Monday, May 23, 2005

Amnesty Incorporated

Reprinted from

It must be fundraising season over at Amnesty International.

Blogdai loves ‘em, for sure—there’s no one I’d rather have in my corner if I were thrown into a Chinese prison in Lhasa (blogdai just missed this in 1998) or faced a Rangoon firing squad. AI goes to bat for lots of folks who get in over their heads around the world.

But, have you ever seen AI go to a place like Nepal or wherever in an official capacity and not insists that there was some immediate human rights crisis? Just once it would be nice to hear AI go somewhere and say something like: “Well, things are getting better.” Blogdai thinks it’ll never happen. No “crisis” means no funding. AI is a publicly supported entity just like any NGO. They need their cash-flow. Their bread and butter lies in getting in the middle of human rights issues and making noise, and just like most public groups, they may embellish from time to time. Create a sense of urgency and you increase the giving from your donor base. That explains their breathless “brink of catastrophe” language when they talk about Nepal.

So, the world must be on a slow abuse cycle, if all AI can do now is call for a mass demonstration against the King in Washington. banne They must have been talking to Sujata. Wonder if they get to use her people and banners as well?

This makes blogdai wonder: has Sujata gotten a hold of someone in AI and sold them a bill of goods? AI can't resist a good human rights "catastrophe" angle, no matter how contrived, so this just may be the most interesting marketing partnership yet in the human rights community.

May 25, update: They are still at it! Another breathless set of reports hits the wires. First, (surprise), people in China do not get a fair trial! AI scoops us all by reporting that in China "Thousands of people were sentenced to death or executed, many after unfair trials." Hasn't this been happening for, what, a few decades now? Next, in an apparent attempt to increase donations from the home crowd in the EU and UK, Amnesty takes a good jab at the Yanks with:

"Furthermore, the US, as the unrivalled political, military and economic Super Power, sets the tone of governmental behaviour world-wide. By thumbing its nose at the rule of law and human rights, what message does the US send to repressive regimes who have little regard for the rule of law anyway?"

All this from their annual report which does not fail to mention the "increasing impunity" of abuses of Nepal's security forces. Blogdai wonders: how did they know this? Since AI is not allowed in the field with the RNA and cannot adequately document all security force actions, how can they tell us, with any accuracy, that abuses are increasing?

Seems old AI is a little short of funds this year. This last report really stirs the pot. Get everyone emotional about everything and eventually you hit a hot issue that makes someone write a donation check. Maybe they should hire telemarketers?

June 16 update: Amnesty International breathlessly urges the world to immediately ban all weapon sales, even the non-lethal variety, to Nepal for fear that some Maoists might get hurt. "Arms should not be exported as long as there is a clear risk that they might be used to commit serious human rights abuse," Amnesty's Asia Pacific programme director, Purna Sen, told the Reuters news agency. " That's like refusing to wash your dishes because germs might be damaged.

Next, AI continues to press for funds from their UK donors by saying Britain supplies non-lethal aid to Nepal that "could" be used to kill civilians.,11538,1506531,00.html They cite 6,700 assault rifles that may or may not have been shipped to Nepal. Mean old Britain: they've contributed a whopping L110,000 to Nepal's military over the last 4 years--shame, shame!



Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sujata's Travels

Hmm, let's see: Sujata Koirala flees Nepal to Delhi and miraculously, anti-king demonstrations flare up in Delhi's streets.

Hmm, let's see again: Sujata visits New York and miraculously, Nepal's former UN representative Murari Raj Sharma, who was in New York at the same time, next turns up at an anti-monarchy, pro "democracy" rally in Washington.

Hmm, one more time: Sujata is spotted sitting quietly in the back of that same rally in Washington.

Blogdai is not saying outright that the Washington rally was bought and paid for by Sujata as was stated in this week's Ghorkapatra;jsessionid=C051C0F44CB1DC62CA9089557C416769?currentContentId=88 but it is quite curious that wherever this woman travels, "spontaneous" demonstrations against the King seem to spring up.

