Friday, February 23, 2007

The Big Democracy Smack-Down

Norman Rockwell's famous "Freedom of Speech" (Image and concept forbidden by order of SPAM)

The first glimmer, the first hope. A real democratic principle forced its way to the surface of Nepali politics this week--for the first time.

Ironically, it was SPAM, that "Axis of Idiots" who set the wheels of this holy apparition in motion.

Ol' deposed King G. started this thing by simply giving a speech on Democracy Day. It was a heartfelt effort that showed a flawed man in turmoil saying he was "compelled" to take over the government when he did. He tacitly acknowledged his flaws yet eloquently revealed a fairly good sense of democratic philosophy and practice. His speech didn't reveal State secrets, it didn't directly harm anyone, and it DID sound like a plea for political sanity. This was no more than a citizen exercising the most democratic of freedoms: the freedom to criticise one's government--more commonly known as Freedom of Speech.

So, what do our boys at SPAM do? Denounce the whole speech as undemocratic, counterproductive, smelly and everything else they thought applicable. Something had to be done, they all said. We must punish the King for speaking out against us. (My how the boys are starting to sound more like Maoists every day). Let's pass some sort of decision to officially go after the King for this travesty. Let's get him good this time. No one should be allowed to criticise us, said the boys at the pig-trough.

But then it came. A clear and beautiful strike from the sword of Manjushree. Thursday, the Chairman of Nepal's Bar Association (NBA), Bishowkanta Mainali said that there is no legal provision to penalise the King. Basically, all the government can do is condemn the speech and that's that. The King is no longer the head of state and is simply stating his opinion.

Perfect, beautiful. You can't hold a good democratic principle down when there's someone sane ready with the proper interpretation.

But blogdai fears we haven't heard the last from our royally punitive SPAM (or should I say, spaM). Look for them to go around the sound advice of the Nepal Bar and pass some meaningless law or amend their phony interim constitution once again so that anyone speaking ill of the government can be punished. They'll keep fudging their little piece of paper until they've conceived a document that Mussolini himself would be proud to sign.

When will the lazy and the moronic members of the world community come to their senses and realize that spaM continues to reject all things democratic?


Monday, February 19, 2007

The Problem With Guns

The Problem With Guns

--In Nepal, we don't even know Prachanda's troop strength and yet Ian Martin feels he can adequately measure and lock up Maoist arms.

--We have no estimate and count of the number of weapons Maoists posess so Ian can claim his shallow success even if Prachanda brings him plow-blades; and the Maoists can maintain their strike capability and power without anyone holding them to any form of real accountability.

--The Maoist can use anyone to turn in anything and it makes them look like compliant heroes.

--The comprehensively futile exercise of locking them up shows just how bereft the UN is of tangible, credible ideas for solving Nepal's crisis.

--The very act of trying to lock up Maoist arms give an impression to the world that the Maoists are a credible, unified force--they are not.

--The very fact that a UN troglodite like Ian Martin is sent to Nepal specifically to deal with the arms threat posed by Maoists, elevates the prestige and stature of Prachanda's rebellious rabble to that of cohesive entity capable of effecting events on a national level--they cannot

The Problem With Guns

--Is that, even though they may be locked up, THEY ARE STILL AROUND. This fact alone is enough to intimidate villagers in the coming(?) Constituent Assembly elections.

--Lies in the fact that locking them up means nothing when those who use guns to brutalize and intimidate possess the keys to the locks.

--They are attention-grabbers. So much so that ineffective organizations like the UN feel they can score major credibility on the world stage by pretending to effectively deal with weapons issues.

The Problem With Guns is that Prachanda controls the process. He threatens to thward CA elections unless he's in the interim government; Girija says no way until arms registration is finished; and the very next day, Ian says: "ok, we're finished".

No matter what Ian or anyone tells us, we should remember this: Maoists are not Maoists without guns. The two are inseparable.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Blogdai's Radical Idea

"The Donald" calmly discussing plans for his new "Trump Durbar Towers" with a local real estate developer.

We can't seem to govern ourselves--thugs and crooks are running the country-- and foreign media pundits and journalists don't have enough stake in Nepal's problems to worry about an accurate reporting of events. So what can we do to save Nepal and make ourselves impossible to ignore?

