Monday, February 27, 2006

"The Verge of Collapse"

Well, who's going to say it? No one? OK then, blogdai will do the honorable thing and say what should be obvious to everyone in Kathmandu:

Nepal is most definitely NOT on the verge of collapse.

Amazing that blogdai feels so compelled to butt heads with ambassador Moriarty on this, but has Moriarty even stopped to consider the obvious reason why there will be no "collapse?" The biggie is that Nepal's national military, the Royal Nepal Army, is still of one mind and still answers to one commander: the King. As long as the army is not fractionated, Nepal will not collapse, period. The Maoists can't beat 'em and won't even face 'em in numbers large enough to trigger a "collapse." Plus, the Maoists can't take Kathmandu and--thank god--the political parties can't pry loose control of the RNA from the King for their personal use. There are also no "splittist" factions in the army that might cause one concern over their loyalty.

So why all the fanfare, ambassador? Do you just want to see people living at a high level of anxiety? When asked about this in his latest interview, Moriarty seemed impishly proud of himself for causing chaos: " ….I wanted to create a debate about Maoists’ intentions. I want the people to say each other what’s Moriarty saying, why is he saying that, what is he saying about other peoples’ intentions and as long as I get people talking about that I think I accomplish my purpose. " No, your "purpose" is to represent your country and not be a catalyst for internal strife in Nepal. The ambassador's comments are intentionally inflammatory and ill-conceived. He should be removed from office.

But what a remarkable interview it was! Vijay Kumar of Frontline seemed to get to the heart of this man Moriarty. What we got was a portrait of a rambling, semi-focused ambassador who feels Nepal is so insignificant in world affairs that he can routinely ignore diplomatic protocol and "rile things up a bit" for his amusement. Blogdai's favorite highlights below:

"I can’t endorse the parties working with violent Maoists who are for violent overthrow of the state." (and) "Oh…there is absolutely nothing wrong with the parties and the Maoists trying to come up with the solution and get back to the bourgeois parliamentary democracy."

"Politics are very confusing and we have been constantly strained in understanding them.."
"Strange it may seem but my Nepali language is probably better than my understanding of Nepali politics."
"..... my understanding of Nepali politics is flawed.."
" One of the biggest gaps that I have been hitting up is of course Maoists’ intentions."

One wonders what kind of extraordinary talent ambassador Moriarty must possess to be able to predict the imminent collapse of a nation without having so much as a rudimentary knowledge of its political machinations.

It seems Moriarty's lack of political curiosity on all things Nepal allows him to consider no event prior to the phony Maoist ceasefire as being significant. He is just NOW coming to the realization that the Maoists don't negotiate. He is just NOW realizing that the 12-point agreement is a bunch of political tripe. Readers of blogdai need only to hit their scroll button to find that we posted this information months ago. A prudent observer would wonder why the most powerful nation in the world can't send to Nepal an ambassador who is better prepared.

One of the biggest things bothering blogdai, and an out-and-out lie by Moriarty is this perception that he has been against the King's takeover all along.
"... the day after the takeover by the king last year we were telling Washington look this is very counterproductive ..." Well James, WRONG! Immediately after the takeover you were very public in saying the following:
``If we cut off our security assistance it will embolden the Maoists,'' and towards the King: ``If he delivers on his commitments, he will turn this all around.'' And on Feb. 18 of 2005 Moriarity admonishes the Nepali people to "hang in there."

At the very least we should ask ourselves if this is behavior appropriate to an ambassador. Can we cite instances around the world where an overly-outspoken ambassador such as Moriarty has achieved a positive outcome through such controversial statements? We should ask if Moriarty's remarks have helped or hurt the situation in Nepal. And, we should seriously ask: Is James F. Moriarty sufficiently qualified to represent the United States of America as its ambassador to Nepal?


