ABSTRACT

Tun, first introduced in Chapter 3, is from Burma (he refuses to call it Myanmar) and has had a long history of political activism in his country. He came to the US on a student visa, having convinced the consul in Thailand that he was for real, despite the forged passport he was using. He received asylum in the US and is now working in Washington to improve the situation in his home country. Here is his story:

When I was a physics student at the Rangoon Institute of Technology, in 1988, I saw the government’s violent treatment of peaceful student demonstrators. One student was killed by the riot police that day. Later I marched with hundreds of students in a peaceful protest against the government’s brutal treatment of students. Soldiers and riot police stopped and massacred unarmed student demonstrators without warning. After, I helped organize a secret student union [unions are outlawed by the Burmese government] in my home township, working with the All Burma Federation of Students Union [ABFSU]. I worked with many other activists and groups to prepare for the 1988 People Power Uprising, known as the “8888 Movement.” Our goal

was to replace the military regime with a democratic form of government. I helped lead a march of thousands of people to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, as part of an uprising against the government. That evening, government soldiers attacked the people who marched, killing thousands in Rangoon alone. A few weeks later, the military staged a coup and continued to crush pro-democracy protests and organizations.