18 September 1988

– The 8888 Uprising in Myanmar comes to an end.

8888 Uprising

8888 Uprising
Info box collage for 8888 Uprising.jpg
  • 1st row: Protesters gathering at Sule Pagoda, central Rangoon
  • 2nd row: Protesters rallying in Mandalay; Aung San Suu Kyi addresses half a million of protesters at central Yangon.
  • 3rd row: Soldiers about to open fire on protesters; Two doctors carry a critically wounded school girl.
Date12 March 1988 (1988-03-12) – 21 September 1988 (1988-09-21)
Burma (Nationwide)
Caused by
GoalsDemocracy in Burma and Resignation of Ne Win
Resulted inViolently suppressed
  • Total number of protesters: 1 Million-4 Million
  • Casualties
    • 3,000–10,000[3][4][5]
    • Tens of thousands of protesters fled to Thailand and joined insurgent groups
    InjuriesUnknown, Possible tens of thousands
    ArrestedUnknown, Possible thousands

    The 8888 Nationwide Popular Pro-Democracy Protests (MLCTS: hrac le: lum:), also known as the 8-8-88 Uprisings, or the People Power Uprising,[6] the People's Democracy Movement and the 1988 Uprising, were a series of nationwide protests,[7] marches and civil unrest[8] in Burma (Myanmar) that peaked in August 1988. Key events occurred on 8 August 1988 and therefore it is known as the 8888 Uprising.[9] The protests began as a student movement and were organised largely by university students at the Rangoon Arts and Sciences University and the Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT).

    Since 1962, the Burma Socialist Programme Party had ruled the country as a totalitarian one-party state, headed by General Ne Win. Under the government agenda, called the Burmese Way to Socialism, which involved economic isolation and strengthening the military, Burma became one of the world's most impoverished countries.[10][11][12] Many firms in the formal sector of the economy were nationalised, and the government combined Soviet-style central planning with Buddhist and traditional beliefs.[12]

    The 8888 uprising was started by students in Yangon (Rangoon) on 8 August 1988. Student protests spread throughout the country.[3][10] Hundreds of thousands of monks, children, university students, housewives, doctors and common people protested against the government.[13][14] The uprising ended on 18 September after a bloody military coup by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). Thousands of deaths have been attributed to the military during this uprising,[3][4][5] while authorities in Myanmar put the figure at around 350 people killed.[15][16]

    During the crisis, Aung San Suu Kyi emerged as a national icon. When the military junta arranged an election in 1990, her party, the National League for Democracy, won 81% of the seats in the government (392 out of 492).[17] However, the military junta refused to recognise the results and continued ruling the country as the State Law and Order Restoration Council. Aung San Suu Kyi was also put under house arrest. The State Law and Order Restoration Council would be a cosmetic change from the Burma Socialist Programme Party.[13] Suu Kyi's house arrest was lifted in 2010, when worldwide attention for her peaked again during the making of the biographical film The Lady.


    Economic problems

    Before the crisis, Burma had been ruled by the repressive and isolated regime of General Ne Win since 1962. The country had a national debt of $3.5 billion and currency reserves of between $20 million and $35 million, with debt service ratios standing at half of the national budget.[18] In November 1985, students gathered and boycotted the government's decision to withdraw Burmese local currency notes. Economic problems coupled with counter-insurgency required continuous involvement in the international market.[19]

    On 5 September 1987, Ne Win announced the withdrawal of the newly replaced currency notes, 100, 75, 35 and 25 kyats, leaving only 45 and 90 kyat notes, apparently because only the latter two are numbers divisible by 9, considered lucky by Ne Win.[20] Students were particularly angry at the government's decision as savings for tuition fees were wiped out instantly.[21] Students from the Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT) ran riot through Rangoon, smashing windows and traffic lights down Insein Road.[22] Universities in Rangoon closed and sent students home. Meanwhile, larger protests in Mandalay involved monks and workers, with some burning government buildings and state businesses.[23] Burmese state media reported little on the protests, but information quickly spread through the students.[23]

    With the re-opening of schools in late October 1987, underground groups in Rangoon and Mandalay produced dissident leaflets which culminated in bombs exploding in November.[23] Police later received threatening letters from underground groups, who organised small protests around the university campus.[24] After securing Least Developed Country status from the United Nations Economic and Social Council in December 1987, government policy requiring farmers to sell produce below market rates to create greater revenue for the government sparked several, violent rural protests.[25] The protests were fanned by public letters to Ne Win by former second in command General Brigadier Aung Gyi from July 1987, reminding him of the 1967 rice riots and condemning lack of economic reform, describing Burma as "almost a joke" compared to other Southeast Asian nations. He was later arrested.[19][26]

