Nepal: A Word About "Foreigners"
Why is it that every time any large-scale political or human issue befuddles and confuses us in Nepal we immediately accuse nebulous "foreign forces" of everything from simple meddling to outright sabotage?
We take to the street in a foamy rage every time an Indian actor or author dares call Nepal anything less than a sovereign nation; we flip-out when foreign dignitaries issue shallow threats; we have a media coronary if some ambassador says that he envisions "Maoists walking down to Singha Durbar;" and we dismiss anti-Monsanto protests because they "seem to have a majority of foreigners" present.
Get over it Nepal and grow up.
If we want to be respected on the world stage, we have to learn to be secure enough in our own identity to not only tolerate the voices of foreigners, but actively solicit their advice and counsel when needed. If there seems to be a lot of foreigners in a Monsanto protest its because foreigners have infinitely more experience in dealing with Monsanto than we in Nepal and we should listen to their advice in the spirit of neighborly help and greater understanding. If a U.S. ambassador speaks out against a bandh, its because he's seen it all before and knows that bandhs hurt Nepal's image immeasurably in the eyes of the world.
Monsanto protest, November 2011, Maharajganj
The banner is written in Nepali and for Nepalis and mostly held up by foreigners
We are trying to re-build a nation in Nepal and we need to wise-up and take all the good advice we can get. It will pose more than enough difficulty for our young people to work around Nepal's corrupt and worthless political apparatus and form a new governmental structure in the coming years, and shutting out all good-intentioned foreign advice will only add to this difficulty. So, I'll say this once:
NATIONAL UNITY CANNOT BE BUILT ON XENOPHOBIA
Fear cripples development, saps our young people of confidence, and keeps politicians corrupt and unaccountable to citizens.
We grow when we decide to learn--from all sources.