An American Hero: Faith-Based Emergency Health Care in Karen State, Myanmar and Beyond

This article examines the vastly expanded mobility of displaced Karen villagers in the evangelical humanitarian movement, the Free Burma Rangers. This builds on ethnographic fieldwork on humanitarian cultures in the Thai-Burmese borderlands conducted since 2007 with a Thai research team and funded b...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Religions
Main Author: Horstmann, Alexander 1967-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: MDPI [2019]
In: Religions
Year: 2019, Volume: 10, Issue: 9
Further subjects:B Myanmar
B Ethnic minorities
B emergency health care
B humanitarian aid
B Evangelism
B War
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Description
Summary:This article examines the vastly expanded mobility of displaced Karen villagers in the evangelical humanitarian movement, the Free Burma Rangers. This builds on ethnographic fieldwork on humanitarian cultures in the Thai-Burmese borderlands conducted since 2007 with a Thai research team and funded by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious Diversity. While refugees are too often presented as victims, the article argues that by joining the mission, the Karen freedom fighters become ambassadors of a political ideology and evangelism. Bringing Christianity with them from their displaced homes, displaced Karen meet the evangelical humanitarian organization in the Karen hills or in the Thai refugee camps, train with them, and supply the villagers left behind with emergency health care and religious messages. Sponsored by American evangelical churches, the US military, and resettled Karen communities in the West, the freedom fighters of the Free Burma Rangers mobilize people and resources all over the globe. Recently, they have expanded their operations beyond Myanmar to places as far as Syria, Iraq and South Sudan, thus getting involved in what it presents as a global struggle between good and evil.
ISSN:2077-1444
Contains:Enthalten in: Religions
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.3390/rel10090503