    Early democracy protests

    On 12 March 1988, students from the RIT were arguing with out-of-school youths inside the Sanda Win tea shop about music playing on a sound system.[6][23] A drunken youth would not return a tape that the RIT students favoured.[27] A brawl followed in which one youth, who was the son of a BSPP official, was arrested and later released for injuring a student.[23] Students protested at a local police department where 500 riot police were mobilised and in the ensuing clash, one student, Phone Maw, was shot and killed.[23] The incident angered pro-democracy groups and the next day more students rallied at the RIT and spread to other campuses.[28] The students, who had never protested before, increasingly saw themselves as activists.[23] There was growing resentment towards military rule and there were no channels to address grievances, further exacerbated by police brutality, economic mismanagement and corruption within the government.[6]

    By mid-March, several protests had occurred and there was open dissent in the army. Various demonstrations were broken up by using tear gas canisters to disperse crowds.[20] On 16 March, students demanding an end to one party rule marched towards soldiers at Inya Lake when riot police stormed from the rear, clubbing several students to death and raping others.[29] Several students recalled the police shouting, "Don't let them escape" and "Kill them!".[30]

    Ne Win resigns

    Following the latest protests, authorities announced the closure of universities for several months.[31] By June 1988, large demonstrations of students and sympathisers were a daily sight.[31] Many students, sympathisers and riot police died throughout the month as the protests spread throughout Burma from Rangoon. Large scale protests were reported in Pegu, Mandalay, Tavoy, Toungoo, Sittwe, Pakokku, Mergui, Minbu and Myitkyina.[32] Demonstrators in larger numbers demanded multi-party democracy, which marked Ne Win's resignation on 23 July 1988.[31] In a valedictory address given that day, Win affirmed that "When the army shoots, it shoots to kill."[20] He also promised a multi-party system, but he had appointed the largely disliked Sein Lwin, known as the "Butcher of Rangoon"[33] to head a new government.[26]

    Main protests

    1–7 August

    Flag of the Burma Socialist Programme Party, the sole legal political party that ruled the country from 1962 to 1988.

    Protests reached their peak in August 1988. Students planned for a nationwide demonstration on 8 August 1988, an auspicious date based on numerological significance.[2] News of the protest reached rural areas and four days prior to the national protest, students across the country were denouncing Sein Lwin's regime and Tatmadaw troops were being mobilised.[2] Pamphlets and posters appeared on the streets of Rangoon bearing the fighting peacock insignia of the All-Burma Students Union.[34] Neighbourhood and strike committees were openly formed on the advice of underground activists, many of which were influenced by similar underground movements by workers and monks in the 1980s.[34] Between 2 and 10 August, co-ordinated protests were occurring in most Burmese towns.[35]

    During this period, dissident newspapers were freely publishing, fighting-peacock banners were unfurled, synchronised marches were held and rally speakers were protected.[34] In Rangoon, the first signs of the movement began around the Buddhist full moon of Waso at the Shwedagon Pagoda when student demonstrators emerged demanding support for the demonstrations.[36] Neighbourhood and strike committees barricaded and defended neighbourhoods and mobilised further demonstrations.[34] In some areas, committees built makeshift stages where speakers addressed the crowds and brought donations to support rallies.[37]

    The NLD Flag depicting a fighting peacock became a symbol of the protests on the streets of Burma.

    In the first few days of the Rangoon protests, activists contacted lawyers and monks[38] in Mandalay to encourage them to take part in the protests.[37] The students were quickly joined by Burmese citizens from all walks of life, including government workers, Buddhist monks, air force and navy personnel, customs officers, teachers and hospital staff. The demonstrations in the streets of Rangoon became a focal point for other demonstrations, which spread to other states' capitals.[39] 10,000 protesters alone demonstrated outside the Sule Pagoda in Rangoon, where demonstrators burned and buried effigies of Ne Win and Sein Lwin in coffins decorated with demonetised bank notes.[20] Further protests took place around the country at stadiums and hospitals.[40] Monks at the Sule Pagoda reported that the Buddha's image had changed shape, with an image in the sky standing on its head.[20] On 3 August, the authorities imposed martial law from 8 pm to 4 am and a ban on gatherings of more than five people.[40]

    8–12 August

    A general strike, as planned, began on 8 August 1988. Mass demonstrations were held across Burma as ethnic minorities, Buddhists, Muslims, students, workers and the young and old all demonstrated.[20] The first procession circled Rangoon, stopping for people to speak. A stage was also erected.[37] Demonstrators from the Rangoon neighbourhoods converged in downtown Rangoon. Only one casualty was reported at this point as a frightened traffic policeman fired into the crowd and fled.[37] (Such marches would occur daily until 19 September.)[37] Protesters kissed the shoes of soldiers, in an attempt to persuade them to join the civilian protest, whilst some encircled military officers to protect them from the crowd and earlier violence[41][42] Over the next four days these demonstrations continued; the government was surprised by the scale of the protests and stated that it promised to heed the demands of the protesters "insofar as possible".[40] Lwin had brought in more soldiers from insurgent areas to deal with the protesters.[43]

