They, do not forget the past.

U Gambira (or Ko Ni Ni Lwin,36) was a leader of All Burma Monks' Alliance. ABMA has played a key role in the Saffron Revolution, the monks-led uprising against military dictatorship in 2007. Gambira was arrested in November of the year and got sentenced 68 years. In the prison, he had been severely tortured which has led him to long suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). © Lee Yu Kyung

U Gambira (or Ko Ni Ni Lwin,36) was a leader of All Burma Monks’ Alliance. ABMA has played a key role in the Saffron Revolution, the monks-led uprising against military dictatorship in 2007. Gambira was arrested in November of the year and got sentenced 68 years. In the prison, he had been severely tortured which has led him to long suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). © Lee Yu Kyung

So, Gambira – the leader of Shaffron Revolution in Burma 2007, sent back to the prison without even bail-out in the first hearing at Mahar Aung Mya Township Court in Mandalay on Feb.3. He’s been charged with “illegal” entry into his ‘home’ country on January 15. Many have interpreted the charge politically motivated that the Burma’s rulers do not forget the past, particularly of those who have stood up against regime’s brutality.

In my third interview with Gambira early last year, I do have recognized he’s been recovering well from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD), which he’s earned from a severe torture including chemical injection, as much as his remarkable progress in English. He said “no more sick”, and he looked ‘almost’. No doubt genuinely good-willing, giving and loving friends around him and most of all Gambira himself must have enormously put efforts to reclaim a dignified body and soul. That struggle should have been going on however as he needs strict regime of medication as well as hours of exercise a day for further and full recovery according to his wife. 

Throwing a person showing positive progress but needing extreme care into the original place of the curse with bogus charge is a big stain on ‘New Burma’. It’s February. Military-only-rule appears to end. New parliament led by NLD or civilian majority has been just open on the 1st day of February. People are talking about “new era” “dawn” “hope” and “Democracy”. Yet Gambira case has highlighted the country’s former/current military ruler do not ‘adjust their attitude’ to ‘New Era’ accordingly. As Spanish journalist Carlos Sardina Galache pointedly puts in his DVB article, Gambira trial also has brought attention to the political prisoners. This is what he wrote :   

The (Gambira) trial has brought further attention to the issue of the 84 political prisoners who remain behind bars in Burma, a figure provided by the Assistance Association for the Protection of Political Prisoners— Burma (AAPP-B). Over four hundred people are currently on trial for political actions despite Burma holding its first elections in November. The poll elevated dozens of former political prisoners to parliament as the National League for Democracy won in a landslide. 

Here I would like to emphasize too necessity of release not only Gambira, but all 84 political prisoners. This could be done immediately without any complication, with irritating no one but probably old oligarchy in uniform who are not exhausted by it own rule. Aung San Suu Kyi should use her liberty, power and mandate she’s got from people to voice loudly out on Release All Political Prisoners, many of who did exactly the same while she had been under house arrest.

I do remember the scene during the Saffron Revolution that freedom hungry folks were marching through nearby University Avenue Road where Suu Kyi appeared for seconds. After all, Burma Today owes the people on the street those days who attempted to brave bullets and brutality.  

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