Abstract

Burma’s 66 years of civil war is the longest armed conflict in the world. This article analyses the complexity of one of the many ethnic armed conflicts between the Karen and the state. The Karen ethno-nationalist struggle is rooted in the ethnic categorization and identity politics of colonial order, which has influenced the political orders after independence. All living generations in Burma have to some extent experienced violence. Violent disorder and memory of suffering and victimhood dominate a majority of the Karen. The author argues that the prolonged violent conflict has widened the ethnic incompatibilities and impacts the current ceasefire negotiations. Internal segmentation of the Karen society as well as internal divisions and conflicts has also had a considerable impact upon the track of this conflict. Cultural, religious, and political diversity among the Karen—and other ethnic groups—further complicates prospects for a political solution to the armed struggle.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2010-314X
Print ISSN
1094-799X
Pages
pp. 27-78
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-17
Open Access
No
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