    In Mandalay Division, a more organised strike committee was headed by lawyers and discussion focused on multi-party democracy and human rights. Many participants in the protests arrived from nearby towns and villages.[44] Farmers who were particularly angry with the government's economic policies joined the protests in Rangoon. In one village, 2,000 of the 5,000 people also went on strike.[44]

    A short while later, the authorities opened fire on the protesters.[3][20] Ne Win ordered that "guns were not to shoot upwards," meaning that he was ordering the military to shoot directly at the demonstrators.[39] Protesters responded by throwing Molotov cocktails, swords, knives, rocks, poisoned darts and bicycle spokes.[20] In one incident, protesters burned a police station and tore apart four fleeing officers.[42] On 10 August, soldiers fired into Rangoon General Hospital, killing nurses and doctors tending to the wounded.[45] State-run Radio Rangoon reported that 1,451 "looters and disturbance makers" had been arrested.[26]

    Estimates of the number of casualties surrounding the 8-8-88 demonstrations range from hundreds to 10,000;[3][4][5] military authorities put the figures at about 95 people killed and 240 wounded.[46]

    13–31 August

    Lwin's sudden and unexplained resignation on 12 August left many protestors confused and jubilant. Security forces exercised greater caution with demonstrators, particularly in neighbourhoods that were entirely controlled by demonstrators and committees.[42] On 19 August, under pressure to form a civilian government, Ne Win's biographer, Dr. Maung Maung was appointed as head of government.[47] Maung was a legal scholar and the only non-military individual to serve in the Burma Socialist Programme Party.[2] The appointment of Maung briefly resulted in a subsidence of the shooting and protests.

    Burmese Navy personnel demonstrating

    Nationwide demonstrations resumed on 22 August 1988. In Mandalay, 100,000 people protested, including Buddhist monks and 50,000 demonstrated in Sittwe.[2] Large marches took places from Taunggyi and Moulmein to distant ethnic states (particularly where military campaigns had previously taken place),[48] where red, the symbolic colour for democracy was displayed on banners.[2] Two days later, doctors, monks, musicians, actors, lawyers, army veterans and government office workers joined the protests.[49] It became difficult for committees to control the protests. During this time, demonstrators became increasingly wary of "suspicious looking" people and police and army officers. On one occasion, a local committee mistakenly beheaded a couple thought to have been carrying a bomb.[50] Incidents like these were not as common in Mandalay, where protests were more peaceful as they were organised by monks and lawyers.[50]

    On 26 August, Aung San Suu Kyi, who had watched the demonstrations from her mother's bedside,[51] entered the political arena by addressing half a million people at Shwedagon Pagoda.[49] It was at this point that she became a symbol for the struggle in Burma, particularly in the eyes of the Western world.[52] Kyi, as the daughter of Aung San, who led the independence movement, appeared ready to lead the movement for democracy.[53] Kyi urged the crowd not to turn on the army but find peace through non-violent means.[54] At this point in time for many in Burma, the uprising was seen as similar to that of the People Power Revolution in the Philippines in 1986.[26]

    Around this time, former Prime Minister U Nu and retired Brigadier General Aung Gyi also re-emerged onto the political scene in what was described as a "democracy summer" when many former democracy leaders returned.[32] Despite the gains made by the democracy movement, Ne Win remained in the background.


    During the September congress of 1988, 90% of party delegates (968 out of 1080) voted for a multi-party system of government.[49] The BSPP announced they would be organising an election, but the opposition parties called for their immediate resignation from government, allowing an interim government to organise elections. After the BSPP rejected both demands, protesters again took to the streets on 12 September 1988.[49] Nu promised elections within a month, proclaiming a provisional government. Meanwhile, the police and army began fraternising with the protesters.[55] The movement had reached an impasse relying on three hopes: daily demonstrations to force the regime to respond to their demands, encouraging soldiers to defect and appealing to an international audience in the hope that United Nations or United States troops would arrive.[56] Some Tatmadaw did defect, but only in limited numbers, mostly from the Navy.[57] Stephen Solarz who had experienced the recent democracy protests in the Philippines and South Korea arrived in Burma in September encouraging the regime to reform, which echoed the policy of the United States government towards Burma.[58]

    By mid-September, the protests grew more violent and lawless, with soldiers deliberately leading protesters into skirmishes that the army easily won.[59] Protesters demanded more immediate change, and distrusted steps for incremental reform.[60]

    SLORC "coup" and crackdown

    If the army shoots, it has no tradition of shooting into the air. It shoots straight to kill.

