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True Love and Bartholomew: Rebels on the Burmese Border by Jonathan Falla

By Jonathan Falla

The Karen, certainly one of Burma's many minority peoples, were waging an more and more determined struggle for autonomy opposed to the Burmese govt on account that 1949. Karen society in Burma has been little studied because the Twenties, and up to date writers were compelled (by Burma's "closed door" regulations) to pay attention to Karen refugee groups in Thailand. This booklet is a portrait of an historical tradition remolded to the needs of ethnic uprising. the image is enriched with old comparisons and is predicated on pics of person Karen as they try to shield their lifestyle and to maintain their trust of their personal independence. There are chapters on song, nutrients, love, the styles of the rebels' wooded area and river lifestyles, at the Karen army hierarchy and its weaponry, on girls and on mercenaries, at the language and the symbols of insurgent nationalism. Jonathan Falla has led a various existence. He attended the collage of Cambridge and is the founding father of the Cambridge Poetry Society. He has labored in Indonesia and Uganda and has written numerous performs, being named one in every of Britain's so much Promising Playwrights in 1983. Falla spent an unlawful 12 months in Burma dwelling with the Karen rebels. at the moment, he lives in Scotland and works as a nurse.

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Sample text

But then, he took his family with him so they must have been lost too. ' Bastion looked crestfallen and muttered that he didn't know, he'd only read the story from the book and didn't understand all the old words. That evening I asked another young soldier-teacher to explain this discrepancy - but he didn't know either, saying 'I'm from Rangoon'. There seemed to be a flaw in the whole foundation myth of the Karen people. ' 'That's it. He left us behind. ' 'Right, we're orphans. ' The origins of the Karen have been debated ever since the American Baptist missions began to take an interest in the early nineteenth century.

As fighting spread throughout the country, with Buddhist monks reported to be accompanying Burmese insurgents, a prominent Baptist, Dr Vinton, wrote a long series of letters describing the Karen response: My Karens universally interpret this as God's sign that Buddhism is to be destroyed for ever ... Every mission has promised a levy en masse of 21 22 True Love and Bartholomew all the able bodied men. They all agree to refuse all pay and to fight from pure loyalty to the Queen. W h a t more could a colonial power ask for?

73) acknowledged: 'The British-led Karen levies, newly raised and partially trained . . ' They usually managed to laugh at the memory. The Burmese did much as the Malays and other colonised Boar Tusk's children peoples: that is, scenting the collapse of imperial power, they tried to gauge where their best chance of post-war independence lay; as the British and Japanese faltered by turns, the Burmese tacked about accordingly. For the tribes, however, the issue was very different. Karen leaders must have known that full independence for them was a nonsense; their territorial base in the hills was in no way a viable entity as a state, while half their people lived in the towns and villages of the Delta anyway, jumbled in with Burmans, Mon and the rest.

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