On Borders: Damming the Salween

Nonviolent Ecology

The Salween River (Wikipedia) The Salween River (Wikipedia)

“Borders are scars on the face of the planet.” – Lyric by Gypsy Punk band Gogol Bordello

As my work with KESAN centers around promoting human rights and environmental protection for Karen villagers along the Thai-Burma border, I’ve been thinking a lot about the role that international borders (and other kinds of physical, metaphorical, or imaginary borders) play in terms of “Nonviolent Ecology.”  An understanding of many injustices perpetrated at and because of borders makes me prone to universally condemn them.  But of course the reality is probably more complex, so what follows is an attempt to examine some of those complexities at the border, and reflect on the role of the border in environmental justice work.

The Salween River

A good place to start this discussion is with the Salween, where planned hydropower dams threaten the ecosystem and human rights. Five dams have been proposed on Burma’s portion of…

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