Here’s an extract from a story from the Courant (a Connecticut local paper):
When Than Htay was 4, soldiers of the Burmese military dictatorship invaded his family’s village in the Kayin state in eastern Burma, along the Thai border. The attack, in 1988, was part of the government’s campaign to control and exhaust the ethnic nationalities that compose
between one-third and one-half of Myanmar’s population of 50 million. Several ethnic groups began fighting for independence when the British left Burma in 1948.
Than Htay and his family are Karen (pronounced Kuh-REN), a large ethnic group whose members live mostly in Kayin state and across the border in Thailand.
The soldiers of the Burmese junta made targets not only of rebel soldiers, but of civilians like those in Than Htay’s village.
The dry season was just ending when villagers heard that the army was coming. Than Htay’s parents hid in the jungle with him and his older sister and younger brother.
After the soldiers burned down their village, the family wandered in the jungle for several weeks, then walked for four days to cross the border into the relative safety of Thailand.
They were among tens of thousands of Burmese who began fleeing into Thailand beginning in the 1980s. They continue to leave Myanmar to escape forced labor, executions, rape and loss of their homes.
Plenty of food for prayer here!
THAN HTAY, right, shares a small apartment in Hartford with a family he
had never met before leaving a refugee camp in Thailand a few months ago.
He is now living with, from left, Nwe Win, 1-year-old Jun Way Qua,
4-year-old Pwit Phoo,and Lah Di, who is Than Htay’s sponsor.
(KIM WALKER / HARTFORD COURANT / August 8, 2008)