In March of this year, Sr. Ann Rose Nu Tawng stood between life and death, telling armed soldiers in her native Myanmar that if they wanted to shoot protesters, they would have to go through her first.
Now, Sr. Ann is once again standing between life and death, assisting patients with the coronavirus.
Her plea to spare protesters was ignored, and in the end, Sr. Ann had to retrieve bodies of slain protesters.
“I ran to where the soldiers were, like a madman, like a mother hen protecting her chicks. I didn’t even realize I could be in danger myself. I just didn’t want people to get killed,” Sr. Ann recently told Radio Free Asia.
Since the protests in Myitkyina, where Sr. Ann lives, have tapered off because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the suppression and mass arrests of demonstrators, the nun has begun nursing sick patients at the city’s Catholic Missionary Clinic and in remote Kachin state villages.
“There are people with COVID symptoms, but there are no test centers, and people have no money to take tests,” Sr. Ann told the news service. “They also lack knowledge about how to stay away from one another. There are a lot of people who don’t know how to protect themselves.”
Sister Ann Nu Tawng said she was motivated to act when she saw families suffering and many deaths.
“I can’t live with seeing that, so I thought that I must do something, no matter what,” she said. “Even if I were to die while treating them, I would still do it. Otherwise, many more lives will be lost.”
Sister Ann Nu Tawng’s popularity as a social activist, boosted by the viral video and media attention, has brought scrutiny from Myanmar authorities, she said.
“I know people who stand for the truth and do good are hated,” the nun said. “If you are scared all the time, if you don’t dare to do things fearing criticism, you won’t be able to accomplish anything.”