Tribute To Burma’s Student Martyr Salai Tin Maung Oo
Van Biak Thang(28 June, 2009) Chin communities and students last Friday commemorated the 33rd anniversary of Salai Tin Maung Oo Memorial Day, paying tribute and respect to their hero who gave his life in the struggle against injustice and dictatorship in Burma.
In South Korea’s Seoul, Chin National Community staged a protest in memory of Burma’s pro-democracy student leader Salai Tin Maung Oo outside Burmese Embassy, calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi, for an end to ongoing religious persecution and human rights violation in Chin State, and on SPDC to engage in a ‘Tripartite dialogue’.
The consolidation letter issued by All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) stated that Salai Tin Maung Oo was the first student to be hanged by the military regime in the history of Burma’s student movements.
“Salai Tin Maung Oo was fighting against the military regime to gain freedom and justice not only for the Chin people but for the whole country. Therefore, he was a heroic martyr in the battle for democracy in Burma,” added the statement.
A Chin ethnic leader Salai Tin Maung Oo was described and acclaimed by student activists, colleagues and friends as a ‘big lion’ for his democratic spirit, loyalty, leadership and selfless fight for democracy, justice and freedom in military-ruined Burma.
The ABFSU also called for making more efforts toward building up, in the face of sufferings and difficulties, a stronger unity and collaboration for democracy in Burma.
Former General Secretary of CLCC (Chin Literature and Culture Committee), Salai Tin Maung Oo, was secretly hanged to death at the age of 25 inside Burma’s notorious Insein Prison on 26 June 1976 by the Ne Win-led military regime.
He was given a capital sentence without any fair trial and lawyer for leading anti-military protests, which are now well known as U Thant’s uprising and Shwedagon Strike in 1974 and 1975 respectively.
A ‘highflying hornbill’ flapping with ‘fighting peacocks’ as described by Salai Kipp Kho Lian, Salai Tin Maung Oo stood up for his dignity, determination and beliefs until his death.
His last words to the executioners included: “You can kill my body but you can never kill my beliefs and what I stood for. I will never kneel down to your military boots!”
Salai Tin Maung Oo Memorial Day was observed and celebrated among Chin community in Europe, Asia and North America.