    — Ne Win[61][62]

    On 18 September 1988, the military retook power in the country. General Saw Maung repealed the 1974 constitution and established the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), "imposing more Draconian measures than Ne Win had imposed."[63] After Maung had imposed martial law, the protests were violently broken up. The government announced on the state-run radio that the military had assumed power in the people's interest, "in order to bring a timely halt to the deteriorating conditions on all sides all over the country."[64] Tatmadaw troops went through cities throughout Burma, indiscriminately firing on protestors.[65]

    Although an exact body count has not been determined as bodies were often cremated, it is estimated that within the first week of securing power, 1,000 students, monks, and schoolchildren were killed, and another 500 were killed whilst protesting outside the United States embassy[45] – footage caught by a cameraman nearby who distributed the footage to the world's media.[66] Maung described the dead as "looters".[66] Protestors were also pursued into the jungle and some students took up training on the country's borders with Thailand.[59]

    "I would like every country in the world to recognize the fact that the people of Burma are being shot down for no reason at all."

    Aung San Suu Kyi, 22 September 1988.[55]

    By the end of September, there were around 3,000 estimated deaths and unknown number of injured,[59] with 1,000 deaths in Rangoon alone.[65] At this point in time, Aung San Suu Kyi appealed for help.[55] On 21 September, the government had regained control of the country,[65] with the movement effectively collapsing in October.[55] By the end of 1988, it was estimated that 10,000 people – including protesters and soldiers, had been killed. Many others were missing.[5]


    Continuous anniversary observances of the 1988 uprising take place around the world.

    Many in Burma believed that the regime would have collapsed had the United Nations and neighbouring countries refused recognition to the coup.[67] Western governments and Japan cut aid to the country.[66] Among Burma's neighbours, India was most critical; condemning the suppression, closing borders and setting up refugee camps along its border with Burma.[68] By 1989, 6,000 NLD supporters were detained in custody and those who fled to the ethnic border areas, such as Kawthoolei, formed groups with those who wished for greater self-determination.[69] It was estimated 10,000 had fled to mountains controlled by ethnic insurgents such as the Karen National Liberation Army, and many later trained to become soldiers.[70][71]

    After the uprising, the SLORC embarked on "clumsy propaganda" towards those who organised the protests.[72] Intelligence Chief Khin Nyunt, gave English-language press conferences aimed at providing an account favourable to the SLORC towards foreign diplomats and media.[72][73] The Burmese media underwent further restriction during this period, after reporting relatively freely at the peak of the protests. In the conferences, he detailed a conspiracy of the right acting with "subversive foreigners" of plotting to overthrow the regime and a conspiracy of the left acting to overthrow the State.[72] Despite the conferences, few believed the government's theory.[72] While these conferences were ongoing, the SLORC was secretly negotiating with mutineers.[73]

    Between 1988 and 2000, the Burmese government established 20 museums detailing the military's central role throughout Burma's history and increased its numbers from 180,000 to 400,000.[55] Schools and universities remained closed to prevent any further uprisings.[55] Aung San Suu Kyi, U Tin Oo and Aung Gyi initially publicly rejected the SLORC's offer to hold elections the following year, claiming that they could not be held freely under military rule.[74][75]


    Today, the uprising is remembered and honoured by Burmese expatriates and citizens alike. There is also support for the movement amongst students in Thailand, which is commemorated every 8 August since.[76] On the 20th anniversary of the uprising, 48 activists in Burma were arrested for commemorating the event.[77] The event garnered much support for the Burmese people internationally. Poems were written by students who participated in the protests. The 1995 film Beyond Rangoon is based on a true story that took place during the uprising.

    The uprising led to the death and imprisonment of thousands of individuals. Many of the deaths were inside the prisons, where prisoners of conscience were subjected to inhumane torture and deprived of basic provisions, such as food, water, medicine, and sanitation. From 1988 up until 2012, the military and police illegally detained and imprisoned tens of thousands of democracy leaders, as well as intellectuals, artists, students, and human rights activists. Pyone Cho, one of the leaders of the uprising, spent 20 years of his adult life in prison. Ko Ko Gyi, another leader of the uprising, spent 18 years of his life in prison. Min Ko Naing was placed in solitary confinement for nine years for his role as a leader of the uprising.[78] Because the uprising began as a student movement, many of the individuals targeted, tortured, and killed by the police and military were high school and university students.

