Tuesday, May 16, 2006

And Now for Some Real Journalism

Tired of bashing D. Michael Van de Veer? Take a look at how a real journalist, Daniel Lak , thinks and writes. Mr. Lak spent quite a few years on the ground reporting for The Nepali Times. Because of this, his views are level and insightful. So, blogdai doesn't just bash lousy journalism: it's equally fun to highlight the good stuff. I find hope in the fact that this article and Mr. Mark's article form kind of a logical sandwich around Van de Veer's highlights.

Anyway, blogdai was a bit upset with Mr. Lak early on because he seemed to drift into that "democracy at all costs" camp just prior to the protests; but like a real journalist, Mr. Lak's new article from the Times shows he can step outside anything he may be feeling and give us a fresh and objective viewpoint. My only question is: Where was this viewpoint months ago? Enjoy. -=BD

Myths and martyrs
The real struggle comes when a movement succeeds

By Daniel Lak.

Personally, I blame Gandhi. He’s the one who started the South Asian cult of the freedom struggle, the hartal, the banda, the andolan, the righteous use of the street. After all, it was the Mahatma’s vision of nonviolent civil disobedience that drove the British out of India–with a little help from the Second World War and the way it ravaged the Imperial bank account.

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and even Nepal got their freedom from Gandhi’s glorious revelation that the people could triumph without weapons against the military might of a state. Might wasn’t right. But what remains of Gandhi’s noble vision in today’s Nepal? A culture where struggle is venerated more than outcome. Where the noble means of Gandhi can be used time and again to achieve democracy and, yes, freedom, but where few seem to realise that the real struggle comes when the andolan succeeds.

Thus we see the new government in Kathmandu embarking on mythmaking exercises, establishing more martyrs, nominating more villains to the pantheon of blame for past failures. In the 1950s, it was the Ranas. For awhile in the 1990s, it was the Mandales. Now it’s the Chhetris, various people named Thapa and the Shahs, including that villain sent straight from central casting, Crown Prince Paras.

We have a ‘high-level probe commission’ to find out who told what cop to fire what bullet at which particular demonstration at a certain time and so on. It’s all just part of the permanent andolan mindset that grips most members of the restored parliament. In fact, Prime Minister Koirala, once admitted to me in our first interview for the BBC in 1998, that he and his ilk were better at freedom fighting than nation building.

At the time, political instability and the Maoist uprising seemed real challenges to Nepali democracy but no one knew just how horrible things were going to get. Now, with the Shahs and their bungling cohort sidelined, the victorious political parties are following and all too familiar script. Let’s vilify the past. Let’s glorify the struggle. Let’s do little or squabble over how to build a coherent, stable future for Nepal.

Yes to truth and reconciliation and yes to justice for victims of war, abuse and violence. A free society may decide that a few of the worst violators need to be punished as an example to those still lurking in dark rooms plotting another war, another takeover. Perhaps there could be UN war crimes proceedings against those who planned the outrage at Doramba in 2003 when the army killed 19 people as the government and rebels were meeting for peace talks. The Maoists too might just have stern justice to face.

But frankly, in the end, the blame game is for losers. Nepal’s interim government should be proceeding with energy and dispatch towards setting up the institutions that will move the country on. That means a Constituent Assembly, a body of transitional law that fixes sovereignty with parliament, the people, the courts, and not with some uniformed autocrat of royal descent, that means making the army obey civilian orders and getting the Maoists to live up to promises made last year to submit to international scrutiny and decommissioning of weapons. That means rescuing the ravaged economy with fast track development spending and emergency loans to pay for it all. It means governing, taking freedom seriously as a legacy that must be left to future generations.

