Saturday, July 12, 2008

I am the Mekong River

I am not the author of the short you are about to read. This, amog many other free essays, etc. can be faound at E Cheat. I found it inspiring as I hope you will also. God said that nature itself cries out for His return. When reading something like this we can certainly understand why.

I am the Mekong River
From my humble beginnings in an ice cave high in the Tibetan Himalayans, I wind 2,600 miles
through remarkable years of history. I am known by Asian peoples as the "holy river."
I have seen war and hunger. I will now tell of who I am and who I know.
I am the tenth largest river in the world. My course runs through China, Laos, Thailand,
Cambodia, Vietnam, and on to the South China Sea. I provide life-giving resources for
countless people and wildlife. My history is long and diverse. Early man inhabited my
banks using my waters for nourishment. From the fifth to the eight-century primarily the
Tai inhabited me. By the 13th century the Tai people occupied most of the my valley and
grew from my waters with their staple food of rice. The Tai eventually formed a country,
Thailand. As for foreign explorers, I was not "discovered" (by western standards) until
1886. It was difficult to navigate my waters because of my pesky Knong Waterfalls. In
1886 six Frenchmen were trying to establish a trade route. Finally they realized my
falls were unbearable so they built a railway across the falls.
During the 10th century, however, the Vietnamese began noticing how well the Kingdom of
Champa was doing with my rich waters and soils. After all, I am considered to be one of
the world’s richest rivers in terms of mineral laden sediments. I give all the water for
irrigation not only the rice fields along my course, but also many fruits and vegetables.
Currently I provide well over half of all the rice grown in Vietnam. Sediments from me
provide food for one of the worlds most diverse fisheries. So it is no wonder that
Vietnam began to want a piece of me. Here is where the years of anguish started. I would
no longer be the carefree peaceful waters I was in past history. Humans began to
complicate everything. The Vietnamese captured the Champa capitol, and destroyed the
magnificent capitol over the Mekong delta. This was only the beginning of many wars
and violence I would be witness to. In 1953 the French battled with Vietnam to take
control of my middle and Lower River. In 1957 the U.N. started development to control
flooding. Flooding my natural life cycle…they had no idea what they had put in motion.
They meant well, but… In 1963 the Vietnam War began. We will not even get into that. It
is an entire history of its own, but I will say I grieved beyond words that this occurred
on and around my shores.
Worse for my fate now is what humans have done, and are planning to do to my freedom.
Annual flooding supports a biologically diverse ecosystem not only for me, but also for
the plants and wildlife. Now there are damns all along my course. In the 1960’s a series
of hydroelectric damns stopped my free course. Thailand is now faced with terrible
problems such as deforestation, destruction of wildlife, urban development and water
scarcity. They now want to build another dam on me, further altering my course, and
stealing my water. Thank goodness there have been environmentalists protesting on my
behalf speaking up as to the impact this will have. But for most, their very lives depend
on paddies created by levies and damns. Twenty new damns on my course are already planned.
The flooding that these cause would displace millions. The sediment that I carry with my
waters is now trapped behind the dams and now cannot enrich my banks. Last, there are
already fewer fish in me because they are trapped and do not have a free course. Some
may become extinct.
I am one that is beginning to become damaged beyond repair. I am the river that wants to
flow but is trapped behind a concrete gate. I have witnessed things long forgotten.
Be aware of what has happened and what is happening. I am the Mekong River.

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