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Noted Burmese activist to speak in city Saturday

September 18, 2018

Prominent Burmese democracy activist Min Ko Naing will visit Fort Wayne this week for the second time.

He is scheduled to make a presentation during a free public program from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the downtown Allen County Public Library.

Fort Wayne is home to thousands of Burmese refugees. Many fled the oppressive military regime that ruled Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, from 1962 until 2011.

Min Ko Naing, 55, was a leader of the 1988 student-led opposition uprising in Myanmar. He was arrested in 1989 and spent nearly 20 years in prison until his release in 2012. He visited Fort Wayne in 2013.

Local Burmese advocate Minn Myint Nan Tin said Monday she and other local residents have met with Min Ko Naing during trips to Myanmar.

“He’s a well-known and well-respected leader in Burma. He’s very popular,” Minn Myint Nan Tin said in a phone interview. She recalled that the New York Times once called him Myanmar’s most influential military opposition leader after Aung San Suu Kyi.

Nikkei Asian Review reported that Min Ko Naing has never taken a formal role in Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.

“I don’t want rank or a salary, but I can help as an ordinary person and as a community leader. I am cultivating the new generation,” he told the publication.

Nikkei Asian Review reported that Min Ko Naing learned to paint while in prison. Minn Myint Nan Tin said his work will be on display at the library Saturday.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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