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Myanmar kneeling nun among BBC's 100 influential women

Kachin nun Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng has become a global icon of peace with her courageous acts

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: December 08, 2021 06:03 AM GMT

Updated: December 08, 2021 07:52 AM GMT

Myanmar kneeling nun among BBC's 100 influential women

Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng pleads with police not to harm protesters in Myitkyina in Myanmar's Kachin state amid a crackdown on demonstrations against the military coup. (Photo: AFP/Myitkyina News Journal)

Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng, the famous kneeling nun from Myanmar’s conflict-torn Kachin state who confronted security forces with fearlessness and courage, is among the BBC’s list of 100 influential and inspiring women of the year.

On the BBC website, a photo shows her clad in the white habit and veil of the St. Francis Xavier congregation. She was named along with Nobel laureates, professors and politicians.

Sister Nu Tawng inspired people around the world with her fearless acts of standing between security forces and unarmed young protesters during the military crackdowns in February and March.

The nun knelt before security personnel, pleading with them not to shoot unarmed civilians when security forces were preparing to crack down on protesters in Myitkyina, capital of Kachin state.

“Just shoot me if you want to,” said the Kachin nun, adding that “the protesters have no weapons and they are just showing their desire peacefully.”

The iconic gestures of the Kachin nun made headlines when photographs were published of her kneeling before police, shielding peaceful protesters and extending her arms begging the police not to shoot or hurt anyone.

I have prepared myself that I will give my life for the Church, for the people and for the nation

Sister Nu Tawng’s brave act in confronting security forces went viral in late February when she was lauded worldwide as an icon of peace.

Her courageous acts also gained the attention of Pope Francis, who said in March: “I, too, kneel on the streets of Myanmar and say, ‘Stop the violence.’ I, too, spread wide my arms and say, ‘Make way for dialogue.’”

The 45-year-old nun told UCA News: “I have prepared myself that I will give my life for the Church, for the people and for the nation. I’m a Catholic nun but I’m also a citizen of Myanmar, so I have the same feeling as the people of Myanmar. I am always thinking about how I can give a hand to the people of Myanmar.”

The BBC said the nun became a symbol of Myanmar’s protests following the Feb. 1 coup when she knelt in front of police to save protesters taking shelter in her church.

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It added that she has openly spoken of protecting civilians, especially children. She was trained as a midwife and has led a life of service for the past 20 years, recently looking after Covid patients in Kachin state.

The BBC names 100 influential and inspirational women around the world each year. Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, US philanthropist Melinda Gates and Afghanistan peace negotiator Fatima Gailani have also been named.

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