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.

-=blogdai

27 Comments:

At 12:45 PM, January 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are facing a crisis of "cracies". We have been deposited into sediments by monarchy and autocracy not realizing what is meant by democracy. What we eventually may face and what we have been facing by those who preached democracy is kleptocracy. These loosed ends certainly need to be tightened up.

 
At 4:01 AM, January 05, 2006, Blogger anonymous #5491 said...

Who knows what will happen, for sure the King will not win though. He is in a weak position politically, he and everyone else knows this that is why the RNA went on the offensive against the Maoists.

The talk of parties being marginalized is madness. The parties need to admit to mistakes in the past and move forward. When this happens Nepal will be behind them because they are for peace not war. If king was for peace he would have reciprocated the ceasefire, if the Maoists were fore peace they would have extended the ceasefire. Only the parties are working for peace.

 
At 8:25 AM, January 05, 2006, Anonymous Brit said...

anon 5491 - you are talking rot.
a) RNA defending the state against terrorists bears no relation either for or against the political strength of the King or ayone else.
b) the parties are marginalised - most talk on the issue these days relates to either the King, the RNA or the maoists.
c) the parties may (and almost certainly do, along with most people) want peace - but their actions so far have not been supportive of this outcome.
d) the 'ceasefire' by the maoists was only to buy them time for regrouping or they would not have cancelled it so soon - if, indeed it was ever implemented.

 
At 10:50 AM, January 05, 2006, Blogger anonymous #5491 said...

Brit,

The King is head of the Army, that is why days before the expiry of ceasefire they went on the offensive. The King wanted to continue the fighting.

The Maoist ceasefire was peaceful, significantly fewer people died during the 4 months. That is a fact.

The reason why no one is talking of parties is because they do not have guns and kill innocent people like Maoists and RNA. That is true meaning of wanting peace - not killing.

 
At 11:13 AM, January 05, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

The "ceasefire" was never a ceasefire. The King knew it and everyone who is actually on the ground in Nepal knows it.

How short a memory some have.

Every single ceasefire or peacetalk initiative in which Maoists took part, has resulted in the military regrouping and resumption of hostilities by the Maoists. Every one! 5491 what kind of chrystal ball are you looking through that makes you believe that the Maoists would suddenly want peace? As long as they have guns, they will never want peace

And that is the simplest way to describe the political parties: no guns, no power. They are nothing. They represent their own narrow self-interests. How could they claim to represent the people when they haven't offered themselves up for public re-election in 10 years? If they were so democratic, what would it hurt to take part in a UN monitored municipal election?
Isn't is a shade difficult to fathom "the people" re-electing girija koirala--and his history of corruption--to the presidency of the NC over and over again?

Nope, listen to the parties now. they are all about violence and disruption. where's the compromise? Ram Chandra Poudel and Madhav Kumar Nepal are virtually calling for bloodshed in the streets. The 12 point agreement was a desperate ploy to find some political leverage; and now it has failed. The "alliance" can only hope to ride the coattails of Maoist policy from now on.

It is a selfish political farce; nothing more.

-=blogdai

 
At 11:26 AM, January 05, 2006, Blogger anonymous #5491 said...

Blogdai said: 5491 what kind of chrystal ball are you looking through that makes you believe that the Maoists would suddenly want peace? As long as they have guns, they will never want peace

Where did I say that Maoists want peace?

 
At 12:56 PM, January 05, 2006, Anonymous Brit said...

5491 - I think you are confused - If you were not implying that the 'ceasefire' was some sort of peace gesture why criticise the RNA for not taking it seriously?

 
At 8:47 PM, January 05, 2006, Anonymous Shiva Nepali said...

5491 and others like you:

Who started the war in Nepal? The King or the Maoists?

I was in the US when this so called "People's war" started, and to be honest with you, I was in full support of it, like a lot of other people, who understood rural Nepal. Don't get me wrong here. I was not born in the villages to understand this. I was born into a Rana family, in the heart of Kathmandu. My understanding of rural Nepal, therefore, is through the interactions I had with the rural folk as we hunted and fished in the forests and rivers from east to west, and from the Himalayas to the Terai. Contrary to the negative perception the world has developed regarding this "sport" I want to say that shooting an animal is not what I remember now. It's the meals we shared with the villagers, the rest we took in their homes, the conversations we had, the hospitality. It was that hospitality of the villagers that pulled me back home after spending 9 years in the US. I could never forget that.

I also had not forgotten western Nepal, where the elite Thakuris treated the Tharus and others like slaves. I remember once, when we embarked on a journey up the Seti river, we could not find enough porters, so me and my father each picked up a load--my father, a doko. This infuriated my father's uncle, a Thakuri Jamindar. It embarrased him so much that he walked an hour behind us. Well, such things never bothered my father, and he taught me the same. We camped on the banks of the Seti for three weeks, somewhere 3 days upstream from the highway to Dipayal--it was a dirt road then. During this stay, I remember watching the men drink and gamble all day. In the evening they would go home and beat their wives. After a week we ran out of salt and garlic, but there was not a pinch of salt nor garlic in any of the villages within 2 days walk, so we gave up trying to find any. I used to catch about 20 asla (Himalayan trout) every day, which we cooked into a soup and ate with rice for 2 weeks, saltless, spiceless. The villagers hardly fished. Instead a group of young men used to go in search of the gigantic wild boar in the forest everyday. Each evening our professional hunter and this group returned home empty handed. The difference-we had fish for dinner, they had nothing.

