Two-Day Event Honors Salween River Heritage

A two-day natural and cultural heritage event to honor the the Salween River and its people will be held in Hpa-an Karen State from the 27 to 28 March.

A statement released by the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN) said that the event will be the “first time that state government, local and national civic organizations, academics and others will gather publicly to celebrate, with art, performances and discussion one of the world’s last great free-running rivers.”

Saw Tha Phoe, an organizer explained that the event, “celebrates the beauty and diversity of the Salween River and its people through art and performance. We hope that the whole country will be able to understand the great cultural and ecological value of the Salween River.”

The Salween River near 3,000 kilometres-long starts in Tibet and flows down through southwestern China to eastern Burma/Myanmar, forming borders between Burma and Thailand. The Salween River runs through Karen State’s capital, Hpa-an finally reaching the Indian Ocean at the Mon State capital city Mawlamyine. The Salween is also known as the Thanlwin in Burma and the Nu in China.

The Kesan statement points out that the Salween River “is one of the longest undammed rivers left in the world. The Salween basin is home of the cultures of the Shan, Kayan, Karen, Mon and other peoples. It is also home to the world’s last great teak forest, to dry-season islands rich with crops, and to healthy fisheries upon which many people depend.”

Saw Kyaw Hla, a resident of Mikayin village located on the Salween River is quoted in the KESAN statement said.

“The Salween River is important for our livelihood, for our survival. The river provides us with food, drinking water, and irrigation water to grow our crops. The income we earn from farming along the Salween allows us to send our children to school. Tomorrow we gather to gain more knowledge, so that we can make the right decisions about this important river.”

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