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Home > Main Library > Non-Burman and non-Buddhist groups > Ethnic groups in Burma (cultural, political) > Single Groups > Karen (cultural, historical, political) > Karen (cultural, historical, political)

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Karen (cultural, historical, political)

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Museum of Karen History and Culture
Date of publication: June 2004
Description/subject: "Welcome to the Museum of Karen History and Culture dedicated to researching, preserving, and promoting the history and culture of the ethnic Karens of Burma. The Karens, now totalling over five million people, were one of, if not, the first inhabitants of what is now Burma. Throughout the centuries that followed they were constantly oppressed by the Burman rulers who took over the country. Now, the military government seeks to destroy the individual identity of the Karen people. History and language is being lost as the State Peace and Development Council bans all schools in Karen State from teaching their own language and history. The Karen History and Culture Preservation Society is a non-profit, non-political organisation, formed in 2001 to help preserve and promote the history and culture of a unique people. This electronic museum is only the beginning and is by no means complete, all people who can contribute are welcome (please see the KHCPS section for details) and any feedback you wish to give please do. We dedicate this museum to all of the Karen people who continue to suffer under insurmountable odds" SOME PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO ACCESS THE MUSEUM WITHOUT DIFFICULTY. OTHERS CANNOT SEE THE UPPER NAVIGATION BAR. PLEASE CONTACT darnott@iprolink.ch IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen History and Culture Preservation Society
Format/size: html, jpg etc.
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/karenmuseum/
Date of entry/update: 31 January 2005


Title: Drum Publications
Description/subject: "The Drum Publication Group was founded in May 1998. The goal of the Drum Publication Group is to promote literature in both Karen and Burmese languages with the overall objectives of developing education for Burmese people wherever they might reside. The Group wishes to establish contact with as many other groups and individuals as possible who are involved in literature and education, and to be involved in all aspects of literacy development and the ensuing work of printing suitable books and teaching aids. As well as translation and typesetting we would like to assist those NGOs involve in education work at all stages. Participation in planning sessions and workshops would be welcomed and would, we feel, increase our capacity to play a useful role in this regard. The Group will promote, through its own practice, transparency and accountability, in all dealings. The Group is not affiliated with any political organization and stands for racial and sexual equality. The Drum Group's focus is on: * Writing and printing educational books. * Producing teaching aids and extra-curricula materials. * Translation of texts, to and from, both Sgaw Karen and Burmese languages - especially those relevant to education. * Establishing a library and documentation centre to preserve valuable books and documents. * Assisting the printing of educational material in Pwo Karen, Shan, Mon and other ethnic languages. A catalogue of our publications is available on this web site. Publications are distributed at cost price, or less, to groups and individuals involved in formal or non-formal education or training. Those ordering large numbers of books as well as overseas institutes are requested to pay the full cost of the order plus postage costs... Downloadable books: * English - Sgaw Karen Student Dictionary (PDF version which can be used off line) * Days Not to be Forgotten : (Sgaw Karen), Karen veterans of WWII share their experiences * Echos from Karen Land: (Sgaw Karen) * Little Authors' Imaginative World: (Sgaw Karen) * * Lilly and Pa Saw Htee's Amazing Earth and the Universe Facts: (Sgaw Karen / English) * Lilly and Pa Saw Htee's Amazing Animal Facts: (Sgaw Karen / English) * Ethnic Folktakes of Burma : (Sgaw Karen) * Hta for Children : (Sgaw Karen) * A Holiday I Will Never Forget (a choose your our adventure story) : (Sgaw Karen) * Brain Sharpeners : math puzzles (Sgaw Karen) * Traditional Karen Dress : (Sgaw Karen) Drum's quarterly fun newsletter for kids! * * Drum Kids Newsletter, July 2006:(Sgaw Karen) * Drum Kids Newsletter, April 2006:(Sgaw Karen) * Drum Kids Newsletter, Jan. 2006:(Sgaw Karen) * Drum Kids Newsletter, Oct. 2005:(Sgaw Karen)
Language: English, Sgaw Karen, Burmese
Source/publisher: Drum Publication Group
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 04 September 2006


Title: Friends of the Karen People
Description/subject: "Friends of the Karen People - Mission Statement * We provide scholarships to prospective students from Burma regardless of their ethnic origin. * We prepare students to able to integrate into the international education system. * We aim to upgrade the education system in the ethnic regions of Burma. * We help maintain the culture and literature of the different ethnic nationalities of Burma. * We publish materials about the struggle of the ethnic nationalities of Burma. Friends of the Karen People - Objective * To document the culture and daily life of the Karen People who are in refugee camps and who are internally displaced. * To inform the world about the plight of the ethnic nationalities. * To bring a new generation of leaders to Burma. * To help people to survive and bring peace to the region. Brief recent history of Burma The Burmese military dictatorship took over power on March 2, 1962 and has been introducing ethnic cleansing since. There are more than a hundred ethnic groups in Burma who are gradually becoming extinct. Ethnic nationalities of Burma are forbidden to study their languages and practice their religious beliefs. Their cultures are disappearing and they no longer know how to speak or write their own languages. Their land is being taken away from them. They become internally displaced. They are relocated to places where there is no way to make their living. They have to work as slaves for the military. They are used to clear land mines and carry military equipment as porters. They suffer all kinds of abuse and oppression. Husbands and sons are killed, wives and daughters are raped. Children and infants are burned alive. The ethnic nationalities have become internal colonies. They are oppressed by the military dictatorship of Burma and are trapped in the nest of a heartless monster. The Karen people and all the other ethnic nationalities have fought to defend themselves for over 50 years to survive ethnic cleansing."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Friends of the Karen People
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 November 2005


