Limited Autonomy and the Death of Collective Dreaming among the Karen

Monique Skidmore

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Abstract

Abstract

The Burmese regime has signed ceasefire agreements with 17 armed separatist groups, allowing them to retain their arms and giving them logging and mining concessions. This paper focuses on one such group of defectors from the Karen National Liberation Army. They are the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and, like all ceasefire groups in Burma, they have learned that not having to fear the regime does not equal peace, prosperity, or justice. No longer hunted by the regime, instead the DKBA lead the regime’s troops into former friendly territory, extending the reach of the army and creating limited wealth among the echelons of the DKBA. In this paper, I chart the limits of autonomy, shared rule and conflict resolution under dictatorship that has arisen through the creation of the DKBA. I argue that the creation of an semi autonomous ceasefire area has significantly increased the regime’s ability to wage war upon the Karen resistance movement and was an integral aspect of its formation. The resistance movement views the formation of the
DKBA and its ceasefire zone as a further act of war. Schisms among the Karen have resulted from the creation of a Karen autonomous area, with divisiveness evident on many levels. Autonomy has effectively ended the dream of a unified Karen homeland whilst delivering none of the benefits common to peace agreements brokered throughout the world with armed separatist groups over the past 25 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages9
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Workshop on Autonomy and Armed Separatism in South and Southeast Asia - , Singapore
Duration: 26 Jun 200827 Jun 2008

Conference

ConferenceInternational Workshop on Autonomy and Armed Separatism in South and Southeast Asia
CountrySingapore
Period26/06/0827/06/08

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