U Tin Oo, Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader, passes away at age 97

U Tin Oo, the former commander of the Burmese armed forces and defense minister who fought his country’s repressive government to become a leader of the democracy movement there, died on Saturday. in Yangon, Myanmar. He was 97 years old.

His personal assistant, U Myint Oo, confirmed he died in hospital. He said Mr. Tin Oo had a weak heart and died of kidney failure and pulmonary edema.

Once one of the most powerful figures in what is now Myanmar, Mr. Tin Oo founded the National League for Democracy, the country’s main opposition party, with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during the uprising. Pro-democracy uprising failed violently in 1988.

Three years later, Aung San Suu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize while under house arrest. She was detained again and it is unclear whether she was informed of Mr. Tin Oo’s death.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be extremely saddened to hear of his death because she has lost a trusted confidant,” Mr. Myint Oo said.

In 2013, she told The New York Times that Mr. Tin Oo was “like a father to me.”

Mr. Tin Oo became vice president and then president of the party, known as the NLD, which won the 1990 election by a large margin but was prevented from taking control by the ruling military junta. permission.

Soon after, he was one of dozens of democracy activists and party members arrested by the government and sentenced to long prison terms.

He continues to be one of a group of former military officers, known as “uncles,” who advised Aung San Suu Kyi during her 15 years under house arrest.

After she was released and established a democratic government, ending decades of military rule, Mr. Tin Oo continued to speak out on human rights and issues related to Myanmar’s development.

“I personally know the transition process is difficult and challenging,” he said in a speech at the 2014 Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference.

“I have been a general, a political prisoner, a monk, a law student, a lawyer and a founding member of a political party, the NLD,” he said. “I had to face the harm I caused to people while serving in the military. For this, I have apologized and committed myself to the cause of human rights and democracy.”

“I love the military but I love the people more,” he told The New York Times in 2020. “That’s why I’m on the side of the people.”

Mr. Tin Oo was born on March 3, 1927 in the port city of Pathein, along the Pathein River in southern Burma. He is the eldest child in a family of six siblings.

“He served his country since he was 16 years old, fighting against fascist Japan and Communist China,” said U Tun Myint, a spokesman for his political party. “He received the highest military honor, the title of Thura.”

Mr. Tin Oo joined the army in 1946 with the rank of second lieutenant and was promoted to battalion commander in 1951.

He was honored for leading campaigns against the Karen National Union and other armed ethnic groups, as well as against the Communist Party of Burma.

He was commander in chief of the armed forces during the bloody suppression of student protests surrounding the funeral of U Thant, former secretary general of the United Nations, in 1974.

In 1976, amid what some analysts saw as a power struggle, Mr. Tin Oo was accused of corruption and being an accomplice to a failed coup. He was imprisoned until 1980, when he was released under a general amnesty.

A decade later, he was arrested again for his dissident activities and spent several more years in prison and under house arrest.

His last arrest was in May 2003, when he and Aung San Suu Kyi were arrested after their convoy was attacked by a pro-government mob in what some supporters said was a an assassination. Both were released in 2010.

Mr. Tun Myint said: “When a group of terrorists approached Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s car, U Tin Oo stepped out and shouted orders to the terrorists: ‘Guys, this is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s car, go ahead. stand back.'” who was in the convoy.

Both Aung San Suu Kyi and Tin Oo escaped, although dozens of others are believed to have died. Both were then arrested.

In 2015, the NLD won the country’s first truly democratic election and began making a difficult transition from an opposition group to a ruling party.

The party won a landslide victory in a second election in 2020. But it was ousted in a coup the following year. A nationwide uprising and a continuing violent crackdown followed.

Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested and convicted in a series of cases that appeared aimed at detaining her indefinitely. Mr. Tin Oo was allowed to stay home and continue to speak out in support of democracy.

Mr. Tin Oo’s survivors include his wife, Dr. Tin Moe Wai, now 99 years old and whom he met when she was a doctor at a hospital where he was treating combat wounds, and His son was Thant Zin Oo.


News 7F: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button