Title: Karen Emergency Relief Fund
Description/subject: "The purpose of the Karen Emergency Relief Fund Inc. is to provide humanitarian assistance, including food, shelter, medical and health supplies, and to provide educational and self-help projects for the Karen people. The Relief Fund recognizes that the Karens are an indigenous, ethnic minority group of about 11 million people who have lived in the mountainous region along the border of Burma and Thailand for many centuries. Due to the ongoing strife in Burma, it is estimated that there are more than 300,000 displaced Karens who have fled into the jungle and are living in huts and makeshift camps in the border area. Those who have escaped into Thailand have not been given official refugee status, consequently they receive no direct assistance from the United Nations or from the Red Cross. Alongside impoverished Karen organizations the Karen Emergency Relief Fund maintains an office in Mae Sot, Thailand. In 2000 K.E.R.F established a therapy program for the victims of rape and torture which is directed by a skilled and innovative psychotherapist. No other agency was addressing the consequences of these widespread and vicious crimes. The Karen Emergency Relief Fund Inc. is recognized by the IRS as a non-profit, tax deductible organization, and has no paid employees. All funds raised are distributed to the Karens or to organizations acting on their behalf. The Board of Directors of the Karen Emergency Relief Fund Inc. is comprised of physicians, clergypersons and business professionals from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The organization was created on July 20, 1997. "
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Emergency Relief Fund
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Karen Women Organization
Description/subject: Large site, many dead or obsolete links...... "The Karen Women’s Organisation was formed in 1949 and has a membership of over 49,000 women. KWO is a community-based organisation of Karen women working in development and relief in the refugee camps on the Thai border and with IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and women inside Burma. Since our formation in 1949 we have expanded our focus from one of purely social welfare to try to encourage an awareness of Women’s Rights and to promote women’s participation in the community decision making and political processes......The objectives of the KWO" * To assist women in the endeavour to be free from all forms of oppression. * To promote and empower women in all spheres of life, including education and general living standards. * To encourage women to participate in the struggle for freedom, democracy and equality. * To develop women’s knowledge, ability and skills, including political and organisational skills. * To achieve the rights of women and equal status with men. * To promote and maintain Karen culture and traditions. * To improve the well being of women and children and to increase their access to adequate health, education and welfare service..... KWO aims to empower women through offering various capacity building trainings to teach skills, build confidence and create new opportunities so that women will be better able to solve problems. We are working hard to educate ourselves and our communities so that we can work more effectively and advocate for our struggle on the international stage... We believe that women’s contribution is an essential factor in the peace-building and national reconciliation processes of Burma."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Women Organization
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Pwo and Sgaw Karen Fonts
Description/subject: A number of Pwo and Sgaw Karen fonts...Open in a new page and unzip the files (that's the only way I can access the files using Firefox) -- other browsers may work differently - Librarian)
Author/creator: KHCPS
Source/publisher: KHCPS
Format/size: .zip/469k
Date of entry/update: 05 March 2006


Title: The Hilltribes of Thailand Karen
Description/subject: Touristy site
Language: English
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Voices of the People: "A Collection of Stories of people of Burma"
Description/subject: "These are Burma’s voices for change, extraordinary stories of people of Burma from all walks of life. Their experiences, struggles, fears, and successes. These are unheard stories of incredible spirit of resilience and courage, voices of hope and dreams that have emerged from decades of oppression. Help us spread these voices across the globe!"...Stories and voices from Karen, Karenni, Shan, Kachin, Chin, Rakhine, Mon, Palaung, Pa-O, Nagas and other ethnic minorities.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 March 2016


Title: Working Group: "Socio-economics of Forest Use in the Tropics and Subtropics"
Description/subject: Various documents in German and/or English on the Karen and other groups in Thailand and Burma, including "Change and identity in Pwo Karen communities in Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, a 'Global Heritage' in Western Thailand".
Author/creator: Reiner Buergin
Language: Deutsch, German, English
Source/publisher: Institute for Ethnology, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Individual Documents

Title: Migration as a Challenge for Myanmar’s Socio-economic Development: Case Studies of Hpa-­an and Mrauk-­U townships in Myanmar
Date of publication: 04 September 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "Migration is the act or process of moving from one place to another with the intent of staying at the destination permanently or for a relatively long period of time (1992, Longman). It can also be assumed that people move from one place to another, usually their home place, to work or to settle in another place. As basic factors, migration take place an area where the migrants believe that their opportunity and life circumstances will be better at their destinations than the present location. Nevertheless, if an area where takes place a movement of in-­migration because of positive conditions (pull factors), this will be generally increased the population or human resources. Similarly, if an area where takes place a movement of out-­migration due to negative conditions (push factors), this area will lose their population or human resources. Some time it affects the negative impacts and potential challenges for sustainable socio-­economic development of this area. Therefore, this study is based on some specific areas of Myanmar: Hpa-­an Township, Kayin State and Mrauk-­U Township, Rakhine State where migration process takes place by focusing the question of how and why the people are migrating in these areas. This paper is intended to explore the migration patterns of these are as and to point out the main reasons of push and pull factors for these migrations. To obtain the relevant data, it is analyzed with field observation and in semi-­structured in-­depth interview survey method to the local authorities, experts and local people. Some of the facts from the interview data are assessed by SWOT Analysis to know the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats due to migration. As a result from this study, economic condition is the key factor of the migration for the study areas and that effect on the socioeconomic condition of these areas.".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Saw Yu May
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (725K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 04 September 2015


