The Karen Old Soldiers that Britain Forgot
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Friday, October 07, 2022

The Karen Old Soldiers that Britain Forgot

By JIM ANDREWS Thursday, February 12, 2009

The old Karen soldiers and war widows of Mae La refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border. (Photo: Jim Andrews/The Irrawaddy)
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The money allowed the veterans and elderly widows in the refugee camps to add some variety to their daily diet of rice and beans.

Last year, however, the eagerly anticipated grants failed to arrive. The BFWA and the RCEL pleaded lack of funds.

“There are other veterans and widows in the world who fought for the [British] Crown living in a worse state than those on the Burmese-Thai border,” said RCEL General Secretary Paul Davies. “For example, some [of those] living inside Burma.”

Two members of the BFWA returned to Britain this week after a fact-finding visit to Burma, but Sally Steen holds out little hope that grants will be resumed for the veterans and widows living in the refugee camps in Thailand. She has formed her own support group, Help 4 Forgotten Allies, with the aim of raising the equivalent of US $13,000 annually.

“It’s not just the money and the small comforts it can buy,” she says. “It’s the recognition it brings that the sacrifices of these gallant men have not been forgotten after all.”

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Nyan Win Wrote:
That is the British for you. Total hypocrites. They were the root cause of the present situation in Burma, in summary. Not that I think any better of the present regime. We're a million times worse off.
As a human being, I have to sympathize with the Karens' plight. However, as a Burmese, I rather feel that their suffering has been a result of poor decisions made by their leaders of the time. Had they been more compromising and been more willing to co-operate and co-exist after independence, things would have been much better for all. For all of Burma, in fact. Ne Win would never have had those opportunities in that case.
Here, I am not blaming the Karens only, the Burmese majority at that time was also so nationalistic to an extent that could have been defined as racist.
The point is that the Karen of today should reflect on some of these factors and admit it. This would make all parties have more cohesion. After all, to fight the common enemy, the present regime, we should have a unity that is unpretentious.
I hope that my comments are not offensive to anyone. All I hope is that all races in Burma can be united to fight the regime. Foreign help is never a solution, for they are often not of good intention.

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