In the terai, I have seen landlords beat up villagers, give them loans at exorbitant rates, and then take their livestock, then their land when they failed to pay. They could have never paid and the intention of the landlord was, from the beginning, to get that piece of land. They used to be beaten like animals, in front of everyone. I remember seeing the humiliation in their tearful eyes, and a soft fire behind that.

It is this fire that the Maiosts exploited. I truly believe that their violence was necessary--as we say in Nepal "Baat le namanne kukur lai latle matra thik parcha" (A dog that can't be taught with words can only be taught with a kick). Yes a kick. That kick has be delivered. The pride of the feudal class has been shattered. The eyes of the blind has been opened. The words of the oppressed has been spoken out.

Now, Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai and Mr. Puspa Kamal Dahal--You have earned the reputation as great leaders--which you sought. You have risen to the heights of Girija Babu! You have risen above him. Your strategy to launch this movement was to rise in politics without joining one of the established parties, and hoping for Girija Babu or Madhab Nepal or Pashupati or one of the other autocrats blessings to move up the ladder...you have accomplished that. You are respected as leaders even within the RNA. And along the way, you have opened the people's eyes on the oppressions faced by our villagers.

Why the violence now?? The world is watching us. Isn't it time to come to the table and work out a startegy for the nation's development? The nation's development with the representation and participation of the 4 jats and 36 varnas?

Look at the cabinet right now. It's the most representative it has been since the history of Nepal. During the 12 year autocratic rule of the Nepali Congress there were more than 90% Brahmins in parliament and in bureaucracy.

Brahminism--that is the core problem of this nation, since the days the Prithivi Narayan Shah, through the Rana regime, through the Panchayat era and of course, through the 12 years.

Are you just another manifestation of Brahminism only????? This is my only question to you.

Shiva Nepali

 
At 9:24 PM, January 05, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Excellent Shiva,

Combining the actions of the seven parties, Ranas and Panchayat-era rulers under the term "Brahmanism" is masterful.

It was this brand of rural feudal cruelty, combined with the corrupt innatentiveness of the political administrations of the last 10 years that gave the burgeoning Maoist movement its initial popularity among villagers.

Perhaps the Maoist movement itself is taking on these "Brahmin" overtones. Failure to compromise is surely the first symptom.

-=blogdai

 
At 2:39 AM, January 06, 2006, Anonymous Brit said...

Namaste Shiva!

Thankyou for your informative account. I have never been in rural Nepal (due to maoist blockades when I visited your wonderful country) so could only guess at the situations which gave the maoists their momentum. Now I have better understanding.

Being an outsider I have no ties to any group or party and can only assess what is written and take on board what I hear from my Nepali friends. Although I had no word for it I also have seen the maoist leaders as essentially the same as the leaders of the other parties in terms of their attitude to the country as a whole. It is clear that they act as an elite. For instance they deny/disrupt ordinary Nepalis their schooling - I'll bet their own children had top class education - probably outside Nepal.

There is no peace without justice. Justice is not about letting journalists publish anything they choose, it is giving every individual the same respect and opportunities as everyone else.

 
At 5:05 AM, January 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice and eloquent post, Shiva.

I never understood that whole treating the underclass as dirt nonsense. You hear the usual excuses - they don't understand kindness etc....the bahuns and elite have a lot to learn.

We don't get many posts here regarding the rural perspective. Although there seems to be a lot from middle class urbanites with their self interests at heart.

Another *BIG* question is how will democracy redress the abuses the poor, rural folks have gone through and address their present and future needs?

Yes we need democracy one day but I honestly think that Nepalis need to learn and truly understand civic responsibility as a precursor to democracy otherwise it'll just turn into another farce.

It's a hearts and minds campaign after all.

naagboy

 
At 8:37 AM, January 06, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

One of the best ways to initiate civic responsibility in rural areas is through rural representation to a national government. The best idea towards this end is the constituent assembly. Unfortunately, as long as there are Maoists there will never be fair and accurate elections to such an assembly.

I'd take one of Shiva's posts for every 100 of those rambling self-absorbed expatriot posts any day.

-=blogdai

 
At 2:15 AM, January 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shiva...at last a Nepali with a Conscience. where are you when your country needs eloquent leaders like you? why is the
Kathmandu 'party leadership' so corrupt that we are only left with the inept? [ quote unquote G]

 
At 11:58 PM, January 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, good people are often found wanting when it comes to politics. The dog certainly needs kicking because the King is done talking to the dog.