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Gotta' Love Her

(Thanks to MR for the link) Blogdai has always been a fan of Preeti Koirala. This article is one of her best yet. Many of you long-time blogdai readers will find note-for-note similarities in the claims made in this article and in many of blogdai's comments over the past year. Could Ms. Koirala be a fan of blogdai as well? -=BD

US ambassador's speech and the baffled political leaders
- By Preeti Koirala

The US ambassador James F. Moriarty makes headlines whenever he makes statements. His speech delivered at the Ganesh Man Singh Foundation early this month was symbolic in a sense that late Singh was a selfless leader who didn’t crave for power for the sake of democracy and freedom. Our contemporary leaders both of the NC and the UML never followed the path of Ganesh Man. Girija Prasad Koirala even went ahead to minimize Singh during his own life time by actively conspiring to defeat Mangala Devi Singh (Singh's wife) and Prakash Man Singh (Singh's eldest son) in the general elections of 1991. Therefore, by choosing to speak at the forum of a Foundation named after late Singh, the U.S. envoy sarcastically called for inner party democracy and selflessness to nurture democracy by recalling what Ganesh Man had done but apparently what all leaders of today have forgotten.

His contempt and dislike towards the 12-point agreement between the parties and the Maoists supposedly reached at the behest of Delhi has come up as a surprise to everyone. This agreement was reached months ago and neither the U.S. government nor Moriarty had spoken anything grossly negative when the agreement was actually reached. But it seems now that the Bush administration has realized how awful and dangerous the 12 point understanding actually is. The parties are where they were in front of the people but the Maoists have got huge gains out of the agreement. It has become very easy for the present government also to tell to the people that "See we were always telling you, these seven parties have been tacitly aiding the Maoists".

The fact remains that the Maoist movement started when there was full-fledged multi-party democracy and that the insurgency actually spiraled out of control when the Nepali Congress and the UML were in power. This theory of party leaders like Bam Dev Gautam and Khum Bahadur Khadga tacitly aiding the insurgency during their respective tenures as Home Minister proved right when the same bunch of leaders signed the agreement with the Maoists. Therefore, this agreement was defective, shady and flawed from the day it was inked as has been realized by the envoy of the world’s only superpower.

Now, if the present government bans the political parties and declares those that tie nuptial knots with the Maoists as “terrorists” themselves, it seems that there won’t be such a degree of international criticism as one would like to imagine. The publication of a caricature of prophet Mohammad by a Danish newspaper has already started global debate on whether the press should be allowed to publish anything in the name of press freedom. The Malaysian government immediately banned a 60-year-old newspaper for re-printing the same cartoon. In our case, those newspapers that openly favor the Maoist propaganda have been allowed to operate and yet the government continues to get the blame for harassing the media.

The second element of Moriarty's statement is overtly directed towards India. Every sane mind knows that top Maoist leaders live and give out their directives to their cadres from within the Indian territory. Lately, several interviews have been taken of the Maoist leaders from the Indian capital. It is anybody's guess that India very well knows where Prachanda and Baburam are hiding but does not want to arrest them for some future usage that they have vis-a-vis the give and take that may take place between the monarchy and the Government of India. The 12-point agreement definitely had the tacit Indian consent. Some reports even suggested that the Government of India itself had engineered the understanding in order to pressurize the King.

But ambassador Moriarty's compos mentis speech suggesting that the agreement was “ill-intentional” clearly indicates that the world's only superpower is against India's unnecessary meddling inside Nepal's internal affairs. The publicity that the U.S. and India were in tandem in their respective Nepal policies has fallen flat after Moriarty's speech. It has obviously embarrassed Delhi to a great deal. Everything that was "achieved" in the post February First period has been lost by a single statement. India has thus wasted one full year in Nepal which could have been well used in nurturing the present government and in achieving concrete things in security, political and economic areas. Besides, it now seems that the US has started looking Nepal from the Chinese window as they have been doing as regards to other countries in the region.

After all, Moriarty is a known China expert in the State Department and speaks fluent Mandarin, he has years of experience in Beijing and Taipei. This will be dangerous to India's long-standing unique bond with SAARC countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. With Pakistan, the American policy is exactly the same as that of the Chinese policy. What is even more astounding is that the Chinese ambassador in New Delhi openly said that his government is ready for assisting in the peace talks with the Naxalites of the entire sub-continent who use the name of Mao-zee-Dong. Therefore, from every rational standpoint, Delhi should not delay in keeping the Narayanhiti royal palace in good humor before it is too late and before the U.S-China axis from within Nepal begins to take shape of the Pakistani variety.

