According to the constitution, government positions are reserved for those over 40.


Sabtu, 19 Okt 2013 12:27 WIB


Ali Fowle DVB


Burma, Young, politician, Generation wave, DVB

Young people in Burma have played an important role in the country’s political history.

Moe Thway is the co-founder and president of Generation Wave, a youth group founded in Burma after the 2007 Saffron Revolution.

“They killed some people and arrested many people and beat up some youth and at the time I feel like I feel I have a responsibility to stand for the justice,” says Moe Thway referring to the military leaders.

Under absolute military rule they had to work underground.  But now they can work out in the open.

And a new youth movement is emerging particularly online.

“I think Facebook and Twitter are really really helping a lot to mobilise the youth. So you can reach out to many places with in a very short time.”

Politics in Burma is dominated by the older generation.

According to the constitution, government positions are reserved for those over 40 and several major political figures are in their 70s and even 80s.

The internet has become a critical alternative for younger people to express their views on politics and to connect with others with similar ideas.

“If we want to be at the front row I feel like we need to make our own road, we need to build our own stage,” says Moe Thway.

“I believe some of the youth are creating their own space and they are building their own platform to walk on.” 

Last year Thet Swe Win started the Myanmar Youth Empowerment Programme to connect different groups in a nationwide youth network.

“So the youth from Kachin state can meet the youth from Thanintharyi state.  Facebook is very useful for youth groups, the online activities -- that is very helpful to organise the event or organise the organizations.”

But within the established political parties it’s hard for young people to take leading roles.

The main opposition party the NLD has been criticized for not giving roles to young people.

“We don’t think of youth as being the second line,” says NLD Youth leader Kyaw Zin Win.
“We have ways to develop the next generation of leaders.”

The NLD is planning to hold a nationwide youth congress at the end of the year.

But some like Thet Swe Win say the older generation needs to change their mindset.

“The role of the youth is getting crucial  because we are the people who will take over the position after the old people are gone.”

Moe Thway from Generation Wave says young people like them have a better chance of creating national unity.

“They all were taught to defeat each other and hate each other and they didn’t have any cooperation or understanding or any communication before. So I don’t believe in the peace that they are building now.”

With more than half the country's population aged under 30, the young generation are increasingly important for Burma’s future. 

And technology is providing the young generation with opportunities their parents never had.

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