Prayer of Peace: Relief and Resistance in Burma's War Zones

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  •  TEXT: The country of Burma is ruled by military dictators.  The dictators use the Burma Army to suppress any resistance. T his was filmed on relief missions with the Free Burma Rangers. 
  •  TEXT: Prayer of Peace. Relief & Resistance in Burma's War Zones 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: The world calls us Internally Displaced People. We are Karen villagers fleeing the Burma Army. The Burma Army has displaced a million villagers. The ethnic Karen are mostly farmers. They want to live peacefully in their homelands. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: But the Burma Army oppress every ethnic group in Burma. The Karen are the longest standing resistance since the civil war started in 1948. Some of these villagers will flee to refugee camps, others will stay in the area. This is their village. The Burma Army attack and burn villages to weaken the resistance. It is a war against civilians.  
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES: The enemy burned the village. Karen soldiers said the enemy was in the area. We waited until we heard the enemy was near the village. Then at 3pm we started running. It will continue to be like this. We will run and come back. To protect ourselves we keep doing this. Running back and forth.  
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: Despite oppression the Karen are resilient. 
  •  NARRATOR: Karen soldiers, villagers and a Free Burma Rangers team are bringing aid to displaced villagers. In this area there are over 600 villagers hiding without enough food, shelter or medicine. 
  •  NURSE INTERVIEW, SUBTITLES: My name is Day Htoo. I am a nurse. I wanted to be a nurse because the Burma soldiers come and hurt villagers. When they are hurt there is no one to help. It is difficult to find medics. They block the way to send to Toungoo. I cannot do enough but I will try my best. I first saw the child at their shelter, both her children had malaria. 
  •  NURSE, SUBTITLES: Did you give her medicine for diarrhea? NURSE 2, SUBTITLES: No, we gave injection. 
  •  NURSE INTERVIEW, SUBTITLES: I told her to send him to the clinic. She said, "I don't dare ask for medicine." I stayed with them two nights. Then we brought him to the clinic. The next day he was dead. 
  •  NURSE INTERVIEW, SUBTITLES: If the Burma soldiers didn't chase them he wouldn't have died. It came from running from Burma soldiers. In the jungle and the cold, sick and without medicine he died. 
  •  NURSE INTERVIEW, SUBTITLES: Well, about this work... in my childhood... Since I was a child I have never known peace. We've always had to run from Burma soldiers. When my family was sick there was no medicine. We would look for help but there was none. Because of this my parents died in the jungle. So I decided to be a nurse.  
  •  MONKEY, SUBTITLES: People know me as Monkey. In FBR I am a team pastor. And another role is video cameraman. 
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES: And then you said Khin Zaw Oo. What is his rank? RADIO, SUBTITLES: Khin Zaw Oo, Major Commander. I told you, didn't you write it down? MAN, SUBTITLES: Yes, I wrote it down. I want to double check. 
  •  NURSE, SUBTITLES: Take with water after eating.  
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: This is Toungoo District, one of the hardest hit areas by the Burma Army. They have been on the run since 1976. They told us when they are sick "you get better or you die." 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: The medicine we bring is not enough, but it is better than nothing. They need security and regular health care. More than 100 villagers came for treatment. On this mission we treated a thousand villagers. 
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES: Maw Thay Der village. INTERVIEWER, SUBTITLES: Two of them? MAN, SUBTITLES: Two. INTERVIEWER, SUBTITLES: They captured them? In a rice field? MAN, SUBTITLES: Yes, captured in a rice field.  INTERVIEWER, SUBTITLES: Did they burn him alive or dead? MAN, SUBTITLES: No, he wasn't dead. They cut off his arms and legs then burned him alive.  INTERVIEWER, SUBTITLES: Cut off his arms and legs then burned alive.  
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES: While farming we must carry two baskets. One is for seed, the other has blankets. Blankets or some clothing. While we farm we must look at the hilltops. If the enemy comes we run. If the enemy sees us, they shoot at us. If we are shot, we cannot help each other. It is very difficult for us. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: This family is planting rice. If they can harvest or not depends on Burma Army activity.  
  •  MONKEY, SUBTITLES: I started this work in 1998. At that time the Burma Army came and the villagers fled into the jungle. As they fled I took photos with a still camera. When people looked at the photos I couldn't explain. I wanted the photos to open their hearts. I tried but the photos were not enough. I thought if I had a video camera it would be better. Instead of me speaking for them they speak themselves and people would be moved. So I wanted to do video. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: Our medicine is finished so we will return to the border to re-supply. First we must cross a road patrolled and mined by the Burma Army. In order to cross safely Karen soldiers help us.  
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES: Cross at the same time? 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: If the Burma Army knows of the crossing, there will be fighting.  
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES: The Burmese and the Karen... are born enemies. The Burmese don't want to dominate the Karen, they want to completely wipe out the Karen. To kill every last one of us. Not dominate. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: Later in the year we travel through the same area. This day we met over 300 villagers fleeing. 
  •  INTERVIEWER, SUBTITLES: What did the Burma soldiers do? WOMAN, SUBTITLES: The Burma soldiers came and we ran. They came to kill the villagers. So we ran away. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: The villagers don't want to leave their homes. It is a life or death decision. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: In the refugee camps there is no freedom but some degree of security. 
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES: If all the Karen leave the Burmese will be happy. For this reason I will not leave. God put me here. I was born here so I will stay here. And I will die here. This is my decision. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: With more supplies our team returns to cross the road. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: Local villagers help carry aid to the areas facing the most oppression. Before we reach the frontline we will meet with the resistance to get information about displaced villagers and new Burma Army camps. 
