More Ambassador Follies
British Ambassador to Nepal, Keith Bloomfield winding-down after a long day of Nepal bashing.
They must be having an ongoing wager....
Keith Bloomfield and James Moriarty must have a running bet going to see who can say the most poorly-researched and insipid comment while representing their country in public. Our absolutely lost British Ambassador to Nepal, Keith G. Bloomfield has done it again. Right on the heels of Moriarty's statements, Bloomfield takes the lead and refuses to let Moriarty last more than a full day as the stupidest man in Nepal! This one begs for a blogdai line-by-line skewering so here we go. (Blogdai comments in blue)
Commenting to that Royal mouthpiece, The Rising Nepal, Bloomfield said there was a "world of difference" between the Maoists and the Al Qaeda. The Maoist conflict was "an armed insurrection involving thousands of a country's own citizens in a classic guerrilla warfare environment with political and socio-economic demands, many of which are shared by the mainstream political parties." Mind-numbingly stupid. Keith, you have just given your indirect support to the Maoists by lionizing them as ordinary citizens with legitimate concerns. You've also managed to give the impression that a Maoist-7-party merger would be alright because it would just unite a lot of nice fellows who share the same viewpoint. You are saying they are not terrorists but more like community activists. These "activists" drill holes in pregnant women, abduct school children, kill teachers and blow up civilian busses. How quaint. Sounds a bit like the IRA from your neck of the woods, eh Keith? Just a bunch of good Irish lads with legitimate reasons for killing, right?
But the Al Qaeda, he said, was a "worldwide extremist network" involving "only a tiny minority of a minority religious group in the UK, with no coherent negotiable demands or formal structure". So, Maoists are bigger, they stay home, have coherent demands and a formal stucture and therefore, are not terrorists? Bloomfield speaks from some narrow playbook with narrow ideas. Reminds me of a British politician, while speaking of the atrocities in Darfur, opined that (paraphrasing) "...well, we shouldn't call what's happening in Darfur genocide because one shouldn't devalue the term."
Later, with regard to combatting terrorism on its on soil, Bloomfield sais Nepal ".. was pursuing "misguided policies" alienating the international community." Maybe because many in the international community refuse to call Maoists the terrorists that they are.
So, this is what may be happening here: Nepal is not considered a choice post for a diplomat. In fact, many diplomats are shelved here to keep them out of the spotlight or to wait out the remainder of their stagnated careers. Nepal is supposed to be a benign, harmless posting for benign, lightweight diplomats. All of a sudden, benign little Nepal becomes hot on the world stage and idiots like Moriarty and Bloomfield are thrust into the spotlight to offer the first lines of opinion from their disengaged countries. They aren't relly supposed to speak, but here they are offering up their unqualified and highly undiplomatic views, for all the world, and more tragically, for all Nepalis to hear. It is not diplomacy and it is not fair to the people of Nepal. -
August 6, Update: And now the fallout...
Those of our readers who think blogdai is wasting time by criticizing ambassadors should get a look at the Nepali Times August 5-ll letters in response to bloomfield's comments. Again and again, every public utterance of an ambassador--even if he is mentally retarded (like Bloomfield)--is taken seriously by the media and public and should not be ignored. Comments from the Times are below:
Keith Bloomfield’s outright denial of double standards on terrorism (Letters, #258) is as interesting as Tony Blair lying about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. How can Bloomfield say Bin Laden does not have a clear political or social demand? The United States made Bin Laden a hero when he was leading 3,500 men to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan and branded him a terrorist when the conflict was over. Is asking British (and other) troops to quit Iraq not a political goal? If Nepal’s Maoists’ atrocities are to be solved politically, why not also solve the Iraqi insurgents’ resistance against foreign occupation? If Bloomfield does not recognise the Maoists rebels as terrorists, then, why did his government send weapons to crush them under the Deuba regime?
