In 1995-1996, Burmese military tried to wipe off all Karen people who lived in Burma. When Burmese soldiers arrived at the village, all of the people who lived in there had to flee out of their own country because Burmese soldiers are violent. They burned Karen people alive, burned their places (everything that they had), families have been torn apart, young and old women raped, children butchered and men tortured. Karen people are so polite and strong; they have to stand up on the feet. Most of the Karen people are farmers; they are planting rice because rice is their main food, when it's time to cut the rice, Burmese soldiers will come to their rice fields and burn them away. That’s why they can’t stay in the village. Every time if they heard Burmese soldiers are coming up to the village, they have to pack up their clothes, foods, and pots to get ready to flee. Most Karen people live in the mountain. So when they fled, they’ll have to live in the jungle face with snake bites, get sick, and some disease.
Karen people also had to face the Civil War. That was a big issue for them; they don’t have a place to live. They kept running away from Burmese army and they got into Thailand, but Thai government didn’t accept them at first. They gave Karen people three days to return back to their own place. Later on, they changed their minds and accepted them as refugee people. They gave them a dangerous place to live in but it was a blessed for the Karen people. Most Karen people are Christians. They believed in God, they worked as a team so the place that they live in, getting better and better, but the place is controlled by Thai army; they were not allowed them to go out of place to find some foods because the Thai government provided everything for them. I think they don’t want Karen people to find jobs because they scared that Karen people will take their jobs away and their business away.
American people opened a way for refugees to come into their places. They opened a program for refugees called UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). UNHCR helps Karen people to get into USA to have a good life. In 2002, UNHCR started reviewing people who wanted to come into the USA. In 2006, they started their first trip to the USA. Half of Karen people in refugee camps are gone. Karen people who live in the USA have better places to live, easy to find foods, good clothes to wear, good education, and they are treated well. They don’t have to struggle to find things like they used to anymore.