Saturday, November 26, 2005

Fun With Friends

Blogdai had the ol' laptop out among the masses today.

Unfortunately, it was not among the rural masses that blogdai prefers, but masses nonethelesss.

blogdai gets a senses of the provacative volatility from: well, just being blogdai, from some of the comments listed below:

"Oh shit, YOU are blogdai? I hate you!"

"kerangi yagpo du. blogdai peh yagpo du,"

."jeez, I never thought blogdai would be a person like you."

"Thanks for buying me the red wine, but what is it, exactly, that you do any way?"

"I've read blogdai, do you know him?"

"What's a blog?"

" You'd better hide, ass hole. This country doesn't want to hear the truth."

Anyway, blogdai feels encouraged by all of this attention. Pariah or patriarch, it makes no diffference. I'm happy to be able to put the word out.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Something for Paras to Do

Ok, your drunkeness, time to put your money where your mouth is. You claim to be Mr. bigshot sportsman and all-around athletic supporter; let's see you prove it.

Our Nepal boys Under 19 cricket players have just won the ACC tournament in Nepal. In fact, they've won it the last three years running. In fact, our young cricketeers are arguably the best in Asia. Come to think of it, our youth footballers and badminton team hold their own on the Asian level as well.

(Pictured) Boys U-19 team celebrates as ACC champions

So, why not our senior teams? U-19 cricket coach Roy Dias, while proud of his boys, laments that Nepal is not playing for the Asia (seniors) cup in cricket. Why is this?

A good article written this week sums it up nicely: Boys under 19 have time, older boys do not. The pressures of earning a living and ,well, surviving in Nepal prove too much for our most talented athletes; most quit sports altogether after their youth careers are finished.

So here you go Paras, drop your golf clubs for a moment and consider doing this: Initiate, with your royal millions, a sponsorship program that allows talented boys and girls to move on to national and international proficiency in their sports. We already do this in Tae Kwon Do, so why not cricket and football as well? C'mon Prince, Moriarty will forgive you if you miss a tee time or two while you think it over. Hire international-level coaches, trainers and staff and give these talented young athletes all the chances they deserve. Here's the big part: subsidize their living expenses. Take the earning pressure off of them.

Blogdai was priveledged to be able to walk around the TU cricket venue during the finals. There was not one CPN-UML banner, not one NC flag, and no slogans present. What was apparent were hundreds of young spectators waving Nepal flags and faces painted with "Jai Nepal."

In a nation that is sorely lacking national unity, patriotism and direction, there is no better way to introduce these concepts than through a winning national sports team. Nepalis are hungry for this. They crave any legitimate unifying force. I forget her name right now, but the likeness of that girl who won the Tae Kwon Do medal at the Asian Games last year appears on dozens of billboards throughout Kathmandu; the country went wild when she won her medal. Imagine what would happen if, say, someday a Nepali national team knocked off India or China in football or cricket?

Sports success on an international level gives any country a sense of place in the world. So, you want people to participate in a national election? Support the King? Stop hating you? Then, Paras old buddy, quit blabbing about your commitment to sports in Nepal and start spending some rupees to move our young athletes to the next level. Don't blow it this time.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Somethin's Brewin'

Something is in the air. All 7-party honchos, plus U.S. ambassador James Moriarty have converged upon Delhi. Looks like the Maoist's Babu Ram Bhattarai and Prachanda will we there as well. This is democracy, 7-party style. "We must give Nepal back to the people, and let them decide," we often hear from the Parties. Looks like they mean the people of India.
(Pictured) The Apollo Hospital: Delhi. Future home and parliamentary seat of the proposed 7-party/Maoist government of Nepal.
Madhav Kumar Nepal, UML big-shot cannot even come up with a decent lie for his frequent travels to Delhi. Seems he wants everyone to think he's going to Delhi's Apollo hospital for heart treatment twice in as many weeks. In a lame proclamation Nepal says that "we were unable to get an appointment with the proper doctor so we had to come back." Now, wait a minute Mahdav, you supposedly tout yourself as being able to restore democracy in Nepal and you can't even get your medical appointments straight? Two trips? It's one thing to be snubbed by Sonia Ghandi, but by your doctor as well?

No, Girija and Mahdav and the rest must really think "the people" they are charged with representing are quite stupid: pulling this contiuosly unfunny joke time after time. Quit lying all of you and admit that you are talking to the Maoists and the Indian government because you don't have the intellectual capacity to make decisions on your own. No one buys this "health check-up" crap anymore. Really, this type of behavior talks downward to Nepali citizens.

Analysis: So, here we go. Big meeting on foreign soil to discuss the future of Nepal. It is clear that the parties will do anything to hold on to power. The last chance they have of holding any type of relevance in Nepal is through brokering a deal with the Maoists. They will sell their souls for this. Already the rough sketches of this alliance are emerging with some frightening concessions to the Maoists: Maoists are to get a substantial number of seats on an "interim" government prior to any constituent assembly election. They have also conveniently agreed to "stop thinking over the King's position" with regard to such elections. No provisions are being made, either, for independent third-party monitoring of any elections endorsed by the parties, so it looks like such elections will be open for manipulation, and in remote regions, Maoist coercion.

It's a good thing to have Maoists lay down their arms and join the political mainstream, sure. But what IS the political mainstream in Nepal? The parties and many in the Western media decry the loss of "democracy " in Nepal; but let's look at the actions of the parties responsible for this loss and ask ourselves if we want to return to the type of "democracy" where:

1. Political leaders refuse to talk, hear or compromise with opposing or royal views.
2. Political leaders cannot form even the most rudimentary national agenda.
3. Political leaders openly practice nepotism and favoritism.
4. Political leaders ally with terrorists.
5. Political leaders admit their inability to run a democracy by constantly submitting to the
will and judgement of a "big brother" neighboring nation.

