Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Richard Gere Goes to Europe

Richard Gere practicing his defense against Silpa Shetty's husband.

The symbolic face of the "Free Tibet" movement is becoming less symbolic these days.  For 25 years, whenever we so much as thought of Tibetan advocacy, the image of Richard Gere seemed to automatically pop into our heads.  He was a symbol of the American-led campaign to save, free, stand up for, or whatever...Tibet.

No longer.  In spite of Mr. Gere's earnest advocacy, the historically U.S based international effort to improve the Tibetan situation has sputtered so severely that over the last few years there appears to be a decided shift in attention towards prioritizing Europe as the primary champion of Tibet.  What gives?

Easy answer.

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) was the first, and continues to be considered the most influential of Tibet support groups.  It lobbies the U.S. Congress on behalf of Tibet and takes an over-arching political view in its campaigns. Basically, the ICT is the Western-based version of the Tibet movement. Last year, Matteo Meccaci, a European with strong ties to the European Parliament, was nominated as Director of the ICT.  Since Mr. Meccaci took charge the ICT has exhibited a decidedly European focus.

Because of this, blogdai envisions the closing of the edificial main ICT office on Jefferson street in Washington in the near future. blogdai also sees a subsequent reopening of the same in perhaps Brussels, London, or Rome. Look for a newly invigorated round of toothless EU resolution on Tibet as well as a sharp drop-off in any official U.S. stances on the issue--the Yanks are just too damned burned-out on Tibet to take the initiative anymore.

This new Euro-shift is none too subtle.  From the Tibet lobby supported "2014 for Tibet"  website:


"The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) believes that a coordinated effort between the EU Member States and like-minded countries is the only way to compel China address the current situation..."


One must ask: if that's the "only way" then what has the ICT been doing in bed with Washington for the last two decades?  In reality, this is just "another way" for the West to play around with Tibet without solving a thing. Europe is suddenly the "only way" because Mr. Meccaci is a European.

Let them do what they will. blogdai encourages this shift as it bodes well for Nepal--there should be fewer instances of Western posing and Tibet posturing followed by Chinese retaliation on our soil.  More importantly, the Quixotic and poorly-realized "blame Nepal" strategy that was conceived by the Mr. Meccaci's American predecessor back in 2009 will likely diminish in its intensity. And what about poor China? It has always looked forward to putting on the big-boy pants and going toe-to-toe with the Yanks over Tibet in Nepal.  Now we can assume that closing the Kodari border, pressuring Nepal police, harassing Tibetans in Boudha and shrill rebuttals just won't feel the same against Europe and its meek Tibet resolutions.

So, best of luck to you Mr. Gere. The question now is:  who will be the new Euro "face" of the "Free Tibet" movement? I say we put it to a vote.  blodgai offers a sample list of potential candidates below for your perusal:

Zinedine Zidane
Mariangela Melato
Eddy Merckx
Winston Churchill
(Your write in selection)

Remember, you choice must NOT give the impression of having anything new or fresh to offer the Tibet movement.

-=blogdai


Monday, August 19, 2013

Social Media Might be Killing THIS Revolution

I'm not a grouch, I'm really not.  I'm also not a Luddite. I love my twitter; love/hate the demands of this blog, and generally use the internet religiously--except for Facebook: I find it creepy.

Evgeny Morozov is a grouch; he also gives us a much needed perspective on the effects and future of our internet obsessions in his book: To Save Everything, Click Here. It's a bit of a screed,to be sure, but his approach forces us to take a hard look at how we view the world through the internet and social media.

He forwards the idea that today's societies are beginning to discount any human history that occurred prior to the inception of the internet and that, eventually, we'll come to believe that if something isn't on the internet, it doesn't exist. What we once believed as inalterable factual knowledge is now being re-imagined for "search optimization" or changed entirely through "Wiki" consensus. We are rapidly evolving towards a world where raw data is becoming more important than expertise, judgement and wisdom.


When it comes to that familiar 25 year old fossil: the "Free Tibet" movement, this changeover could be lethal. Right or wrong, decades of Tibetan activism and knowledge gained has now been effectively re-set to zero for upcoming generations looking for a cause to champion.  Unfortunately, the lag time that is created while everyone tweets their feelings on the subject and we wait for the Tibetan "data base" to refill, is killing the Tibetan movement.

blogdai has no way of telling twitter twits that comments like: "...let's really show our solidarity with Tibet.." are 20 years too late and that every online petition that "...calls on China to address the injustices in Tibet.." is headed straight for oblivion. It's all been said and done, and guess what? It hasn't worked.

Tibet doesn't have the time for us to re-invent the wheel and let social media re-build an activist history on its behalf. Events are happening in Tibet that are not waiting for the internet community to catch up and form it's chat-room majorities. Sadly, not only does all of this social media clucking fail to pass for activism when it comes to Tibet; it may also be the source of  the problem: social media has made the Tibetan movement into a simple coffee house discussion--a conversational choice.  It's no longer about picking up a project and starting a physical movement, it's about the good feeling one now seems to get by seeing ones self type "Free Tibet" on Twitter and Facebook. It is a delusion that is evolving still.  There is now, for example, a tangible belief that exists in the Twitter-sphere that if we send enough e-mails to China and really tweet our support, Tibet will eventually be free.  The disconnect inherent in this belief is startling.

Ironically, blogdai believes that China loves all of this.  What better way to neuter the ill effects of Tibetan activism than by placing the entire movement into the hands of those who will never do anything but Tweet, "like,"  "friend,"  discuss and comment on the issue.

blogdai must confess that these ideas of Morozov's have inspired a bit of a test.  I've been deliberately provoking the Tibetan "activist" community as it seems to exist on the internet and have found myself in a few good arguments--ok, one-sided arguments.  I argue, my opponents whine at me for being "negative." See below--and by the way, Morozov was right:

 
: I send E-mails to The Chinese Government and help by promoting FREE TIBET on the internet

Great, no one has told this person that Tibet is a "core" priority of the Chinese and any tweet, email or phone call to them that questions that position will be met by big international repressive displays that highlight just how much we can't tell China what to do.  This means, the more we shoot off our mouths, the more Tibetans get hurt.

being seen as activist or not is not important. We fight against Chinas propaganda in order to keep Tibetans struggle alive

So, actual assistance takes a back seat to screaming at Chinese propaganda?  Who do you think will win that little pissing contest?  Will it be handfuls of disjointed and scattered twitter account holders or the biggest and baddest propaganda machine since the Third Reich? Prepare to be hacked by experts, by the way.

Beware that Tweeter is slyly promoting Chinese Propaganda against Tibetan

I'm slyly trying to get people to think. The horror! Tweeting about Tibet is seen as comfortable, fun, and providing of a sense of community to these people; unfortunately it doesn't help one Tibetan. No wonder they go after blogdai for telling them their internet emperor has no clothes.

