Friday, January 27, 2006

A New Hope

Blogdai thinks it's time for a new political path in Nepal. We are getting a lot of encouragement from our readers in this regard, so let's figure out what a new movement would consist of:

1. All candidates must take an oath of transparency and agree to serve their country and not make themselves rich.

2. We'll call ourselves the "All Nepal" party and our party banner is the flag of Nepal.
3. Candidates must swear to no more than two consecutive four year terms and to hold elections every four years.

4. We must promise to the people:
--no bandhs
-- equal and fair representation from all districts and all citizens.
-- land reform

THIS is for real. Blogdai calls on the blogoshpere to supply names of good, honest, selfless candidates who possess compassion for the people of Nepal and a unifying, almost nationalist approach to politics.

Blogdai will provide publicity within Nepal, a good amount of security, and a pool of expertise and ideas from our wonderful and equally fed-up political contacts. I'll even throw in a few thousand dollars to start the financing and fundraising efforts. What do you say?

Let's make a date: Say around the end of May or thereabouts. We will hold a meeting in kathmandu at that time and discuss a rudimentary platform and hold a press conference. Now, I know you candidates are out there. Do you love your country? Are you sick of corruption and self-serving politicians? Do you feel that serving your country is an honor and not a license to get rich? Do you understand the role of the King but prefer he not have such a heavy presence in government? Then the All Nepal party wants you!

So, step up and throw your hat and ideas into the ring. Where are you........?


More Loose Ends

Make no mistake about who is pulling the strings of the 7-party alliance. Consider this sequence: Indian ambassador Mukherjee goes to india in haste; Mukherjee meets with top Indian advisors in government: Mukherjee flies back to kathmandu; Mukherjee immediately meets with G.P. Koirala and issues instructions.

For those of you who feel that "democracy" must come first and foremost, consider the events of the last few days. Maoists kidnap mayoral candidate. Many candidates withdraw their names from the election rosters due to the intimidation. One last time, democracy only works when everyone plays by the rules. People will not use their democratic right to vote if they feel intimidated and threatened. Unless Nepal establishes the rule of law and maintains civic peace and confidence FIRST, then there can be no democracy. Elections illegitimate you say? Then prove your ability to understand legitimacy by not using fear and intimidation. I'm talking to you, Maoist-Party alliance. Your tactics are autocratic and despotic.

The EU shows how aloof and uninformed it can be by calling the proposed elections a "step backward." EU officials could not care less about accurately assessing the situation in Nepal. They read news realeases from equally lazy media pundits and form opinions. So, a non-violent attempt, however crude, at citizen representation for the first time in at least 7 years is a "step backward?" Is preventing street violence and maintaining law and order a "step backward?" Are the international election monitors--some of whom are from the EU--representing a "step backward?" Does this also imply that attempts to disrupt and intimidate those who partake in this election are a step forward? Listen, EU, while your dealing with your own domestic riots and farm subsidies, don't presume to know what is best for Nepal. Your comments do two things and two things only: they support Maoist violence and the continued disruption of civilian life at the hands of the 7-parties.

It should tell us a lot about the Maoists. We were all expecting this big attack in kathmandu but it looks like the maoists continued their guerilla campaign in the far west. Hey Prachanda, the whole world was watching when you called this fight. Remember that you were supposed to "stand on the shoulders and attack the head?" So much for the large scale offensive. Blogdai has been saying for almost a year that the Maoists can't and won't put together a large-scale attack. their only hope is to antagonize everyone with these little skirmishes. There will never be a big show of maoist strength; only a concerted effort to hide the actual weakness of their numbers.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Despotic Moves

That crusher of human rights, that enemy of freedom, King G. has gone and done it again! A series of three moves proves what kind of a despicable autocrat King G. really is!

No, really, all of you existing on "democracy at all costs" autopilot, witness the events of the past two days.