    Many of the student leaders of the uprising became lifelong activists and human rights leaders. Many of the same activists played a role 19 years later during the 2007 Saffron Revolution. The 88 Generation Students Group, named for the events of 8 August 1988, organised one of the first protests that eventually culminated in the Saffron Revolution. They were arrested, however, prior to large-scale demonstrations and given lengthy prison sentences of up to 65 years. Included in these arrests are prominent figures such as Min Ko Naing, Mya Aye, Htay Kywe, Mie Mie, Ko Ko Gyi, Pyone Cho, Min Zeyar, Ant Bwe Kyaw, and Nilar Thein.[79] Though not an 88 Generation Students Group member, a solo protester Ohn Than also joined the demonstration.[80] All of them were released in a general amnesty in 2012. They continue to work as politicians and human rights activists in Myanmar. They also campaigned for the National League for Democracy in the 2015 Elections. Pyone Cho, one of the main leaders of the 88 Generation, was elected to the House of Representatives in the 2015 Election.

    See also


    1. ^ Neeraj Gautam (2009). Buddha, his life & teachings. Mahavir & Sons Publisher. ISBN 81-8377-247-1.
    2. ^ a b c d e f g Fong (2008), pp. 149
    3. ^ a b c d e Ferrara (2003), pp. 313
    4. ^ a b c Fogarty, Phillipa (7 August 2008). Was Burma's 1988 uprising worth it? Archived 12 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine. BBC News.
    5. ^ a b c d Wintle (2007)
    6. ^ a b c Yawnghwe (1995), pp. 170
    7. ^ Ferrara 302–3
    8. ^ "Hunger for food, leadership sparked Burma riots". Houston Chronicle. 11 August 1988.
    9. ^ Tweedie, Penny. (2008). Junta oppression remembered Archived 2 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Reuters.
    10. ^ a b Burma Watcher (1989)
    11. ^ *Tallentire, Mark (28 September 2007). The Burma road to ruin Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. The Guardian.
    12. ^ a b Woodsome, Kate. (7 October 2007). 'Burmese Way to Socialism' Drives Country into Poverty. Voice of America.
    13. ^ a b Steinberg (2002)
    14. ^ Aung-Thwin, Maureen. (1989). Burmese Days Archived 23 February 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Foreign Affairs.
    15. ^ Ottawa Citizen. 24 September 1988. pg. A.16
    16. ^ Associated Press. Chicago Tribune. 26 September 1988.
    17. ^ Wintle, p. 338.
    18. ^ Lintner (1989), pp. 94–95.
    19. ^ a b Boudreau (2004), pp. 192
    20. ^ a b c d e f g h Tucker (2001), pp. 228
    21. ^ Fong (2008), pp. 146
    22. ^ Lwin (1992)
    23. ^ a b c d e f g Boudreau (2004), pp. 193
    24. ^ Lintner (1989), pp. 95–97.
    25. ^ Yitri (1989)
    26. ^ a b c d Yawnghwe (1995), pp. 171
    27. ^ Fong (2008), pp. 147
    28. ^ Smith (1999), pp. 1–14
    29. ^ Fong (2008) pp. 147–148.
    30. ^ Fink (2001), pp. 51
    31. ^ a b c Fong (2008), pp. 148
    32. ^ a b Smith (1999)
    33. ^ Fong (2008). In 1962, Lwin had ordered troops to fire on student protestors, killing dozens, and ordered the Union Building at Rangoon University to be blown up.
    34. ^ a b c d Boudreau (2004), pp. 202
    35. ^ Lintner (1989), pp. 126
    36. ^ Lintner (1989)
    37. ^ a b c d e Boudreau (2004), pp. 203
    38. ^ Boudreau (2004) Two groups considered to have large underground and internal support networks
    39. ^ a b c Ghosh (2001)
    40. ^ a b c Mydans, Seth. (12 August 1988). Uprising in Burma: The Old Regime Under Siege[permanent dead link]. The New York Times.
    41. ^ Williams Jr., Nick. (10 August 1988). "36 Killed in Burma Protests of Military Rule." Los Angeles Times.
    42. ^ a b c Boudreau (2004), pp. 205
    43. ^ Callahan (2001)
    44. ^ a b Boudreau (2004), pp. 204
    45. ^ a b Burma Watcher (1989), pp. 179.
    46. ^ The Vancouver Sun 17 August 1988. pg. A.5
    47. ^ Fink (2001)
    48. ^ Fink (2001), pp. 58
    49. ^ a b c d Fong (2008), pp. 150
    50. ^ a b Boudreau (2004), pp. 208
    51. ^ Clements (1992)
    52. ^ Smith (1999), pp. 9
    53. ^ Silverstein (1996)
    54. ^ Fink (2001), pp. 60
    55. ^ a b c d e f Tucker (2001), pp. 229.
    56. ^ Boudreau (2004), pp. 212.
    57. ^ Callahan (1999), pp. 1.
    58. ^ United States State Department, 1988
    59. ^ a b c Boudreau (2004), pp. 210.
    60. ^ Maung (1999)
    61. ^ Yeni. "Twenty Years of Marking Time". The Irrawaddy. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
    62. ^ Kyi May Kaung (8 August 2008). "Burma: waiting for the dawn". Open Democracy. Archived from the original on 15 January 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
    63. ^ Delang (2000)
    64. ^ Ferrara (2003), pp. 313–4.
    65. ^ a b c Ferrara (2003), pp. 314.
    66. ^ a b c Fong (2008), pp. 151
    67. ^ Yawnghwe (1995), pp. 172.
    68. ^ Europa Publications Staff (2002), pp. 872
    69. ^ Fong (2008), pp.152.
    70. ^ Smith (1999), pp. 371.
    71. ^ Smith (1999), pp. 17.
    72. ^ a b c d Boudreau (2004), pp. 190
    73. ^ a b Lintner (1990), pp. 52
    74. ^ Mydans, Seth. (23 September 1988). Burma Crackdown: Army in Charge. The New York Times.
    75. ^ Thein, Seinenu. "Heroes of Democracy: Burma's 88 Generation and the Legacy of Mandela". Psychocultural Cinema. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
    76. ^ The Nation. (9 August 1997). Burmese exiles mark protest. The Nation (Thailand).
    77. ^ *Tun, Aung Hla. (8 August 2008). Myanmar arrests "8-8-88" anniversary marchers Archived 8 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine. International Herald Tribune.
    78. ^ Moe, K Z (21 January 2012). "The last night in the cell". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
    79. ^ Jonathan Head (11 November 2008). "Harsh sentences for Burma rebels". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
    80. ^ "A former political prisoner was arrested for protesting alone in front of the United Nations office in Rangoon". Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. 23 September 2004. Archived from the original on 2 June 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2011.


