Burma’s former military ruler and president U Ne Win’s demise on Thursday, December 5 has evoked perspectives of his life and times with personal touches by those who have known him and worked with him.
One such prominent figure is U Lwin, secretary and spokesperson of the National League for Democracy.
U Lwin recounted his most memorable experience with the then president U Ne Win when he was his Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Planning and Finance in the Burma Socialist Program Party government.
He told VOA that based on the policy enunciated by U Ne Win, he did try to implement some measures which did help overcome prevailing difficulties then to a certain degree. But, with no real support from the ruling political party – the BSPP – and, in the final analysis, from U Ne Win himself that he eventually decided to leave the party and the government.
U Win Naing, a former central executive committee member of the late prime minister U Nu’s Democracy and Peace Party, inclined to look at the death of U Ne Win in a somber and philosophical light.
He said, as a leader of Burma who had been in power for 26 years, U Ne Win, as a human being, naturally had done both good things and bad things for the country. He gave credit to U Ne Win for his participation in the nation’s independence movement along with the legendary ‘Thirty Comrades’.
However, U Ne Win had also brought the country to economic disaster during many years of his iron rule. U Win Naing also said history will have a clearer judgment of U Ne Win in the years to come and the country’s present military rulers will also stand to such judgment down the road.
U Ye Htun, a lawyer in Rangoon, is a relative of U Ne Win by marriage. He told our VOA stringer that his feelings on the death of U Ne Win was mixed. As a relative, he felt sad but, as a political prisoner for seven times during U Ne Win’s rule, he felt liberated, like other citizens of Burma, because his death amounted to a definitive end of what he called the inglorious Ne Win era.