Albany Karen community to host food fair to support fight for democracy in Myanmar

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Albany Karen community members Daniel and Behbeh Zu with De Sunshine Win, Albany Baptist Church senior pastor Phil Beeck and Pah Shaw at the Albany Baptist Church.
Camera IconAlbany Karen community members Daniel and Behbeh Zu with De Sunshine Win, Albany Baptist Church senior pastor Phil Beeck and Pah Shaw at the Albany Baptist Church. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Albany’s Karen community will host a food fair on Saturday to raise funds and awareness for their community’s fight for democracy in their home country of Myanmar.

Myanmar — formerly known as Burma — was taken over in a military coup on February 1, with the elected government removed and replaced by a military regime which then plunged the country into a year-long state of emergency.

Thousands of protestors have been demanding an end to the coup and return to democracy in Myanmar’s civil disobedience movement.

The military regime has imposed strict curfews, restrictions and fear on their daily lives, with hundreds of people — including children — killed in their fight for freedom.

Albany Karen community leader Daniel Zu said the fundraiser aimed to raise awareness and support those fighting for democracy.

Mr Zu found refuge in Australia in 2007 and moved to Albany last year with his wife Behbeh, to join their two sons.

“All the money raised will go to those who are risking their lives on the frontline and are participating in the civil disobedience movement and other activities that are struggling to regain the democracy and return human rights back to normal in Burma,” he said.

Mr Zu said the Karen community first settled in Albany a decade ago starting with four individuals finding refuge on the south coast in search of jobs.

The Karen community has since grown to hundreds of people in Albany.

However, Mr Zu said they could not ignore the atrocities happening in their home country with loved ones caught in the “brutal” regime.

“The situation in Burma has gone from bad to worse. Everyday they are going to experience horrible things,” he said.

“The future is uncertain and most people are feeling hopeless and helpless.

“Even though we are enjoying life and are privileged in Australia our community back in our homeland and the whole of Burma is suffering untold misery and atrocity by the military regime that took coup.

“(The year) 2021 is quite a year of suffering for those in Burma.”

The food fair fundraiser will be held from 10.30am to 2pm at Albany Baptist Church on Bethel Way with a variety of delicious meals prepared by the Karen community.

It will feature a performance by the Albany Karen community youth and a presentation to raise awareness of the hardships in Myanmar.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase with proceeds supporting the Myanmar civil disobedience movement.

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