Sunday, August 14, 2005

We Never Talk Anymore

It occurs to blogdai that Nepal may be unfit to host a legitimate democracy.

Nepal's intelligencia suggest that democracy is no more than the right to liberty and personal freedoms and must be restored immediately. Absent is the talk of setting differences aside and really reaching out to the opposition, or forging a common agenda.

This is a misinterperetation of democracy on a most fundamental level.

Democracy is not some naturally occuring phenomenon that flourishes whenever people are given freedom. No, democracy is HARD WORK. It requires some very difficult choices against basic human nature in order to be successful. Our nature as humans is to survive, compete and advance ourselves and our tribe--at the expense of others if need be. A real democracy demands one subjugate personal gain for the gain of the greater society.

Essentially, if you're in it for yourself, you're not in it for democracy.

It has been said that democracy "balances the needs of the majority with the rights of the minority." Is there a politician or activist in Nepal that gives even a hint of understanding this concept? Show me an instance were a politician, Maoist or student leader willfully ceded some authority or power because they thought it was for the greater good of Nepal; and I'll show you a person who, in all probability, is no longer influential.

Another insightful person distilled the definition of democracy down to "the art of compromise." With this in mind, we witness the Parties refusal to to speak to the King, journalist who refuse to speak to the King, and Maoists who now not only refuse to speak to the King, but refuse to come to any peace-talks that do not enhance some perceived tactical purpose. True democrats would never burn bridges this way. Today we even hear news of the UML slamming M. K. Nepal for talking-to and allying with the former Deuba government in an effort to present some form of united front based on compromise. http://kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=48730

Nope, blogdai now thinks that Nepal has been influenced by India for so long that it is incapable of political fair-play.

We in Nepal don't deserve democracy because we don't understand that freedom and personal liberty are mere biproducts of democracy; achieved only through great cost and political sacrifice.

Nepal must never seek to "restore" that past condition that masqueraded as democracy. Unless fundamental (yes, perhaps constitutional) changes are put in place to insure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated, the opportunistic and inherently corrupt would once again misuse the system and return Nepal to the brink of chaos.

Perhaps a "democracy-lite" would be a better first step. Start with mandating transparency and independent oversight on all government functions.

-=blogdai

8 Comments:

At 5:31 PM, August 14, 2005, Blogger Editoress said...

The Long Island, N.Y., newspaper Newsday has produced a four-day series about Nepal, which might be of interest to you:

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/ny-nepalflash,0,1995271.flash

 
At 6:43 PM, August 14, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

This appears to have been written by the same Matthew McAllester that was recently released from an Iraqi prison. If it is then this series of articles may tell us something.

Mr. McAllester likes to be where the action is. He is Newsday's UN bureau chief, and reports with an almost BBC like melodrama.

These reports, while accurate, are behind the curve. Rolpa was last year's news so this tells blogdai that Mr. McAllester may not be such a finely tuned Nepal expert, but rather a man looking to put himself in the middle of a conflict somewhere and churn out the human angle.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, but he perhaps is spinning the Maoist conflict in a direction of his choosing.

We get evidence of this when, during a press conference after Mr. McAllester's release from Iraq, a questioner asks whether or not democracy can be compatable with the culture of the region. Mr. McAllester's reply is telling:“I hope it can work because if it doesn’t,” warned McAllester, “it means that the world’s greatest superpower has failed to introduce democracy in the Arab world...if success can not be achieved now, then when?”

That sounds like an agenda to blogdai. Perhaps we should view his articles on Rolpa through the same lens before we determine their credibility and objectivity.

 
At 11:41 AM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...ive often debated on what type of govt. is suitable for nepal...obviously monarcy or a rana style is not going to work. why? i think people are a bit too educated to put up with that. plus the 'new world order' west will only allow it if there is something of strategic importance or supply [time to dig and find those terai oilfields G ] .. democracy obviously will not work [for now] so that leaves us...panchayat...what was wrong with this system...it would work well and people in villages would be represented. last time round it was just a sham for monarchy that went under the guise of a real panchayat system. lets see.. what else...any suggestions?? referendum ..could work but you need commited individuals to set an agenda for the country..dont see much of that..what else...anarchy ? communisim? dont tell me that we have to scrape the bottom of the barrel so soon.