Can we set Gandhi aside for the moment? Lose the obsession with democracy’s myths and martyrs? With time-tarnished monarchies or Maoist peoples’ paradises that never were or never will be. The Nepali people want a modern, stable, prosperous welfare state with health and education for all, with jobs, schools and the rule of law and justice throughout the land. For the sake of the future Messrs Koirala, Oli, Mahat, Sitaula, Shreshta, have to get going now. The real andolan has just begun


At 12:08 PM, May 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

C'mon blogdai, what's this all minor league bullshit about? How come you're not brave enough to tackle the serious issue of the day: 'misuse of state finances' that took place during the period after the dissolution of parliament in September 2002, and in particular during the 14 months of Gyane's rule? You always harp on about the Lauda Air 'scandal' but this infinitely worse.


At 12:39 PM, May 16, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

No, we've hit on this more than a few times here. You seem an astute reader of blogai, so you must surely remember all the instances where we've said that corruption and graft are not the singular property of Girija babu. This level of greed crosses all lines and will require a sea change to remedy it's practice.

Yes, this is worse than Lauda but blogdai has a particular axe to grind with Koirala on that one for his willful public misrepresentation of the issue. It continues today.

I'm sure you'll also remember how, on multiple occasions, I've said that the King is no saint and the people he's hired to advise him are no better than Koirala and his fops; but again, something had to be done to try and stir up some attention to the Maoist issue and G. stepped into the breach. Now, did he use the Maoists as a shield to rob the country blind? Time will tell; but we are dealing with the lesser of two evils in my opinion.

Unfortunately, now that we have Koirala back, the same old inactive, inattentive incompetance is returning. What did K.P. OLi just say: 18 months until a constitution? Are you nuts?


At 12:47 PM, May 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"After all, it was the Mahatma’s vision of nonviolent civil disobedience that drove the British out of India–with a little help from the Second World War and the way it ravaged the Imperial bank account."
Journalism 101: don't present opinion as fact. The British would've left India before WWII. It was the war that extended their stay. Gandhi was heavily influenced by Henry David Thoreu. MA Jinnah was also key in driving out the British.

"In fact, Prime Minister Koirala, once admitted to me in our first interview for the BBC in 1998, that he and his ilk were better at freedom fighting than nation building."
Journalism 101: back up what you say with proof. The BBC's website, which has a report of the 1998 interview, makes no mention of this controversial admission.

"But frankly, in the end, the blame game is for losers."

The blame game is for losers you say? Like the 'loser' who tried to blame the politicians he ousted on Feb 1st 2005 with his RCCC? Or maybe Daniel was actually talking about the 'loser' who blames Gandhi at the beginning of this article?

At 3:16 PM, May 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogdai said it best at the outset. Lak is a flip-flop. He is incapable of reading all the changes that have happened in the Nepali psyche since he left for Florida, and therefore unqualified.

At 4:57 PM, May 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Political parties and the King are just going to have to learn to share power. That is the bottom line. Each would like to be rid of the other, however the King has the Army and the political parties have the Mob. This is not going to change.KPB is right the constitution of 1990 is giong to have to be brought back on track.

At 9:04 PM, May 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The entire article is wrong from the beginning. Gandhi NEVER believed in MOBilitisation. Gandhi believed in non-violent protests.

Civil Disobience
Quit India

What Gandhi was doing was to liberate his country from foreigners. AND IF YOU HAVE READ YOUR HISTORY: Gandhi denounced any movement which went violent.

BBC is an absolute shame and for the firs time: SHAME ON YOU BLOGDAI.
I have nothing to say against the craps like Kantipur, Himalayan and nepalnews.

At 11:48 PM, May 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel this situation we are in will not last long. Although countries like India may think with their "himalayan Marshal Plan" can make puppets out of us- the life they have created in the form of SPAM will self destruct in due time, it is guaranteed.

Mr. Lak observation and comments are well founded- and I believe it is very constructive but who is there to grasp such a idea-basically leaders of of all colors are programmed to hue and cry after that its a deadend.

At 1:18 AM, May 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I write this off the cuff after what I saw yesterday.

