Children of the Salween River

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“Thai electricity authority over the Tasang and Hatgyi dams downstream. As Sai Sai, the coordinator of the Burma Rivers Network, puts it:

“Our rivers, ecosystems and communities are all connected. Our neighbors should cooperate with us to protect our shared environment, instead of destroying it.”

“Save the Salween! Keep it flowing free!”

On the evening of March 14th, activist musicians performed songs for the Salween and its people, strummed acoustic guitars and plucked traditional instruments like the te nah or Karenni harp. The village’s children danced and sang, then later led us all in a candle-lit vigil. In the morning, they watched as village leaders blessed and cast downriver a “Save the Salween” boat, which hopefully their neighbors across the waters in Burma could see. Unlike in previous years, villagers in Burma were prevented from joining us by the Burmese army. We wondered how those children were commemorating the day.

Back in the schoolhouse where I was staying, I scanned the room. Turtles and fish swam across the walls. Through the windows, the Salween rushed steadily towards the sea. Hopefully when these kids are grown, the view will be the same.

  • Watch the Salween Basin International Day of Action for Rivers slideshow:
  • Burma Rivers Network press release calls on China and Thailand to stop promoting destructive dams in Burma on the International Day of Action for Rivers
  • “Push to build big dams undermines peace process in Karen State,” Mizzima News, 14 March 2012
  • Learn more about the Salween dams in Burma and China
  • Read reports by the Salween Watch Coalition