    Books and journals

    • Boudreau, Vincent. (2004). Resisting Dictatorship: Repression and Protest in Southeast Asia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83989-1.
    • Burma Watcher. (1989). Burma in 1988: There Came a Whirlwind. Asian Survey, 29(2). A Survey of Asia in 1988: Part II pp. 174–180.
    • Callahan, Mary. (1999). Civil-military relations in Burma: Soldiers as state-builders in the postcolonial era. Preparation for the State and the Soldier in Asia Conference.
    • Callahan, Mary. (2001). Burma: Soldiers as State Builders. ch. 17. cited in Alagappa, Muthiah. (2001). Coercion and Governance: The Declining Political Role of the Military in Asia. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4227-6
    • Clements, Ann. (1992). Burma: The Next Killing Fields? Odonian Press. ISBN 978-1-878825-21-6
    • Delang, Claudio. (2000). Suffering in Silence, the Human Rights Nightmare of the Karen People of Burma. Parkland: Universal Press.
    • Europa Publications Staff. (2002). The Far East and Australasia 2003. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-85743-133-9.
    • Ferrara, Federico. (2003). Why Regimes Create Disorder: Hobbes's Dilemma during a Rangoon Summer. The Journal of Conflict Resolution, 47(3), pp. 302–325.
    • Fink, Christina. (2001). Living Silence: Burma Under Military Rule. Zed Books. ISBN 978-1-85649-926-2
    • Fong, Jack. (2008). Revolution as Development: The Karen Self-determination Struggle Against Ethnocracy (1949–2004). Boca Raton, FL:BrownWalker Press. ISBN 978-1-59942-994-6
    • Ghosh, Amitav. (2001). The Kenyon Review, New Series. Cultures of Creativity: The Centennial Celebration of the Nobel Prizes. 23(2), pp. 158–165.
    • Hlaing, Kyaw Yin. (1996). Skirting the regime's rules.
    • Lintner, Bertil. (1989). Outrage: Burma's Struggle for Democracy. Hong Kong: Review Publishing Co.
    • Lintner, Bertil. (1990). The Rise and Fall of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB). SEAP Publications. ISBN 978-0-87727-123-9.
    • Lwin, Nyi Nyi. (1992). Refugee Student Interviews. A Burma-India Situation Report.
    • Maung, Maung. (1999). The 1988 Uprising in Burma. Yale University Southeast Asia Studies. ISBN 978-0-938692-71-3
    • Silverstein, Josef. (1996). The Idea of Freedom in Burma and the Political Thought of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Pacific Affairs, 69(2), pp. 211–228.
    • Smith, Martin. (1999). Burma – Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity. Zed Books. ISBN 978-1-85649-660-5
    • Steinberg, David. (2002). Burma: State of Myanmar. Georgetown University Press. ISBN 978-0-87840-893-1
    • Tucker, Shelby. (2001). Burma: The Curse of Independence. Pluto Press. ISBN 978-0-7453-1541-6
    • Wintle, Justin. (2007). Perfect Hostage: a life of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s prisoner of conscience. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-0-09-179681-5
    • Yawnghwe, Chao-Tzang. Burma: Depoliticization of the Political. cited in Alagappa, Muthiah. (1995). Political Legitimacy in Southeast Asia: The Quest for Moral Authority. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-2560-6
    • Yitri, Moksha. (1989). The Crisis in Burma: Back from the Heart of Darkness? University of California Press.