 
At 2:36 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

You said it when you referred to "committed individuals." In Nepali politics its seems we only have persons who NEED to be committed.

This goes back to our thoughts on compromise. In a democracy the twin-sister of compromise is trust. One without the other is failure.

Blogdai would like to see a style of government that is suitable for all Nepalis; not some Western ideal of the perfect democracy.

But whatever the system, at the very least, the voices of those rural citizens must be heard and acknowledged or more Maoist-type groups will spring to life.

-=blogdai

 
At 4:47 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

blogdai,

It is scary to read your comment that Nepalis are unfit for democratic rule! Isn't that the same reason given by other third world dictators.

Are you advocating Pakistani style setup? There also the dictator said the same thing during the last takeover and the one before by Zia. Musharaff said "All political parties are corrupt. So let military rule and I will be your Supreme Commander forever"

You say "Unless fundamental (yes, perhaps constitutional) changes are put in place to insure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated, the opportunistic and inherently corrupt would once again misuse the system and return Nepal to the brink of chaos." Can you please elaborate on this and be specific on what changes to constitution are you expecting in an ideal world?

Thanks
Anonymous Coward

 
At 7:39 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Welcome,

Now relax a bit,

Nepal is fundamentally unfit for a democracy because they have shown no ability for compromise, a profound unwillingness to trust in the system, and a total disdain for re-establishing the rule of law and citizen security: all pillars of a healthy democracy.

You can't call your system a democracy and then turn around and ignore your citizens while stuffing your corrupt pockets. Democracy require at least some participation aimed at public good.

We will be coming out with our fictitious "wish list" for constitutional changes we'd like to see as well as some pragmatic choices. It will be a chance for you to add your ideas as well.

Stay tuned...

-=blogdai

 
At 9:52 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous MD said...

I must admit that I've become a little bored with the republican claim that a monarchy won't work in an "educated" country. This is a simple minded assertion that has no basis in fact.

Some of the most "educated" nations in the world are monarchies. Japan, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands just to name a few.

As for democracy in nepal, there is no reason why nepal can't be a democratic monarchy like those other nations.

However, Nepal has ist own culture and history and tradition. Nepal's Hindu monarchy can't be a copy of its Spainish or British counterparts.

It must be suited to nepal's enviroment and needs.

The political parties are dreaming if they really think that they are going to overthrow the house of Shah in the name of democracy. Let us face the facts; they could not do it in 1990 when they were at there most powerfull.

They are much less strong today so a Republic of Nepal is not going to happen! The King and the political parties are stuck with each other no matter how much they hate this fact.

A compromise is going to have to be made between the two. They are giong to have to share power. There is no other option in the real world of today's Nepal. The only real question is what kind of power each is going to get.

The best option is to hold fresh elections so the 1990 constitution can return to full force.

I have read a great deal of speculation of late that the political parties want to take control of the Royal Nepal Army.

Time for another reality check. There is a reason that the 1990 constitution says that the King is to have Supreme Command of the Army. Does anybody know why? The answer is really very simple. Because King Birendra told the political parties that he would never give up control over the military.

Does anyone realy think King Gyanendra is going give them the army when even good nice old Birendra said no way? Of course not. It is scary to think about how much worse things would be if Nepal had G.P.Koirala as the Supreme Commander!!!!

 
At 9:59 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous MD said...

Blogdai said
" We will be coming out with our fictitious "wish list" for constitutional changes we'd like to see as well as some pragmatic choices. It will be a chance for you to add your ideas as well.

Stay tuned..."

I will. Bring on the wish list!

 

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