213th Meeting – Tuesday, September 11th 2001
The Karen: Past, Present and Future?
A talk by Ron Renard
Present: Jean-Claude Afflard, Khin Moe Aung, Hans Bänziger, Jonny Barton, Dominique Belloeil, Ted Brown, John Buchanan, John & Martha Butt, John Cadet, Henry Chan, Gary Dilley, Brooks Dodge, Ron Emmons, Louis Gabaude, Jim Goodman, Simon Gourley, Peter K. Hanson, Oliver Hargreave, Annelie Hendriks, Reinhard Hohler, Celeste Holland, Khin Phyu Hyway, S. Hway, Brian Hubbard, Soral Islania, Thomas Jakobien, Frank Kelly, Saw Rocky Khu, Andrew Kostiw, Annette Kunigagon, Fred Lambersley, Steven Lanjouw, Hanna Larsson, Sophie Le Coeur, Kim Leggett, Genevieve Le Quang, Uyen Le Quang, James Lenton, Mike Long, Madeleine Lynch, Lynette McGowan, Maggi McKerrin, Ne Min, Nai Banya Mon, Yoshimi Nakata, Karin Orneskans, Jeff Petry, Horst Schneider, Ewa Skeppstedt, David Steane, Andy Steele, Kesaraporn Suknaphasant, Naw Beam Teasdale, Jonas Thorangen, Mariko Ueda, Jacques & Rachanee Valls, Chris Velder, Renee Vines, Leo Alting von Geusau, Monika Weber, Erika Wessbo, Brock Wilson, Kevin Woods. An audience of 66.
Summary of the talk:
The Karen people live mostly in the hills
bordering the eastern
region and Irrawaddy delta of
· Red Karen - Sgaw - the largest and most widely scattered group;
- Pho Pgho: found in a
· Black Karen: in the Shan States - Padaung (Kayan), Bwè, Bghai, Kayaw.
Many things are unknown about these people because for centuries they have deliberately lived in remote areas out of the way of stronger groups. There are even those (who do not call themselves Karen) who question whether there is really a group known as Karens. No matter what, because of all the imponderables and despite the best wishes of some Karen nationalists, for lack of corroborating evidence, prehistory for the Karens must be said to be anything prior to the nineteenth century. Much of the identity of these people is as orphans, living on the fringes of major powers and who have lost the golden book of civilization.
The total number of Karen is difficult to
estimate. The last
reliable census of