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.


-=blogbabu

19 Comments:

At 8:34 AM, December 18, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogdai, I'm a regular reader of your blog and I have to say that I'm pretty surprised at how slow you have been to comment on the massacre at Nagarkot.

I'd have to reiterate this again because you took an entire column to speak of the disappearance of two female European tourists but have yet to say anything about those who died of the misfortunate shootout of Nepali citizens.

 
At 10:15 AM, December 18, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Our friend who runs the Country Villa in Nagarkot lost a son in the melee so blogdai is and has been reticent to comment.

Can say this. There was alcohol, money and betting involved. An arguement ensued and this army guy fired into a crowd the next day.

Blogdai refuses to take this incident and make it into a political football. If anything, it shows the lack of discipline on the part of individual members of the RNA.

-=blogdai

 
At 1:10 PM, December 18, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not an isolated case of a drunken RNA personnel misbehaving in festivals. We have heard time and time again of RNA in civilian clothes beating men and harassing women in festivals. I am not trying to politicize this issue but this is a good time to reflect on RNA's mistakes and improve it instead of denying its systematic problems.

Even in last one month, we have heard about drunken RNA men causing trouble in Janakpur and beating up some people with rifle butt in Nepalgunj. Many innocents have lost their lives and many women have been raped by RNA during the conflict. The only reason this incident got so much publicity is because of the number of lives lost and Nagarkot's proximity to Kathmandu.

There is a systematic discipline problem in RNA because RNA has always seen itself above people. Even when parties were in power, RNA was really not under the Government. This is a sad situation since poor are taxed to death to fund RNA, and in return poor are more likely to be victims of RNA. There is no transparency in this organization and it is under control of King and a few aristocratic families who have no accountability.

One of the saddest event was when King Birendra was killed, RNA totally shunned its responsibility by claiming that Royal Family's security was not it's responsibility. This shows a lack of accountability in RNA starting from the top. Billions of rupees is spent in this organization's upkeep every year and they still cannot control a ragtag army of a few thousand but is so good at harassing innocent Nepalis.

 
At 2:26 AM, December 19, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Not only are you politicizing the issue, as I anticipated, but you can't seem to help yourself from throwing in all of those broad, boiler-plate generalizations that tells blogdai you don't know what you're talking about.

You are looking to make this incident your personal springboard for some anti-RNA rant and it is pathetic.

This is an individual act, period. Yes, there are many individual acts such as these, and perhaps it does show an institutional lack of discipline, to a certain extent. But this individual still has to make his own choice to act.

We have seen throughout the world--especially this year--where soldiers left to their own devises commit terrible acts. A soldier needs to be led and led responsibly. The fault for all such atrocities such as this lies in each individual soldier's field commander's ability to maintain control on the ground.

Find traction for you crusade elsewhere.

-=blogdai

 
At 4:31 AM, December 19, 2005, Anonymous Brit said...

My coldolences to your friend, Blogdai, and to all those bereaved on this sad occasion.

This indeed was a situation of an individual going berserk, for whatever reason, and such an atrocity can happen in any country in the world.

However there is an underlying situation in Nepal regarding the RNA by which I mean that ordinary (non-political) people appear to feel as much threatened by the army as by the maoists. They feel they are 'between a rock and a hard place'.

Why might this be? The history of the RNA is relatively short and its experience of operations prior to the current situation limited, I understand, to UN deployment. Switching from what is essentially an observation 'we are watching you' role in a foreign environment and under the auspices of the UN to one of actual combat on home ground without support from any organisation with relevant experience is an enormous logistical and operational challenge.

There does seem to be a problem, as Blogdai says, with 'each individual soldier's field commander's ability to maintain control on the ground' and, it seems to me, that this is a very serious issue which must be addressed and clearly eliminated for all to see if the present situation is to be settled peacefully. One should also point out that the afore-mentioned field commanders also need to be properly disciplined.

Nepali soldiers (Gurkhas) are known world wide for their courage and discipline - it can't be beyond the RNA to get its act in order. But it is both urgent and vitally important.

 
At 6:31 AM, December 19, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

I agree, Brit, on all points.

Let's look at the RNA and see what may be missing: RNA Soldiers are indoctrinated, as most, in the tennants of ethics and humanitarian practice. RNA has a program for this, actually. So what continues to go wrong?

Blogdai's friends in the U.S. and British military, who have had the opportunity--either in a liason or direct training capacity--to work with units of the RNA point to one distict flaw: THe RNA does not, nor has ever fostered a "culture" of discipline. What does this mean? It means that you can jail, threaten, persuade and court-martial offending soldiers until you're blue in the face; but unless each and every soldier feel responsible for his own actions, these atrocities will continue to occur.