His Majesty the King, on his democracy day message, called for reconciliation but the 7 parties, obdurate and inflexible as they are, have rejected his call for a dialogue. It must be well understood that the product of reconciliation is a change of the government not the other way around. Former M. Ps. who were last elected 7 years ago do not represent the will of the sovereign people and if they claim that they still do, they must cave in their over-sized egos for their own common benefit or else have the fortitude to contest the general elections.

Moriarty has thus told clearly to every power centre in Nepal that terrorists everywhere whether it is Osama Bin laden and al Qaeda, LTTE, Hamas or the Maoists of Nepal are basically the same. Their tactics of terror and intimidation are the same. They kill civilians and give the pretext of "empowering the people" in the name of violence. They are all terrorists and one should not negotiate with them until they give up arms. America has been utilizing a military solution to the al Qaeda problem and Nepal should also do the same by requesting for necessary arms and ammunition to defeat terrorism within Nepal. If peace can only be achieved by “talking” with the Maoists, then a good example must be set by those that preach this noble idea. There should be no double standard.

If Nepal should negotiate with the Maoists by agreeing on a 12 point understanding, the EU also should first formally invite Osama Bin Laden to Brussels to hear his genuine concerns and problems. If Nepal Television should not try to interview Prabhakaran and his gang of murderers or the leaders of ULFA and BODO; then The Times of India, The Hindu, BBC and other media should also not publicize Prachanda and his idiotic verse of nonsense that everybody finds insane.

Will the Government of India allow Nepalese journalists to interview and thereby mystify the terrorists who planted bombs in the parliament of India? What will be the Indian reaction if Nepalese media start writing editorials that it is high time that Delhi begins realizing that without an independent Kashmir, the problem of the people of Kashmir will not be resolved?
Therefore, it is now Delhi’s turn to follow-up on Moriarty’s genuine and truthful statement and not embrace the Nepali Maoist leaders as if they were different to its own Naxalites running wild from Bihar to Chattisgarh and all the way to Andhra Pradesh. Since its ambassador at the India House has already said that “political parties in Nepal can use the Indian card”, Delhi must clearly tell the political parties that if they are to co-exist and survive, they must reciprocate the call of the monarch for a reconciliation.

Nepal established diplomatic relations with the United States of America before it did with India and China. Sometimes, we are forced to appreciate the Ranas for some of the far-sighted decisions that they took during their 104-year rule.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Comrade James

U.S. Ambassador to Nepal James F. Moriarty

Let's here it for Prachanda's biggest cheerleader. No one on the international scene goes more out of their way to acknowledge, magnify and give a blundering, tacit approval to Nepal's Maoists more than U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, James F. Moriarty.

Moriarty's utterances are a littany of shallow thought:

December 2004, on leadership in Nepal: "This place was never a nation state up until the 1950's. It was a bunch of subjects of the Nepali king."

May 24, 2005: “There is a very good chance that the Maoists could find a way to turn all of this to their advantage and ultimately end up marching in the Singh Durbar."

July 2005: "Why would the Maoists be willing to give up now? Their party fought insurgency for nine years and now they see their opponents crumbled, dividing themselves, mired in acrimony." "If I were a Maoist, I'd think I was making good progress...I would try to put differences between the parties and the palace, and get them to do the Maoist business of tearing down the political structure,"

And now, today, in full Maoist ideological bloom, Comrade James issues the following:

"Maoists will feel no need to abandon their goal of absolute power as long as they believe they are winning and as long as the King and parties remain divided. The Maoists will rightfully conclude that they are winning.” (This, curiously, comes on the heels of his 2005 utterance:"The Maoists have to realize they have no hope of victory.")

Now, to be fair, is James Moriarty a Maoist sympathizer? Certainly not. But he has to rank among the poorest-performing members of the diplomatic community in terms political acumen and, well, diplomacy. He does not seem to comprehend that the Maoists will "believe they are winning" because he keeps telling them that they are winning every time he opens his mouth.

