Saskatoon woman from Myanmar says more attention needed for Karen people fleeing violence

·2 min read
Protesters detained by police during an anti-coup demonstrations react after being released at Tamwe township police station in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 24, 2021.  (Reuters - image credit)
Protesters detained by police during an anti-coup demonstrations react after being released at Tamwe township police station in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 24, 2021. (Reuters - image credit)

Kamwee Eh wants people to know about the suffering of her people.

In February there was a military coup in Myanmar, also known as Burma. Since then, there has been increased violence and mass arrests.

Rallies to raise awareness about the situation are planned for Saturday in Saskatoon and Regina.

Kamwee Eh will be in participating. The 27-year-old's family fled war-torn Myanmar and she spent most of her early childhood in a refugee camp in Thailand.

"I honestly didn't know we were in a refugee camp or why we had to run back then when I was a kid," she said.

"I only started to realize once I grew older and when I moved to Canada."

She and her family are Karen, a minority ethnic group Indigenous to Myanmar. The group has been the target of attacks by the country's army.

Kamwee Eh with one of her brothers at a water fountain in the hospital where they would go to visit their parents are work.
Kamwee Eh with one of her brothers at a water fountain in the hospital where they would go to visit their parents are work.(Submitted by Kamwee Eh)

Kamwee Eh has been in Saskatoon since 2007, but said the current situation in Myanmar is reminding her of why her family fled and how little attention the ongoing violence has received in Saskatchewan.

"I just feel like that could be one of us. That could be our family," she said.

"It's really hard to see what's going on right now with our people… why is this our life and why is this still happening? I feel like we deserve our freedom, we deserve our own life."

She wants others to know what's happening because she worries if more people don't pay attention then the situation will get worse.

"It's just very heartbreaking to see kids missing their parents, parents miss their kids, not knowing if they're still alive," she said.

Kamwee Eh poses for a picture with her brothers and mom when she was a child.
Kamwee Eh poses for a picture with her brothers and mom when she was a child.(Submitted by Kamwee Eh)