Languages of Security in the Asia-Pacific

College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

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Karen – Bwa Gay Wor Dta Bee Dta Ber

May 27th, 2011 · No Comments · Human Security, Karen

Bwa Gay Wor Dta Bee Dta Ber

Relates to human security

The Karen term used to imply human security takes the original word for security and attaches the word ‘people’ to clarify the form. However, most Karen are not familiar with the Western conception of the term, and instead view it as related purely to the physical security of a person.


– Bwa Gay Wor – People

– Dta Bee Dta Ber – Security

As noted under ‘Security’, the primary concern of most Karen villagers is to escape Burma army attacks and references to security are most likely to be seen in this context. Most Karen villagers are aware of the practical need to protect their own food sources, and are often forced to hide their supplies outside of the village. Consequently, the expression used here is most likely to be understood as the need to protect your food, family, and possessions, rather than impling a Western interpretation of the term. Many Karen at the village level, and also those troops in the lower ranks of the Karen military, are not familiar with basic human rights and such terms as food, economic, or personal security would not be understood.





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