Title: They Poured Petrol Around My House and Burnt Down My House: KHRG Interview with Karen Villager
Date of publication: 26 August 2015
Description/subject: "Below are excerpts of Karen Human Rights Group’s (KHRG) interview with Ma A—, a Karen villager who describes events occurring in her village in June 2015, including land confiscation, forced relocation, attack on a village and villagers, threatening, looting, arbitrary detention and threats to children’s right to education. The interview was conducted in Thaton District in July 2015 by a community member trained by KHRG to monitor local human rights conditions."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 17 March 2016


Title: Karen Major General Nerdah Bo Mya: ‘The Government Is Playing the Game’
Date of publication: 07 April 2015
Description/subject: "Nerdah Bo Mya is a Major General and the Chief of Staff of the Karen National Defence Organization (KNDO), which was founded in 1947 to protect the Karen people and territory, and is under its mother organisation Karen National Union (KNU). Nerdah Bo Mya, 48, was born near Manerplaw—the former headquarters of the KNU as well as other ethnic nationalities and the pro–democracy movement—as the son of the late General Bo Mya who was the President of the KNU from 1976 to 2000. After being educated in Thailand and in the US, where Nerdah Bo Mya spent six years studying a Liberal Arts degree at a university in California, the young graduate turned away from a future in the US and soon returned to the Thailand-Burma border. For over 20 years, he has fought for “freedom, democracy, and humanity,” against what is undoubtedly one of the most brutal military regimes in the world. This dedicated and empathetic “rebel” leader emphasizes that it is not just the Karen people but a whole nation of 60 million people who are still suffering and need to be freed. Although the international community has enjoyed what some call a honeymoon with the Burmese government since the country started opening up in 2011, according to Nerdah Bo Mya, the government is still not showing signs of sincerity in peace talks nor genuine willingness to change. “The government is playing the game,” he says, and the international community too often indirectly participating in ongoing atrocities. In this exclusive interview with Burma Link, Nerdah Bo Mya talks about the struggle, the current state of the ceasefire and the peace process, the role of the international community, and how to build a prosperous Burma for the future generations."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 17 March 2016


Title: Myanmar: Portraits of Diversity: Saw Poe Kwar (video)
Date of publication: April 2015
Description/subject: "Commissioned by CPCS, Myanmar: Portraits of Diversity is a series of short films seeking to stimulate discussion and move audiences towards recognizing, accepting, and celebrating religious diversity in Myanmar. Directed by Kannan Arunasalam, the films present individuals from Myanmar’s different religious communities and highlight the inter-faith connections and engagement that take place naturally around the country. Featuring stories of cooperation across religious and ethnic divides, as well as the capacity for peace leadership within the country, community leaders share analysis and insights into the threat of inter-communal violence and illustrate the capacity for peace leadership...The film series seeks to stimulate alternative narratives regarding ethnic and spiritual issues in Myanmar where tolerance and cooperation are highlighted, rather than conflict and persecution. Screened together with guided reflections, the films can be used as tools to stimulate exchanges of ideas about diversity and tolerance, and to create a space to foster acceptance and share visions for the future. The issues raised by individuals featured in the films can be used to generate discussions on Myanmar’s different religious communities and highlight the kinds of inter-faith connections and engagement that take place naturally around the country. A discussion and study guide is available for each video portrait, followed by suggested activities that can also be adapted to different learning environments. For each film, background is provided on the person and their context, followed by five discussion questions and extension activities..."
Language: English and Burmese
Source/publisher: Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS)
Format/size: Vimeo player (5:05 minutes)
Alternate URLs: http://www.centrepeaceconflictstudies.org/interventions/myanmar-portraits-of-diversity/
Date of entry/update: 29 September 2015


Title: A View of the Karen Baptists in Burma of the Mid-Nineteenth Century, from the Standpoint of the American Baptist Mission
Date of publication: 27 December 2014
Description/subject: "This article aims to shed light on the significance of the mission policy and interaction between the mission society in America and missionaries in Burma, in order to comprehend the manner in which the Karens of the 19th century were described. The Karens have been known as “a Christianized people,” and they have been described thus both by themselves and others for quite a period of time. While this is still generally the case, yet many point to the fact that such an understanding does not precisely reflect the reality of the situation. As a matter of fact, the Christians, two-thirds of which are Baptists constitute merely a minority of the entire Karen population, slightly over 10 percent of their total number, and the majority of those people have been and still are Buddhists. This situation indicates that the general view of the Karens being Christian is distorted. And if so, one cannot avoid asking why such a distorted view came to grow so dominant with reference to our understanding of those people. A closer look into the historical situation is the key to prove this issue..."
Author/creator: FUJIMURA Hitomi
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Journal of Sophia Asian Studies, No. 32, 2014... 上智アジア学 第32 号2014 年 目次 ...Burma Studies in Japan: History, Culture and Religion
Format/size: pdf (696K)
Alternate URLs: http://repository.cc.sophia.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/123456789/36549/1/200000079942_000134000_129.pdf
Date of entry/update: 23 September 2015


