The Forgotten Karen (circa 1976)

The AP Archives recently coughed up a golden oldie 25-minute doc from 1976– which aired less than a year after the fall of Saigon. Covering the Karen rebels in Burma, it is well done and filmed in color, with lots of on-the-ground footage including close-order drills of 15-year old new recruits armed with a collection of M1 Carbines and the occasional M16A1, and a chat with then-Karen National Liberation Army leader, Manh Ba Zan.

And you’ll love how Manh Ba Zan carries his (likely nickel-plated) Colt Commander.

You gotta admit, the sling is relatively safe with the hammer down on an empty chamber, and, as the gun is more a symbol of office than a combat tool, it needs to be seen.

Note the “duck hunter”  “Beo Gam” camo boonies, M1 Carbines, and at least one M1919A6

The official descriptor from the AP:


For over a quarter of a century, the Karen rebels of Eastern Burma have been fighting a little-publicized war of liberation. The Karens are Burma’s largest minority with a population of at least three million and an army of 10,000, which now includes some school-age boys. In 1975, they agreed on a common front with other groups, including the Shans and the Kachins, which are also trying to wrest autonomy from the one-party state of Burmese President Ne Win, but there has been no major breakthrough yet. This colorful report of a rarely filmed area shows their training and life in their jungle HQ and includes an interview with their political leader Manh Ba Zan.

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