A face and a name

Burma Army on road near burned house in Ler Mu Plaw (Partners)

Burma Army on road near burned house in Ler Mu Plaw (Partners)

Burma Army on road near burned house in Ler Mu Plaw (Partners)

Reading about the concerted effeorts of the Burma Army to build roads, that are “protected” by landmines to extend their grasp on Karen State sounds clinical and academic, there’s even a map in the FBR report that makes it all look almost like a traditional AA roadmap. Though the images of soldiers and burned out homes is a less cheerful note.

Mary Wa and baby the day after recovering (Partners)

Mary Wa and baby the day after recovering (Partners)

It all becomes more real when you scroll down and read the story of Mary Wah without the picture and story she’d be just one more number in the statistics of horror. But with the picture and her story the story of the road becomes more real. Mary has a seven month old baby, but she does not want to live (she overdosed on quinine the anti-malarial). She used to have a husband, but he stepped on a landmine trying to cross the Ler Mu Plaw road. In his agony after the mine blew off his leg he shot himself with his hunting rifle, to avoid being caught by the Burma army.

As a child Mary had a home, but:

On November 11, 2006, at 11:10 am, Burma Army troops came to their village. They burned down 12-18 homes, shot and wounded one villager, and destroyed all their rice barns. Mary Wah, her
family, and all the other villagers escaped unharmed but lost all of their possessions and homes. Mary Wah and her friends finished the school year in the jungle.

As an IDP, a homeless refugee in her own country, she married Mo Chi Wah (another IDP) in 2007 when she was just 15. Now she is a widow. She said: “I felt very confused. I could not cope. I decided to kill myself.”

The cold facts leave me cold and angry. Mary’s story reduces me to tears. Do look at the Free Burma Rangers website and get some facts and some stories about what is going on in Burma.

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