Title: If I Really Try Hard Nothing Is Impossible: From Collecting Recyclables to Higher Education
Date of publication: 15 December 2014
Description/subject: "Naw Eh is an incredibly determined 20-year-old Karen woman whose perseverance, motivation and hopeful spirit have taken her far beyond what she ever could have imagined as a child. Growing up as an undocumented migrant under extreme poverty and lack of opportunity, unlike many others in Thailand young Naw Eh had no chance to go to school. Instead, she spent her mornings selling snacks to school children, before starting her daily round of looking after the household and collecting recyclables on the streets. Naw Eh was 12 years old when she finally had the opportunity to go to school. From childhood of labour, desperation and rejection by other children, Naw Eh’s determination has, incredibly, led her to study for an internationally recognised GED diploma on the Thailand-Burma border. This is her account on how education, trying incredibly hard, and never giving up, has changed her life and led her towards light and new opportunities."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 March 2016


Title: Karen Resistance Poetry
Date of publication: May 2014
Description/subject: Translated and introduced by Violet Cho. "Tee Noe was born as M. No Noe in a village called Thavorta, Karen State, Myanmar (Burma) in 1952. After completing year 10 at a state high school in 1974, he worked as a junior clerk at a local government office in Karen State, eastern Myanmar. Later he joined the rebellion as a soldier for the Karen National Liberation Army and as a schoolteacher in Burmese refugee camps along Thai-Burma border. With no formal knowledge of the mechanics of poetry, Tee Noe has become a leading voice of the Karen diaspora. From a young age, Tee Noe was drawn to poetry. He remembers singing a short hta (Karen oral poem) to thank his cousin who gave him a woollen hat as a present when he turned six: ‘To school I run when the bell rings, with a woollen hat today I went'..."
Author/creator: Tee Noe (trans. Violet Cho)
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Literature, Vol.6 No.4
Format/size: pdf (55K)
Date of entry/update: 17 May 2016


Title: Creating Non-State Spaces: Interfaces of Humanitarianism and Self-Government of Karen-Refugee Migrants in Thai Burmese Border Spaces
Date of publication: October 2012
Description/subject: Abstract: "This paper examines the interfaces of local community based humanitarian organizations with displaced Karen people in Thai-Burmese border spaces and their claims for cultural rights. It argues that Karen people have to organize themselves in a context where they do not have access to social welfare of the state and in which the state is hostile and oppressive to them. Applying Merry’s thesis on the localization and vernacularization of international rights frameworks in the local context, the paper explores the context of power in which different humanitarian actors intervention in the local conflict zone. The author finds that Karen displaced people have differentiated access to humanitarian assistance and that powerful organizations like the Karen National Union are able to benefit while essentializing Karen culture and suppressing internal difference among the Karen to position itself towards the international donor community, thereby becoming “liked” or “preferred” refugees. The paper then also looks at secular and faith-based local humanitarian groups and finds that these groups are deeply embedded in local society and thus able to help effectively. Karen displaced people thus create non-state spaces in border spaces by establishing partnerships with local humanitarian organizations that act as brokers and mediators of international organizations and donors."
Author/creator: Alexander Horstmann
Language: English
Source/publisher: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religioius and Ethnic Diversity
Format/size: pdf (940K-OBL version; 2MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.mmg.mpg.de/publications/working-papers/2012/wp-12-17/
www.mmg.mpg.de/workingpapers
Date of entry/update: 08 November 2012


Title: Revitalization and Development of Karen Traditional Medicine for Sustainable Refugee Health Services at the Thai–Burma Border
Date of publication: 2012
Description/subject: "The Burmese regime’s protracted violent conflict with its ethnic minorities has resulted in 2 million migrants and refugees settling across the border in Thailand. In addition there are an estimated 600,000 internally displaced people in border regions within Burma. For many, conventional health services are limited or unavailable. This article reports on the use, preservation, and practice of traditional Karen medicine among refugees and migrants along the Thai–Burma border. Traditional health practitioners are adapting their practices to meet refugee and migrants’ changing needs, creating options for sustainable community-based health services..."
Author/creator: Gerard Bodeker and Cora Neumann
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
Format/size: pdf (312K-reduced version; 553K-original)
Date of entry/update: 21 October 2015


Title: The Bronze Drum and the Karen (ကျိၣ်ဒီးကညီဖိ)
Date of publication: October 2011
Language: Karen (ကရင္ဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Drum Publication Group
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 May 2015