1. In what can only be considered as an olive branch to the parties, G.'s government has vowed to "reconsider" conducting the controversial February 8 polls if the parties can come up with good, concrete reasons why they should be delayed. Jeez, how tough can that be? Just put in writing what you don't like about the polls? blogdai says that the parties won't even do this simple gesture. Madhav Kumar Nepal and old Girija, themselves on autopilot, will probably reject this as a clever trick from a sinister King.

2. Speaking of the old marble-head, Girija, K.P. Oli, and a few others have now been officially released from house arrest. The old man has been arrested and released once before, only to start up his campaign against the King anew. Now that he is released again, any guesses what he will start doing again? The King has had Girija shut up and confined twice now. Grija is one of the most persistent, troublesome and vocal critics of the King. So why doesn't ol' "despot" G. just keep him behind bars? Those of you who insist that Friday's arrests where designed to "silence the King's critics" need to rethink your positions. Looks like they haven't let Madhav Kumar Nepal out of house arrest yet. See what happens when you start talking like a Maoist?

3. Election commission invites international observers to polls. Hey, any international NGO or observer is welcome. All they have to do is show their credentials and they're off! Surely, this is a royalist plot of some sort, right alliance?

ON ANOTHER NOTE: Blogdai would love to post quotes from the 7-party alliance that refer to disruption, violence, protest, intolerance of the viewpoints of others, disregard for the electorate, inability to forge an agenda, inter-party bickering, retalliation, refusal to talk or compromise with the opposition (or with each other) and adoption of Maoist principles; but time and brevity prohibit the display of such a lengthy tome.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Give Us a List, Ian

UNOHCR'S Ian Martin violating our human rights with this photo.

The Nepali government, acting on credible information of a potential Maoist infiltration of tomorrow's protest, rounded up and arrested a bunch of mid-level party activists today.

Never mind that street protests have been banned since January 16 and never mind that the government's well-established and well-known Public Security Act permits: ".... detention without trial, initially for up to 90 days, to prevent persons from committing actions that “undermine the sovereignty, integrity or public tranquility and order of the Kingdom,” Ian Martin thinks that human rights are being violated.

Ian, the government has been pre-rounding up protesters for a long time under this act, why all the grand-standing now? Blogdai thinks one need look no further than Ian's resume' for the answer. As the former General Secretary of Amnesty International (AI), Ian Martin is skilled at waiting for the limelight to hit him before making his move. It's an old AI fundraising trick. Find the current world attention hotspots and jump into the middle of the fray and claim a dire human rights crisis.

Not this time, Ian. This was a simple municipal police action designed to insure public safety. It was preventative and necessary. No protests or demonstrations allowed inside the ring-road of kathmandu. These activists were given plenty of notice and plenty of warning. They brazenly stated that they would violate the ban and wouldn't be responsible for any acts of violence that occured. Would the Nepali government be given better marks if it let, say, Prachanda march his entire army into kathmandu and up to the gates of the palace as long as it didn't open fire? No, there was and is a very real public safety risk emerging and the government acted properly and decisively.

Preventing an assembly, whether potentially violent or not, is not a human rights violation.

If the government were starving these party hacks or parading them through the streets chained and naked, then you would have a point, Ian. But guess what, UNOHCR and other groups have been given full prison access to monitor the condition of the prisoners, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Martin.

Ever see a WTO meeting? Protesters can't get within 3 city blocks of the meeting place. How about when George Bush lands somewhere. Yep, they keep the protesters forcibly outside a cordon, or mini ring- road, if you will. Is it a violation of human rights, Ian, if a protester is not allowed to shout nose-to-nose at George Bush? Based on your proclamations, virtually all civic ordinances could now be deemed as human rights debacles.

Current potential human rights violations under "The Martin Standard:"

1. Having to pay for parking along Durbar Marg represents a financial hardship and a clear violation of a person's freedom to assemble their cars at the place of their choosing.

2. Walking through a group of transvestites in Thamel at 9 p.m. is an assault on one's human dignity and a clear human rights violation against unsuspecting pedestrians

3. Incessant street protests by the parties prevents many from moving and conducting business in a safe environment. Their views are not shared by all. Forcing their programs on the people of Kathmandu is clearly political oppression and a violation of human rights.

