Mon people’s political destiny does not rest in the name given to a bridge

June 4, 2021

HURFOM: The “General Aung San Bridge (Belu Island)” that connects Mawlamyine and Belu Island in Chaung Zone, Mon State was opened by the National League for Democracy (NLD) government on May 9, 2017. Now, the military junta has changed its name to “Than Lwin Bridge (Chaung Zone)” with a reopening ceremony on June 1, 2021.

The leader of the military council, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, joined the ceremony alongside Dr Banyar Aung Moe, the MUP member serving on the State military council.

When the NLD named the bridge “General Aung San Bridge (Belu Island)”, the Mon people strongly opposed the name choice  They wanted the bridge to be named “Rehmonnya Bridge” or “Than Lwin Bridge (Chaung Zone)” which was its original name when the bridge construction began.

I don’t welcome that the military council has changed the bridge’s name. I’m not excited about that. We’ve continuously opposed the military dictatorship,said a resident from Chaung Zone Township.

The NLD government changed the bridge’s name without listening to the people’s voice and now, the military junta has renamed the bridge for political purposes.

“I think the bridge’s name has been politically manipulated. I don’t think the junta changed the name due to the request of the MUP (Mon National Party). They already had plans to use the  Mon people for their political purpose,” said another resident from Chaung Zone Township.

Some members of the Mon community have voiced optimism about the name change.

It’s good that the bridge’s name has been changed. One of the desires of the Mon people is fulfilled, said another resident of Chaung Zone Township.

Others are critical of the gesture. I want to ask all Mon people if we’re just satisfied with what the military has given to us. All Mon people must unite at this time,said a resident of Chaung Zone Township.

Dr Aung Naing Oo, the former Deputy Speaker of the Mon State Parliament, wrote on his social media, “Our Mon people’s political destiny isn’t just in the name of a bridge. It’s to create a nation with mutual respect and mutual sympathy/understanding and to create a political environment that assures all ethnic minority rights.

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