RANGOON — Youth political activist group Generation Wave celebrated its sixth anniversary on Wednesday night with a public “birthday party” at Pansodan Scene, a gallery and event space in Rangoon.
It was the second time that Generation Wave has ever publicly celebrated its anniversary. The group worked underground in Burma for four years, as they were outlawed by the former military regime.
Before a nominally civilian government took power in 2011, the group was known for using creative means such as hip-hop and graffiti to advocate for democracy. These days, Generation Wave focuses on direct political activities and political capacity building among youth in the country.
The anniversary event on Wednesday featured poetry, solo and group musical performances, and a raffle of products carrying the group’s signature logo, a red “thumbs up” sign. Pictures of the group’s notable past activities and events were displayed around the art space, as well as a poster for visitors to sign.
More than 100 friends and well-wishers, including leaders of other prominent civil society groups, members of the press and diplomatic personnel, were in attendance.
Joe Fisher, second secretary and spokesman for the British Embassy in Rangoon, told The Irrawaddy that he was happy to attend the event. “Civil society has a key role to play in Burma’s democratic transition,” he said.
More than 20 Generation Wave members are former political prisoners, and several currently face ongoing charges, including co-founder and current president Moe Thway, who has appeared in court more than 130 times.
Co-founder Zayar Thaw, who first came to prominence as the lead singer in the hip-hop group Acid, is now an elected member of Burma’s Lower House of Parliament, representing the country’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).