It's almost clubbish--a boutique sense of activism.  Unfortunately, again, Tibet doesn't have the time for everyone to feel good, form groups, and agree that they are suffering.  Tibet needs hands-on ideas and strategies that deal with the day to day realities of their suffering as it exists on the ground. blogdai has hinted at a few of these strategies in previous posts.  They're easy, "no brainers."   Why then have we not been working on such strategies?  Perhaps its because the actual business of saving Tibet has taken a back seat to our current practice of forming consensus on Tibet through social media--we'd rather talk about it than DO it.

People who feel they are accomplishing some great humanitarian deed simply by talking about it on the internet solve nothing but perhaps their own self-esteem issues. They may all form groups and disagree about some evil practice in the world, but they're not about to do a damn thing about it. Love it or hate it, Joel Stein's article in Time on the millennial generation hits the point squarely. As Stein says: "They are informed but inactive: they hate (warlord) Joseph Kony but aren't going to do anything about Joseph Kony." 

Wael Ghonim, author of "Revolution 2.0," in his NPR interview of February of 2012, just after the first dramatic demonstrations at Tahrir square were considered to be the result of social media efficacy, said that we still need boots on the ground and leaders to effect change--social media just isn't going to get it done by itself:

"We used all the available tools in order to communicate with each other, collaborate and agree on a date, a time and a location for the start of the revolution," he says. "Yet, starting Jan. 28, the revolution was on the streets. It was not on Facebook, it was not on Twitter. Those were tools to relay information, to tell people the truth about what's happening on the ground."

In the case of the Tibetan movement, the wrong turn down the dead-end road to social media prioritization has sucked the life out of actual activist efforts.  

"Free Tibet" is dead, and social media is keeping it that way.  

-=blogdai

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Free Tibet is Dead" A Reader Responds


blogdai breaks out the blue editor's pen for a response to a well-written comment on our controversial "Free Tibet is Dead" column.  Have a look:  

From Anonymous:  

While I agree the work of organizations such as the ICT fosters a retaliatory stance on the part of China, there may need to be a bit of "Middle Way' thinking in considering those issues can be addressed and assuaged versus those that cannot.

It is no surprise that 25 years of legislative posturing on the part of governments has done little to promote freedom, autonomy or cultural preservation within TIbet, however, I pose to all of you who read this thread, who outside the confines of Tibet and China can reach inside and work to facilitate and foster positive change? 

The last time I checked, China rebuffs anyone and everyone when it comes to human rights, environmental issues, economics, etc. Pick a topic, they do not listen.

What CAN outside organizations do? Is it time to focus on big business, corporate enterprise that seeks to profit from China's cheap labor, lack of environmental policies, and mega-mass production capabilities?

What about those companies that are complicit with the PRC? Internet companies such as Google and Yahoo? What about tech companies such as Cisco that provide resources which are used to repress information and education, or other foreign entities with facial and gait recognition systems? Canadian companies selling the PRC drilling equipment to rob the plateau of natural resources?

I posit the movement has stalled, through no fault of the TSGs. It is a matter of understanding what reach they have, what they've worked toward and can work to change in the future, and working toward that end. To say the external movement has failed to promote change inside Tibet is to assume, wrongly, that any movement outside the TAR has that much reach and power to alter the political and cultural situation. Context, it's all about context.

Only those who live within the turmoil can resolve to change it. All anyone else can do from the sidelines is support as best they are able.

Perhaps we need to re-define what we mean by "inside" Tibet. You're right, we can't get in and can't effect change; China will see to it that any admonishments from the West are rebuffed. One need only read Martin Jacques's When China Rules the World to find support for your "they do not listen" assertion. Unless there's an economic collapse or regime change, China will continue to roll over Tibet and assimilate it into "Greater China."  That's it, period. We're not going to stop it. So when I say that "inside" needs to be re-defined,  we need to work on the very issues that cause Tibetans to lose hope and  perhaps die in flames.  To me, for starters, these issues are:  Lack of self-determination, Statelessness, and cultural destruction.  We should have been working on these all along. 

Three quick strategies for this are as follows, and the good folks at ICT, I'm sure, will pick these up as talking points like all groups who lack imagination and need to pay the rent:

1. The US and the West need a "Tibet Forward" stance. Stop scolding China, start supporting Tibet. This takes the very basic form of not bowing to Chinese pressure on Tibetan issues outside of China. State level visits for the Dalai Lama, Pro-Tibetan, not anti China programs and legislation that enhances Tibet. We don't do this now.  We're scared shitless of jeopardizing access to China's "economic potential" and we're greedy. 

2.  Work the identity issue.  Residency cards in either Nepal or India go a long way in dealing with a Tibetans sense of Statelessness and dependency on the West.

3.  (I'll follow your lead on this one) Create incentives for the private sector to  make Tibet a condition for doing business in China. Tax breaks anyone?  Conversely you can do this passively by increasing incentives for investing in countries like India that actively support Tibet. 

There is a lot more here, but perhaps for another time.  Strategies like enhancement rather than supportive funding; and Tenzin Dorjee's "Lhakar" movement which I've augmented to "Lhakar Plus" with a few ideas.   So yes, there ARE things Westerners can do that are infinitely more effective than what we are doing now and that address Tibetan suffering directly and where it is needed most.

I Absolutely agree that serious debate must begin on what we CAN physically do now.  Our efforts to this point have helped no Tibetans and have boiled down to the West using Tibet as a tool to trumpet some moral superiority over China—a superpower rhetorical pissing contest, if you will.

Your point about business is spot on and may serve to best illustrate my point. The Intercontinental Hotel group is planning a large hotel in Lhasa. Twenty years ago, during the peak of the "Free Tibet" movement, such a thing would not have been considered; yet here we are today witnessing this incredibly tone-deaf business decision.  The fact that Intercontinental did not feel that the Tibetan issue would harm their business speaks volumes on how we've failed to keep the message of Tibet front, center and relevant. 

Combine this  with the fact that only a smattering of Tibet activist groups are considering a boycott of Intercontinental and that none of this seems to have gone beyond Twitter and it further speaks to our failure to construct and maintain an efficient and effective activism structure for the issue.

I take issue with you on your defense of the TSG's however. They have failed, in my opinion, and they may have been doomed to failure from the start.  We approach everything in the West through "business plan" style thinking.  The Tibet movement was no different.  It started with a vibrant, grass roots outreach and grew rapidly.  Instead of pausing right there and directing efforts towards the actual Tibetan issues of immediate relevance, we followed our model and built our institutions instead. The money continued to flow in and we became cautious about seeming "too activist" and jeopardizing some level of donor funding. Introduce, get everyone under the "big tent," become successful, build infrastructure and devolve into defending your territory. It's the Western business arc and totally unsuited for humanitarian efforts.   For me, this decline was best symbolized by Todd Stein of the ICT when he boasted to Foreign Policy that the Tibetan movement was now "institutionalized"—it also represented the final nail in the coffin of the Western Tibet movement, as far as I was concerned. 