This is a pattern we all know from Kathmandu. Whenever our pampered Koirala clan does not get their way, some group hits the streets in protest. Usually, it has been Nepali students. Let's face it, there was never enough money or will power in Nepal's student culture alone to stick up for NC's political maneuvers; but there they were, well-organized and well-funded with matching signs and banners. Let's be clear, the Nepali Congress Party paid for all of the student protests--shiny banners and all. So, why should we all be surprised to find this same sort of demonstration following in the wake of Sujata's travels?

Let's see where the mistress of chaos lands next in the world. blogdai bets that a well-funded protest can't be far behind.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Paras Driving

Seems old killer-P is going big time for the new makeover. Last week he played a round of golf with U.S. ambassador James Moriarty.

One wonders how, in the midst of Nepal’s crisis, the U.S. ambassador found the time to organize his “Ambassador’s Cup” golf tournament. Blogdai guesses that Moriarty must have too much time on his hands. Forget human rights and press suppression. Forget the Maoist insurgency and the U.S.’s pending arms deal to the King: we’ve got a golf tournament to play!!

Paras's golf coach, "Butch Harmon" Chettri emplores Paras to "visualize shooting the ceiling of a disco" to help our Prince maintain his focus, while Princess himani watches Paras's "driving prowess" through protective eyewear.

Since Moriarty is supposed to set the tone for U.S. policy in Nepal, one also has to wonder what kind of signals he is sending to the world. Looks like he doesn’t care and would rather be back in his old Chinese stomping grounds to blogdai. He’s already proven by his speech that he considers Nepal to be an incompetent backwater of feudal insignificance, so why not chuck the whole thing and concentrate on organizing a golf tournament? Blogdai can envision the exchange at the U.S. embassy as Moriarty instructs his receptionist: “Tell the King to call back later, I’m working on my putting!”

Anyway, back to our pugnacious Prince of pulchritude. Paras was having quite the jovial time with reporters, ambassadors and generals during his foray on the links. Apparently the mood was temporarily broken when the entourage fell silent after Paras’s exclamation of “my driving prowess is good.” No word on which member of the party choked on their cocktail after this utterance.

Our Prince played a poor front nine, but rallied at the turn and posted quite a respectable score on the back nine. Blogdai has no way of confirming rumors that the struggling Prince commanded that Nepali artists be placed at each of the final nine holes in order to improve his accuracy.

So the makeover continues. Expect the new Paras to hire someone to beat-up bar patrons from now on.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

A Missed Opportunity

Online photo: Kathmandu Post

The King blew it on Friday.

Some 30 families claiming to be Maoist victims were living out in the open in Tahity chowk, protesting and demanding food.
In comes the blue meanies to break-up, beat-up, and disperse the hungry "internal refugees."

While blogdai believes that the King's takeover was necessary, scenes and photos like the one above show a fundamental lack of insight on the part of the Royal government. First, a tremendous opportunity was missed. Knowing that his every move is under world scrutiny, the King might have shown some actual concern for his people by taking this group of victims, legitimate or not, under government care, or some variation thereof. It would have been a simplistic gesture, to be sure, but support for the king would have increased and world opinion would have been positive. Now, there is a very real argument present that if the King had done this, it would have triggered a flood of frightened refugees into the capital, but such mass immigration is overstated; Kathmandu's population has already almost doubled with refugees in the last few years.

Second, photos of girls being man-handled by police are certainly bound to be used by every deposed political leader, human rights agency and world leader as grist against the King's policy. Those of us who live and work in Kathmandu know that these tactics are not new to the special police and are, to some extent, anticipated whenever they arrive on scene---it is how police "police" kathmandu. It is a rough, no-nonsense approach. The larger point is that these confrontations are unnecessary and create disturbing pictures to the world.

We are already seeing Western media outlets fishing for stories to back their universally chosen angle of "despotic King supresses vibrant democracy," so photos like the one above add new life to that scenario.

The King should have known better.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

They Just Don't Get It

They just don’t get it.

