In Burma, a Christian NGO trains humanitarians to fight alongside the rebels

In Burma, a Christian NGO trains humanitarians to fight alongside the rebels

It is a forgotten war that has lasted for decades. In the east of Burma, along the border with Thailand, in a vast region like Belgium, the Karen populations have been fighting since 1948 against a central power which disregards the rights of ethnic minorities with unbearable brutality.

The fragile ceasefires concluded in 2012 and 2015 have ended since the army returned to power following a coup d’état in early 2021. The cycle of massive violence has restarted: bombings, flight of villagers into the mountains and jungle, influx of refugees into neighboring Thailand.

Animists, Buddhists or Christians, the Karens benefit from the support of an American NGO, the Free Burma Rangers (in French, the rangers of free Burma) . The commitment of these volunteers in the Burmese jungles is controversial. Created on the initiative of a former American special forces who became a Protestant minister, David Eubank, this organization provides assistance to communities in areas deserted by humanitarians because they are too dangerous. In the midst of guerrilla warfare, these rangers provide, alongside supplies and care, advice to the rebels and practice religious proselytism. In 2017, Eubank and his comrades took part in battles against ISIS in northern Iraq. Today, this solid Texan conservative continues his lobbying of the American Congress to support the Karen rebellion. “Ambassadors of Jesus” mobilized in response “to the call of God”, the Free Burma Rangers give themselves the mission of “liberating the oppressed”.

Jean-Michel Demetz

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