I'm extremely pleased with your grasp of the issue. Feel free to submit your extended opinion on this and I'll post it as yours on blogdai.  I do get the feeling you may be Kate Saunders however, so I'll approach this offer with caution. 


-=blogdai

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Free Tibet is Dead

One hundred and twenty  one and counting:  The number of Tibetans that have, by their own hand, chosen to die in self-ignited flames. Regardless of their motivations, this demonstrates an unimaginable level of desperation.


 Those of us who support Tibetan causes are devastated by this horrific phenomenon—devastated and confused.  After 25 years of effort, we were beginning to believe that the end of Tibetan suffering was achievable.  We had donated millions of dollars to "Free Tibet" and successfully raised awareness of the Tibetan struggle through multiple media platforms.  We witnessed  Beasty Boys concerts; Martin Scorsese's "Kundun;" Brad Pitt in "Seven Years in Tibet;" the Dalai Lama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize; Richard Gere's advocating face and the creation of countless Tibetan support groups and events.   We had put the issue on the map and, arguably, during the early part of the last decade, no human rights cause was more visible and received more funding than the Western-based Tibetan movement. 

Yet, here we are, shaking our heads in disbelief as one Tibetan after another self-immolates. Tibetans today seem more desperate than ever and Chinese repression of Tibetan culture seems to be increasing.  Even the Barkhor—the sacred heart of Tibet's capital city, Lhasa—is being flattened into a parking lot as we speak.   Ultimately, these events force us into the realization that, after all of our efforts, we are powerless to affect real change in Tibet, and have failed to curtail the type of desperation among Tibetans that leads them to a fiery demise.  The "Free Tibet" movement is dead.  How did we get it so wrong?

 Tibetan advocacy may have been in the wrong hands to begin with. 

In 1987, we in the West took Tibet under our wing and were determined to resolve their concerns our way and according to our perceptions.  Funds were raised, organizations formed and we proceeded to approach the issue from all angles at once.  We repeatedly threw money at Tibetans, whether they needed it or not; traded ideological barbs with China; enacted toothless and non-binding  resolutions; threatened small countries like Nepal for not doing enough, and basically treated Tibetans like pets in need of constant attention.  We offered scholarships and training for the lucky few who made it out of Tibet and proposed resettlement visas for those who wanted out.  For two decades, this patchwork of random programs and legislation provided small victories at best; and the perpetuation of Tibetan dependency on the West, at worst.  

Great energy has been spent in keeping our pro-Tibet institutions afloat, yet we've failed to build adequate mechanisms that give the Tibetans themselves a reason for optimism.  We never took the time to develop the specific expertise needed to reduce Tibetan suffering from the ground-up.  Our fundraising and organizational skills have matured, but our direct assistance efforts are still stuck in first gear.   Advocacy groups today still feel the need to "raise awareness" of the Tibetan issue as though it were new to everyone.  After 25 years, this "raising awareness" mantra now sounds like a code for: "we don't know what to do next." 

Is it any wonder that many Tibetans are now losing hope?  They've waited decades for the West to do something substantive on their behalf and all they've received in return was increased Chinese repression.  They've watched their concerns repeatedly take a back-seat to our various economic priorities while they remain in limbo with no sense of self-determination and no country of their own. While we dither, talk tough and buy furniture for our new Tibet offices, Tibetans look at us as hypocrites:  they now know we'll never jeopardize our access to China's great "economic potential" for their sake.

Perhaps our version of "Free Tibet" is better off dead.  The Western movement has been stuck in an unproductive malaise for years and the only time it comes to life is when Tibetans themselves bring the issue back into focus—now, unfortunately, through incremental mass suicide.

Our bloated, disjointed international effort needs to give way to a more focused regional strategy that assists Tibetans where they are most vulnerable.  A smaller, better organized campaign that addresses the specific ground-based, day to day, realities of the Tibetan struggle is needed now.

India is best positioned to lead such a new strategy.  She has sheltered Tibetans since the time of Nehru and the India-based Tibetan Government in Exile has seldom failed to show its gratitude in this regard.  India deeply ponders this relationship and knows that the Tibetans under their roof allow them to negotiate with an increasingly terse China from a position of strength.  Plus, they know that a Tibet-sympathetic West that aches for a solution (or for someone to take Tibet off its hands) could easily show innumerable forms of preference to an Asian nation that assumes the lead on Tibetan issues.

It's time for the West to get out of the way.  In light of current events, can Tibet afford to give us another 25 years to get it right?   One hundred and twenty  one dead Tibetans have given their definitive answer to that question—and perhaps their indictment.

-=blogdai

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Friendly Wager

Easy money.

If there's one thing that our inept politicians can accomplish with certainty, unity and great enthusiasm, it's the indefinite postponement of national elections.

Why bother with such a fussy process anyway?  The same handful of old corrupt men will still run the show and the big bi-lateral aid money will still flow. Such is the reasoning of a Singha Durbar  that has managed to delay elections about a dozen times since 2008.

In a practice run, voters simulate depositing their ballots in a latrine opening

In fact, NOT holding elections serves to guarantee that Nepal continues to be viewed as a political basket-case in the eyes of the world and, you guessed it:  CONTINUES TO RECIEVE FOREIGN ASSISTANCE IN ORDER TO CORRECT THE PROBLEM.

So let's have some fun.

Once again the old politicians have been coerced into calling for national elections. This new pathetic flail at democracy will allegedly be held on November 19, 2013.

Your blogdai, ever the astute observer of our Nepali political scene, seeing a chance to make a quick Rupee or two, knows that there's not a snowball's chance in Hell that these elections will come off and is willing to bet that this will be the case.

So, I, blogdai do hereby offer the following wager:  I will bet anyone Rs1000 that the Nepal national elections scheduled for November 19, 2013 will be either delayed, postponed or cancelled. Elections will not be held on November 19.  Who wants to bet?  

If blogdai loses, all winning bettors will receive Rs1000.  If blogdai wins, losers donate Rs1000 to the charity of blogdai's choice.   The New Media Gufa comes to mind these days.

How about it, any takers?

-=blogdai


Friday, June 28, 2013

5000 Visas

Well, the U.S. is at it again.  Should the comprehensive immigration bill that is currently up for a vote in the U.S. Congress pass , American immigration policy will be substantially altered.  Among the provisions included in the bill stands a rule whereby 5000 Tibetans living in Nepal and India will be given visas to the United States.

Many of you may remember, during the reign of George W. Bush, the same policy was proposed; and despite reports to the contrary, many Tibetans left Nepal under its provisions. Today, with 120 Tibetans burned to death and the Bharkor flattened, one has to wonder if there was any level of long-term thinking behind these policies.  For that matter, did they even have any tangible short-term benefits for Tibetans?  Things are getting worse in Tibet, not better, so what is the point of offering these 5000 U.S. visas now when they had no measurable effect in the past?



