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Moe Thee Zun: ‘I’ve been fighting for 24 years ago so that I can return home and rebuild it’

During a conference in Rangoon today, former All Burma Students’ Democratic Front leader Moe Thee Zun said that he had no intention to start a political party but was interested in participating in civil society. DVB’s Min Lwin caught up with Moe Thee Zun on Friday before he headed back to Burma for the first time in more than two decades this weekend. 

This is going to be your first visit to Burma in 24 years. Who do you plan to meet and work with?

Mainly, we are heading there to discuss [the country’s] progress with peace-making, political changes, national reconciliation and rehabilitation.

To what extent do you expect to be able to work in Burma now?

We have to study the whole situation. These are such vast processes and we don’t think our group alone would be able to manage it all. We need cooperation from everyone.

I believe we will be successful if the government and the democracy advocates work together.

When you left 24 years ago, all corners of the country were politically active. How does it compare to Burma now?

There is political awareness now, too. But the difference is: for the past 24 years, there was a constant call for democracy and changes, but now President Thein Sein’s government has been carrying out reforms with determination. Also, the country’s democracy advocates have been striving for the changes amid many hardships.

And given that the government is working to fulfil the demands that were made in 1988, I think the people’s political awareness is the same as it was then.

What do you plan to discuss when you meet with top government leaders?

Just like I mentioned, we will prioritise discussions concerning peace, national reconciliation and the rehabilitation of the country. Our group has decided to cooperate with both the government and democracy advocates. I believe we’ll get an opportunity to hear everyone’s opinions.

Under what conditions do you expect to stay in Burma and work in politics?

I’ve been fighting for 24 years ago so that I can return home and rebuild it. Should I be given a mandate politically then I will go back to my country and work to fulfil any duty I’m tasked with. We’ve discussed this with U Aung Min during preliminary talks. Both of us expect everything to be fine.

What do you plan to do first when you arrive in Burma?

I would like to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda and lay roses in Inya Lake for our fallen comrades, who died on March 16, 1988, and then I will go to meet with the ministers. After arriving, I’ll also go to a concert organised by the 8888 activists.

Anything else you would like to say?

All these activities we’ve been doing – none of them are for ourselves. We will try to mediate the political disputes in the country for the nation. I would like to ask for everyone’s support and assistance.

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