Determining who's got the upper hand in this murky, imprecise conflict is speculative at best. What better encouragement can Prachanda hope for than the words of an ambassador from the American government and all the intelligence, research and credibility implied therein? Moriarty is a one-man USO show and morale booster for Prachanda's troops. One half expects Moriarty to blab out RNA troop locations and numbers.

Blogdai can only guess at Moriarty's motiviations for saying the things he says:

1. The man is just plain "stoopid."

2. He's trying to get himself removed from Nepal, a-la Keith Bloomfield, so he can go back to working on the Chinese issues that better suit him.

3. He's a bad actor trying to cover the U.S.'s actual intentions of supporting G's fight against the Maoists. (Prachanda might be right on this one!)

So, for the record, blogdai suggests the following:


It worked for Bloomfield.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The REAL Revolution

22 year old mayoral candidate Anil Adhikari's election web-site.

Update: February 9. Anil Adhikari has graciously agreed to share his thoughts with us here at blogdai. Our interview below:

BD: Anil, why did you decide to run for Mayor?

AA: actullay..i wanted to show the neplese all over the world > people never leave their country...coplaining about >opportunity..they themselves create the opportunity...if young people can >fight...and die for the country..they can rule..and governance too we >all know young people r dying..and old r talking here in nepal......

Do you feel frightened of Maoist/Party retalliation?

>no ..but ..i dont want to die soon..a dogs death..and u know one saying >"kera ko khamba...7 vhai jamma" thses partys r just united for few > in tihar..after tihar they will start to fight for the >distribution of power..>

What does "democracy" mean to you?

>democracy mean you r as giood as me is just an experiment...where >num,bers of votes r given more importnace..than its weight...sometime >democracy means all the fools r in same side.....>

BD: Do you feel the King is on the right track with these elections, despite the low turn-out?

>the king...ahhahahhah......i just dont understand..why party and people r >despising him..he is the most weakest man in nepal ..if people become >strong in the leadership od some charismatic o;over crombell >like churchil...he can do nothing....i will try to be like >those leaders...we need strong leaders..and strong followers to make ou >rnepal a strong ..nation..


Blogdai wonders about all those people who claimed Nepal's first attempt at municipal elections in 7 years were a waste of time. It seems, and estimates vary, that there was a paltry 8-20% turnout for these polls.

A poor turnout in a Western country, with widespread campaigning contributing to voter knowledge; a free society that insures fairness (relative) at the polls and open and contentious debate from all sides; is usually measured in the 40 percentile range. We call this a "pathetic" turnout and use terms like "voter apathy" and say that people were not doing their "democratic duty." Blogdai wonders what the election turnout would be in a Western country that was under the same pressures as Nepal where:

-Polling places were attacked and destroyed the day before elections, as in Dhankuta

-Voters were threatened with violence if they voted, as the were in Bhaktapur.

- Mayoral candidates' homes were bombed by Maoists and candidates were shot, as they were
multiple places throughout Nepal.

-Candidates withdrew their names from consideration due to intimidation from the deposed
political parties and the Maoists.

-Nepal itself hadn't conducted a free, fully participatory election in over 7 years and had no
logistical expertise in conducting such a widespread poll.

All things considering, an 8% turnout is a courageous victory for those who are seeking a new beginning and legitimate popular representation. The fact that anyone turned out for these elections at all is a victory. People who went to the polls were, literally, casting their votes under fire. Is a chance for a real democracy worth this risk? Would we have done the same?

For the EU or any outside nation to call these elections a "backward step," is an uneducated and woefully uninformed slap in the face to those 8% of Nepali's who were tired of the status quo--royal or political--and just wanted to exercise some free and individual choice for a change. No, this is a "first step." The fact that it was or was not a success is immaterial. Nepalis are on the proper road now; the road to an actual representative democracy with the full participation of its citizens.

So the next time you talk about revolutions, consider those in Nepal who either ran or participated in the elections. People who are desperate for change and were willing to sacrifice their personal comfort and jeopardize their lives for what they perceived as the common good: a foreign concept in Nepali politics up to this point

Therein lies the revolution.


(Visit Anil Adhikari if you are able at his website: It's hard to get on because he is innundated with traffic and frequently exceeds his bandwidth-BD)