To blogdai, it means that the U.S. is stumped for answers on the Tibetan issue and is throwing in the towel once again.  Forget real solutions, let's just offer American visas for a chosen 5000 Tibetans;  how arrogant.  Devoid of creative, or even pragmatic thinking, U.S. Tibetan policy conjurers, this time under the proprietary and possessive maternalism of Senator Dianne Feinstein, are content to throw up their hands and call for an air-lift.

This does not even represent a band-aid solution to the Tibetan struggle, in fact, it very well might be rubbing salt in the wound on many levels:

1.  The U.S. is telling the Tibetan community that the solution to their problems does not lay in either obtaining some form of citizenship or working towards self-determination.  It's time for your rich benefactor to step in and save you. If that is the only thing the U.S. can come up with then where are the Syrian visas? The Sudanese?  No, this is theater---a display.  The U.S. is trying to show the world that they represent a clear choice away from Chinese repression; establish the contrasts; black vs. white.  Once again, it's not about helping Tibetans, it's about trumpeting one political ideology over another.

2.  The tokenism of this effort creates a climate of despair.  What of those wishing for visas who are unable to obtain?  The vast majority of Tibetans in Nepal and India will not get U.S. visas.   What will they be left to think of those who did?   Did they miss the "lifeboat?"  Is this the extent of the United States's substantive efforts on their behalf?  Forget direct "educational" aid and agriculture subsidies.  The Tibetans don't want any more charity; they want a country, or at least an identity. Pulling them out of their lives on the assumption that being in the U.S. must ultimately be an improvement takes away all of that.  Tibetans know that those who have left under such programs in the past have never returned.  They certainly haven't pooled their new American resources and eliminated Tibetan suffering as was the original intent of the 2005 visa proposal.  blogdai's Tibetan friends often tell of being in Dharamsala and witnessing the young Tibetan men combing an flaunting their long black hair in hope of landing a foreign girl.  "This is my ticket out of here," one boy said as he fluffed his mane. A lot of Tibetans just want to just leave. U.S. visas give no hope to Tibetans; they just give a quick way out--the Tibetans themselves will tell you this.

3.  Does the U.S. think that China will just sit back and let this happen?  After the Bush visa effort, China stepped up its campaign of repression against Tibetans in Nepal.  The government was strong-armed, and the borders were closed more frequently and without apparent reason.  China is even more assertive these days and is especially keen on shutting down Tibetan activity in Nepal.  Thank the International Campaign for Tibet and the rest of the Tibet lobby for stirring up this hornets' nest to its current frenzy, but nevertheless, China is almost waiting for the U.S. to pull a move like this so that they can loudly and publicly assert their view of the situation and make life miserable for both Tibetans and Nepalis in Nepal.

4.  Forget India for the time being.  As it was in 2005, this new visa program is aimed squarely at Nepal.  China has been and will continue to increase its influence in our fair kingdom--that is our current reality. China does this only to keep Tibetans in check--that is the other reality.  U.S. visa proposals do nothing but increase the pretexts China uses to obtain its Nepal footholds. When the U.S. starts messing with Tibetans it gives China an excuse to say: "not in my backyard, Yank."

Back in 2005, Mary Beth Markey, then Director of the International Campaign for Tibet said in perfect irony:

"This (visa) programme should help mitigate some problems of Tibetan refugees in Nepal where, at this time, vulnerabilities and needs are most pronounced."

Little did she contemplate that it would be a contributing cause to these problems. 

What will happen  

A less-assertive China began to openly retaliate against Nepal after the Bush proposal.  Expect more border closings and the most repressive treatment of Tibetans to-date in Nepal now that China feels like it has the right to be a world leader.   Resettlement of Tibetans proceeded reasonably for a bit after it was first proposed in 2005--blogdai participated in one such sponsorship--  but the U.S. now has to beg Nepal to give Tibetans an exit visa--the pressure from China is too great.  Will Nepal-hating congressman Frank Wolf start his threat parade again? Will Nepal be once-again held hostage to the dictates of rogue U.S. government officials if it does not comply with these visa requests? Worse, will the U.S. again have egg on its face after being caught in the midst of a phony Tibetan visa scam?

If the Chinese were smart, they'd realize that the U.S. is fractionating the Tibetan diaspora and let this transfer happen without a whimper.  They should realize the divisions and resentments this will cause among Tibetans.  C'mon, 5000 "one-time-only" visas?  A tantalizing glimmer of cheap hope dashed as quickly as the seats are filled--thanks Yanks!  So, does the U.S. think they are creating greater unity among Tibetans by pulling them out of their struggle a few at a time? Hardly.   No shared struggle equals no unity.  Keep it up, U.S. and watch the Tibetan community in Nepal and India collapse into total Western dependency.

Mostly, from a Tibetan perspective, nothing will happen.  The lucky few given visas will bail out of the region and the remaining Tibetans will be left to suffer.  Immolations will continue, and China will persist with, and  perhaps increase its relentless path towards nullifying Tibetan culture.

The Big Point

No Tibetan solution will ever come from the U.S.:  China will see to it.  Every time the U.S. opens its mouth about the issue, Tibetans ultimately suffer.  The U.S. needs to learn to shut up----but  good luck trying to tell them this.

The "Free Tibet" movement has been stagnant for years and is currently on death's door--the U.S.  government continues to keep it there.  People much smarter than blogdai are now crying quite loudly for the U.S. to step aside and let more effective and engaged forces prevail...    Indian forces.

For the sake of Tibetans and Tibetan culture, let's hope these cries are heeded.

-=blogdai

Saturday, January 05, 2013

blogdai "Calls on.."

The most worthless phrase in international diplomacy and blogdai is sick of it.

The UN "calls on" China to .......whatever.

And today Reporters Without Borders "called for.."  http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?article=Reporters+Without+Borders+calls+for+release+of+three+Tibetan+monks&id=32769

So why is everyone seemingly "calling on" or "calling for" something?  blogdai has the answer. To use the words "call on" immediately places the "calling" party in a position of simulated authority. "Calling" means that  whatever group is doing the calling doesn't have the ability to enforce or otherwise impact an issue so they'll just make a grand and worthless public proclamation and "call for " something. It is nothing but a public resume' stuffer, if you will. It accomplishes zero but allows the "caller" a moment of false equivalency as participant in the particular issue of their "calling."

The U.S. State Department is good at this; the EU has it mastered and the DC-based Tibet lobby hides behind it.  Lets' "call on" someone in the world to do something knowing full well it will never get beyond our "call." What drivel and self-indulgent crap, says blogdai.

blogdai hereby "calls on" the Gods of  common sense to smite these false idols who interject themselves into areas they cannot possibly impact.  blogdai is not a Hindu by birth so help is needed. Who's in charge of this, Manjushree? Shiva? Kali? How about Vajra?

Help is appreciated here, let me know so we can invoke the proper deities properly.

-=blogdai

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

All Offers Considered

Nice to see that our gang of confused children in the Nepali parliament are considering selling Nepal's embassy in England.  Just great. They've already agreed to turn Lumbini into a Chinese amusement park so this step should come as no surprise.