Those wonderful, deposed political parties continue to show us all why they are no longer in power. After 14 years of bickering they have now decided to work together and have unveiled their new plan for cooperating with each other. To wit:

“Reinstating parliament is the starting point in our common agenda," Mahesh Acharya, a senior official of the Nepali Congress party, said on behalf of the seven parties.
The common agenda would also include constitutional reform to restrict Gyanendra's powers and demand that the monarch release all political detainees, restore press freedom and scrap a royal anti-corruption body that many say targets the king's political opponents, said Madhav Nepal, chief of the Communist Party of Nepal.

Blogdai thinks this is just wonderful. Now that they are completely irrelevant, the parties are busy formulating policies to restrict the King’s powers and backtrack on Koirala’s blunder of all blunders, the dissolving of parliament. Yes, that will certainly put the king in a negotiating mood, won’t it?

Girija Koirala and Mahdav Kumar Nepal calculating how much money they've lost since being out of office. Posted by Hello

Now we have Koirala admonishing the world, from his imaginary throne, to not supply arms to the Nepali government for their fight against the Maoist insurgency saying that there are “… indications that the king is moving toward a dictatorial regime." Was releasing you from prison one of those indications, babu? Since India has expressed its desire to resume arms shipments, does that mean that you are now all alone in your assessments? Koirala has always been the direct spokesperson for Indian interests in Nepal, so India’s move might just show everyone that Girija’s old masters have finally cut him loose.

In another amazing feat of confusion, old Girija babu admits that, “…political party leaders, including me, failed to understand the palace’s intentions.” Claiming some grand conspiracy and a power grab. In the same breath he says that compromise is not possible with either the king or the Maoists.
Say Babu, did it ever occur to you that your singular drum beat of constant protests and overall refusal to compromise is what got you all in this mess in the first place?

They just don’t get it.

What did Girija do immediately after he was released from prison? He called for protests. What did Madhav Kumar Nepal do immediately after he was released from prison? He called for protests.

U.S. Representative Christina Rocca apparently spoke to old Girija yesterday. Blogdai feels that two very distinct things were said. First, babu, get out of the way. It is time for you to retire and stop tormenting Nepal with your constant call for protests. Second, if you can’t get out of the way, find a solution involving all the participants. This means compromise. The world has stated that it will not work with you because of your history of corrupt incompetence, so if you and Mahdav can’t do something constructive, don’t continue to disrupt the process with your childish antics.


Update: As of May 15, THEY STILL DON'T GET IT!
Former politicos were barred from boarding a flight to Islamabad to attend a ministers conference.
To the members of the 7 party alliance: You are not in parliament anymore. You are not in the government anymore. The denial process of boarding a plane for a ministers conference makes you look pathetic. -=blogdai

Mahdav Kumar Nepal remembering that it has been almost a full day since he called for a protest.  Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

No Surprise Here

Blogdai has been calling this one since the takover (Blogdai, "My Favorite Rumor" Feb. 8 and again on "Mixed Opinions" March 13 and "Sujata Outs.." on Feb. 20). It looks like the formal courtship has begun. Maoists love the Parties: ain't that sweet.

The latest from this new "Axis of Idiots" shows quite a bit of change in tone:

Prachanda: “We are ready to accept our previous weaknesses and form alliance with the political parties.”

More subtlely, if the brand new 7 Party "alliance" can agree on anything specific, the Maoist demand for constituent assembly would be embraced as well as direct negotiations: "The negotiation will be followed by a political conference among all stakeholders, which will form an interim government with Maoist participation, to hold election either for parliament or constituent assembly,"

This is a predictable and deperate move on the parts of both the Maoists and the deposed Parties. It shows a fractionated, ineffective Maoist movement trying to re-establish relevance and a group of sad, corrupt former politicians looking for any political traction they can find.

Since the Parties know only protest, Blogdai wonders what form these demonstrations will actually take when the tactics of their new Maoist buddies are included in the mix.

If the Parties go through with this, who in the lazy Western media will still call them champions of democracy? They will have finally exposed themselves as the corrupt and opportunistic individuals that they are: nearly leading Nepal to the brink of anarchy.