88-Generation Student leader Jimmy, aka Kyaw Min Yu, who was arrested in 2007 for staging a protest against a price rise in fuel and commodities, was released on Friday from Shan State Taunggyi Prison.
His wife Nilar Thein, also an 88-Generation Student leader, was released from Tharyarwaddy Prison.
Their daughter Phyu Chi Nay Min (aka Baby Sunshine) was four months old when they were arrested. She is now 5. Mizzima reporter Phanida interviewed Jimmy about the new Burmese government, ethnic affairs, the future of the 88-Generation Students as a political party and other matters.
Phyu Naychi’s mother and father, activist Nilar Thein, and her activist husband, Kyaw Min Yu, popularly known as "Jimmy." Both were released from prison on Friday, January 13, 2012.
Question: How are you?
Answer: Releasing prisoners is good, but only 10 out of a total of 11 political prisoners from Taunggyi Prison were released today. One remained in prison. He is Shwe Kyu, a university teacher. It’s not good. They should release everyone. Releasing political prisoners is good for the country. The entire world will appreciate this.
Q: What will you do first after your release?
A: I’ll meet all my friends, and we will make some decisions. We tried hard to reach this goal for many years. Now the government has accepted this path of dialogue, and if they will go along this path, we must cooperate with them in seeking our goals.
Q: Do you have a plan to form an 88-Gen group as a political party and to stand for election?
A: We have not yet decided on this matter. We will make this decision only after meeting with everyone.
Q: How do you see Aung San Suu Kyi’s decision to stand for election?
A: We accept it, and we support this. We have already made a decision to give her as much assistance as we can.
Q: How do you see the democratic changes being made by President Thein Sein’s government?
A: We could read about the activities of President Thein Sein in the weekly journals. These are constructive activities and matters. We profoundly accept that they are doing, what should be done, but I’d like to say there are many more things that should be done. We shall join hands with them for this work, and we shall do these things seriously.
Q: The government is working on reaching cease-fire agreements with ethnic armed groups?
A: This is what really should be done. This is our concept of achieving national reconciliation through dialogue. To reach this goal, we must have cease-fires with all ethnic armed groups and the next step must be reaching the peace goal. No country can develop and progress without national reconciliation. If we accept this concept, we must try hard to achieve peace.
Q: Do you have anything to say to democracy activists at home and abroad?
A: I’d like to say to our colleagues who had to leave country…now we have been released, and we will work for our country, and they have to do so too. They served our country alone before our release. We will try hard to let them come back home and work with us. I’d like to tell them to get ready to work for the future.
Q: And the last question. How do you feel about meeting with your daughter whom you haven’t seen for many years?
A: I feel happy as a father and as a human being.