It is one of the hallmarks of military training. A drill seargent or leftennant instills in each recruit that culture of teamwork, discipline and responsibility. If not for this, units would likely run for their lives during combat. It has been proven that, in the heat of battle, soldiers literally fight and die for their companions on either side of them rather than for some political cause. There is that overriding fear of letting down your friends and unit that keeps a soldier focused. This "culture" pervades in non-combat situations as well.

The RNA neither condones nor encourages this type of loose, tragic behavior, despite the spin that some of our reader would apply to this situation. However, for these types of incidents to cease, the "individual" must be removed and the "culture" of responsible behavior must be inserted.

-=blogdai

 
At 2:56 PM, December 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. The lack of RNA discipline has led to the following:

a. assault and murder of civilians
b. sexual abuse/rape of young girls and boys.

2. It is not the policy of the RNA to allow the indiscipline and consequent atrocities of individual soldiers. It is important to remember that it is INDIVIDUALS that are perpetuating these crimes but ultimately the ORGANISATION is responsible to ensure that it does not occur again.

3. The RNA appear to be unable to prevent such occurances. It is necessary for it sort itself out so that (6) does not persist.

4. This is of course a political issue and it is naive to think that it is not. We can not avoid this fact -no matter our emotional reasonin -people will politisize this issue.

5. There is an old saying in Britain that "opposition don't win elections but governments lose them". This same logic applies to Nepal and you (blogdai) have been hinting at this for a long (note: wish King G would hire a PR adviser).

6. This is a political issue because of the implications for the present government. The Maoists and their cronies (parties) can only topple the government if events like those in Nagarkot continue -especially so close to Kathmandu.

This is a tragic event and one that should not be politicized but this is an unstable country and sadly it is unavoidable.

Dev Prasad

 
At 5:38 PM, December 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree with Blogdai that this individual chose to act himself, the fact that he was able to leave the barrack with a weapon in a drunken state is an institutional failure.

In addition to the lack of discipline, another institutional problem with RNA is the impunity or almost no punishment for the wrong doing of it's soldiers. Many of these stories of atrocities by RNA do not even make any headlines. However, there was one incident that got some publicity.

Maina Sunuwar was a 15 year old girl tortured and raped by three RNA officers: a colonel and two captains in February 2004. All three were convicted by the military court. However, guess what the punishment was? All three officers received really long sentences of six months in jail and temporary suspension of promotion, but they did not serve any actual time in prison, as they were found to have served their sentences by being consigned to the barracks. Such are the practices in RNA.

Even in Doramba case where sixteen unarmed surrendered maoists were butchered by RNA, the officer found guilty was sentenced to two years in jail.

There are many more Maina Sunuwar's in Nepal and each and every story is equally touching. I am really saddened by this incident in Nagarkot and hopefully something good will come out of it - more accountable army, higher discipline in ranks and leadership.

 
At 5:48 PM, December 19, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Well illustrated,both Dev and anonymous, and yes, ultimately you are both right.

The RNA is under an international looking glass right now. Any burp or irregularity, not to mention outright tragedy such as happened in Nagarkot, will be reviewed in a political context.

It seems as though the RNA, knowing they are under international scrutiny, would have taken extra precautionary step and doubled-up the conduct briefings to the troops, but alas, "ke garne" wins again.


-=blogdai

 
At 11:31 PM, December 19, 2005, Anonymous PISSED said...

I am glad to see that people are discussing the real issues here, instead of the bloody politicized jargon that we seem to incessantly receive from our politicians and so called human rights activists (who are nothing but a bunch of lying bastards running NGOs and getting FAT!).

I just want to add a few points. A lot of soldiers (in the RNA and police) have not been able to visit their villages for years now. Their family members have had to face the inhumanities of the Maoists, paying them, in some cases, atrocious ransoms. In Dhading District, the Maoists were collectig Rs. 1,000 per month from the parents of a RNA helper ("Pipa") I know - He makes less than Rs. 3,000 per month. In other areas, they are constantly threatened by the Maoists. Many family members have been killed, and some soldiers have been brutally murdered when they did finally go home. They are fighting such barbaric insurgents for us, the Nepalese people. And what do they get in return? Slandering and defamation, pointing to the actions of a few misfits.

You talk about impunity, and point to the mild punishments RNA personnel get. I cannot refute it, but let's also not forget that student politicians who burn down private property and destroy public property, and assault security personnel are also enjoying the same level of impunity. They are released each evening. Similarly, politicians who are sent to jail by the court don't go, but when it's politicians, the papers don't talk about it. They only make headlines, when the police "recapture" Maoists released by our Supreme Court. Where is Chirnajibi Wagle? Which jail is he in?