Title: Burma's Longest War: Anatomy of the Karen Conflict
Date of publication: 28 March 2011
Description/subject: "Political grievances among Karen and other ethnic nationality communities, which have driven over half a century of armed conflict in Burma/Myanmar, remain unresolved. As the country enters a period of transition following the November 2010 elections and formation of a new government, the Karen political landscape is undergoing its most significant changes in a generation. There is a pressing need for Karen social and political actors to demonstrate their relevance to the new political and economic agendas in Burma, and in particular to articulate positions regarding the major economic and infrastructure development projects to be implemented in the coming years. The country's best-known insurgent organisation, the Karen National Union (KNU), is in crisis, having lost control of its once extensive 'liberated zones’, and lacks a political agenda relevant to all Karen communities. Meanwhile the government's demand that ceasefire groups, such as the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, transform into Border Guard Forces under direct Burma Army control throws into question the future of various armed groups that have split from the KNU since the 1990s. In this context, Thailand-Burma border areas have seen an upsurge in fighting since late 2010. Nevertheless, the long-term prospect is one of the decline of insurgency as a viable political or military strategy. Equitable solutions to Burma's social, political and economic problems must involve settling long-standing conflicts between ethnic communities and the state. While Aung San Suu Kyi, the popular leader of the country's democracy movement, seems to recognise this fact, the military government, which holds most real power in the country, has sought to suppress and assimilate minority communities. It is yet to be seen whether Karen and other ethnic nationality representatives elected in November 2010 will be able to find the political space within which to exercise some influence on local or national politics. In the meantime, civil society networks operating within and between Karen and other ethnic nationality communities represent vehicles for positive, incremental change, at least at local levels."
Author/creator: Ashley South
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute, Burma Centrum Nederland
Format/size: pdf (2MB - OBL version; 2.3MB - original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs11/TNI-BurmasLongestWar-AshleySouth-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 29 March 2011


Title: DISPLACED AND MISPLACED OR JUST DISPLACED: Christian Displaced Karen Identity after Sixty Years of War in Burma
Date of publication: March 2010
Description/subject: "...The thesis sought to explore the impact of organized violence, displacement and resettlement has had on the identity of a micro-section of the displaced Karen people – those professing to be Christian and either living in a displaced persons’ camp on the Thai side of the Thai-Burma border or having migrated to a third country under the UNHCR Resettlement Scheme with a special emphasis on Australia. The reason for choosing this particular micro-section of the Karen people is that, though not the predominant faith practiced by the Karen, the Christian Karen are a synecdoche for the Karen internationally. The thesis was informed by theories of organized violence, displacement and resettlement and explored their relationship to the central construct of identity. A transitional ecosystems model was used to explore the interrelationship of these theories and concepts for Christian Karen, displaced from their homeland by organized violence perpetrated by the ruling power of their country..."
Author/creator: Shirley Lorraine Worland
Language: English
Source/publisher: School of Social Work and Human Services, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Queensland
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB)
Date of entry/update: 20 November 2010


Title: Pachyderm Party
Date of publication: July 2008
Description/subject: Each June, Karen villagers living on Thailand’s border with Burma gather to show appreciation to elephants—their friends and invaluable helpmates.
Author/creator: Lawi Weng
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 July 2008


Title: Die Karen im Strudel der Unabhängigkeit
Date of publication: 03 July 2007
Description/subject: Angesichts des britischen Verrats gründet der Karen Anwalt Saw Ba U Gyi am 5. Februar 1947 als ersten Schritt zur Selbsthilfe mit 700 Karen Delegierten aus allen Landesteilen die Karen National Union, KNU. Als politische Organisation soll sie den Einfluss seines Volkes hinsichtlich der Verhandlungen zur Unabhängigkeit Burma’s sicherstellen. Bereits im November ‘46 ist die mächtige kommunistische Partei aus der geeinten Front der Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League, AFPFL Thakin Aung San’s ausgeschlossen worden. Aung San; Panglong Agreement; The Karen during independence
Language: German, Deutsch
Source/publisher: Burma Riders
Date of entry/update: 21 August 2007


Title: The Traditional Festivals of the Karen People
Date of publication: May 2007
Language: Karen (ကရင္ဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Drum Publication Group
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 May 2015


Title: The Faiths and Traditional Beliefs of the Karen People (ကညီဖိတဖၣ်အတၢ်ဘူၣ်တၢ်ဘါဒီးတၢ်စူၢ်တၢ်နာ်)
Date of publication: March 2007
Language: Karen (ကရင္ဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: http://www.drumpublications.org/download/karenfaithsk.pdf
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 May 2015


Title: Calling Home the Spirits
Date of publication: September 2004
Description/subject: "Karen communities celebrate their annual “wrist-tying” festival. The month of August marks a time of year when the bonds of tradition that bind the Karen people are tied in a symbolic but also quite literal way. In Karen families and communities around the world white threads are tied around wrists in a ceremony known as Lah Ku Kee Su...The chief purposes of the festival, however, are to reinforce Karen identity and contribute to the continuation of Karen culture. Saw Nay Kaw, a young Karen Christian living in the Thai town of Kanchanaburi, home to many Karen, summed it up: “It’s good for Karen culture for Karen people to come together and celebrate once a year like this.”..."
Author/creator: Shah Paung
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 November 2004


Title: San C. Po: Elusive Dream
Date of publication: June 2004
Description/subject: "He has been knighted, honored and revered. But San C. Po’s dream of an independent Karen State remains unfulfilled..."
Author/creator: Shah Paung
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 07 October 2004