1. Make Nepal an international tax haven. Rich foreigners fleeing tax reporting rules in their home country will take a keen interest in preserving Nepal should their little tax shelter be compromised. Allow corporate and maritime registration, if possible, to further benefit the greedy dodgers.

2. Eliminate all visa and foreign employment restrictions, to a point. Nepal has already mulled-over this idea, but greedy bureaucrats just couldn't bring themselves to releasing their grip on all those visa fees. Give everyone 6-months free, like Thailand only better. Let foreigners hold jobs that Nepalis either can't or won't. Give Nepalis first hiring preference, of course.

3. Encourage foreign investments. Allow foreigners to own property outright. Or, like Mexico, have 30-100 year land leases available to foreigners. Let anyone who wants, open a business in Nepal as long as there is a Nepali partner. And, for God's sake, make the Rupee something that is readily convertible on a world exchange. Stop tying Nepal's currency to the Indian exchange. Allow the free transfer of funding to other countries. This alone has been perhaps the single greatest impediment to foreign investment. You can put money into Nepal, you just can't get it out. Throw in an independent economic oversight board with extra-governmental authority and strict anti-trust laws and that should go a long way towards stabilizing Nepal's business climate.

4. Allow foreigners to enter the political process. Give them a limited number of voices in Parliament. Just having a few foreigners will make the world pay more attention to Nepal's political landscape. Nepal desperately needs some political expertise on the governmental front. Smart people from around the world with smart ideas can only improve the competency of our parliament. ANYTHING would be an improvement.

5. Open Nepal's doors to foreign media bureaus. Build a Media Center at the government's expense. A catch-all complex. Give Reuters, Bloomberg, the BBC and all the other Western media giants, who've been getting the story wrong because of their over-reliance on SPAM-biased Kantipur, a free media space. Let them live on the ground and get their own stories.

All of this is designed for one purpose: to make the rest of the world an actual stakeholder in the success of Nepal as an independent nation. Isolation and restriction are Nepal's worst enemy and, consequently, Girija and Prachanda's best friend. To get the world's attention, sympathy and accurate appraisal, Nepal needs a jump-start.

Time to let the barbarians through the gate.


Friday, February 09, 2007

In Quite a State

“In our days everything seems pregnant with its contrary.”

More than two hundred years after Karl Marx made this observation about modernity, I observe the same dialectic in Nepal:

Nepal is a nation unique; where democracy gives birth to unelected oligarchy and peace agreements lead to continued violence. Nepal is a country where terrorists are hailed as hero’s and thieves are appointed to govern. I submit this because:

1. The mandate of parliament has run its course and a handful of unelected men now govern Nepal. Make no mistakes they are an oligarchy. Together they decide the future of our nation but their promises always seem to be tomorrow.

2. At the centre of this oligarchy are two men: Koirala and Prachanda. The former is seeking to impress upon history his importance before he dies of ill health and the other is the most skillful politician of his generation. When Prachanda becomes a widow, what then?

3. They have no mandate other than to 1.) bring peace and then 2.) hold elections. Aren’t they claiming to do in a year what the King claimed to be able to do in 2?

4. A peace agreement was signed but violence has not ceased; Maoist continue their rampage of violence throughout the countryside, abducting, persecuting and bribing their way to influence. Do you not remember the behaviour of the Maoists before they became our heros?

Nepal is a state unique; where justice is rewarded with persecution and law is forged with crime. The cornerstone of any demoracy is law and order and the stability that it brings. In our nation, protest is a form of election. If you would like to be heard and for the government to yield to your demands then protest is the finest form of democracy. Burn tires, vandalise buildings, throw stones, attack people –who began this political practice?

This is a government unique; democratic politicians are eroding democracy with their contempt for the people. They offer us solutions to problems that they have created over the last decade and they describe themselves as leaders of men. Is it not patronising for them to think that we can not see that we are where we are because they can not govern?

I can overlook the corruption of men who govern and manage but I refuse to overlook incompetence and ignorance in my politicians.

Nepal is a country unique; were governance leads to the erosion of state authority. The people point at the politicians and the politicians point at the system and fill the constitution with problems. The problem, you must understand, is that the autocratic King, the constitution, India, the Madheshi’s, the American government and Charlie Chaplin are to blame for our failings to govern.

In my humble opinion our problems are symptomatic of a deeper illness-

Our failure to govern ourselves.