Speak of coming anarchy- its already here in Nepal. Mob rule is law of the land, there is no place for speaking your mind or having any second opinion or disagreements. Those who speak shall receive the wrath of burning tires, cars on fire, and wonton vandalism. Who can stop them, they are doing all this in the name of "people's movement." So let it be.

Politicians are kowtowing to Maoist, killer of Inspector General of Armed Police and his wife are set free- Maoist are declared martyrs and people killed by Maoist are handcuffed and jailed. This is sign of time to come. To all Nepali who believe in "absolute Democracy" your time has come. Light, sound and action.

Notice to India and US- duality nature in your foreign policy is shameful. Instead of containing and defeating Maoist- their influence is spreading even in India and beyond (visit RIM website to understand this fully). And also the historical precedent, the one in Russian ( 1917) Bolsheviks revolution does quite illustrate what communist mean by Constitutional Assembly.

An old adage " prevention is better than cure" policy must be applied to save not only Nepal but this whole Sub Continent from the menace of Communism. If this calls for hard action then it must be taken. Lets not only preach about social contract but also help it to defend itself from the insidious rot that is Maoism, social disorder and lack of rule of law in the name of People's movement.

At 8:54 AM, May 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly blogdai decrying the lack of sainthood in the King or his advisors in some obscure post several months ago just doesn't cut it. You'd rather live in the past (i.e. Lauda Air) than face the serious issues. Danny Lak has it right, the blame game is for losers.

At 9:29 AM, May 17, 2006, Blogger Nepali Blogger said...

Whether or not Girija actually admitted to his ilk being better at protesting than at governing, that is what the reality is. Democracy or no democracy, the politicians are adept at protesting. And amazingly, after they are in power, they will do the same things they were protesting just a few weeks or months before.

I may or may not like Daniel Lak's opinions, but I have to agree with the assertion that looking back will not get us anywhere. We have looked back enough and doing more of it only takes away from the work ahead. And we all know what that means--blaming all the ills to the past justifying one's own ineptness.

How much do we need to protest? All we need is an issue to protest and we will protest. We will become poorest throught protest. If this doesn't happen, we protest. If that happens, we protest. Bhupi Sherchan was wrong. Yo hallai halla ko desh hoina, yo ta birodhai birodh ko desh ho

At the end of the day all we will be known for is how good our birodh abilities are. We can even make money outsourcing birodh rallies from other countries.

Love Nepal sathi haru. Desh ko maya garum.

At 11:02 PM, May 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Look at the following report. Now SPAM is going against it's own principles. It came to power with MOBilisation. We have to write regarding this to US, UK, EU, India, UN and others.
I really mean it.

Government to prohibit rallies
Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, 2006-05-17 - Government on Wednesday has decided to prohibit protest rallies and gatherings around the Royal Palace and Singh Durbar.

The order, effective from Wednesday, prohibits all kinds of political gatherings, protests and rallies, according to Kathmandu district administration.

Many people have been staging protests against the delay in ambitious House Proclamation by the government. Earlier in one of many such incidents of protest, at least four vehicles were burnt by the angry protestors.

Posted on: 2006-05-17 22:46:46 (Server Time)

At 5:08 AM, May 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to 'One Party" Nepal. The show held yesterday at national assembly resembled an assembly straight out of days of old in East Germany and Cuba. Ala Supreme assembly decreed- what a joke. It is not even legal.

Can anyone in right mind accept that just by decree they can swipe away our social conditioning, usher in a Maoist Secularism, and threaten us not to challenge it. C'mon.

By declaring it a secular state they have aroused us from our secular mindset- the floodgate is now open. Beginning of end to religious tolerance and tranquility- a hallmark of Nepal as a nation.

In under to demonize Monarchy ( who gave birth to this nation as Nepal) they have threaded on issue which would have been good left untouched. looks like Maoist put a gun in their heads to create this chaos, which only benefits them.

" Brahmin's burden" shall be broken soon, just keep on going against sense and sensibilities of Nepal.


