Background and activism
|Part of a series on the|
|Democracy movements in Burma|
The fighting peacock flag
|Internal conflict in Burma|
|Burmese Way to Socialism|
|State Peace and Development Council|
|8888 Uprising · Saffron Revolution|
|Concessions and reforms|
|Roadmap to democracy
Reforms of 2011
|1990 · 2010 · 2012|
|National League for Democracy · 88 Generation Students Group · Burma Campaign UK · Free Burma Coalition · U.S. Campaign for Burma · Generation Wave · All Burma Students' Democratic Front · Third Force (Burma)|
|U Nu · Aung Gyi · Tin Oo · Aung San Suu Kyi · Min Ko Naing · Thein Sein|
|Human rights in Burma · Politics of Burma · Foreign relations of Burma|
Generation Wave was founded on 9 October 2007, following the anti-government protests popularly known as the Saffron Revolution, and used graffiti and pamphlets to spread messages opposing the State Peace and Development Council, Burma's military government. Zayar Thaw reportedly developed one of the group's more widespread campaigns, bumper stickers reading "Change New Government" to apply to cars carrying "CNG" stickers (originally for "compressed natural gas"). The group's logo is a "red stencil of a fist giving the thumbs up".
The group also circulated anti-government films, including Rambo, in which the titular character battles Tatmadaw (Burmese military) soldiers in Karen State. The film had been banned by the government for portraying the SPDC and its soldiers in a negative light. In 2009, Generation Wave members recorded a hip-hop album known as "the black album", which they distributed by leaving unmarked copies in Burmese tea shops.
As of 2009, the group was headquartered in the Thai-Burmese border town of Mae Sot; however, its members are required by the group to maintain legal residence in Burma. Membership in the group is restricted to those between 15 and 25 years of age.
With the recent opening and changes in Burma, apparently Generation Wave is now 'above ground' in Rangoon (Yangon), and they recently announced a restructuring and change of name to "Generation Wave Institute." Said director MIn Yan Naing in March 2013: "Our aim is to register as an organisation, because we don’t want to be an illegal organisation – but during the [registration] process I was told to promise that I wouldn’t work with politics. But that is impossible, because all of our work is concerned with politics.”
As of February 2010, about thirty members of the group had been imprisoned, including Zayar Thaw, who was arrested at a Yangon restaurant with friends on 12 March 2008. In April, Zayar Thaw's Acid co-founder and fellow movement member Yan Yan Chan was also arrested, reportedly along with his longtime girlfriend and future wife, Chilli. On 20 November 2008, Zayar Thaw, Aung Zay Phyo, Arkarbo, Thiha Win Tin, Wai Linn Phyo and Yan Naing Thu were sentenced to five years' imprisonment apiece for breaking State Law and Order Restoration Council Law No. 6/88, "illegal organizing under the Unlawful Association Act". Amnesty International described this statute as "a vaguely worded law whose sweeping provisions can be interpreted as making it illegal to set up any kind of organization". Yan Yan Chan was released without charges on 7 January 2009.
On 13 January 2012, many imprisoned Generation Wave members were released as part of a mass presidential pardon.
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- Alex Elgee (26 March 2010). "Another Birthday behind Bars". The Irrawaddy. Archived from the original on 5 March 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
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- "5 Generation Wave activists sentenced". Mizzima News. 20 November 2008. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
- "MYANMAR: Hip-Hop Artist and Student Activist Jailed for Peaceful Protest" (PDF). Amnesty International. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
- Than Htike Oo (7 January 2009). "Detained Hip Hop singer Yan Yan Chan released". Mizzima News. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
- "Burma prisoner amnesty – Hla Hla Win walks". Democratic Voice of Burma. 13 January 2012. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012.