Naw Sar's Story
The wedding took place on August 17th, 1979 in the village of Khow Lu. Two weeks after the wedding I went with my husband to his village, called Ther Key. On the second day of our visit, early Saturday morning at 7 am, we heard guns shots nearby our house. We did not know what it was so we went to the village entrance and looked. We saw Burmese soldiers and we ran into the jungle to hide for our lives. I lost contact with my husband when I was hiding, and I had not eaten a meal or drank one drop of water. I felt like I was in darkness both days and nights, because the Burmese military was hunting me. I wondered whether my husband was dead or a live, but I did not dare to go back to the village. After two days of hiding in the jungle I came out of my hiding place and searched for my husband. When I met him in the villager's house, he told me that he had not eaten or drank anything either. We were tired, starving and thirsty. We could hardly stand up, but we were glad that both of us were still alive. We ate what we were given and rested as much as we could to gain back our energy. When we were rested, somebody told us that the Burmese military infantry, who had entered the village, were from Pwat Khaw and we decided to head back to my village. We slept one night and on the very next day at noon, the Burmese infantry from the Ler Wah arrived at my village and captured some villagers.

My husband had escaped and I ran to the front door entrance along with my sister to hide in the jungle. I suddenly heard a sharp sound: my head was hit and I examined it with my right hand to see how bad I got hit. I saw my hand was covered with blood. I was drowsy and I fell on my knee at the door entrance. My head was bleeding and I could not move. I sat still at the entrance and I saw that my aunt, her thirteen-year old daughter Naw Sha Wah and her son Pa Saw Do were running towards my house to escape. While she was still running a gun shot hit Naw Sha Wah in the chest and she fell on the ground. My sister and my aunt carried her into my house while I was still waiting for the bleeding of my head to stop. Naw Sha Wah was begging me to help her, but I could not do anything to ease the pain. We both were in pain and neither one of us could help the other. When Naw Sha Wah and I had a difficulty breathing a Burmese soldier shot my aunt (my mother's sister) and her son Pa Saw Do in front of me. After my head stopped bleeding I went to my bed room and Naw Sha Wah was lying in the living room. Naw Sha Wah suffered from her wound for two days before she died. The Burmese soldiers stayed at my house, ate my chickens and pigs that I had raised, and searched my whole house.

A few days later, the Burmese soldiers commanded us to prepare to patrol with them and show them the path. My sister, my aunt and I were ready to follow them when I heard a gun shot. The Burmese soldiers left in a hurry so they did not have time to make us follow them. The Karen soldiers came to check the situation and made the Burmese leave the village. We lived in the village because we had no place to go. We farmed, we raised our children and we tried to live a normal life as much as we could. During this time I also bore a son and I was very happy.

It was December 20, 1987, when we heard a shooting sound, but we did not pay attention to it because we thought it took place at the car road. The next morning my husband and I headed to the farm to collect some yams and vegetables for the family. When my husband and I finished digging yams from the ground, we sat down to talk and smoke a pipe while my parents were picking tobacco leaves. After we rested a little while we carried our baskets and left the farm. On the way home we heard people's voices and my husband told me that he wanted to have a peek at it. He went further a little bit while I waited not far from him. He turned and looked at me and said, "They are not the Karen. They are Burmese." I whispered back to him and said, "If they are not Karen then run for your life." Just before I finished talking to my husband I heard a gun shot and saw my husband had fallen on the ground. I was nervous and trembling when I ran forward to see my husband. Before I reached him, I was snatched on my back by the Burmese soldiers. They blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back. I told them, "You killed my husband and now I want to see his body." but they did not listen to me or take the blindfold off to let me see my husband for a last time. I heard the sound of digging; probably to bury my husband. When I was arrested and taken away from the village, my son Saw Nay Kler Moo was only one year old and he was the only child I had with my husband. I wore 4 silver necklaces, one silver bracelet and one pair of golden earrings and the Burmese took everything from me.

The Burmese soldiers watched the road till the evening and then took me with them to the top of Moe Jow's mountain and there we slept one night. A Burmese soldier tied both my hands and my feet during the night. In the morning, they tied my hands on my back and demanded me to go in front of them and show them where to go. I led them to Htee Ler Wah Khee village where the Karen National Liberated Army was living. The fight between the Karen and the Burmese military dictatorship found one Burmese soldier dead and one was wounded.

In the infantry, I was the only woman amongst the Burmese soldiers and I looked like I a dog, which had no value. When I found out that a Burmese soldier knew how to speak the Karen language, I was happy and thought of him as a parent or a savior whom I could lean on to save my life. I relied on him for the language and he raped me every night.

I could not escape from them because I was in their hands. What should I do? I could not find my way to escape from them. I was with the Burmese soldiers for a while now and I knew they were 73rd infantry. They patrolled back and forth and then went back to Mu Thet Pu and stayed there for three days. After these three days they went to Phaw Khaw. They stayed there for 4 days and then another Burmese infantry entered the village and together they went back to the city. After I stayed in the town for nine days, one of the Burmese captains took me to his house. Because his wife was not there with him I asked him to let me live in jail instead of his house. After I lived in jail for one month the captain took me out of jail to lead his infantry to the Karen State. When I traveled with them to the Karen State, I led them to the rocky area and they had to climb the rocks. Now they tied my hands because they were worried I would escape. I took them to the Pwa Khaw village and we stayed there for over a month. When the 73rd infantry went back to the town of Ler Dor, we all went back with them to the city. I had been arrested for 6 months now, but I had no way to get back to my son.

My brother, who went to live at the ocean, came after me and he put me in with one of the Burmese nurses who lived by the ocean. She made me do all her work, scolded at me and hit me every day. After I stayed with her for three years, I went home to see my son; he did not know who I was. It was painful for me to see my son turning away from me. I tried to be a mother to him and gave him food in the hope that he would come back to me and like me.

I worked like a man to support my son. I farmed and built my own house all alone. I planted paddy, planted vegetables and harvested every year. Besides that I had to search for salt, fish paste and chilly pepper to survive.

I was on my own for some years and one day a Karen bachelor met me and he felt pity for me, because he saw I worked like a man. He approached me and asked me to marry him. I accepted and married him on February 4th, 1996. We produced a son. When my son was 9 months old, the Burmese military came to attack my village. I carried my son with me, and some of my belongings that I needed, and hid in the jungle. My husband, who was working in the farm, heard the gun shot in the village so he came after me and my son. When he entered the village, the Burmese arrested him, tortured him, chopped his skin into pieces and cut his head off. The Burmese did not bury my husband, so when they left the villagers buried my husband's body.

The Burmese soldiers brutally murdered my family and my relatives in front of me and I could not ease the pain. I knew if I stayed in my village, they would come and kill me and my children. So I made my decision to come to the refugee camp and brought my children with me, because it is a safer place. I left my village in tears and I did not look back. We are now living in a refugee camp at the border between Thailand and Burma.