Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hey King: You Blew it!

No question. The King handled his little takeover poorly--but not for the reasons SPAM would have us believe. Blogdai has other views on G's Waterloo and why it evolved into the fiasco it became.

G. failed to prepare for his takeover. Had he done so, blogdai feels he would have incorporated something like the following strategy:

Never listen to the world. G. had the Parties and the Maoists looking for a place to hide and finding comfort in each other's ideologies. Would two such opposing political camps have allied had they not felt tremendous pressure and a need for self-preservation? G. should have kept going. Kept looking for the Maoists, kept up the fight and kept marginalizing and ignoring the parties. The fickle world community would have lost interest in Nepal soon enough and would have moved onto something more "news worthy."

Be different. Just visiting villages and shaking a few hands does not convince Nepalis that you are a man of the people. G. should have done something that would have showed everyone he meant business. First, offer any concrete initiative that would deal with and alleviate the Maoist support base--namely, land reform. Pull a George Bush and offer give aways to appease the masses. Eliminating the rural land barons would have guaranteed a larger base of citizen support and directly nullified one of Maoism's chief selling points. No? Then, how about offering some economic incentives like freer foreign investment? How about a stream-lined guest worker program? Progressive thought would have gone a long way in establishing G. as a new type of Royal.

Be sensitive to history. Only a fool would ignore the deep-seeded mistrust Nepalis have for royalty. G. compounded this suspicion after the royal massacre of beloved King Birendra. A statement, any statement acknowledging this sentiment and perhaps a gesture of transparency such as a re-opening of the incident to public scrutiny would help. Royal history is also a wealthy history. People despise Kings for this. G. should have addressed this by giving back portions of the royal fortune--very publicly--to citizens, groups, or to ideas that foster national unity. Eliminate the "greedy" exploiter label once and for all.

Throw out the bad apple. The people of Nepal will never get over the murder of a beloved artist at the hands of Paras. Plus, his exploits and thuggery shame Nepalis daily. Time for him to go. Send him abroad for an extended period of time on an extended mission of "diplomacy" or whatever. He loves taking bribes from China, so appease Big Northern Brother by sending Paras on repeated trade missions or what have you. The important thing is to get him out of Nepali consciousness for an extended period of time.

Control your army. When fighting a guerilla war, no participant is entirely clean. But, where was the outrage last week when Prachanda, when asked on a BBC call-in show what crimes innocent women and children committed that resulted in their torture and murder, said that "shit happens" in a war, and it's not his problem? No. The Western media is trained to see official soldierdom as a representation of world repression and the fact that these soldiers in Nepal serve a monarch naturally makes them all the more guilty. If G. had any foresight at all he would have anticipated this perspective and the microscope his troops would now be under and briefed his military accordingly. Absolute care should have been taken to avoid civilian casualties where possible, and absolutely no incidences of verifiable army atrocities tolerated. Very public disciplining of wayward or cruel military personnel would have sent a powerful message.

Don't hire imbeciles. Bringing back idiots from the Panchayat era to run the government was a major mistake. Tulsi Giri was a loose cannon early on and only stirred up dormant resentments among citizens. SPAM used these resentments to help mobilize people for their April protests, so reminding people of past repressive regimes created an easily manipulated rallying point around which SPAM crafted their protests. G. should have solicited the best and brightest new voices for his government. Those with an eye on the past, sure, but with a definite vision for the future and an actual understanding of the democratic process. This alone may have been enough to stave off protests. It certainly would have given a comparison point for citizens to guage the ineffectiveness of past Girija/Deuba governments and help them consign those two inept fossils to the dust-bin of obscurity.