At 7:33 AM, May 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think anything has changed. Nepal continues to remain Hindu Kingdom of Nepal and we refuse to recognise SPAM government. The might of the people of Nepal will be seen now. Did any one say civil disobidience movement - boycott anything and everything that SPAM says.


At 7:40 AM, May 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A "free the ministers" campaign has been started by OhNepal http://ohnepal.wordpress.com/ )...If you support the cause kindly leave us your feedbacks. This is not an advertisement but this is a "your support needed" campaign to achieve justice.

At 1:29 AM, May 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SPAM has "holier than thee" syndrome. They are from "holy" section of Population, though.

Looks like unholy alliance of Seven party and the Maoist real intention was just to strip His Majesty's privileges, nothing more than that. I for one believe that Monarchy is necessary for Nepal, sandwiched between two giants, India and China, the kingdom provides identity and independence, though it might look like a thin veneer.

But what I perceive is this- the class of people, Brahmins, are in majority and are elites in Seven parties as well as in Maoist outfit. They have made a mission to ape India, page by page. They are mostly half educated (drop outs) in India with strong Indian influence from chewing pan to wearing an Indian dress- an affront to normal Nepali. They see this uprising in the context of Gandhi and Nehru fight against the British Raj- now the villain is the King.

In order to vilify they have left no stone unturned but there is uneasy calm in the city. Everyone knows that Maoist have entered the city with arms and rogues, political parties claim they head the government but there is no sight of government or the rule of law- Maoist are extorting, industries are shutting up shops, and brazen looting are taking place- but the city is calm. The fight that this misalliance undertook to make King humble was done but after this they have no strategy to move further. Its a dead-end. The infighting for portfolio, department, and post is a crusade among them, shortly to be blind-sighted by Maoist takeover. I say this because 7 party are not in position to govern. It is too fractured and weak from within to move ahead- they have achieved this far with a help from the Maoist which is undeniable. And Maoist will extract a heavy price- which is Prime Ministership from these goons. Now, the Maoist are calling for Interim government and scrapping of reinstated assembly, the reason is simple to understand. They want to join government as a coalition member, dictate terms and conditions for constitutional assembly(farce) without the handover of arms (unconditional), seek separate budget allocation for Maoist activities, from feeding their rebels to going for election and insidiously control all the security agencies from Royal Nepal Army, Police, Intelligence to armed police force- and declare Nepal as one party communist state. This is the end game they are after and is quiet obvious to all but the 7 party are still floating in euphoria of humbling a Monarch.

Humbling a Monarch is at a cost that might prove dearly in the long run. The way the things are even if the Maoist take over (God forbid), Nepal will degenerate into a state that sponsors and exports terrorism, radicalism and extremism. Due to it geographical positioning- this can be a place where all the outcasts- from Taliban, Al Qaeda, to Kashmiri and Tibetan separatist movement can call it home. Who will be there to stop them, brother in-arms -Maoist? It is quite a situation where if I was a betting man, I would put my money in WORSE rather than bad.

To all the nation that have played a part in Nepal, directly or indirectly assisted in creating this situation, do be advised it has just begun, be prepared when shit hits the fan.


At 6:55 AM, May 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FOr Blogdai:

Thaksin returns to work!


At 9:40 AM, May 23, 2006, Blogger Nepali Blogger said...

I am not sure if the "historic" HoR proclamation is indeed historic or sets us off, once agin, in the wrong footing. Something as serious as this should have been decided by the people. It looks like 1,000,205 people are deciding for 28 million nepalis now.

Read more at Love Nepal

At 11:22 AM, May 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is blogdai? He has been very quiet. Only one comment in this entry by him? Is he in hiding?

At 9:42 AM, May 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Needn't go in hiding. One goes out and hundred of blogdai will wake up. Just go everywhere and you can smell the hatred against SPAM. SPAM, we will get you. We will get you!

