Shah Paung, over at The Irrawaddy, reports that Brig-Gen Htain Maung has been dismissed as commander of the Karen National Liberation Army’s 7th brigade. One paragraph, in particular, caught my attention.

Shah Paung writes:

Htain Maung became involved in the Karen independence struggle in 1949, later joining the KNU central committee and commanding of the 7th Brigade since 1970. He was greatly respected by his troops and by Karen people within and outside Burma.

It can be all too easy to forget that many people in Burma – including many Karen, Shan, Kachin and others – have fought for decades. Short-term mercenaries they are not! It is because of the life-long commitment of soldiers like Brig-Gen Htain Maung that the armed independence movements on Burma’s fringes now enjoy such long histories.

The politics of the moment – the sort of politics that usually makes the news – should not obscure a longer-term perspective on these movements and their volunteers.