“As for me, I do not know and understand much about politics. The situation is not stable. If we could know that the future of Burma would get better, most of us would want to go there and stay.”
Place: HtiKawLeh Village, ShanDaw Township, Karenni State, Burma
Interview by Shar Reh
Translation by Theingi Win
I have been living here in the refugee camp in Thailand for more than twenty years. Because of the fighting [between the Burmese military and the Karenni soldiers], we could not work and move freely [when I was still in Karenni State]. We had to hide and move from place to place. We could not stay in Burma any more. When we came to Thailand we had to pass through the jungle. When we heard the announcement that said, “You all can not live in this village anymore, you have to move,” we started fleeing to Thailand with some guides who knew the way to go. At that time, I was about seventeen years old.
I don’t feel the anxiety and the worries that the Burmese oppression used to cause anymore. I do not feel it anymore.
But on the other hand there is one thing that I am concerned about: When we take a shelter [in a refugee camp] in a another country, we don’t have the chance to go leave [the camp]. Likewise, we have been blocked by the authorities.
For the future, some people would like to go back to their homeland if the situation got better, while my family and I are hoping to get the opportunity to resettle to a third country. I have to take responsibility for my children and family to go there for their future.
At the moment some people prefer to stay in their own country while some people want to go to third countries (resettlement). I and my family will go to a third country, but I do not know when I can go. As for me, I do not want to go, but I have to go to take care of my family, because most of my and my wife’s relatives are already in third countries.
If is the situation in Burma gets better, I want to say that we desire to go home and stay together in our community in unity. If we go back home, we might need other kinds of occupations to work with while we cannot work as before; growing cultivation plants or crops.
When we first arrived in the refugee camp, I felt a bit pleased. But now I feel hopeless about life in camp. People have been staying here for so long, but it’s so difficult to manage them, when some are still not respectful followers. There are different reason for disobedience.
Some people want to go home, while others want to stay. As for me, I do not know and understand much about politics. The situation is not stable. If we could know that the future of Burma would get better, most of us would want to go there and stay.
Anyways, I think of my children: If we resettle in a third country, they will get more opportunities such as education, better living conditions and infrastructure. I will go and work for them.