4. The food at The Ambassador Hotel is an undisclosed health hazard and is the cause of much public-health hysteria. Citizens live in constant fear of poisoning, which creates a regressive fine-dining climate.

5. Having to wait for hours at TIA airport in the glass "holding-tank" departure gate represents involuntary temporary imprisonment and is a clear human rights violation.

Ian Martin, by his statements, has effectively called into question any ordinace on the books in Kathmandu that even remotely causes citizen discomfort in the cause of greater public safety.

So that we may all get on with our lives, Ian, could you be so kind as to give us a list of all municipal ordinances that you and the UNOHCR find to be human rights compliant?


Sunday, January 15, 2006

True Colors

The seldom-photographed Dadhikot checkpost prior to the Maoist attack.

Word just in from Kathmandu via one of our blogdai "spotters."

"We have surprised attacked by maoist and left killed 13 police man yesterday evening, the ssituation is chaos now and everybody frightened. This is to disturb the election and to show goverment how strong maost are, however life is ssuspeciously ok today. Tourism may go down immidiately, i will make announcement to seat tight for everybody rightway. "

Let's make no mistake here, democratic forces who claim to represent "the people" do not kill to make their point.

Regardless of the King's motiviation in holding municipal polls, it is clear that all parties in opposition to these polls neither have a clue as to how the democratic process operates nor the desire to use anything other than mass demonstrations and murder to make themselves heard.

These attacks, the 12-point agreement, the ceasefire, are all still part of the Maoist's plan. Let's ask ourselves, have the Maoists--talk aside--done anything that has even remotely deviated from their oft-professed philosophy of "strategic defensive" followed by a "strategic balance," culminating in the "strategic offensive" we see now?

If the King is a despot and the elections are a fraud, then PROVE IT. Girija/Prachanda, you could invite international private observers, solicit opinions from exit polls, film acts of coercion and intimidation, petition and negotiate for an independent ballot recount--many things that show you actually understand democracy and its processes.

Blogdai is sick of the typical blank rhetoric and posturing of the U.N. and the international community. Valid or not, the pundits and over-paid United Nations representatives could have supported these polls. Then, a clear signal would have been sent that even a messy attempt at free-election democracy, perfect or tainted, would better than doing nothing in the face of Maoist threats. As it stands, the Maoists are exploiting the grey area created by an ambiguous world opinion.

The U.N. missed a chance to send a message that violence is unacceptable. Their trademark dithering and indecision gives tacit approval to Maoist atrocities leading up to the polls.

These current and future deaths are on their heads.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Loose Ends

Blogdai thinks Prachanda's new path of moving all the Maoists toward Kathmandu has some honchos at the RNA secretly licking their chops with anticipation. After a nebulous guerilla campaign with a hard to pin-down enemy, Deepak Gurung must just be giddy at the thought of having all Maoist forces converge in one place. Too bad it's going to be the Kathmandu valley, but we need to finish this thing once and for all.

The Parties have absolutely nothing now. They are "caught in the middle" as Girija says. Their little ploy for political leverage--the 12 point agreement--has backfired and now they are all marginalized. Their only choice now--and they've already made statements towards this--is to follow lockstep with Maoist ideology.

Blogdai is visiting the States for a while. After a long period in Nepal, I can only conclude that Yanks are spoiled, arrogant, unfriendly and overweight. The streets are too wide here and restaurant food portions are pig-sized. If there are more than 4 people standing in a queue for something, expect wide scale complaining. The only thing that will effectively spank these brats is a good recession.

The New Orleans Cafe was just not the same without Sudesh. Their little annex at Boudinath seems nice, if a bit out of place, however.

Ambassador Moriarty is a big chicken. It is clear to blogdai that he will refrain from making any overtly anti-Maoist statements until he's tucked safely behind the wall of his new, fortified embassy compound--currently under construction. His house down near Babar Mahal is a virtual bomb-proof bunker, but it looks like he's afraid of another "drive-by" killing at the old store-front style U.S. embassy--just a pressure cooker bomb's throw from the street.