At 8:15 PM, May 24, 2006, Anonymous the undercurrent said...

as lot of us have speculated, the fight for freedom had begun 2 decades before and now is in full swing. now everybody is free. someone dies in a hospital, we protest because we have freedom to protest. hindus are protesting against HORs proclaiming nepal as a secular state. so now from the hindu kingdom of nepal we become the PROTESTING FREE STATE of NEPAL. hopefully maoist will have enough unity and enough vision to take over nepal and convert nepal into FREE MAOIST SLAVEDOM of NEPAL. i am just waiting to see them get through with their plan.
will happen soon.

all that the politicians are doing right now is to please the public to win their favor for the wishful election that is supposed to be held soon. but with maoist influence om more than half of nepal, spam is going down hill. and when they hit the bottom they are dead. and so is what we all call FREEDOM.

pessimistic it is. but with the down sloping economy and broken unity of nepalese people, no sign of thoughtfulness of politicians (i did not say political leaders) we are going down. christians will be preaching all over the place and it wont be long before there is a confrontation, which was never thought of till now.

VIOLENCE and UNREST is what this eyes of mine see for the future of nepal.

we need god or god like men to get us through this.


At 5:49 PM, May 25, 2006, Anonymous Stay kean eggs said...

Blogdai may be quiet at the moment but I guarantee you he has Nepal on his mind. We will definatly hear from him.

At 8:19 PM, May 25, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

How very perceptive of you egg-man,

Blogdai is in the valley now and big things are afoot. Sadly, after all our preaching, Nepal is NOW clearly on the road to civil war.

Photos and interviews today, story tomorrow.

Stay tuned.


At 2:32 AM, May 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I write this with Urgency:

Recent meeting held in New Delhi (India) participated by politicians, reporters, and people like Devendra Raj Pandey has been disclosed as a meeting to discuss the modalities of making Nepal similar to Bhutan. The attendees of this meeting even after returning from India have not stated their intent and reason for this meeting. Even a senior leader like Mr. Narayan Man Bichuke have spoke against and declined to attend it by saying, I will not be a party to " selling of a nation." Why this is not reported in general newspapers, for all Nepali. Is there a conspiracy by these so-called-leaders to sale our beloved Nepal to India under the pretext of Democracy and Loktranta.

I urge all Nepali to fight this till the end. Ask yourself, are we so desperate, unable, and unpatriotic to let others dictate, pressure us, and mould us as they see fit. Is there no sense of duty to our nation? sense of love and patriotism left in us? Why should we accept agenda that is not in the interest of Nepal and Nepali- why be blinded by call for Democracy even if we lose the nation to foreigners.

Rise up people, time is running out. I say this, not to create confusion, THIS IS THE FACT and ask anyone of many participant who were there attending meeting to sale Nepal. I say once again-time has come to defend Nepal before it is too late.


At 4:45 AM, May 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

chill out bd...it would take G ten minutes to mobilise the army and thats something both the conmen in the hors as well as the schemers in the maoists camp know. the guys not checkmated he's done a simple castling move..!!

At 7:36 AM, May 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give me a call and I am there. And you have the support of thousands other guranteed.

SPAM - fullstop!

Viva the democracy in the Hindu Kingdom of Nepal!

At 11:12 AM, May 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogdai what do you make of the investigative piece that is being written about you on another blog (that'll remain nameless)?

At 12:02 PM, May 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry....

At the moment everyone and his aunty seems to be making x number point demands. *Demand* being the operative word.

It seems that confrontation is becoming common currency. That's the thing about us poor Nepalis. We see that a method/idea (and whatever bastard child it spawns) is successful and everyone starts aping it regardless of the context.

My toes are curling into the soles of my feet...


At 3:02 PM, June 14, 2006, Blogger Ancient Clown said...

Just passing by...I'm new here so I hope I'm not out of line for suggesting people read The POVERTY Business. There are also other related posts if you so choose to continue exploring, but I won't overload you here. I'm wondering if/how you feel these issues relate and that might bring us all together a little stronger.
I don't think I know...I just know I'm thinking.
your humble servant,
Ancient Clown


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