name - - Min Ko Naing. And that was the Min Ko Naing that the military arrested.