Former members from the All-Burma Students’ Democratic Front are returning to Rangoon to commemorate the mass demonstrations against Ne Win’s dictatorship that were violently suppressed by the military 25 years ago this month.
At Rangoon’s international airport on Sunday, the former rebel leader Moe Thee Zun received a hero’s welcome as he arrived.
Moe Thee Zun led the ABSDF for several years following the military’s brutal crackdowns on student protestors in 1988. He later moved to the US, where he has remained a strong voice in the Burmese exile community.
During an interview with DVB, the former rebel leader said returning to Burma for the anniversary would be bittersweet.
“In the past, we were never able to commemorate the event,” said Moe Thee Zun.
“The 8888 anniversary was always marked on a more local scale. Memorial services took place in prisons, in jungles and in exile. This time around, everyone will get together.”
The former ABSDF chairman went on to say that while he appreciated the changes that are taking place in the country, but he pointed out that Burmese citizens had paid a high price for the nascent reforms taking place in the country.
“I am sad that for 25 years we have had to make huge sacrifices for this day to come”, he said.
“A lot of our comrades have fallen in the struggle for democracy. There were a lot of sacrifices, and I feel sorry for those comrades.”