I wonder what happened to that big expatriot Nepali protest movement in Washington. Blogdai thinks simple math is in order here: No Sujata = no Koirala money = no political movement.
Where is the old gal now?

Looks like Amnesty International (AI) has left Nepal alone for the moment. Probably because they realized it's a non-starter in the fundraising department. Too bad. When they were breathlessly predicting Nepal's imminent collapse, there was just not much happening. Now, when we really just might need some human rights input (as biased as AI can be) they are nowhere to be found. AI will follow the money issues so look for them to frantically find human rights violations wherever the top news stories of the moment occur.


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Backed Into a Corner

Maoist strongman Prachanda, showing by upraised fingers, how many options his Maoists have left.

The "Farce One," Prachanda has really backed his Maoists into a corner this time.

World attention has been focused on his little non-ceasefire and now he has nowhere to hide. Tomorrow the ceasefire supposedly ends, and the Maoists have to make a no-win choice on whether to extend the ceasefire or resume their militaristic terrorism.

If they extend, they show the world that they are weakened and are submitting to world opinion, as they have already milked all the tactical advantages possible from this move. Remember: Maoists only talk, negotiate or call a ceasefire when they feel they can either get some advantage from the process, or that they are out of options.

If they don't extend, they have to show how ending their ceasefire is somehow going to result in a resumption and an escalation of military activity. (Blogdai wonders how they will resume anything since they never stopped their activities in the first place.) The point is, calling off the ceasefire will signal that the Maoists feel they are strong enough to go it alone.

In fact, the ceasefire "deadline" itself will nullify the continuance of any tactical advantages the Maoists may currently be realizing by forcing them to publicly declare their intentions anew: Change course and lose support or stay the course and the "deadline" turns into an ill-conceived and irrelevant point of weakness. The last thing Prachanda should have done was to trap himself in this political day of reckoning.

We've already stated here that the Maoists are no longer capable of large-scale military operations, and the RNA is now striking at the teeth of Maoist-Central: Rukum,--freeing some 1000 conscripts in the process--so what will the Maoists do tomorrow if they end their ceasefire? Blogdai doubts there is a massive counter attack planned by the Maoists in Rukum, so where will this fearsome resumption start and how can it possibly be significant in the face of RNA advances in Rukum?

We also have the FNJ and other groups demonstrating in the streets imploring the Maoists to extend the ceasefire. What kind of "People's Movement" would it be if Prachanda does not heed their call?

And, oops! Calling off the ceasefire puts our little 7-party alliance squarely in the Maoists corner. They are such close buddies with the Maoists that they surely must have been consulted and therefore, complicit.

Blogdai is honestly torn as to what Prachanda will do. Extend or not, what the Maoists decide tomorrow will give observers and pundits alike the most definitive clues yet on the current state of Maoist military capability and resolve.

That is why tomorrow's decision is significant. Prachanda has played his last trump card with this ceasefire. The world thinks he is a good guy for doing so and thinks the King is a meany for not reciprocating. So, tomorrow, in front of a now attentive international community, Prachanda will decide whether he will remain a weakened good guy, or resume his terror campaign to the universal and final condemnation of the world.

OK, here's the call: Watch the old man. Koirala must know something we don't because he is calling for the Maoists to extend the ceasefire and give the King "one more chance." This is a typical Girija move: step in and take credit for an inevitable, if not obvious move. Blogdai thinks the Maoists will agree to extend the ceasefire only if the King does likewise. They are too weak to call it off and go it alone, but will try to use the King as an excuse for ending their brand of unilateralism. They will voice their displeasure by disrupting the upcoming polls and will spin the whole thing to the gullible international community as an example of a despotic King not wanting peace. So, blogdai says, if the Maoists have the spine, they will hide their weakness and end the ceasefire; it will be their last large-scale act of defiance.