B Raj Giri, email
• The dubious and patently self-serving definition of terrorism offered by the British envoy exposes the western hypocrisy in their dealings with the Third World. Terrorism is simply the use of intimidation and violent methods against a legitimate state and civil population, it does not matter who the target is, what the intention is or how many people are behind the attack. An evil such as the taking of human life cannot be justified because ‘thousands’ of people support such killings. For example, hundreds of thousands of Hutus were involved in the slaughter of Tutsis, does the size of participation and support make such crimes democratic and legitimate? The contorted logic coming out of this English fellow is this: those who attack us are terrorists, those who kill Nepalis are freedom fighters. My question to the English queen’s emissary is this: what was the crime of the thousands of dead Nepalis that you are going out of your way to legitimate and protect their tormentors and killers? I also challenge Bloomfield to prove his assertion that those who attacked Britain are just a few individuals.
Patrick McGuire, Thamel
• In response to my letter citing clear double standards of Britain in dealing with al Qaeda and the Nepali Maoists, Keith Bloomfield has given an even more doubtful response. He says there is a difference in ‘an armed insurrection involving thousands of a country’s citizens in classic guerrilla terrain, with political and socio-economic demands many of which are shared by the mainstream parties’ and al Qaeda, ‘which is a worldwide extremist network involving a tiny minority, with no coherent negotiable demands or formal structure’. How can an extremist outfit with a worldwide network involve only a ‘tiny minority’ and without ‘formal structure’? Why look at the bombings by one extremist outfit with an outdated ideology in London and another in Chitwan with different glasses?
• From the perspective of a victim, it hardly matters whether terrorist activities are caused by an armed insurrection involving thousands of a country’s citizens or by al Qaeda. One is not a lesser evil than the other. Even in Northern Ireland the British paramilitary had to kill about 4,000 people, mostly civilians, in the 1960s-90s until the terrorists were forced to tone down their agenda. As a Nepali I am concerned that Bloomfield’s remarks can further mislead our international friends about the brutality of a movement which does not have any social base. If he still thinks that the political parties represent the popular voice in Nepal and their willingness to join the Maoists is the certificate of their political worth, then one really wonders how Nepal’s international partners can help the Nepali people.
Dibya B Gurung, New York
• When Keith Bloomfield denies having double standards on terrorism he proves precisely that he has double standards. When the bombs explode in London killing innocents it’s terrorism, when they explode in Nepal killing innocents it’s an insurgency.
• The majority of Nepalis feel and share the pain of the British people and pray for the families of the victims of the London terror attacks. We have faced similar outrages for 10 years now. But Britain must be careful not to violate civil liberties and human rights while fighting terrorism otherwise the UN may table a resolution under Item 9 in Geneva. Nepal may also be forced to cut some of its aid to Britain but because we have a ‘special relationship’, we may maintain our ‘non-lethal’ aid of supplying Gurkhas for frontline service in the British Army. Nepal stood by Britain for 189 years, putting down a mutiny in India and sacrificing our youth in two world wars. How can it cite a ‘special friendship’ while desecrating the blood of our noble ancestors who fought shoulder to shoulder as friends? Britain should be restraining the Europeans and helping the Americans in their Nepal policy. Never has a country had more ungrateful friends than you…
Rabin Rai,ex-British Gurkha
• Exploding a bus packed with civilian causing the deaths of more than 40 men, women and children in Nepal is not an act of terrorism for Britain. The Maoists have killed more than 800 civilians 450 soldiers, 350 policemen and 130 personnel from the armed police force over the past 18 months and yet it is hard for the British to see the Maoists as terrorists. Will it take a nexus between the Maoists and those responsible for the London bombings on 7/7 for the Maoists to be recognised officially as terrorists? The United States State put the CPN-M on its terrorism exclusion list but Washington’s closest ally and partner Britain does not see the Maoists as terrorists.
• If it isn’t acceptable that innocent people are killed in the furtherance of a political, religious or ideological agenda, does that still mean the difference between armed insurrection and al Qaeda somehow justifies it? How did the British government first respond to IRA activities? Isn’t it part of the diplomatic code not to comment on the internal matters of other countries?