Saturday, December 31, 2005

Blogdai's Birthday

Well, it's now been exactly a year since we've signed on. Over the past year we've tried to make you laugh, make you mad, enable your sense of outrage, make you think, cause you to react and generally stir the pot of Nepal issues through active engagement and provocation. It's been fun.

Thanks to our regulars: Nag, Brit, Alison, Ramta, El Diablo, Shiva, Roger, and all the others I've forgotten for the moment. And, oh yes, Anonymous, keep those comments fresh and lively.

We plan lot's more during 2006. Blogdai can't wait.

See you and namaste,


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Blundering from Every Direction

Nepal Political Analyst

This week represented a watershed in political stupidity. An optimist might find a cause to celebrate this brief period where all forces involved with Nepal were united under the banner of nearsighted incompetence. Blogdai can only tremble with disgust and weep for the future.

In the space of 7 days we've seen or heard:

The RNA show it's lack of control and discipline in the senseless shooting at Nagarkot.

The Palace instigate a fury of words and threats from all parties through (again) Tulsi Giri's remarks that the King will not reciprocate the ceasefire. It may be true and the right move, but you don't pour gasoline on a smoldering flame, Tulsi, by provoking your adversaries this way.

The Maoists threaten an active disruption of municipal polls. Also, memo to the Maoists: Mentioning that participating candidates will get "special action" is a chilling reminder of past practices and shows the world that you haven't learned a thing. Plus, you just killed 2 civilians and took 400 people hostage. Ceasefire? What ceasefire? You guys were looking for something, anything , as a pretext to start your campaign of brutality; but picking the remarks of an old fool like Tulsi Giri as your new rallying point shows how desperate you've become.

That, while The Parties show their divisiveness by the headlong charge of the NC-D splinter group into Delhi to meet with a bunch of Maoist second-tier losers and with the NSU openly demonstrating against old Girija, Koirala insists that nothing can stop him from removing the King. Instead of planning a real strategy, the parties plan more protests. The rudderless 7-party alliance, never short of undemocratic quotes, summed up their week with this doozy from Ram Chandra Poudel: " If the autocratic regime attempts to supress our protests, we won't spare those doing so. " Thanks, Ram Chandra Stalin.

That, India still doesn't get it. They are just now, acknowledging that there may be a problem with Nepal's new alliance with China. Too little, too late Mr. Mukherjee.

The U.N. seeking to find some relevance, openly celebrates what they call the Maoists acceptance of the U.N. Basic Operating Guidelines. This is supposed to mean that governments and NGO's can now operate without problems in Nepal. This is a big diplomatic "zero" as far as blogdai is concerned. The Maoists will still extort money from foreign NGO's and there will still be the same brutal Maoist business as usual. In a big blow-off statement from Prachanda, all we hear is that his cadres "have been asked" to comply with the U.N. guidelines, so put away the champaign, Kofi.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Blogdai's Alliance

If blogdai were given the reins of the seven party alliance, as it is today, I might run things different.

1. We would have to admit our mistakes of the past. Show some integrity. Nepalis will trust you again if you see the errors of the past clearly and make an effort to correct them.

2. Support the spirit of democracy by agreeing to participate fully in UN supervised elections. I'd make a great speech about submitting to the judgement of the people, and then agree to abide by the results of an election. Democracy is about 75% the art of losing gracefully. We could still maintain our edge by insisting on UN monitoring before we guarantee participation.

3. Unify, not divide. No more ridiculous bandhs or street protests. I would encourage citizens to come to something like a "unification picnic" at Ratna park. No party flags allowed, only Nepal flags.

4. Make it mandatory for all party leaders and officials to seek medical treatment in NEPAL.

5. Agree to talk with the King. No burned bridges in blogdai's alliance. Keeping the channels of communication open is very democratic.

6. Establish an "Alliance Code of Conduct" similar to the one the NGO's hate. It would make all party members swear to complete transparency in all dealings and the equitable distribution of party power-- no cronyism. Also I would make a rigid income structure so no one in the party can get rich and introduce term limits. Blogdai is rebuilding public trust here, so no measure is too strict.

7. Bring the Maoists into the fold with a joint party/royal initiative. The Maoists don't want to be in the fold so we need to gang up on them by uniting with the King.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Planning Between the Lines

"The King will make a major reshuffle of his cabinet...." Blogdai: "Word on the Street," October 22.

Left: Narayan Singh Pun walking with Maoist leader Babu Ram "ridiculous hat" Battari during peace talks. At Right: Kamal Thapa walking with Maoist leader Babu Ram "yet another ridiculous hat" Bhattari during peace talks.

Well its not so much that he's gone and actually done it. It's who he's put in that is significant.

All of you who feel that G. is an autocratic non-compromiser who refuses to either talk or negotiate, witness the events of the last two days.

Yesterday, buried deep in the bowels of The Himalayan, an English daily here, the King announces a willingness to talk with Maoists provided they lay down their arms.

Now today comes the big cabinet shuffle. Lots of new faces. Yes, they are more Royalist in character, but two names stand out as a signal of things to come: Narayan Singh Pun and Kamal Thapa. Pun came the closest of any negotiator to actually achieving peacetalk success with the maoists and Thapa has been in on the negotiating process from the start.

Sounds like G. is getting his chess pieces in order for some kind of official contact with the Maoists, and perhaps their new leash-holders as well.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Bad News

Very shitty stuff here:
A couple of western women tourists have turned up missing in Kathmandu in recent months.