This is nothing more than a cash grab. Don't buy for a second Naryan Kaji Shrestha's arguments that "we can build five embassies elsewhere" with the money earned from the London sale.  More likely, they can buy five Pajeros for the Foreign Ministry, send five of their children to the best schools in the world, take five Chinese diplomats for a tour of their new military base sites in Nepal, and buy five minutes of respect with the Indian government in Delhi.

We must all start to worry when fat, and rich politicians begin to sell off Nepal's assets to finance their whims while maintaining their perpetual political stalemates. It means they have lost confidence and pride in the idea of Nepal as a nation and are more concerned with where their next bundle of cash is coming from.  It also means that as long as they can collect cash from any source, there is no compelling reason for them to make any political progress on anything.

What next?  Turn Pashupatinath into a Korean bath house?

-=blogdai


Friday, December 14, 2012

Waiting

Here we are, waiting.

Just the briefest bit of downtime.

The US, EU and Canada have all now "called on" China to allow for freedom of expression from Tibetans.
This is the closest we've come to a unified international front in support of Tibet.

It will have no effect and it won't last long.

The problem is, China is waiting too. In fact they can hardly wait to loudly and publicly smack-down this tepid attempt at a unified Tibet statement.

At which point we release our "Free Tibet is Dead" series of blogs.

Too bad.

-=bd

12/17/12.  And....  just like clockwork, China slams the international community.  

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/stay-away-from-tibet-china-tells-international-community/articleshow/17655780.cms

blogdai has had enough. Time to clean house in the Western-based Free Tibet movement.  stay tuned. 

12/19/12.    And... After waiting patiently for the foot-dragging UK to issue its "us too" statement of support , the Chinese lay into them with both barrels.  As predicted.  http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/war-of-words-between-china-britain-over-tibet-issue_817675.html   

A weak effort by a weak Western coalition that clearly doesn't have its heart in the issue.  


Stop Reading! A Guide

Life in the internet community is busy.

We don't have time to waste on opinions, viewpoints and rambling pulp that goes nowhere or furthers a biased or improbable point of view. We have too many pages to view and too many clicks to execute. Time is precious and our attention spans are short. There are no minutes to spare for those who seek to monopolize our time telling us what we already know or what we know can never happen--it's a lot of data clutter and we don't need it.

Blogdai reader just prior to receiving our guide

So...

In an effort to bring efficiency to your day, and as a complete public service, blogdai offers herewith, a guide to help you filter out the wheat from the chaff. We here at the blogdai complex have compiled a list of indicator phrases that, if encountered during your reading, have been shown to lead directly into paragraphs of time-wasting, intelligence-insulting and perhaps convulsion-inducing droning centered around moot, redundant or improbable observations. When you see these phrases in print, condition yourself to say "I don't care what comes next" and move on to your next click. With a little practice it will eventually happen automatically.

So...

STOP READING AFTER YOU SEE:

"UN Director Robert Piper touted Nepal's progress in...."
"......Student's Union called for a bandh...."
"Today, a Texas Republican said........"
"Nepali Leaders failed to reach an agreement today on..."
"A UNDP report on Nepal said...."
"If the UN wants to be more effective in Nepal it must..."
"We in the European Union call on China to address..."
"For the good of the people, Nepali politicians must...."
"The Prime Minister flew to India today and met with..."
"We in Nepal need to form a political consensus on..."
"In a speech today, Gagan Thapa said...."
"Today, members of Nepal's Parliament met to discuss modalities..."
"Baidya today said he would take to the streets if...."
"Nepali politicians today again failed to..."
"Nepali politicians today..."
"Nepali politicians...."
"Sujata Koirala...."

Kind of reads like a Haiku of disfunction, doesn't it?

-=blogdai








Monday, September 10, 2012

A New Day in Nepal

GUFA GUFFAW:  Media Gufa participants share a light moment

Something rare and wonderful has just concluded in Kathmandu.

Deep in the bowels of the Hotel Mandap (The Little Hotel that Could), Nepalis came together.

Dharma Adhikari's Media Foundation held a "New Media Gufa"  or "cave" where 5 of Nepal's top tech-savvy journalists chained themselves to their computers for three days in a heroic attempt to determine the extent of internet penetration in Nepal and to see if Nepali stories could be accurately told and sourced through the conveniences and limitations of the internet alone.  It was a beautifully conceived and elegantly simple plan and its execution was wondrous. Competing journalists talked and worked together as colleagues; debated, shared ideas and source information; and all was well and good until:

A National Conversation Happened

First, let's back up a bit: Up until this event, with the exception of an exceptional few, Nepal's journalists were often seen as a reactive and somewhat insular group with only a passing interest in the deeper roles of journalism in shaping national opinion, providing checks and balances against corruption, and uncovering hard truths in the service of the public's "right to know." The 4th estate in Nepal was better described as the 4th estate-less. The New Media Gufa broke through the fog of journalistic self-loathing and paycheck-to-paycheck zombie scribbling and dared to ask:

"Who are we as journalists?"

The answers were not readily apparent, but working and collaborating under the Gufa format on topics selected by debate and consensus provided some insight and proved to be a liberating experience for the participants.  Gufa journalists were able to challenge themselves and take risks, under the full scrutiny, support and criticism of their peers. What this did, aside from scaring the hell out of everyone initially, was to give the participants, perhaps for the first time, a feeling that they were a part of a larger journalistic community and that their individual voices, words and stories carried real weight within that community.  Heavy stuff.  So, who are we as Nepali journalists? they asked. Well for one thing, and at least for one weekend, they were a community.

Why does any of this matter?  A free and fair media is one of the pillars of democratic society and Nepal can use all the pillars it can get these days.  Forming a sense of community among journalists--and let's make a wish and say this leads to a vibrant journalism community in Nepal--is the first step in building such a media pillar. Communities define themselves by establishing standards; and standards, at least for journalists, lead to greater integrity which ultimately results in solid public trust in journalism and the media overall. The end result, to quote Neil Armstrong is: "Houston, we have a pillar.(beep)"  (OK, he never said that, but you get the point.)

The biggest of the big pictures here is that perhaps we are beginning a new day--catching a glimpse, through the New Media Gufa, of an imminently possible Nepal where dialogues about what is best for the public outweigh the voicing of immediate, individual and selfish concerns; and Nepalis begin to find new and courageous ways to voice their opinions and take control of their lives and their country.

I'd like to believe that we can find our community. Not tribe, not corporation, but the community of Nepalis as a nation. We really have no excuse for not trying.

The New Media Gufa has shown us the way.

-=blogdai




Saturday, May 19, 2012

India Shows its Hand

Every now and then, we get a little glimpse.....

We all fervently believe that India loves a somewhat unstable Nepal as it reinforces Nepal's dependence on India, but we rarely get a chance to confirm such conspiracy musings.  The last time we felt any sense of validation along these lines was when Indian officials were caught on tape admitting to supplying arms to the Maoists.  "Aha!, see?" we all collectively clucked.

