‘Shoot Me Instead’: Myanmar Catholic Nun Kneels In Front Of Military Forces

"I knelt down... begging them not to shoot and torture the children, but to shoot me and kill me instead."
YANGON, MYANMAR - FEBRUARY 12: Protesters hold banners against the military coup and in favor of democracy outside the Russian embassy on February 12, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar declared martial law in parts of the country, including its two largest cities, as protests continued to draw people to the streets after the country's military junta staged a coup against the elected National League For Democracy (NLD) government and detained de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The U.S. government imposed sanctions and froze the U.S. assets of several of the coup's leaders and their families. (Photo by Hkun Lat/Getty Images)
Photo by Hkun Lat/Getty Images via Getty Images

A photo of a Catholic nun kneeling before police officers armed with weapons to protect children and protesters has gone viral. Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng pleaded with the law enforcement officials before they tried to shut down an anti-coup protest in the northern Myanmar city of Kachin.

“I knelt down… begging them not to shoot and torture the children, but to shoot me and kill me instead,” she told AFP on Tuesday, as reported by The Guardian.

The nun received praise from many people in the country, which is predominantly Buddhist. Myanmar has experienced political unrest, violence, and turmoil since the military took over the government and ousted pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.

As reported by The Daily Wire last week:

Violence escalated in Myanmar on Wednesday, resulting in at least 38 people losing their lives after protests began on February 1 following a military takeover of the government. Video footage and photos released on Thursday shows protesters violently attacked as they fight back against the anti-democracy military junta.

On February 20, The Daily Wire reported that two people had been killed due to the unrest in Myanmar, “resulting in the most violent day since the military takeover of the government on February 1.” On Wednesday, that number changed dramatically. 

U.N. Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener confirmed in a briefing that Wednesday was “the bloodiest day since the coup happened on the first of February.” According to CNN, Burgener continued, “Every tool available is needed now to stop this situation…We need a unity of the international community, so it’s up to the member states to take the right measures.”

Several countries have spoken out against the unrest in Myanmar as the military continues to threaten journalists and citizens. On Monday, CNN reported that members of the junta barricaded protestors in the city of Yangon before lifting a curfew and leaving the area, giving demonstrators the freedom to evacuate early Tuesday morning.

Protests continue every day throughout Myanmar and the military has responded violently. According to Reuters, “More than 60 protesters have been killed and more than 1,800 detained, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), an advocacy group, has said.”

Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng, the 45 year-old Catholic nun, described confronting the members of the police as they positioned around a group of protestors.

“The police were chasing to arrest them and I was worried for the children,” she said.

She got on her knees to beg them to be merciful, but as she was doing so, the police fired rounds into the throng of protestors.

“The children panicked and ran to the front … I couldn’t do anything but I was praying for God to save and help the children,” she said.

She recalled how she saw a man fall to the ground after he was shot in the head. “I felt like the world was crashing,” she said. “I’m very sad it happened as I was begging them.”

According to The Guardian, “A local rescue team confirmed to AFP that two men were shot dead on the spot during Monday’s protest, though it did not confirm whether live rounds or rubber bullets were used.”

Kachin is Myanmar’s northernmost state and is no stranger to conflict. For years, the largest Christian minority community has seen war play out in the region as the Kachin Independence Army fights against government military forces. Christian groups are reportedly among the organizations that are helping the tens of thousands of people in the area who have been forced to leave their homes.

On February 28, Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng acted with comparable bravery when “she made a similar plea for mercy, walking slowly towards police in riot gear, getting on her knees and pleading for them to stop.”

“I have thought myself dead already since 28 February,” she said.

The nun said that she will continue to do what she has been doing.

“I can’t stand and watch without doing anything, seeing what’s happening in front of my eyes while all Myanmar is grieving,” she said.

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