One, a german woman named Sabine Grunekee has prompted the arrival of ten german police officials in Kathmandu yesterday.

The other, a French woman named Celine henry is also missing.

Both women took the hiking trail just to the north of Kathmandu in the Rani forest reserve.

Trouble is, this reserve is also an army encampment and really, no one but tourists and army personnel are there.

Well, here's the shitty stuff: apparently one of these womens' bra and blood-stained underwear turned up in this reserve. The Germans are pissed and looking for answers and suspects, as well they should. Apparently, this evidence was turned up only after the Germans sent 10 policemen and two search dogs to Nepal to investigate.

Word on the street is that it is very very unlikely that there is a rogue Nepali committing these crimes. Most importantly, it is very difficult for the average nepali to outright kill a western person anywhere in the kathmandu valley without at least some attention or scrutiny.

Blame has been insinuated in both the military and the royal direction with regard to this crime.

blogdai asks the Nepali community at large to offer any information that may help in resolving this issue.


Friday, December 02, 2005

The Big Block Party

Madhav Kumar Nepal to Blogdai: "Are you happy today?"
Blogdai: "Yes I'm happy, are you going to say something new again?"
Madhav Kumar Nepal: "I always say something new."
Blogdai: "Well, good luck with that today, I suppose."
Madhav Kumar Nepal: "Namaste."

Photos: (top) K. P. Oli calls for a taxi in the middle of his speech. (middle) The lil' elf hisself poses for blogdai.

Blogdai was on the platform for yesterday's garden party at new Baneshwor. I left before the little elf got to speak, but I heard enough.

Some highlights:

Some shrill Nepali woman got up and started shrieking about the WTO. Since Nepal is not a strong member of that particular oganization, one has to wonder why all the venom.

It must have been WTO day at the event because some guy named Paul Nichols of La Via Compesina called the WTO a "weapon of mass destruction." I think he was there just as the obligatory, token white guy. A whole lot of hot air that was barely understood by the crowd.

The obscure INdian politician who gave his speech in Hindi, as if we were all in India. I suppose his presence was meant to lend some credibility from "big brother."

UML's singing "all communist boy's folk band" Tried to sing "We shall overcome" in Nepali; no one sang along.

The constantly undulating mass of about 100 teenage boys to the left of the stage. Lots of pushing and shoving: a characteristic of boys this age when they get in a big exciting crowd. Every now and then, one of these boys would fall over and about 1000 people in the crowd would stand up and look, sensing a "riot." (Remember these boys, they figure prominently later in this article)


Funny, lots and lots of party flags and banners: Not one Nepali flag anywhere.

30,000 people, but no Girija Babu. Sure it's a UML meet but is that any way to run an "alliance." The big egos are still embroiled in their perpetual spat, blogdai guesses.

Cops were mellow. You would be too if you were outnumbered 1000 to 1.

Most people were standing around smiling and watching people. One got the impression that they were there just for the spectacle. About, 300 supporters, sitting close to the stage, clapped at everything said and done, however.

This will undoubtedly give some of our reader a heart attack, but blogdai actually LIKED the spirit of the demonstration. There was a real sense of a legitimate citizen movement beginning among those gathered. But alas, the party leaders and speech-givers neither sensed nor capitalized on this feeling. Not one new thing was offered. Instead of hope, they offered blame; instead of new programs, they refused to admit the failures of the old; instead of progressive discourse, they stirred everyone up with slogans and cliche's. Such a wasted opportunity; too bad.

K. P. Oli sounds a lot like Joe Peschi.

All in all, a rudderless affair. No outlines of anything concrete, no promises to not repeat the mistakes of the past, no show of alliance, only blank rhetoric.

Later that same day:

Remember those boys I mentioned above? Turns out they just couldn't get enough of the day so they left Devkota Sadak, turned the corner and waited for the King to arrive at the convention center. So now here comes the rocks: thrown at a motocade heading into the center. Bad move boys. Security kicked some serious butt, ran over someone, gassed the boys and basically wreaked havoc. So, despite what you may read in the papers, this was not a disgruntled surge of humanity bent on overthrowing a tyrant, this was a group of teenage boys out for a day's frolic, throwing rocks at the King's car. Much as I'd love to blame the parties for this one, blogdai can honestly say that it appeared to be unaligned (and unpaid) individuals who threw the rocks and started the mess.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Babbling Barometer

Madhav Kumar Nepal

WHO was the first to announce that the parties will no longer talk to the King?
WHO was the first to say that a Maoist alliance might be possible (Feb.)?
WHO first mentioned that representatives of the parties might be talking to Maoists?
WHO was the first to announce a Party/Maoist agreement?

And now, who is threatening the use of violence against the King, now that he has the Maoists behind him?

That's right, Madhav Kumar Nepal. The little elf with the big mouth. He just can't keep his pie-hole shut. He shouts for political relevance by constantly outing the plans of the 7-party alliance before they are announced publicly.

This is a telling pattern. So what should we make of his new tough-guy threats against the government? We hinted at this before in this blog (See: "I don't want to think about it"), so let's just get it out on the table now:

The Maoists and the Parties have no intention of reaching a peaceful compromise with the King. They are combining their resources for a forceful takeover.

There, said it. Blogdai will be at the big demonstration tomorrow and get the deeper word.