I believe the 12-point agreement and all other declarations made by our politicians talk about "PEACEFUL PROTESTS" but where is that? Constantly disrupting traffic, ruining businesses, damaging tourism. Is this any way of protesting?? They are nothing but a bunch of vandals!! And shameless politicians and human rights activists support them. It is a pathetic situation that we have come to. THE KING DID NOT BRING THIS SITUATION. NOR DID THE RNA. IT IS YOU, YOU BLOODY LYING BASTARD POLITICIANS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS THAT HAVE BROUGHT THIS SITUATION TO ALL OF US!!!!!!!!!!

No wonder Basudev Thapa Flipped!!

 
At 4:15 AM, December 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pissed, student vandalism and RNA's impunity are two separate issues and they need to be dealt differently.

I appreciate all the young men in RNA risking their lives but punishing the guilty (with punishment matching the crimes) will help deter future indiscipline and send a strong message to both RNA leadership and soldiers that such behaviors are not tolerated.

The Nagarkot or Maina Sunuwar incidents are emotional issues to the near and dear ones and community members of the victims. With so many incidents of atrocities and lenient punishments, many people feel injustice and are alienated from RNA, which does not help RNA fight the maoist.

 
At 3:22 PM, December 20, 2005, Anonymous Brit said...

Yes, RNA soldiers (and their families, particularly from outside the main areas of population) are under great strain and taking considerable risk just by being such. This makes it particularly important that their basic training gives them the strength and support needed to withstand this without succumbing to violent misbehaviour.

Blogdai's western military friends seem to know what is missing. There must be many Nepalis - in Nepal - who equally are aware of what is needed, having undergone such training as members of the British Army. Are the leaders of the RNA unwilling to enlist their experience and expertise?

 
At 1:27 AM, December 21, 2005, Anonymous Pissed said...

Anonymous,

Why do you only relate deterring indiscipline to the RNA? Isn't it equally important that the state also punish vandals as well, as you say ..."to deter future indiscipline and send a strong message (in this case to vandals, and politicians, who promote such vandalism)that such behaviors are not tolerated"?

Okay, so the vandals have not (so far)shot people in cold blood. But they have blinded a policeman and hurt many more, burnt down innumerable vehicles, damaged public infrastructure, and disrupted businesses and the tourism industry (which is the backbone of our economy). These actions are sponsored and promoted by our politicians. So isn' there a need to "discipline" and "send out a "strong message" to these elements, who are destroying our nation, as well??

 
At 1:45 AM, December 21, 2005, Anonymous Pissed said...

Brit,

Since you mention it, I thought I would share a little secret. A particular ex-colonel who served valiantly in the British army, and fought a guerrila war in Brunei, was summoned years ago by the RNA generals to take his advice on fighting the Maoists. This colonel told the generals that helicopters will prove to be ineffective in our terrain, and suggested the RNA to invest in mules, to increase the patrolling distance of the soldiers (who are faced with the dilemma of either carrying ammo or food). His suggestions were never taken seriously, and as a result, RNA soldiers are severely restricted in their reconnaisance missions. As the wise old man said, helicopters have hardly been able to provide the needed supply to the ground forces. Perhaps this example answers your question Brit.

 
At 3:38 AM, December 21, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

gotta love those old british colonels. Let's see now, scrap the only piece of machinery that can deploy dozens of soldiers on a moments notice, to a mountaintop in favor of a mode of transportation that is slower than walking? Mr. Colonel sir, have you also forgotten that mules and altitude don't mix? Perhaps we could slow the whole thing down even more by outfitting each soldier with a yak?

No, the problem is not helicopters, its adequately training people to use them, and supplying enough of them to make a difference. Coordinate that with good, but currently non-existent, ground radio coordination and you have perhaps the single most effective means of fighting a guerilla war in mountain terrain.

Witness last month's surgical strike that killed 20 or so Maoist big shots and promted Prachanda to label the RNA as indescriminate killers.

TRy doing that from the back of a mule.

No, one or two Indian Cheetahs languishing in Kathmandu and around Jiri will not do a thing for you.

We were very close to landing a deal with the Yanks a few years ago where Nepal would get 10 state of the art blackhawks; complete with ammo and training. But guess what? Deuba's government couldn't find a way to make money off of the deal--the Yanks don't play the baksheesh game with military hardware--so they went with the lesser, easily corruptable India package.

-=blogdai

 
At 4:15 AM, December 21, 2005, Anonymous Brit said...

Pissed, I wasn't really thinking about strategic military training/advice as much as basic (personal/group)discipline training which also helps to give a soldier confidence and restraint.

Young soldiers in the British Army (whether Brits or Gurkhas) can be very impressive in this.

 
At 1:05 AM, December 22, 2005, Anonymous Simone said...

Hello from an Italian blogger!

 
At 6:10 AM, December 22, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

buono serra Simone, welcome. Have we met?

-=blogdai

 
At 12:50 PM, December 22, 2005, Anonymous Simone said...

Buona sera Blogdai!
I found your blog in globeofblogs.com.
Buona notte (good night)
Ciao, Simone

 

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