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Princess with a Cause, Part III

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She travels far and stays up late to discuss the book with book clubs, 
Scout troops, students, professional clubs and anyone else who will invite 
her.  She wrote it, she tells them, to honor Sao, to provide a family 
history for her daughters and to tell the story of Myanmar's oppressed 

"She feels as though she has a mission," said Carol Koch, a Fairview 
colleague.  :

"I think she really believes that telling this story is an important part 
of why she's here."

Koch said she didn't hear anything more than rumors about Sargent's "very 
interesting past" until they had taught together for years.

Last year Koch assigned "Twilight over Burma" to ninth-grade English 
students, then invited Sargent to class.

"The kids wanted to know more about what happened, and I know they don't 
feel that that chapter in her life is closed," Koch said.  "They know that 
she's remarried and happy, but they want it to end like a story-book 
romance, where the prince returns.

For years, Sargent hoped for that ending, too.  Now, with the story told, 
she's focusing on more realistic objectives.

"Free Burma -- Boycott Texaco," reads a bumper sticker on her car.  "Free 
Burma -- Boycott Unocal," reads another, registering her protest against 
two major investors in a $1 billion natural gas pipeline under 
construction in Myanmar.

Tad Sargent cut up his Texaco credit card and sent it back to the company. 
Inge Sargent looks closely at labels.  "Even at Foley's last summer, I 
picked up a pair of shorts made in Myanmar, so of course I didn't buy 
them," she said.

She offers a visitor a Diet Coke or a Hansen's soda, crisply adding, 
"There's no Pepsi in this house."  Pepsi also does business in Myanmar.

Texaco, Unocal, Pepsi and others have been targets of Sargent's polite and 
persistent letter-writing campaign, which demands immediate withdrawal 
from the country.

When the companies reply, they state that they are providing good jobs for 
the people in a poor country and opening an isolated, oppressed nation to 
modern technology and liberal thinking.

The companies, Sargent said, are propping up a military dictatorship.

Last summer, the Sargents and local Burmese dissident U Kyaw Win 
demonstrated outside a Boulder travel agency that was offering adventure 
package tours to Myanmar.

Other than the Sargents  and himself, Win said, few Coloradans are 
interested in Myanmar, "except for people who are trying to decide which 
mountain to climb."

The Sargents were pleased when Massachusetts last week became the first 
state in the nation to refuse contracts with companies that trade with 
Myanmar's government.  They also are lobbying for a federal bill for 
economic and diplomatic sanctions against the country.

They would like to see Boulder, even Colorado, pass such resolutions.

Proceeds from"Twilight over Burma," now in its second printing, go to 
refugee camps lining the Myanmar-Thai border.  And the couple is ever  
vigilant on the Internet, monitoring reports out of Myanmar.

"The more people who know what's going on there, the less likely the bad 
guys can get away with what they're doing," Tad Sargent said.

Other observers agree that raising awareness may be the best support the 
Sargents can offer.

"It is very important for anyone who has any knowledge of Burma to keep 
the story of Burma alive," Silverstein said, "because the military would 
love to see it disappear."

"As long as the army rules Myanmar, Inge Sargent can never go back.

"I don't dare," she said.  "They would never let me out."

She and Sao agreed, she recalled, that if he were imprisoned, she should 
leave the country.

If he were alive, he would find her.  If he didn't appear within five 
years, she should assume he was dead.

(To be continued in Part IV)