Title: "Making a Name for Themselves: Karen Identity and the Politicization of Ethnicity in Burma"
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: The history of Karen nationalism has been interpreted in terms of inter-ethnic conflict and conceptualizations of ethnicity have influenced understanding of Karen political identity. While 'Karen' incorporated various linguistic, sociocultural, religious and political sub-groups, the Karen National Union (KNU) elite promoted a singular pan-Karen identity in order to minimize such diversity. As a result, factionalism emerged between different Karen groups, obstructing the KNU's political vision and leaving many Karens dissatisfied with KNU attempts to represent their various interests. The fall of Manerplaw in 1995 was thus the result of intra-ethnic conflict as much as conflict between Karens and non-Karens.
Author/creator: Jessica Harriden
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of Burma Studies Vol. 7 (2002)
Format/size: pdf (2.67MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.niu.edu/burma/publications/jbs/vol7/index.shtml
Date of entry/update: 08 July 2010


Title: Ein Sommer voller Angst und Verzweifelung: Burmesische Flüchtlinge im thailändisch-burmesischen Grenzgebiet
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: Karen refugees in the thai-burmese border area. Halockani refugee camp run by the Mon National Committee. Mit dem Beginn der großen Militäroffensive burmesischer Truppen gegen die bewaffneten Guerillabewegungen der nationalen Minderheiten haben seit Anfang dieses Jahres nun auch immer mehr Angehörige der Karen Volksgruppe im thailändischen Grenzgebiet Zuflucht gesucht. Das vom Mon National Committee unterhaltene Halockani-Flüchtlingslager der Mon-Volksgruppe hat daher seine Tore im Sommer auch für Karen-Flüchtlinge geöffnet und Versorgungsgüter zur Verfügung gestellt.
Author/creator: Hans-Günther Wagner
Language: Deutsch, German
Source/publisher: Netzwerk engagierter Buddhisten
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Karen History: in Their Own Words
Date of publication: October 2000
Description/subject: Most Burmese are familiar with aspects of Karen culture, but few are aware of its deeper significance as an expression of their unique values and historical experience.
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 10
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Karen: Ideologie, Interessen und Kultur. Eine Analyse der Feldforschungsberichte und Theoriebildung.
Date of publication: 1992
Description/subject: keywords: Karen, ideology, field research, history, scientific theory (? in German: Wissenschaftstheorie), theory forming, cultural debates, ethnology-cultural/social anthropology, literature. "In dieser Arbeit wird die englisch-, deutsch- und französischsprachige Literatur über die Karen des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts ausgewertet und im Hinblick auf Theoriebildung und vorherrschende Ideologien analysiert. Untersucht werden dabei verschiedene Karen-Gesellschaften Burmas und Thailands. Die Auswertung der Literatur unter ethnologischen und soziologischen Gesichtspunkten liefert einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte und Theoriebildung über die Karen..."
Author/creator: Reiner Buergin
Language: Deutsch, German
Format/size: PDF (835K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Two Indigenous Karen Religious Denominations
Date of publication: 1981
Description/subject: "This paper is a short presentation of two Pwo Karen sects as they may be found in contemporary Western Central Thailand. It will discuss the organization, origin, and cultural content of the two denominations in order to show how their politico-religious concepts and ritual architecture are related to their historical position in a larger system comprising the Buddhist monarchial civilizations of Burma and Thailand. It is my supposition that the religious paraphernalia of present day sects materialized in a certain historical context as symbols of royalty and autonomy, and in the larger social context functioned to identify these Pwo Karen collectively as a sovereign part of a larger civilized world. These symbols of self-defined participation in the world, and at times even claims to superiority, had been moulded according to a model set by the monarchism of the 18th century Mon Buddhist kingdom in Lower Burma. It included a messianic Buddhist framework, which precipitated millenarian expectations of the rise of a world conqueror and subsequent future Buddha, the Buddha Ariya Mettaya, who would install a new and ideal society for the elect. Viewing the history of the Buddhist valley civilizations, be they Burmese, Mon or Thai, we may see that this messianic aspect of Theravada Buddhism has been the catalyst for both social discontent and personal political ambitions within the Buddhist societies of Southeast Asia.2 The term 'Karen' covers a category of people in Burma and Thailand who speak related languages. Karen-speaking people are spread over a large area, and their habitations are found in the hills and forests as well as the lowland. Everywhere Karen groups live interspersed among various other ethnic groups, hill as well as valley peoples..."
Author/creator: Kirsten Ewers Andersen
Language: English
Source/publisher: Soertryk FOLK Reprint Vol. 23 1981 K0BENHAVN
Format/size: pdf (247K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Deference for the Elders and Control over the Younger among the Karen in Thailand
Date of publication: 1980
Description/subject: "This paper examines the foundation of the deference paid the Elders in a Karen forest society in Thailand. It is argued that deference and social control are two sides of the same coin, both resting on the fact that the socially most valuable knowledge in Karen society is an attribute of old age. To analyze the foundation of this knowledge, which endows the Elders with social authority and control, it is useful to distinguish between various types of knowledge, such as knowledge of production-technique and ecology, knowledge of social history, and knowledge of ritual and magic. It is further emphasized that the foundation of the Elders' authority, in contrast to many other societies, is neither control of the means of production nor control of such prestige goods, which in unilineal societies may enter the affinal exchange circulation as bridewealth. Their control derives from their knowledge of social history, from their religious knowledge of cosmology, ritual, and ethics, and from their possession of magical know-how..."
Author/creator: Kirsten Ewers Andersen
Language: English
Source/publisher: Særtryk FOLK Reprint Vol. 21-22 1979/80 - KØBENHAVN
Format/size: pdf (336K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: ELEMENTS OF PWO KAREN BUDDHISM
Date of publication: 1978
Description/subject: "...the frequent dichotomization of Burman and Thai "hill-tribes" as animists opposed to the valley population as Buddhists, the Buddhism of the "hill-tribes" being only a thin veneer on animistic beliefs, does not hold. It is rather a question of an inclusive hierarchization of religious activities and value orientations, where the basis for an exclusive dichotomization becomes unclear and elusive, when one investigates the concerned activities more closely. The levels of activities are interlocked and a future value orientation may be directed towards an increased emphasis on "pure" monk- and more Buddhist elements, as the Karens become subsumed under the Thai cash-crop economy and the concommittant cultural contacts. The role of the boungkhos as maintainers of nature's order will disappear when it becomes evident that economic survival under a new economy immediately seems to depend more on insights into the market-mechanisms than on maintenance of the up till now balanced eco-system."
Author/creator: Kirsten Ewers Andersen
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies
Format/size: html (35K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burma and the Karens
Date of publication: 1928
Description/subject: "THE object of this book is to present and to explain to the reading public, and to those who are in authority, the condition of the Karens, the position they occupy, and their aspirations as a nation second in importance of the indigenous races of the province of Burma. It is their desire to have a country of their own, where they may progress as a race and find the contentment they seek. It is this contentment which gives a man or a nation that satisfaction and good-will and creates that patriotic feeling so essential to the well-being of the nation. Self-respect in a nation begets respect from other nations and races. What a grand thing the achievement of their ambition will be for the Karens, and what praises and blessing will be showered upon those who shall have made it possible. The Karens will then be in a position to show sincere respect to other races, especially to the Burmese, with whom they have been at variance, and in turn the Burmese will find them worthy of respect and esteem..."
Author/creator: Dr. San C. Po C.B.E.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Elliott Stock (Publisher)
Format/size: html (188K)
Date of entry/update: 05 May 2008


