Monday, March 31, 2008

Blogdai's Big Election Primer

I'm beginning to think the Maoists and Party politicos agreed to hold Constituent Assembly (CA) elections simply because--in the back of all their minds--they feel confident they can manipulate voters, polling places and results to their individual liking.

Well, after almost 10 years of dodging the issue, it looks like our boys in Parliament may just hold their Constituent Assembly (CA) election.

One wonders why now and why it took so long. blogdai opines that the disappearance of any form of National election over the last decade in a supposedly democratic Nepal was the result of too much citizen apathy, which gave Girija and his goons a free ride on the table of corruption. We didn't really care and the politicians were not about to offer any encouragement. So what if voting in a free election is the single most important duty of any citizen in a democracy.

Surprisingly, the international community and all its minions finally got something right. The reason Girija is holding elections is that everyone from Mukherjee to Jimmy Carter is telling him that he and his government are worthless if they don't pull this off. So, after years of pressure finally coming to a head, we may, just may get CA elections.

But that's where the trouble starts.....

---Madhav Khumar Nepal and his cronies are already manipulating the process in some districts by offering (unspecified) benefits to those who vote UML.

---Never to be outdone, Prachanda and his thug wing: The Young Communist League (YCL) are beating up UML cadres and disrupting legitimate political rallies. Prachanda himself says that he will be the leader of Nepal regardless of the outcome of the election. Great.

---Ian Martin, always eager to prove his relevance, maddeningly says that the security situation is good and that the Army, the one group capable of keeping order at the polls, is not necessary for security. Ian will not be able to pathetically beg for his job like he did a few months ago if he is found to be responsible for the almost inevitable security problems that will arise during this election.

--- Madhesis--ever in India's pocket--have already started their new disruptive agitation. They seem to be losing passion and steam this round: New Delhi must be very disappointed.

Post Election Scenarios

blogdai can almost guarantee that these elections will be disputed. Everyone that doesn't win something will bitch about it. That's Nepal. That's what happens when you don't know about the give and take of democracy. That's what happens when the only way you know to get social results is to take to the streets in protest: Thanks yet again, Girija Babu.

And take to the streets they will. First, Prachanda will rally, riot or whatever claiming he and his goons rightfully won the day. Then, student cadres of the NC and UML will take to the streets claiming YCL thugs intimidated voters and the whole election is a fraud. Finally, let's not forget that the Tibetans have promised to start their anti-China agitations up again the day after elections. A nasty time, that, as the Olympic torch will be passing through Delhi and supposedly crossing everest a few weeks after.

Can we even be assured of any kind of accuracy in these elections? In Kathmandu, mock elections were held in woefully inadequate numbers; and what did we learn from such exercises? We learned that a majority of those wishing to cast their first ballot in years were not able to comprehend either the choices or the mechanics of casting a vote. How representative of the will of the people this election will be!

This leaves cadres, politicos and party operatives to cast or help cast votes. With only a token presence of election monitors from the world community (do you think any one of them will observe a polling site in Rolpa?) there is nothing that will substantively check widespread voter coercion and electoral fraud.

Messy old democracy getting it's wings? Don't fool yourself, we're far from that.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Internal Affairs

Nepali police defending Chinese sovereignty in Nepal.
Take a good look citizens of Nepal. You don't have to look far, it's right in your backyard.

Watch the Tibetans.

There's violence in the streets of Kathmandu. Fifty years of repression and unequal treatment has come to a head and more violence will be on the way.

There is no sinister Maoist force holding a gun to the heads of these people; no trumped-up sense of revolution being brokered by career politicians trying to save their wealth.

No, these are real people who have had enough.

What blogdai wants you to see is how people unite under adversity and begin to take charge of their own lives and futures.

Go ahead, take a good look.

Many Tibetans in Nepal have become quite wealthy. They are often astute and cunning traders and can generally run circles around their Nepali competitors in the restaurant and small hotel industry. The just WANT it more than the rest of us.

But there you see them, rich and poor, taking to the streets in protest of China's infantile and punitive policies that fail to recognize either Tibetan culture or Tibetan identity. They have much to lose as Nepal, for the most part, has been good to them.

When we see the anguished faces of those Tibetans, it is clear that they are each at a stage where personal heartache and a relentless lack of humanity become such a burden that one is compelled to act, even at great risk, above and beyond the preservation and maintenance of daily personal needs.

It is a desperate plea for self-determination. It is the real road towards autonomy and ultimately democracy.


If we in Nepal had a government that actually understood the nature of democracy, we would support these Tibetans in their struggle.

But what have we instead? During the demonstrations, Chinese representatives had a complete free-hand in imposing their will on our hapless and totally-for-sale politicians. They threatened to cut off the Chinese bribe machine. They made our democratic politicians swear that there would be no "anti-Chinese" activity on Nepali soil. Our government, through its weakness, is standing aside and allowing a repressive regime to run its affairs in our country. How courageous! How democratic!

Excuse me? Isn't Nepal still a sovereign nation? Am I to understand that we are now supposed to repress free speech spoken against another nation on our soil? So now, whenever a stupid Indian actress says anything bad about Nepal and we riot in the streets are we guilty of "anti-Indian" activities? I get it. I can come to Nepal from any country in the world and totally trash the political and cultural fabric of the nation and it's ok as long as I don't say anything bad about my own country in the process. Fun!

I guess Nepali democracy involves just sitting around until another country tells you what to do.

(If you are interested in helping Nepal's Tibetan community and can devote on-the-ground time towards their assistance, contact blogdai at