But just yesterday, we hit the jackpot:  Indian Consular, SD Mehta, apparently was feeling a bit imperious and boldly called for a "Madhesi storm" of protests against Nepal's Federalism ideas.  He went on to say that India would give full support to such protests.  Immediately, Nepal's anti-India conspiracy theorists swooned and achieved Nirvana.

The rest of Nepal was furious.

Despite appearances, things are NOT looking up for SD Mehta

India immediately issued a statement denying Mehta's statements. What else could they do?  It was an unbelievably stupid blunder of the type from which there is no easy extrication. India knows it. A denial is the only way out at this point. Any acknowledgement of truth here would be a tacit acknowledgement of India's strategy towards Nepal. How else could a person like Mehta be allowed to carry such beliefs with him into a Consular position? Such strongly held Madhes passions would be tough to conceal over the course of a diplomatic career, wouldn't one think?

So, let's see if blogdai has all this straight:
Indian Consular invites representatives from all Nepal's political parties to a dinner function.
Indian Consular calls for Madhes protest and pledges India's backing.
Indian Consular does this openly, as a diplomat on Nepali soil.

So, basically, a representative of a foreign country has just used his diplomatic position of trust to call for open rebellion against another sovereign nation's government.  No problem there....

The Epic Flip-Flop
Prachanda calls foul, hauls the Indian ambassador to his residence and tells him how awful he is for allowing an Indian diplomat to call for ethnic protests against Federalism:  exactly three days after Prachanda himself called for ethnic protests against Federalism in the far West.  Those Indians, always trying to steal our good ideas.

The Upside
You could not have asked for better timing.  Anytime India says anything about Nepal, good or bad, we circle the national-unity wagons, come together as one people, and immediately start destroying parked cars and infrastructure.  This is the big break our inert politicians were looking for.  We can now credibly fabricate the idea that the entire Madhesi autonomy movement was an Indian scheme to de-legitimize Nepal as a sovereign nation (!)  Ok, maybe only The Telegraph would do that, but you get the point.  We now have a rallying point that should galvanize support for the current Federalism package.  No self-aggrandizing Nepali politician would dare vote against saving Nepal from Indian treachery!

How convenient.

-=blogdai

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Otero Effect

Get ready Nepal, here she comes again.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Maria Otero is coming to Kathmandu again and she's probably bringing that big chip on her shoulder about Nepal's treatment of Tibetans.  Unfortunately, it's not a very informed chip.

Ms. Otero will more than likely make some proclamation about how Nepal is not doing enough to protect Tibetans.  This is true and Nepal can do much more in this regard, but Ms. Otero does not live in Nepal and does not see the ground realities or the Chinese pressure that Nepal must deal with every day.

It won't matter, Ms. Otero will make her case, scold Nepal and retreat back to safety on the other side of the world.

Her's is a sound-bite diplomatic effort on behalf of Tibetans.  Otero's use of terms like "gentleman's agreement" tells blogdai that she's gotten most of her Tibetan data from the Tibet lobby in DC and not from more permanent and credible field and diplomatic channels.  

I'm sure it was one of these uninformed sources that gave  her the brilliant idea of coming to Kathmandu just a few days before Losar, the Tibetan new year.  In recent years, Losar has been an exercise in Nepali repression of Tibetans at the request of the Chinese. All indications are there will be a similar effort to stifle Tibetan expression again this year.  So is Otero's timing a deliberate act?  Is Otero of the belief that a few words of support or warning might stave off some police action?  

Naive and dangerous.  Her visit just before Losar--even if she says nothing about Tibet--will trigger an increase in Chinese pressure on Tibetans in Nepal.  Bank on it.  Yang Houlan can't wait to show the Americans who's boss in Nepal and loves to pull the trigger in the name of "regional stability" as he says.  She's courting trouble if she believes American hegemony has any staying power in Nepal,  plus, the Chinese look to her every utterance on Tibet as evidence of meddling by "foreign Free Tibet groups."

Maria Otero (right) asking herself: "Who is this guy in the robe again?"

As annoying and childish as the Chinese are on the Tibetan issue, they DO perhaps have a point. blogdai has  learned that during her last visit, Otero was accompanied by junior staffers of the DC Tibet lobby who undoubtedly were spoon-feeding their positions to her and providing her with briefings.

It was an unfortunate coincidence that shortly after her visit, the consular section of the U.S. embassy was caught designating Tibetan travelers as "refugees" and having some (unclear) involvement in a phony visa miscue involving Tibetans.  The DC Tibet lobby strikes again?  blogdai says this is too coincidental and too precise of a move to be pulled off without some form of planning and access from interested groups.  Just sayin....

WHAT WE NEED TO DO

Anyway, Otero's last visit started a cavalcade of criticism of Nepal from obscure State Department officials and U.S. legislators alike.   We can't let this happen again as we seek to build credibility on the world stage and attract foreign investment, so contact representatives of the Nepal media and Nepal trade organizations and have them be alert for this onslaught.  Perhaps if we see the Otero effect coming we can plan for it, address it publicly, and then ultimately dismiss it.

-=blogdai

2/14 Update:  Otero cancels Nepal visit for the time being.  Did she realize the volatility of showing up just before Losar or did she just read blogdai and cave?   -=BD

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Turning the Corner on China

Words. Lots of words made into resolutions, but mostly toothless words.  The European parliament passed a resolution condemning China’s treatment of the self-immolation tragedy back in March of 2010. In December of 2011, they followed up with more rhetoric on China’s abysmal human rights practices.  A few weeks ago, the U.S. finally passed Senate Resolution 356, which largely follows Europe’s lead. 

And now when China was part of a veto to a no-brainer condemnation of the Syrian regime, Susan Rice, UN ambassador from the U.S. to dropped her diplomatic gloves and proclaim the U.S. to be “disgusted” at the move.

The world is getting tired of China, but does it matter?

Face it.  China does not want anyone to tell it what to do on anything, and takes every criticism, condemnation, edict or resolution that it doesn’t like as an opportunity to demonstrate that fact.  China wants to do things China’s way.  Pass all the resolutions you want, China will use them as a point of identity in order to distinguish themselves from the rest of the world.

Its like that Nietzsche observation where people take an irrational  contrarian position on an issue just to prove they exist and are relevant to the planet.

China doesn’t want to be accepted in the West, in fact, China probably despises our arrogance and presumptive authority and would rather the world follow their perspectives and practices.

Susan Rice fed up and "disgusted" with China

Regardless, there is the sense of a tangible shift—a wising up, if you will, of world opinions towards China. 