Title: Authorities Should Take Action for Refugees NOW: Young Refugee Woman
Description/subject: "Christine is a 22-year-old Karen refugee who lives in Mae La refugee camp with her husband and young daughter. She has lived there for seven years ‘as a prisoner’ inside the barbed wire fence, and now teaches in one of the post-ten schools in the camp. In this interview, Christine talks about the desperation and lack of hope in Mae La as uncertainty about the future mounts and refugees feel that they have no control over their own future. She fears that authorities will organise forced repatriation although they ‘don’t know where to go’ and ‘nothing has changed for the poor’. Christine recently completed Burma Link’s AOC (Agents of Change) training and she is eager to have her voice heard. She wants authorities to take action NOW to help refugees like her and her young daughter."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 20 March 2016


Title: Everyone wants change in Burma: Village Chief
Description/subject: "U Than Nyunt is a 57-year-old Karen refugee and the chief of a small rural village on the riverbanks of Moei. He grew up in a village near Belin in Mon State and was chosen to become the village chief during a time when Burmese military was employing Four Cuts policy. U Than Nyunt eventually couldn’t stand the military abuse anymore and fled to the Thailand-Burma border in 2003. He was again appointed the chief and led his villagers to build a thriving new village on the Burmese side of the border. Five years later, armed conflict forced them to abandon the village and flee across the river to Thailand. The villagers were scattered all over the border but U Than Nyunt was determined to bring them back together. He spent a year locating and collecting the villagers, finally able to bring them back to live in the same village. While U Than Nyunt speaks of their village on the Burmese side with great fondness and sorrow of a lost home, he doesn’t want to go back until there is genuine peace in the country."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 22 March 2016


Title: I Have Never Regretted Becoming a Soldier
Description/subject: "Shan Lay is a friendly, compassionate and dedicated young man from the Shan State who has sacrificed everything to fight for the freedom of his people. Growing up in the Shan State with a Karen mother, young Shan Lay was always interested in learning more about his Karen roots. But his mother didn’t speak the language and all he was taught at school was that ‘Karen were rebels’. Somewhere deep inside, Shan Lay felt that there was more to the story. He witnessed firsthand the brutality of the government forces: Two of Shan Lay’s family members perished in the 8888 uprising, and when Shan Lay was a teenager, the Burmese military confiscated their family farm. Among other villagers, Shan Lay and his three childhood friends were forced out of their homes and left with nothing. A few years later, Shan Lay and his friends became freedom fighters on the Thailand-Burma border. Today, Shan Lay is the only one of them still alive. Despite the heartache, Shan Lay vows to never give up. Not until the country is free."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 March 2016