    Further reading

    External links

    1 August 1988

    A British soldier was killed in the Inglis Barracks bombing in London, England.

    The Inglis Barracks bombing was a bomb attack carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army on 1 August 1988 on a British Army barracks called Inglis Barracks in Mill Hill, London. The attack killed one soldier from the Royal Engineers, injured nine more and destroyed large parts of the barracks. It was the first IRA attack in England since the 1984 Brighton Bombing.

    The Provisional IRA had carried out sustained bombing campaigns in England before, between 1973 and 1976 carrying out hundreds of bombings in the process killing over 60 people and injuring over 1,000. The IRA carried out sporadic attacks in England between 1977 and 1984. The bombing at Inglis barracks commenced a new sustained bombing campaign that would last until the 1994 IRA ceasefire.

    The living quarters of the barracks were demolished by the blast. Construction worker Frank McParland, who was working inside the barracks, said the middle section was obliterated. The roof of the two-story red brick building was blown off. Corporal Ian Booth was rescued alive after he was trapped beneath the debris. He was saved by a radiator that fell across him and shielded him from falling masonry. Fires raged for three hours as rescuers pulled the injured from heaps of rubble and smoldering timber. Half of the barracks, the army’s main postal depot in the capital, used to lay in former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Finchley constituency.

    16 March 1988

    Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and Vice Admiral John Poindexter are indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States during the so-called Iran-Contra affair..

    The scandal began as an operation to free seven American hostages being held in Lebanon by Hezbollah, a paramilitary group with Iranian ties connected to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. It was planned that Israel would ship weapons to Iran, and then the United States would resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of the hostages. Large modifications to the plan were devised by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista fighters, known as Contras, against the socialist government of Nicaragua.

    While President Ronald Reagan was a supporter of the Contra cause, the evidence is disputed as to whether he authorized the diversion of the money to the Contras, raised by the arms sales. Handwritten notes taken by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger on December 7, 1985, indicate that Reagan was aware of potential hostage transfers with Iran, as well as the sale of Hawk and TOW missiles to “moderate elements” within that country. Weinberger wrote that Reagan said “he could answer to charges of illegality but couldn’t answer to the charge that ‘big strong President Reagan passed up a chance to free the hostages'”. After the weapon sales were revealed in November 1986, Reagan appeared on national television and stated that the weapons transfers had indeed occurred, but that the United States did not trade arms for hostages. The investigation was impeded when large volumes of documents relating to the scandal were destroyed or withheld from investigators by Reagan administration officials. On March 4, 1987, Reagan returned to the airwaves in a nationally televised address, taking full responsibility, and saying that “what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages”.

    Several investigations ensued, including by the U.S. Congress and the three-person, Reagan-appointed Tower Commission. Neither found any evidence that President Reagan himself knew of the extent of the multiple programs. Ultimately the sale of weapons to Iran was not deemed a criminal offense but charges were brought against five individuals for their support of the Contras. Those charges, however, were later dropped because the administration refused to declassify certain documents. The indicted conspirators faced various lesser charges instead. In the end, fourteen administration officials were indicted, including then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Eleven convictions resulted, some of which were vacated on appeal. The rest of those indicted or convicted were all pardoned in the final days of the presidency of George H. W. Bush, who had been Vice President at the time of the affair. The Iran–Contra affair and the ensuing deception to protect senior administration officials including President Reagan has been cast as an example of post-truth politics.

    Under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the United States was the largest seller of arms to Iran, and the vast majority of the weapons that the Islamic Republic of Iran inherited in January 1979 were American-made. To maintain this arsenal, Iran required a steady supply of spare parts to replace those broken and worn out. After Iranian students stormed the American embassy in Tehran in November 1979 and took 52 Americans hostage, US President Jimmy Carter imposed an arms embargo on Iran. After Iraq invaded Iran in September 1980, Iran desperately needed weapons and spare parts for its current weapons. After Ronald Reagan took office as President on 20 January 1981, he vowed to continue Carter’s policy of blocking arms sales to Iran on the grounds that Iran supported terrorism.

    A group of senior Reagan administration officials in the Senior Interdepartmental Group conducted a secret study on 21 July 1981, and concluded that the arms embargo was ineffective because Iran could always buy arms and spare parts for its American weapons elsewhere, while at the same time the arms embargo opened the door for Iran to fall into the Soviet sphere of influence as the Kremlin could sell Iran weapons if the United States would not. The conclusion was that the United States should start selling Iran arms as soon as it was politically possible to keep Iran from falling into the Soviet sphere of influence. At the same time, the openly declared goal of Ayatollah Khomeini to export his Islamic revolution all over the Middle East and overthrow the governments of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf states led to the Americans perceiving Khomeini as a major threat to the United States.

