Myanmar coup: “I no longer have freedom”

Sister Ann Rose has been detained several times by security forces while standing in front of the junta.


Nearly a year after she knelt down to plead with Myanmar police not to shoot anti-coup protesters, Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawang still trembles at the memory of the day she says God saved her.

A photo of a Catholic nun in a simple white habit, with her hands outstretched, soliciting junta forces in the early weeks of mass protests against the rebellion, went viral in a majority-Buddhist country and made headlines around the world.

In early March, two people were shot dead in a demonstration in northern Kachin state, Sister Ann Rose later took an injured child to a hospital.

She told AFP that in the confusion and chaos she did not know if the picture was taken, or what effect it would have.

“When I got back home, I found out that my friends and family were very concerned about me,” she said, adding that her mother had scolded her in tears for taking such a risk.

“When I look at that picture, I can’t even believe myself that I was there to save lives amid the chaotic shooting and running around,” she said.

“I believe that God gave me courage… I would never be courageous enough to do this myself.”

Running away from the army is something Sister Ann Rose has known since her childhood in conflict-ridden Shan State under a previous junta in eastern Myanmar.

The daughter of a clergy father and a teacher mother, she was forced to run away from her home when she was nine, fearing soldiers was now imprinted in her mind that her concern might be repeated in children today. has been

“I used to run as a small child when they entered the village… Whenever I see soldiers and police in uniform, I get scared, even now,” he said.

But on that March day in Myitkyina “I could not imagine to be afraid”, she said.

“I thought I needed to help and save the protesters.”

In the days that followed, Amnesty International later said it had documented atrocities on unarmed protesters, including the use of battlefield weapons.

According to a local watchdog group, more than 1,400 civilians have been killed and more than 10,000 arrested.

‘No more freedom’

Sister Ann Rose has found that there is a price to be paid for standing up for the public in front of the public.

She said she was detained several times by security forces, who asked her to check her phone and took her pictures.

She said that she is not associated with politics, but now she is afraid to go out alone.

“I no longer have freedom,” said the devotee.

The nun – previously trained as a nurse – now works in housing camps for displaced people in Kachin state, where ethnic armed groups and the military have clashed for years.

Fighting in Kachin and elsewhere in the north of the country bordering China has calmed recently – analysts say at Beijing’s insistence – but fierce violence continues elsewhere.

Junta soldiers were recently accused of genocide on Christmas Eve after the charred remains of dozens of bodies were discovered on a highway in the country’s east.

Sister Ann Rose said that seeing the bloody cycle of conflicts and vengeance “feels like my heart is about to explode”.

But his faith gives him hope, and a sense of purpose.

“Thank God, I’m alive… Maybe he wants to use me for good.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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