So now, toothless resolutions and all, perhaps the writing is on the wall and we are beginning to turn the corner on our  view of China’s place in the world and the West’s relationship to that place.  The old way of viewing China is giving way to a new reality and our pre-conceived notions of the China dynamic are fading.   Say goodbye to the old-school thinking that assumed: 

  1. China will be a source of unlimited business opportunities for the West.
  2. We must speak quietly on human rights issues lest we offend our potential economic interests in China.
  3. If we show China how wonderful Western capitalism and markets can be, they will eventually come around and adopt democratic reforms. 

Our perceptions and hopes for China up to this point have been based on our own greed, period.  Because of this, China knew that any condemnation of its currency, products, human rights record, or Tibetan policies from the West would always be a half-hearted exercise at best.  If we really cared about China’s failings we would have imposed sanctions long ago.  As it stands, China has our Western greed in its corner as powerful advocate, so they approach our limp condemnations with a sense of rebellious glee.  The more we criticize, the more they willfully show their intransigence by vociferously offering their pro-Chinese rebuttal.  Thanks Nietzsche.

So its good that we are taking a newer look at China as a whole.   Martin Jacques’s book When China Rules the World was way ahead of the curve in this regard. Duncan Clark, a Beijing consultant, notes these shifting winds from the economic perspective: "People (in the Chinese government) here think no-one can do without China, and I think now some companies are thinking no-one can deal with China.."  Even Google has taken a reasonably principled stand by pulling out of China.  Resolutions on Tibet by the EP and U.S. Congress are a good start.  UN ambassador Susan Rice calling China and Russia’s Syrian veto “disgusting” is another.   Re-asserting a U.S. naval presence in the Pacific signals that we may have had enough of China’s bullying in the region.  All of these acts—much less the tone-- were unthinkable even a few years ago. 

All of this probably will not move China one centimeter for now, but there is at least a sense of a unified front emerging among members of the world community and a feeling that the China “potential” is not worth its weight in human rights abuses and cheap products. 

So in the spirit of turning the China corner, a good healthy list of emerging China perceptions might recognize: 

  1. That China works on behalf of China and has only a limited interest in a level economic playing field in relationship to the world economy. 

  1. That our greed has not served us well. It’s time to re-prioritize the values that gave us some sense of credibility in the past.  Human rights, fair economic policies that do not pander to market “potential” and other similar measures would be a good start.  We must find renewed courage to speak and act according to these values. 

  1. That China does not want to be like the West.  Until the ruling Communist Party departs, they will take great pride in showing us how prosperous they’ve become without democracy or human rights.  They will continue to oppose any UN measures that even remotely suggest Western hegemony or are detrimental to China’s interests.  China willfully presents a contrarian if not opposing opinion to Western ideas and philosophies and we must revise our definition of cooperation away from turning a blind eye to China’s posturing and abuses in the hopes of some future gain, towards a more balanced approach to Western interests and concerns.  

  1. That bloviating loud-mouthed criticism of China does not work; it only strengthens their resolve. For example: John McCain’s recent proclamation that an “Arab Spring will come to China” will be met by some form of strict clamp-down on free speech in China if for no other reason than to tell the Senator to shut up and mind his own business. Guaranteed.  Public criticism of China only makes them stronger in their resolve—there’s that Nietzsche again!  The Chinese are frustrated with their government on many levels, but if a Western big-shot critic makes a comment about it, they’ll circle the national unity wagons first and deal with their frustrations later. 
The only effective way to level the playing field with China is through one of their own time-proven techniques—modified for our times:  "Change through a thousand cuts. " Work individual issues, one at a time, on the ground if possible, and through the average Chinese citizen, not the Government.  China’s recent acquiescence to individual villager revolt against corrupt policing gives us a hint of the potential of such small actions.  

-=blogdai



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nepal: A Word About "Foreigners"

Why is it that every time any large-scale political or human issue befuddles and confuses us in Nepal we immediately accuse nebulous "foreign forces" of everything from simple meddling to outright sabotage?

We take to the street in a foamy rage every time an Indian actor or author dares call Nepal anything less than a sovereign nation; we flip-out when foreign dignitaries issue shallow threats; we  have a media coronary if some ambassador says that he envisions "Maoists walking down to Singha Durbar;" and we dismiss anti-Monsanto protests because they "seem to have a majority of foreigners" present.

Get over it Nepal and grow up.

If we want to be respected on the world stage, we have to learn to be secure enough in our own identity to not only tolerate the voices of foreigners, but actively solicit their advice and counsel when needed.  If there seems to be a lot of foreigners in a Monsanto protest its because foreigners have infinitely more experience in dealing with Monsanto than we in Nepal and we should listen to their advice in the spirit of neighborly help and greater understanding.  If a U.S. ambassador speaks out against a bandh, its because he's seen it all before and knows that bandhs hurt Nepal's image immeasurably in the eyes of the world.

Monsanto protest, November 2011, Maharajganj
The banner is written in Nepali and for Nepalis and mostly held up by foreigners

We are trying to re-build a nation in Nepal and we need to wise-up and take all the good advice we can get. It will pose more than  enough difficulty for our young people to work around Nepal's corrupt and worthless political apparatus and form a new governmental structure in the coming years, and shutting out all good-intentioned foreign advice will only add to this difficulty.  So, I'll say this once:

NATIONAL UNITY CANNOT BE BUILT ON XENOPHOBIA

Fear cripples development, saps our young people of confidence, and keeps politicians corrupt and unaccountable to citizens.

We grow when we decide to learn--from all sources.

-=blogdai

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gagan Thapa is an Idiot

Gagan Thapa angrily rejecting India's latest bribe of "5 more meat shops."

Blogdai is tired of this guy.  

He was a screaming little boy during Jana Andolan and now he's a bought-and-paid-for member of the NC. Hooray.  Now take your money and go shut up somewhere.  Don't you have a string of meat markets to run in Kathmandu?  Quite a nice set up for a boy who started with nothing, don't you think?  Where did you get all that cash,  Papa Koirala or did you just go to Delhi directly?

Seems Lady Gagan is just beside himself these days. He just can't handle the fact that the U.S. ambassador is concerned about the NC initiated bandh and may re-instate the travel warning for U.S. citizens thinking about coming to Nepal.   Gaga(n) thinks its perfectly alright to bully the government into meeting NC demands under the shallow premise that one of their cadres was killed in a Kathmandu jail.  Rule of law be damned!  We're taking to the streets and we're going to break some things!

Once a street thug, always a street thug.  

Let's see, our brave man of the people says absolutely nothing about China's arrogant in-roads into just about every aspect of Nepali politics or India's constant meddling (don't want to bite the hand that feeds on that one, shh!)but is quick to accuse U.S. Ambassador Scott DeLisi of meddling in Nepal's internal affairs for making an appropriate and correct assessment of the bandh and its effects.  

Look no further than this for motivation:  Lady Gagan is a boy of the streets. A little street action gets his blood going and he just might be making his little play for an advanced leadership position in the NC.  

Other than that, his words are just shallow posturing by a screaming little coward.  

Take another bribe and crawl back into your hole.  

