The Irrawaddy river, the largest in Burma, begins at the confluence of the Mali Hka and N’Mai Hka rivers in the northern state of Kachin.
By the year 1988, political, social and economic life in Burma was under the repressive military rule of the Burma Socialist Program Party (BSPP), headed by General Ne Win. Since the military coup in 1962, the Burmese had been subjected to extreme socioeconomic isolation and heavy state control that extended from the media and universities to social events and monasteries. Although citizens, and in particular students, protested throughout the 60’s, violent repression was enough to cease all opposition until 1987 when unrest began to stir once again within the Burmese population.
In 1988 Burmese students led mass demonstrations against the oppressive military junta of Burma (the country now referred to as Myanmar). The result was 3,000 civilians dead after a governmental crackdown and a prevailing junta. Shortly after, as the “rallying symbol for the population,” pro-democracy leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi was confined to her house by the junta, not to be seen by the public for 12 out of the next 18 years.