Title: I want peace, I really want it to be true
Description/subject: "Noe Myint is a friendly and kind-hearted 46-year-old Karen man who grew up hiding in the jungle from Burmese military until fleeing to Thailand at the age of 12. Son of a soldier, Noe Myint joined the revolution in 1988 and has spent much of his adult life in the battlefield fighting alongside his school friends and his son. Out of his three children, two are still alive, one of them resettled in Australia and one living in Mae La refugee camp waiting to join her brother and other family in Australia. While their children are registered with the UNHCR, Noe Myint and his wife are not, and thus unable to reunite with their family in Australia. Read more to learn about the life of this soldier who has not only fought for revolution for over 20 years but also looked after a number of orphans who had no one else to turn to. Read more to learn about Noe Myint’s experiences with the UNHCR and resettlement, DKBA’s split from the KNU, Burma Army tactics, and refugee camp attacks. Find out why Noe Myint has great hopes for the future of Karen and how the international community can help the Karen and other ethnic people of Burma in their quest for peace and democracy."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 March 2016


Title: Please Support Our People, Not the Government – They Are Cheating the World: Mahn Robert Ba Zan
Description/subject: "Mahn Robert Ba Zan is a former Karen freedom fighter and an advisor to the Karen Communities of Minnesota. He served in the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) for more than 30 years, following in the footsteps of his father Mahn Ba Zan, the first commander of the Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO) and a former President of the Karen National Union (KNU). In 2000, Mahn Robert Ba Zan resettled to the United States of America with his family, changing his revolutionary tactics towards raising awareness and educating the Karen and other ethnics. In this interview, Mahn Robert Ba Zan talks about the ceasefire and car permits, ethnic unity, and how the international community can help the Karen in their quest for genuine peace and freedom."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 19 March 2016


Title: Story of a Jungle Medic and Ethnic Health Director: Saw Win Kyaw
Description/subject: "Saw Win Kyaw is a 42-year-old Buddhist Karen man who was born and grew up in Hpa-an Township. Taking to the streets in the 8888 uprising, 17-year-old Saw Win Kyaw and thousands of other students were forced to flee to the jungle after the military took over power. Saw Win Kyaw trained as a medic and in 1995, helped to establish a bamboo hut clinic in the war-torn jungles of northern Karen State. He ran the clinic for over a decade, delivering babies in emergency conditions with no experience, amputating more than 150 limbs with extremely limited equipment, and training hundreds of others in an attempt to promote a community-based health system in an area where health services were completely destroyed. From Burmese army attacks to the threat of landmines and malaria, for Saw Win Kyaw and other jungle medics, these are nothing but ‘normal conditions’. In 1998, Saw Win Kyaw joined the Back Pack team and soon after became the field-in-charge for Papun area. He is now the director of the organisation and manages over 300 health workers across rural ethnic areas in Burma. In 2012, Saw Win Kyaw received an international award, the Van Heuven Goedhart Award, for his merits as a special health worker. This story depicts his life and experiences in the jungle and beyond. What was it like to perform an amputation for the first time? What were the main challenges and difficulties he and his team faced in the jungle? How did he get to where he is today and what are the current challenges cross-border aid workers are facing in changing Burma? This is his story."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 March 2016


Title: Story of a Karen refugee’s struggle for survival
Description/subject: "U Soe Myint is a 60-year-old Karen refugee who has struggled his whole life just to survive. Amidst deep-seated poverty, armed conflict and Burma Army abuse, U Soe Myint has had everything but an easy life. He had to work in a farm throughout his childhood, frequently hide from Burmese soldiers in the trees and the jungle in his adulthood, and finally flee to Thailand. U Soe Myint walked to Thailand through the jungle, knowing that he might step on a landmine any moment. For nearly 30 years, he was forced to live away from his wife and three children. While U Soe Myint was at last able to reunite with his family in Mae La refugee camp in 2006, his close family members are now scattered around the world, uncertain if they will ever be able to reunite. This is his story."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 22 March 2016


Title: Traditional Karen Dress (ကညီဖိအဆ့ဧိၤစီၤဧိၤအဂ့ၢ်)
Language: Karen (ကရင္ဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Drum Publication Group
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 May 2015


Title: Traditional Karen Household Tips (Sgaw Karen Version)
Language: Karen (ကရင္ဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Drum Publication Group
Format/size: pdf
Alternate URLs: http://www.drumpublications.org/download.php
Date of entry/update: 24 September 2015


Title: We Weren’t Afraid of Snakes or Tigers, just Burmese Soldiers
Description/subject: "Daw Hla Shin is a 70-year-old Karen woman from Win Tar Pan village in Bilin, Mon State. She grew up amidst Burmese Army abuse that only worsened after she married a Karen soldier. The villagers lived in constant fear of the Burmese soldiers, enduring torture, killings, and burnt homes and belongings. For Daw Hla Shin, things were even worse; the villagers tried to protect her but they were so afraid of the Burmese military that even her own parents refused to live with her, knowing the Burmese soldiers thought she was a spy for the Karen. She couldn’t even live in the village anymore. She had to stay away in the jungle. The villagers knew about that and they tried to protect her but there was not much they could do. Daw Hla Shin had nowhere to go. Having never attended school or had any connection to the outside world, Daw Hla Shin, nor her younger sister, had any idea that there would be any escape or that Thailand even existed. Both sisters lost their first husbands in battle against the Burma Army. What happened to them and where are they now? Read Daw Hla Shin’s story to find out more."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 20 March 2016