Thursday, November 17, 2005

Su Su Nway, Truly A Burmese Heroine

This blog is dedicated to Burmese Heroine Su Su Nway.
She lived in Htang Manaing village of Kawmoo town, Rangoon until her imprisonment. Originally she is a nobody among the down-trodden Burmese people. Her life is full of struggle suffering from heart attack and taking care of her younger siblings since both of her parents passed away. The sure thing she feels is she lives in an environment of fear overwhelmed by injustice, arbitrariness, bullying and intimidation.

She never thought of possessing a famous status as she is today.
However her National League for Democracy youth membership probably turns her simple thought into a brave one. One of her daily activities is regularly listening radio especially from overseas Burmese brocasting services, making her thoughts more open-minded on political issues. She starts to feel it would better off doing something than doing nothing.

Her fellow villagers respect her because she is a devout Buddhist, straightforward, polite and humble. She would never stop short if whoever asks her help. She always encourages her friends to be righteous and conscientious.
One day she and the villagers were given order to volunteer for road construction and dyke by the State Peace and Development Council authorities of their village. They were forced to go to the construction site and had to excavate a 25 meter-square trench each day. They had to work for many days from 6 a.m to 6 p.m virtually without any pay. If they could not finish one day's job, they had to pay 6000-Kyat fine and face legal means. The authorities call it Burmese traditional way of volunteering. The villagers have been subjected to many instances of this.

To Su Su Nway, it is a case to make. The time has come. So she reported their case to Rangoon-based International labor Organization office.

Then she sued her village authorities for coercing her and her fellow villagers into forced labor at Kawmoo township court. In early 2005 she won her case and the local authorities responsible for using forced labor practices in her village were all sentenced to prison. Noticeably the time of their sentencing coincides with a visit of high ILO delegation to Rangoon. Since the day she sued them, the authorities intimidated her and plotted many traps against her.

Not so long after she won the court decision, the authorities counter-sued her on the false accusation of using abusive language against and disrupting them on duty. On 13 October 2005 she was sentenced to one and a half year imprisonment by a court in Kawmoo township. It is widely known before the conclusion of her trial that the court decision against her was premeditated by SPDC junta and the course of her trial was a farce and she would be punished for speaking out against the forced labor practices.

She faced the unfair trial calmly and received unjust prison sentence with smile. She is never afraid of going to prison for standing on the side of people in trouble. She has proven herself a human rights defender even on the pain of imprisonment or at the great risk of her life.
Su Su Nway is truly a heroine of our age.


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