-=blogdai

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We All Thought Paras Did It

Gotta love Prachanda's recent interview with Greatway magazine.  He basically confesses what we here at blogdai have been telling you all  along,

http://nepalnow.blogspot.com/2005/06/i-dont-even-want-to-think-about-it.html


that none other than our crooked old blogdai nemesis Girija babu was the main boss behind the unholy alliance between Maoist, Nepal and India.  He started and finished jana andolans one and two for his own personal means and......

MAY HAVE HAD A HAND IN THE ASSASSINATION OF KING BIRENDRA.

Sure, we got most of this from the most Rupert Murdoch-like news source in Nepal, The Telegraph, but hey, a quote is a quote.

http://www.telegraphnepal.com/headline/2011-10-22/nepal-maoist-chief-dahals-dangerous-leak-claims-girija-was-war-guru

-=blogdai

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Lumbini Connection

That deal to take over Buddhism down in Lumbini must really be a hot potato.  The Chinese not only will not give up on the deal but they are sending 50 "representatives" to Kathmandu to try and change minds at Singha Durbar.   Typical Chinese move:  make a big show of force when you don't get your way and try and bully everyone until they give in.   


Nepal held the line about not letting the Chinese take over Lumbini and turn it into a Communist theme park. The truth is, our politicians were miffed at not being let in on the big cash pay-day so they rejected the deal.  Corruption as a force for national unity, who would have thought!

It's laughable that the Chinese first went to two of the most bribe-taking-for-sale-to-the-highest bidder types in Nepal to get their foot in the door:  Paras and Prachanda, the "Pee Pee twins," both of whom have visited Beijing so many times that they makes ol' Girija's frequent past trips to Delhi look like a once in a lifetime pilgrimage. The Pee Pee's took the money and ran. The Chinese overestimated their effectiveness.  Somewhere Sujata is screaming: "hey, why didn't you guys call me?" 

It's creepy how China tried to do the whole deal through the shadowy Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation. (APEC).  Foundation Chairman Eric Tay is a steely-eyed Hong Kong businessman who just happens to have big expertise at defense system and radar listening equipment procurement. 

No wonder the Chinese are sending 50 of their best and brightest bullys to Kathmandu, we wrecked their big shot at setting up a spy center and they're trying like mad to salvage the deal and not get exposed!

It's an outrage that a branch of the UN may be in collusion with Chinese efforts. 

Kandeh K. Yumkella, the current director of the United Nations International Development Organization (UNIDO) seems to be supportive of APEC efforts in Lumbini.  What gives?  Aside from being a native of Sierra Leone and probably tired of the fact that our cricket team routinely kicks the shit out of his country's squad, Mr. Yumkella is also a member of the China Council of International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) which consists of senior Chinese officials and international experts and advises top Chinese Government officials on development issues.Oops.  Could it be that Director Yumkella is on China's Lumbini payroll?  

It's strangely curious that one Mr. Graham Wrigley, a member of the Himalayan Trust, UK branch, seems to be hovering around the sidelines.  He and Mr. Yumkella both spoke at a Sierra Leone trade and investment forum in 2009


His current focus is on sustainable private sector growth in poor countries. He is Chairman of Aureos (the largest small to medium enterprise (SME) investor in low income countries with $1.1bn under management and 29 offices in Africa, Asia, and Latin America) and he sits on the Board of Manocap (a private equity fund based in Sierra Leone). In addition he is working in the Microfinance field in India and Nepal

So it looks like we can add a Sierra Leone connection to the mix.  

 __________________________________________________________



 blogdai can't tell where all of this is going right now but my big guess will be the following:  
   


 1.  The Chinese will agree to help fund the Nepali version of a Lumbini restoration scheme and agree to it's limitations for the moment.  


 2.  China will throw a lot of money around Singha Durbar and Lumbini and eventually wind up building something similar to what it had originally proposed; spy center and all.  


 3.  The Nepali people will lose one of it's world treasures to the forces of money and political arrogance. 


 -=blogdai


----------------------------------------------Update:  August 9, 2011
IBN News has just reported that the Chinese have now officially signed the Lumbini deal.  As predicted , they've somehow given in to the original Nepali design, but are planning an international airport as well.  We lose.  


 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Epic China Fail

Jai Nepal!  blogdai is happy these days.  Some of the darkest and most agenda-driven interests in Nepal have been thwarted and sent packing!

Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Buddha, is still safe in the hands of Nepalis.

China was pushing hard to force one of its typical hyper-development rapes on the most sacred site in Buddhism. A big plan was hatched where an international airport, hotels, tourist traps and a huge Chinese contingent of cynical profiteers was to be dumped on Lumbini in the name of China's version of "development."  China even brought the "Pee Pee" twins (Prachanda and Paras) into the deal in hopes of tapping into that huge vein of  corruption in Parliament.
Proposed site of China's new "Happy Panda" massage parlor and mini-mall

Fortunately, the only force equal to ineptitude in Nepal politics is Xenophobia, so the plan was rejected outright on the grounds that there was too much foreign control.

China's plan is clear to anyone who follows China's simple patterns: control the birthplace of the Buddha and you can eventually re-make Buddhism into a nice Chinese Communist Party-approved amusement. China sought to control the message from where the message began.  They've begun to realize that simply picking their own Lama re-incarnations isn't suppressing Tibetan anger so they were trying to go after the source and perhaps re-write or mis-represent Buddhist history in their favor.

They failed miserably.

-=blogdai

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Art of "Blowing It"

Nepali officials never met an opportunity they couldn't destroy.  Usually it's in politics, but in a recent move by Nepal's ANFA hierarchy-- that sporting body with high scores in  football bungling--Nepal shows that it can foul up the one things that Nepalis feel a sense of pride and happiness towards:  Our football team.

It seems British skipper  Graham Roberts has given our Nepal side the best chance it's ever seen on the world stage, with the boys headed to Jordan for another exciting match.  Nepal moves into elite territory in the Asian region if it crosses over Jordan (sorry) and gets toward World-Cup territory.  Exciting stuff!

Nope.

ANFA has consistently underfunded the Side and many smell corruption.  Coach Roberts has rightly complained about the incompetent staff and fields unworthy of practice.  ANFA should be ashamed.


The single greatest tool a Nation has in its possession for establishing pride and a sense of national unity is its sports teams.



We are all Nepalis when one of our own does well on the world stage; be it our Judo champions, swimmers, or our U-19 Cricket teams.  WE need competence in the organizations that support our athletes so our athletes can do their best!

It is absolutely inconceivable that the ANFA has now accused Coach Roberts of blaming them for the sole purpose of covering an inevitable loss to Jordan.   What a pathetic, defeatist statement from a bunch of low-class bakshish-beggars who see their country as constantly weak.
Nepal coach Graham Roberts attempts to describe the amount of excrement he had to wade through during his last visit to ANFA headquarters. 

Fire every member of ANFA and replace them with volunteers from Nepal Unites, says blogdai

-=blogdAI