    In the spring of 1983, the United States launched Operation Staunch, a wide-ranging diplomatic effort to persuade other nations all over the world not to sell arms or spare parts for weapons to Iran. At least part of the reason why the Iran–Contra affair proved so humiliating for the United States when the story first broke in November 1986 that the US was selling arms to Iran was that American diplomats, as part of Operation Staunch had, from the spring of 1983 on, been lecturing other nations about how morally wrong it was to sell arms to the Islamic Republic of Iran and applying strong pressure to prevent these arms sales to Iran.

    At the same time that the American government was considering their options on selling arms to Iran, Contra militants based in Honduras were waging a guerrilla war to topple the Sandinista National Liberation Front revolutionary government of Nicaragua. Almost from the time he took office in 1981, a major goal of the Reagan administration was the overthrow of the left-wing Sandinista government in Nicaragua and to support the Contra rebels. The Reagan administration’s policy towards Nicaragua produced a major clash between the executive and legislative arms as Congress sought to limit, if not curb altogether, the ability of the White House to support the Contras. Direct U.S. funding of the Contras insurgency was made illegal through the Boland Amendment, the name given to three U.S. legislative amendments between 1982 and 1984 aimed at limiting U.S. government assistance to Contra militants. Funding ran out for the Contras by July 1984 and in October a total ban was placed in effect. The second Boland amendment, in effect from 3 October 1984 to 3 December 1985, stated:

    During the fiscal year 1985 no funds available to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities may be obligated or expended for the purpose of or which may have the effect of supporting directly or indirectly military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua by any nation, organization, group, movement, or individual.

    In violation of the Boland Amendment, senior officials of the Reagan administration continued to secretly arm and train the Contras and provide arms to Iran, an operation they called “the Enterprise”. As the Contras were heavily dependent upon U.S. military and financial support, the second Boland amendment threatened to break the Contra movement and led to President Reagan in 1984 to order the National Security Council to “keep the Contras together ‘body and soul'”, no matter what Congress voted for.

    A major legal debate at the center of the Iran–Contra affair concerned the question of whether the NSC was one of the “any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities” covered by the Boland amendment. The Reagan administration argued it was not, and many in Congress argued that it was. The majority of constitutional scholars have asserted the NSC did indeed fall within the purview of the second Boland amendment, through the amendment did not mention the NSC by name. The broader constitutional question at stake was the power of Congress vs. the power of the presidency. The Reagan administration argued that because the constitution assigned the right to conduct foreign policy to the executive, its efforts to overthrow the government of Nicaragua were a presidential prerogative that Congress had no right to try to halt via the Boland amendments. By contrast congressional leaders argued that the constitution had assigned Congress control of the budget, and Congress had every right to use that power not to fund projects like attempting to overthrow the government of Nicaragua that they disapproved of. As part of the effort to circumvent the Boland amendment, the NSC established “the Enterprise”, an arms-smuggling network headed by a retired U.S. Air Force officer turned arms dealer Richard Secord that supplied arms to the Contras. It was ostensibly a private sector operation, but in fact was controlled by the NSC. To fund “the Enterprise”, the Reagan administration was constantly on the look-out for funds that came from outside the U.S. government in order not to explicitly violate the letter of the Boland amendment, though the efforts to find alternative funding for the Contras violated the spirit of the Boland amendment. Ironically, military aid to the Contras was reinstated with Congressional consent in October 1986, a month before the scandal broke.

    27 October 1988

    Ronald Reagan stops construction of the new US Embassy in Moscow after Soviet listening devices are found in the building structure.


    United States President Ronald Reagan has decided to tear down its new Moscow embassy building, which is heavily penetrated by Soviet listening devices and build a replacement. The Administration has been trying to decide what to do about the building since the existence of the listening devices was disclosed last year.

    Government intelligence experts would be reluctant to certify that the American embassy structures are protected against Soviet spying unless an entirely new structure is built. Because Congress has adjourned, Mr. Reagan’s decision to consult lawmakers apparently postpones final action on demolishing the building to his successor and the 101st Congress, which will be asked to provide the money, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars, for the job.

    Construction of the chancery was halted in 1985 because of suspicions that the Soviets had planted listening devices. American intelligence specialists have been examining the structure to try to determine how the Soviet spying techniques work. If the chancery is saved, the building would be used for unclassified activities, while the old embassy building next door would be refurbished and used for classified activities. Soviet officials will not be able to occupy a new Soviet Embassy office building until the American chancery is demolished and replaced.