Tuesday, March 24, 2015

STUDENTS revising their lessons prior to an examination at the University of Yangon, Myanmar

YANGON: the study of politics: So Wai Phyo Every morning wake up before dawn to do something that was until recently banned in Myanmar.

The 23-year-old is one of a handful of students to a new degree in political science graduate students at the University of Yangon - a course that would have been unthinkable under brutal military junta of Myanmar.

"Young people need to understand in politics," she gushed after last class early. "You must have those who govern us know. - If the authorities do for us good or to do evil"

It is to choose among million new voters in the situation which for the first time ruled Myanmar to the polls later this year in decades.

It is a decision that they exercise in the middle of a huge public political debate bloom after the military government gave way to hard a quasi-civilian government reform in the 2011th

But while the rest of Myanmar initially won praise, resulting in a flood of foreign investment, there are fears it is now a backwards on key reforms.

These concerns have intensified earlier this month when police violently suppressed the demonstrations by students demanding education reform conducted arrested at least 130 and sparking international condemnation.

The former military leader of Myanmar are historically suspicious of the students who have been at the forefront of several major changes, including a mass demonstration in 1988 that ended in a bloody military attack and saw the rise of the opposition Aung San Suu Kyi.

The months of student demonstrations shook the government, for fear that the protests could escalate into a wider movement planned destabilizing protest before the elections in November.

Freedoms of the Flowers

The scenes of violence in the city Letpadan where students of armed security forces accused with batons after trying to break through police lines, is very far from the borders of hardwood Yangon University, where optimism and political discourse is full for the first time in years.

Once considered one of the top universities celebrated in Asia, it was for much of the past two decades by the Junta shops, buildings from the colonial era rot in the fields of tall grass.

It was reopened in late 2013 attempted an education system, the reform calcified under the domination of the army. As part of the government

"If I tried to study political science before 2011, my parents were around me going to jail concerned," Su Wai Phyo said.

Instead, every day before work to a local NGO, they will see two hours of lectures and seminars on campus, gave birth to the 1988 events.

Classmate Aung Ko Ko, 28, is not astonished freedoms into the hands of four years ago.

"We were very afraid of the military government of the time," he said. "We think there are spies everywhere, so we do not talk about politics."

Chaw chaw His professor, Head of the International Relations Department, which runs the course, burn his students with an appetite to learn the subject.

"We can talk and discuss not only on the global political, but also the political changes and politics in Myanmar," she said.

The University proudly as one of the "88 Generation" section. But if this move was defeated decided to work in the system.

For many years involved in teaching international relations somewhat more accepted as a study of the Burmese Way to Socialism in secret and paranoid military leadership.

But chaw chaw His believes a gradual transition to democracy is the way to Myanmar - fear of chaos, could trigger when complete freedoms granted in the night.

"Even if the international community criticized this is only a semi-democracy, semi-civilian government, we need to take lessons from the collapse of the Soviet Union," she said. "A gradual change is the best for our political culture."

Dark Days

But many young people feel the change must come faster.

In a rickety wooden building in downtown Yangon before the latest crackdown on activists of the Union of Myanmar Federation of students gathered to scratch guitars, playing with the dog of the union "Lucky" and plan their protests.

The students say a 2014 Education Act hinders academic freedom and want it changed to children to free and compulsory education to reach their early teens, permission form unions and education in the languages ​​of ethnic minorities.

"What we are calling for autonomous universities, colleges, independent of the government," said Min Thawe Thit, a leader in Burma Students Union Federation, was arrested there.

"We do not want to impose top-down policy, we want decisions to be made from the bottom," he adds.

Nicholas Farrelly, a Myanmar expert at the Australian National University, the student protesters from the last harvest grew during "a very important and any sudden changes in Myanmar society."

But they are also political newcomers compared to their ancestors of the 88s generation.

"[They] do not always appreciate how the darkest dark years were in Myanmar," he said.

Neither generation wants the dark days to come back.