All of this will increase pressure on the King. But really, it will be outside pressure. The parties will still be irrelevant, and the Maoists will still be despised. The Yanks threat to withold humanitarian or military aid is hollow; they won't leave such a big hole for China to fill. The U.S. must and will stay engaged with this King's government or risk losing an ally and a foothold in the region.

Any Maoist attacks on Nepalis, from now on, will be looked upon as Maoist/7-party sponsored attacks and open Girija and his lot for arrest and detention. We all know that Maoists in the field cannot control themselves under any circumstances, so this alliance will eventually lower (if that is possible) the esteem of the 7 parties in the eyes of Nepalis. They will be seen as the sanctioning body behind any attack occuring after their Maoist alliance is formed.

A new member: Blogdai thinks that the big NGO's who are bitching about Nepal's new regulations should join the 7-party/Maoist alliance. NGO's in Nepal run rough-shod over the landscape with their $100, 000 SUV's and total lack of accountability. No wonder they oppose a code of conduct. In this respect they have much in common with their Party/Maoist counterparts: They want to do whatever it takes to make money. Considering that hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid has poured into Nepal since 1950, resulting in NO appreciable increase in the living standards of the average Nepali (2000 Nepal Multiple Indicator Survey) one has to wonder where all the money goes? Well, one look at the ICIMOD complex in southwest Kathmandu will give you a clue; it is, at first glance, larger than the royal palace. Same for all the big NGO's and UN organizations. USAID's motor pool alone is bigger than most hotels, so no wonder these people are against regulation. They basically want to walk into a country, do whatever they please and never leave. Is it too much to ask for a little oversight?
In a typical feat of NGO arrogance, Nepal NGO Federation president Dr. Arjun Karki chimes in with: "(NGO's cannot tolerate government intervention." So, basically, Dr. Karki, some foreign aid agency in a far off land can plan Nepal's development future and the government should just bow down to its wishes? Let's open a nuclear weapons factory in Dailekh so that underpriveledged women will have full employment. How dare a sovereign nation try to regulate foreign activity on its own soil, right?


Monday, November 14, 2005

One Down, One to Go

British ambassador Keith Bloomfield stares off into space and contemplates obscurity.

Finally, after a series of diplomatic gaffes and mis-statements, Keith Bloomfield gets the axe.

Do you "get it" now Keith? Ambassadors do not go aroung scaring the populace and downplaying the brutality of Maoism. You are supposed to hold tea parties and make visits to school openings and hospitals. On a side note, I wonder if this means that the British film festival, sheduled for this week in Kathmandu, will be cancelled. Blogdai was looking forward to that one. But alas, Bloomfield's removal is worth the loss. If I want to see another "Bridget Jones" movie, I'll pick up the DVD.

Apparently, the Nepali government demanded, rightly, a written explanation from the British ambassador on why his comments were so inflammatory. He refused, and is recalcitrance cost him his job.

So, let's see now: this puts U.S. ambassador James Moriarty's recent position flip-flop in a new light. Was he also under pressure to stop being a bully and start acting like a diplomat? Blogdai thinks so. Moriarty has dodged a bullet this time, only because the U.S. administration is too dull-witted to make any substantive moves in Nepal. Moriarty is basically left here to twist in the wind and he has apparently twisted his opinion enough to keep his job. Proving that no one in the U.S. pays attention to him, the U.S. senate is acting on a bill for Nepal that supports Moriarty's former position. Talk about the hand not knowing what the foot is doing...

If Nepal ever finds itself on the American diplomatic radar screen, it will be safe to say that Moriarty's comments will then come under closer scrutiny. Until then, we can only wait for his next utterance of idiocy and hope the Nepali government raises a big enough stink to get him fired.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Kathmandu News and Nothings

Moriarty comes to Jesus: Unbelievable. After saying on numerous occasions that there can be no peace in Nepal without first restoring democracy, U.S. ambassador James Moriarty does a complete flip-flop and now says that security must come first. So now the Yanks want to go after the Maoists just like the King. And oh, what a bit of belated insight: Moriarty feels that an alliance between the Maoists and the Parties is a bad idea. Taken together, these two statements show that the Yanks have no confidence in the current agenda of the seven parties.

Mass Exodus: Madhav Kumar Nepal has been living and basing his statements out of Delhi these days. Looks like K.P. Oli as well. Now, Girija is heading to Delhi again for another one of his famous "medical" visits. What does this tell us? It's no secret that party members are in reasonable contact with maoists during their time in Delhi, so is a formal alliance in the offing? Based on Moriarty's statements, the Yanks think so.

Wonderful peace in the valley these days. Blogdai was a bit discouraged to hear that the Parties are starting an "intensive stir" very shortly to "restore the constitution." Blogdai wonders if it is a constitution they want restored or their former place at the table of corruption.

Deepak Manange is resting safe an comfortably in Dilli Bazaar prison. Not one of his cronies in the 7-Party alliance has come to his aid. Rumor has it that he's getting together some gang money to insure his release. His Thamel infrastructure is broken so he'll have a tough way to go.

Women were breathing a little easier when Lochendra Bahadur Chand's son was kidnapped by Maoists. He's a known womanizer. But, alas, all good things must come to an end.

"Jazzmandu," that so-called cultural event leaves blogdai cold. High ticket prices and euro-average jazz bands alienate the average nepali citizen. Would much better to have a free music fest of some sort.

STill no luck in finding International Crisis Groups "Nepal field office" but will keep trying.

WISH I HAD MY CAMERA: Saw ambassador Keith Bloomfield drunk and the New Orleans cafe last monday. Blogdai wonders how the man can drink so much while having his foot securely wedged in his mouth.