In my experience, ideological differences do not mean very much in Nepal. The crisis of "cracies" that anonymous mentions in the first post is irrelevent because they are all the same. Just because they wear different face masks does not make them any different.

This might sound like bland cynicism and maybe it is, but I truly despair at the political situation in Nepal.

The scramble for power and money continues. Do these brahmin's think that it is their inherited right to steal the assets of Nepal for their own gluttony?

Dev Prasad

 
At 8:44 AM, January 09, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

It's also sad that people cannot seem to grow out of their most basic human tendencies. We must, it seems, always find some defining "ideology" in order to feel we have a place in the world. Forming groups is basic and tribal.

Democracy--a functioning one--demands we look beyond our instincts to group-up and fortify ourselves, and asks us to be inclusive and compromise; it is a very difficult and unnatural state.

You cannot run anything effectively on "ideology" alone.

-=blogdai

 
At 3:20 PM, January 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure i appreciate the implications of Anonymous 2:15 AM. What does he or she mean when he says: "...at last a Nepali with a conscience." ?

Would he care to elaborate and substantiate his point?

Blogdai, I agree with you on the subject of ideology. If you are an optician you prescribe lenses in accordance to the limitations of your vision. It is something that, perhaps, the 'cracies' can consider before embarking upon another reckless campaign of hate.

Dev Prasad

 
At 8:09 AM, January 10, 2006, Anonymous Brit said...

Dev -
I can't speak for Anon 2.15am, but the way I read his/her comment "...at last a Nepali with a conscience." it seemed that s/he was referring to Shiva's recognition/ acknowledgement of his own family's past abuse of rural Nepalis (albeit that he was not party to the attitude himself). I personally have never come across any such admission before and it is refreshing to see it. I did not take Anon's comment to imply that no-one else has a conscience.

 
At 8:17 AM, January 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the idea is not to elaborate or substantiate but to prick the conscience.

 
At 11:57 PM, January 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

make a book out of blogdai; I haven't seen this exciting journalism in my life.
(former journalist always travel as a housewife)
We are writing history for Nepal, for the world.

 
At 4:42 AM, January 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or rewrite history?

 
At 3:20 PM, January 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So this is democracy in Nepal, is it?

"Our goal is to foil government plans to hold local elections and to break the backbone of the autocratic regime"

(Communist Party leader Madhav Kumar Nepal)

And this is the autocratic regime that is holding municpal polls?

I prefer the autocracy to be honest. At least the instructions are written on the tin.

Dev Prasad

 
At 4:28 PM, January 12, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Right Dev and dammit, you're stealing my thunder. blogdai was preparing a new release on top quotes from the 7 party alliance. Anyway, cheers for the observations.

The gist is: for a a bunch of parties to claim they represent "the people" while pleading that "democracy must be restored," they really have said and done nothing but act like autocratic despots.

--they protest and agitate rather than negotiate.

--they ally with terrorists and don't blame them for their violent acts.

--they haven't had a change in leadership via a free election for 10 years. In fact, family members inherit key party positions.

--they absolutely refuse to even talk to the opposing party.

--they undermine the sovereignty of their country by seeking advice and council from another nation first, rather than last.

--they have no plans or desire for transparency, accountability or even a functioning government.

So, what's not to like eh?

-=blogdai

 
At 3:14 AM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a look at Wikipedia's entry on Nepal, it makes for interesting reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepal

Interesting.

 
At 3:20 AM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous Alison said...

blogdai - will you be back in Nepal before the scheduled elections? It would be most interesting to hear about what is actually happening in Nepal during that time, rather than what is allowed to be reported in the press.

One thing I have found refreshing is that while you may have a bias towards the king, you are open about that, and you have, to date, certainly been prepared to critise him and/or his actions, along with those of the maoists and the parties when appropriate.

 
At 5:47 AM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes that would be interesting. It'll be around the time of the Maobadi's 10th anniversary.

naagboy

 
At 7:38 AM, January 14, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Thanks to all,

Blogdai is currently doing nasty work in another part of the world.

However, we will have representatives--with cameras--at the polls this feb. for the latest.

-=blogdai

 
At 5:55 AM, January 19, 2006, Anonymous Scott said...

Blogdai, you're a bit misleading when you suggest that the Maoists are just now encroaching on Kathmandu. I remember a couple Januaries ago when some Maoists machine-gunned down the commander of the armed police on his morning walk, and were never caught. There have also been more than a couple bombings (small) around Kathmandu, not to mention a couple in/around Thamel.

And Blogdai, come on, generalizing that Yanks are arrogant, unfriendly, and overweight is a pure judgement call. Not very becoming. It might be true, but it just makes you look silly and uninteresting. If someone where to say that Nepalis are uneducated, petty, and racist, that might suggest pretty negative things about the writer. I suggest we not go there. We both know lovely Yanks and arrogant ones. We could play this game with any nationality. You can't talk about politics and be taken seriously if you're going to name-call, silly man.

Opps. I guess it is a little fun.

Keep fightin' the good fight, my friend.

 

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