#icantkeepquiet: Mupor's Story
As told to MILCK by Mandy:
I want to share with you a powerful moment I had with a friend tonight. She is a Pya'K Nyaw woman – a.k.a. the Karen people - from a tribe in Northern Thailand where we both live. She is strong and smart and funny. Her people are persecuted by the government.
Tonight we talked about Billy, a Pya'K Nyaw activist and friend of her family who was 'disappeared' by the Thai government. After he was detained he has never been seen again. Blood that was found in the officials' vehicles was wiped clean before forensics could take samples. So we fear the worst. It made us both very sad.
A few years ago Billy's village was burned to the ground by the government and all the villagers relocated to the lowlands where they have no food, no drinking water, no access to their ancestral lands at all. She is a nurse and she told me she wants to drive 600km south to that relocated village to bring medical supplies and clothes but was warned that it’d be too dangerous with the barriers of distance, money, and the cultural stigmas with a woman doing this kind of activist work. But the warnings are not enough for this powerful woman.
I played her your song "Quiet. After listening, she felt resolved to continue with her vision. She demanded that if people did not feel safe having a woman go serve her people, they would have to join her, as she was going nonetheless.
I just felt you deserved to hear that your music is reaching people in the most remote parts of the world.
Finally, this is not my story. I am a white girl from the UK with all the privilege that comes with the luck of that lottery. I have just been blessed in having met Mupor and her extended family and made this amazing friend for life...
Needless to say, this message took my breath away. I asked Mandy and Mupor for permission to share the story, and did further research on the Pay'k Nyaw people.* A few edits were made to her original message to protect the parties mentioned. I hope this story brings inspiration to anyone who reads it. It's a reminder that the fight for human rights is happening everywhere, and there are many strong human rights activists putting the work in to protect our children and elders. Thank you Mandy and Mupor for your beautiful sisterhood and story.
*People of Pay’K Nyaw descent make up 84% of Thailand’s largest refugee camp, which houses 40,000 refugees. For more info, start with this article.