The Opening in Burma: Strengthening Civil Society

Issue Date October 2012
Volume 23
Issue 4
Page Numbers 135-137
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Burma’s leaders and the people themselves need to understand that people are the essential element for building a nation. Without contributions and cooperation from people, change cannot happen. For our country to develop, we need an informed and engaged citizenry. Citizens also need to have the skill, knowledge, and freedom to question those in power—and to do so publicly, without fear.

About the Author

Min Ko Naing has been described by the New York Times as Burma’s “most influential opposition figure after Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.” He was the chairman of the All Burma Federation of Students Union (ABFSU) and a leader of the prodemocracy protests in 1988 (popularly known as the “Four Eights Uprising”) that were eventually stopped by a brutal government crackdown. Min Ko Naing spent much of the last twenty years in prison; he was freed on 13 January 2012 in a mass presidential amnesty. This essay is based on a speech that he delivered to Burmese civil society representatives in Rangoon on 25 August 2012. It was translated from the Burmese by Ma Oo and Aung Maw Zin.

View all work by Min Ko Naing