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES: If someone asks them, they are a legal government, they are able to speak more than us. For us, we cannot communicate with the outside world. So by this interview we can speak and the outside world can see us. What we want is peace. We want equality and self-determination. Our stance is we want unity but they oppress us. We want t reconcile but the dictators won't accept. They only say they are doing good things. I hope by this interview people can understand this. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: The last time I was here I had malaria and the families that lived here cared for me. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: The mountains are good for the Karen. It is their homeland and they know it well. It's difficult for the enemy to patrol. Karen soldiers will take us to photograph a new Burma Army camp. This village was abandoned in fear of attacks. The new Burma Army camp is in the mountains behind. This was a Christian village, but this is not a religious war. 
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES: It is here.  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: Both sides have mined this area. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: On the frontline basic first aid is critical. These soldiers are the remnant of resistance on the frontline.  
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES: Can we make a fire? SOLDIER, SUBTITLES: No problem.  
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: They believe what they are doing is just. They would rather we came to help fight, but they are willing to help us. They told us Burma soldiers had recently cut in on their radio saying "the sun is setting on the Karen." My hope is the night is almost over and the day is at hand. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: On the other side of the ridge is a battalion of Burma soldiers. Villagers told us this camp mortars and shoots at them when they farm. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: We leave with pictures and map coordinates. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: People in western countries donated this clothing. 
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES: That's it. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: This village was also abandoned because of the new camp. The villagers hiding in the jungle return for medical treatment. 
  •  MEDIC, SUBTITLES: What's the child's name? FATHER, SUBTITLES: Lah Po Sey. MEDIC, SUBTITLES: When did it start? FATHER, SUBTITLES: Over a year ago. MEDIC, SUBTITLES: Your name? FATHER, SUBTITLES: Saw Taw Di. 
  •  MEDIC, SUBTITLES: Here we can do nothing but we will help find a way. This lymph node has already grown for more than one year. So now the child has a fever and has become thinner and thinner. So he cannot eat well. Also the child looks pale, likely malaria. But we have no more malaria treatment so we give only for infection. I'm not sure. Can be cancer or TB. I don't know. 
  •  INTERVIEWER, SUBTITLES: Have you had to flee from the Burma Army? FATHER, SUBTITLES: Yes, we have. Continuously. Run and run. Now they have power. They have power so they oppress us. If we have peace we can work freely, we will be happy. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: They will go to Thailand for treatment, but first we must cross the road. 
  •  MAN, SUBTITLES:  ... to send us across. We need your help. Also to watch over the villagers and soldiers who have to face the enemy. We ask many things and for the needs we don't see, that cannot be hidden from you, we ask you to fulfill each of our needs. Holy God. In Jesus name. Amen. 
  •  MONKEY, SUBTITLES: The human heart... can change. One time when we went to Sixth Brigade the Burma Army came into a village and killed villagers. Including children, elderly, women and men. All together eleven. Children who didn't know their left from right hand. At that time my heart changed to hate for the first time against the Burma Army. They chased innocent people to kill them. I became angry. I felt that if I met them I would kill them. 
  •  MONKEY, SUBTITLES: But another time in Karenni I saw a Burma soldier. I was afraid. But he thought we were civilians. He came to get some things. After he got it he went back. I saw his shirt was worn out and his pants had holes. I thought what if he was my brother? I became sad. Tears came. They are also human created by God. Some may have malice in their hearts, but maybe some don't know anything. They follow what they are ordered even if they don't want to. 
  •  MONKEY, SUBTITLES: I don't know what to think but I know God created them also. As God loves us, we love them. When I pray I remember to pray for them, for God to change their heart. From hard hearts to love. When they want to create war for God to change them to make peace. 
  •  NARRATOR, SUBTITLES: I'm very sorry to say the child was diagnosed with cancer. His prognosis was not good. His father decided they return to their family and face the future in their homeland. He was grateful for the care they received. Two weeks after they returned home the child died.  
  •  TEXT: In memory of Lah Po Sey and the boy from Mone Township. For the villagers facing oppression and everyone working for freedom, unity and peace in Burma. Thank you to everyone who helped in making this film. Thank you: Saw Taw Di, Tha U Wah A Pa, Saw Maung Hla Htoo, Major General Saw Mae Aye Sein, Major General Saw Baw Kyaw, The Karen National Union, The Free Burma Rangers. Translation: Naw Alice May, Saw Htoo Naw Than Aung, Naw Ah May Paw, Shining Moon, Saw Eh Paw, Saw Po Eh, Monkey. Music: "White Dress Girl" by Saw Toke Han, Sung by Eliya. Producer, Writer, Camera and Editing: Matt Blauer. (c) 2007 Matt Blauer. 
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Title:Prayer of Peace: Relief and Resistance in Burma's War Zones
Abstract:A 30-minute documentary that follows FBR relief workers on the front lines of the conflict in Burma, as they aid internally displaced people suffering under the Burma Army. If follows Karen FBR teams as they provide IDPs with medical care and conduct testimony interviews, and is told through the personal stories of FBR team members including a medic and a videographer.
Sequence:1 of 1
  • Free Burma RangersRole: Creator
  • Matt BauerRole: Director
  • "Monkey"Role: Contributor
Publishers:Free Burma Rangers
University of Texas Libraries
Date Created:2008
Topics:advocacy, activism, and responses to persecution--aid and relief organizations
advocacy, activism, and responses to persecution--eyewitness documentation
advocacy, activism, and responses to persecution--non-governmental organizations
armed conflict and persecution--internally displaced persons
economic, social, and cultural rights--health and healthcare
economic, social, and cultural rights--social and cultural rights--ethnic identity
Geographic Focuses:Asia--Burma
Southeast Asia
Asia--Burma--Karen State
Asia--Myanmar--Kayin State
Geographic Base:Asia--Burma
Type of Resource:Moving image
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