Speaking of Christians in dangerous parts of the world…
It began with British betrayal after the Second World War and has stubbornly outlived every other conflict. But now, as it marks it diamond jubilee, the world’s longest-running war is nearing its endgame.
The guerrilla army of the Karen ethnic group, which has been fighting since 1949 for independence from Burma, is facing the greatest crisis in its history. If Karen resistance collapses, as some believe is likely, it will be a triumph for the Burmese junta as it consolidates its hold on power.
After a three-year offensive by the junta, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) has been forced into increasingly small pockets of resistance, according to Burma experts.
Deprived of funds and equipment, it is able to do little more than slow the advance of the Burmese Army as it lays waste to hundreds of villages, driving thousands of terrified civilians before it.
Most serious of all, the Karen leadership is losing the support of neighbouring Thailand, where it was formerly able to organise, arm and – when necessary – retreat.