Naw Hsar Wah Wah's Story
I was born in the village of Htee Ther Dor Ta in 1972, in the Karen State (Burma). When I was nine years old (going on ten), my father became the head villager of Htee Ther Dor Ta. The soldiers of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) often entered the village and interrogated my father about the Karen soldiers, the Karen National Liberated Army (KNLA).

Usually, when the Burmese soldiers came to my house, I hid in my bed room, listened to what they said to my father and would look at them through the peep hole to see what they were doing to my father. They asked him all kinds of questions regarding the Karen soldiers. If my father's answer did not satisfy them, they slapped his face so hard the beetle nut came out of his mouth. I often cried quietly in my hiding place when I saw how they tortured my father. The painful torture feared my father so much that he hid outside the village to avoid seeing them.

One day when my mom and my other five siblings were eating our lunch, I head gun shots nearby us. I was so shocked and in panic that I could not swallow my food. All of a sudden, I saw two Burmese soldiers were standing by the kitchen and pointing their guns at my mother and asking her, "Amoo, (mother) did the Karen soldiers come to the village yesterday?" "I did not see them" my mother said.

Then they kicked my mother on her right side and my mother was knocked down, laying face up on the floor. I was frightened and cried very loud). One of them looked at me and said, "Do you want to get hurt like your mother?" I said nothing. They searched my house everywhere and when they found nothing, they left us.

The next morning, my siblings and I got ready to go to school. We saw two Karen soldiers approaching my father and asking him if the two Burmese soldiers, who were here yesterday, left the village. My father said, "I do not know for sure, I did not see them so they might have left yesterday." The two Karen soldiers left and took off to the back of the village. My mother prepared lobster's curry for breakfast. We sat and ate breakfast. It was a very delicious meal and I was really enjoying it. However, while I was eating, I heard the noise of people running and then gun shots. The shells fell close to our house so my mother took all of us to the bunker underneath our house. When I reached the bunker, I did not see my father so I asked my mother, "Where is daddy?" He has escaped to the outside of the village because he does not dare to stay here with us" my mother said.

The shooting continued for a while and, when the sounds of the gun quieted down a little bit, my mother told us that the bunker we lived in was not in good condition and it was not save. So she urged us to go and hide in my grand mother's bunker. When we were ready to take off, a Burmese official appeared on our bunker. "Where did the two Kawthoolei soldiers run? "He asked. My mother was frightened and she panicked; she did not know what to say. I wanted to help my mother so I told the Burmese official that the Karen soldiers had run to the back of the village. He grabbed my arm and said, "Come with me and show me where they went." Being a young kid I said to him, "I do not know how to show you and I do not dare to go with you, because I am afraid of your gun shots. He pushed me and I fell down into the bunker.

After the Burmese officer left, I started running to my grandmother's house to hide in her bunker. On my way I heard gun shots and felt the shells drop near me but, I kept on running. A Burmese soldier showed me a sign and I understood that he told me not to come closer, so I ran back to where my mother lived. Right after I arrived back at our bunker, I heard the sound of electric lightening, and a big shell hit a coconut tree near our house, which fell into two parts by the side of our bunker. All of my sisters and brothers, and I, were crying. I could see my mother was shaking, but she held her baby against her chest and she tried to pull us closer to her so she could comfort us. Because there were too many of us, she did not have enough arms for everyone to get her warm touch.

After the shooting, my family did not dare to live in the village anymore. We were afraid the Burmese soldiers would come and get us, because they knew where we were living. We went to hide in the woods and slept and ate there. When we were in hiding we were starving, because we did not have enough food for everybody. After so many months in our hiding place, my dad came to see us in our hiding place and told us that we could not live in this place any more. That is when we left our village and came to the refugee camp.

We now live in the refugee camp at the Thailand and Burma border, but we do not know how long we can stay here. We do not know what will happen to us tomorrow or the next day. Even in the refugee camps we face many problems and we know the sufferings we are facing are still going on and that the end is not in sight. We pray that God will look upon us and save our people and give us freedom. We also pray that God will bless those who read our stories and remember us in their prayer. We are innocent people. We have done nothing wrong to the Burmese government. We have the right to live and we want to live peacefully.