By Rita Aung
The word “youth” by definition refers to a period in a person’s life when they are transitioning into adults from their childhood. If you ask an adult about how they spent their youth, they would probably reminisce about their school days, friends, heartbreaks and examination periods. However, this was not the case for the young adults of 1988 in Myanmar that sacrificed their youth for a shot at democracy as a nation.
This nationwide uprising that was led by the young people who abandoned their bright futures for the better of the majority was well known in Myanmar due to the scale and the heavily weighted purpose of it. As it’s displayed in the picture, the scale of the marching protests for democracy were phenomenal and it was evident by the protesters’ attires that they were all university students; traces of the students’ efforts attempting to change the government system by demonstrating were far too vivid by the state of their attire. Although this uprising was initially led by university students, as it gained momentum, common people as well as monks and children began to join the movement to protest against the government that was run by General Nay Win at the time. General Nay Win’s government agenda revolved and functioned around the idea of the “Burmese Way to Socialism” which caused Myanmar to be economically isolated while the government only focused on empowering the military. This movement that inspired people of Myanmar to fight fiercely for democracy also enabled Aung San Suu Kyi to emerge as the nation’s icon who stood as a symbol of democracy.
The reason this movement was named as “8888 Uprising” was because the nationwide protests and the peak of the unstable state of Myanmar’s politics began on the 8th of August of 1988. This uprising lasted until the 21st of September of the same year as the entire movement was violently repressed at any means possible by the military at the time. Despite the efforts of many people who advocated for a democratic government, the
movement was short lived and this crisis resulted in the deaths of many people who were involved in the uprising.
Rita Aung is a sixth form student and she’s currently enjoying working on creative projects.