The only full timer out of the 200,000 Nepalis in the US to work for Nepal's democracy and social justice movements in 2005-06.
Saturday, December 31, 2005
The King Is Being Super Unreasonable
Why is he in power in the first place? What is his reasoning?
(1) Because Monarchism as an ideology is superior.
Nothing could be further from the truth. He has described Maoism as an arachaic ideology in international forums. If Maoism is 50, or 70 years old and defunct, Monarchism is 200, or 2,000 or 5,000 years old and defunct.
Monarchism does not even remotely compete with democracy as an ideology. He has no ideological grounds to be in power.
A monrachy makes little statistical sense.
(2) Because he as a person has superior skills at statecraft.
The records show otherwise. Before he became king, the Maoists were active only in a few districts. Now they are active in all districts. Most of the lives that have been lost to the insurgency have been lost on his watch. Nepal is right at the bottom when it comes to respect for human rights on the planet. The economy is down. The limited peace that has been achieved has been at the behest of the seven party alliance and the Maoists. He has been a total failure.
You talk peace but refuse to reciprocate a ceasefire and get further isolated internationally, because it has become so obvious to one and all that peace is not what you are interested in. Either you are against peace, or you are simply inept. Both build a strong case against you.
You talk democracy and foist Tulsi Giri on the people. That guy has a fundamental character deficiency when it comes to democracy.
But if the king is smarter, better skilled than the likes of Madhav Nepal and Girija Koirala and Baburam Bhattarai, then that actually is a case for a republic. Because he is then saying it is not the Monarchist ideology, but his being an exception to the line of kings why he deserves a chance.
If he is an exception to the line of inept, dumb kings, he is an argument against the monarchy as an institution.
(3) Because the country needs peace and democracy.
He is the reason why there is neither. He is preventing peace. He is the one who uprooted democracy. Democracy is milk, the king is a cat. Cats are not known to guard milk too well.
(4) Because he really is a constitutional monarch at heart.
Then he needs to get out of the way as soon as possible. His only option is to come to the idea of a constituent assembly as soon as possible. And then get on best behavior so that parties that are for a constitutional monarchy will have a case to make to the people. Right now he has lost even the RPP. He is not exactly acting like someone trying to preserve the monarchy.
He is giving the country two options: that it is between an executive monarchy or an activist monarchy.
A constitutional monarch is neither seen nor heard. And even that he can only get if the people might so desire. Otherwise he is out.
He has really been trying the patience of the people all over the country, and all over the world.
December 31, 2005 (15 minutes) The king has refused to reciprocate the ceasefire. That is extremely unreasonable. Monarchism is an archaic ideology. And if he is an exceptionally smart guy, that actually is a case for a republic. If the Maoists go back to violence, that hurts the democracy movement. The king is losing even the RPP. Non-violence is more effective as a political weapon. The diaspora needs to rise above petty territoriality and elitism and express solidarity in large numbers through large scale moral and logistical support.
Monarchism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Monarchism is the advocacy of the establishment, preservation, or restoration of a monarchy as a form of government in a nation.
monarchism: Definition and Much More From Answers.com
basic.theology.forums > Monarchism
monarchism - definition of monarchism by the Free Online ...
TRINPsite: Book of Fundamentals: Monarchism
Amazon.com: Democracy, Revolution, and Monarchism in Early ...
Democracy, Revolution, and Monarchism in Early American Literature
Monarchism - Reviews on RateItAll Moody’s Gorgeous Life » Monarchism
Democracy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Democracy in its ideal sense is the notion that "the people" should have control of the government ruling over them. This ideal is pursued by implementing a system of voting such that the majority of people rule, either directly or indirectly through elected representatives.
Democracy For America
The Center for Democracy and Technology
MoveOn.org: Democracy in Action
Democracy in international politics - openDemocracy
Center for Voting and Democracy
National Endowment for Democracy
LWV | Home
Democracy in America
Republicanism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Republicanism is the idea of a nation being governed as a republic. In a broad definition a republic is a state or country in which sovereignty is invested in the people. Most commonly such principle beyond the control of the state's citizens is a hereditary principle, and in this sense a republic is the opposite of a monarchy. Thus the term republicanism is often used to describe any movement that is opposed to monarchies.
Australian republicanism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Reader's Companion to American History - -REPUBLICANISM
Republicanism and Democracy
Oxford Scholarship Online: Republicanism
The Genesis of Republicanism: The Birth and Growth of the Grand ...
Townhall.com :: Columns :: Republicanism in decline by Tony Snow
[PDF] MODELING FLORENTINE REPUBLICANISM John F. Padgett Santa Fe ... Republicanism, Democracy, and Constitutional Government: The ...
Googlebombing An Autocrat King
Umesh Shrestha of Mero Sansar has come up with this great idea to Googlebomb King Gyanendra.
All you have to do is add this link somewhere on your webpage or blog.
The more links, greater the chance that no matter who on earth does a search on the term "autocrat king," they will end up at the official homepage of King Gyanendra.
This was a great idea successfully used against George W. The phrase linked to him was "miserable failure."
So if you have a webpage or a blog, participate immediately.
If you don't have one, launch one. It is so easy to do. Go to Blogger. Launch your own blog. And copy and paste this phrase.
This is creative.
This is non-violent.
This is global.
This is fun.
This is hip.
This is online.
As you know, the more sites that link to a site, higher up it shows up in search results.
So let's give this king a popularity he never had.
He deserves to be Googlebombed for not reciprocating the ceasefire.
He deserves to be Googlebombed for his obstinate stand against the seven party alliance.
He deserves to be Googlebombed for bringing Tulsi Giri back into power.
He deserved to be Googlebombed, period.
So participate. Launch a blog if you don't have one. And link.
In The News
UN serious about increasing rights violations in Nepal: Martin NepalNews
EU calls for mutual ceasefire in Nepal
Tuladhar predicts unprecedented violence ahead
Country heading towards terrible confrontation: Ms Acharya
Irregularities in RNA welfare fund: OAG
Annan urges government to reciprocate Maoists’ truce
RPP lets district level to decide on polls
Annan fears more bloodshed in Nepal in 2006 Newindpress, India
EU reiterates call on Nepal to reciprocate truce
Koirala Talks of Compromise with King on Reconciliation Day
Massive scam unearthed in Nepal army welfare fund NewKerala.com, India
''RNA using Welfare Fund haphazardly''; report
Friday, December 30, 2005
A War Of Words, Not A War Of Bullets
It has been extremely unreasonable of the regime to not have reciprocated the Maoist ceasefire, but then if it did act reasonable, it would not be a feudal monarchy, would it? The Maoists should not now punish the people and the democracy movement for the obstinacy of the royalist regime.
If they now resort to violence, they punish the democracy movement. The democracy movement is on. It has definite momentum. Rally after rally are proving that. February 8 is good news. All we have to do is go to every home in the 50 plus municipalities, and convinve the people to stay back home. A total failure on the part of the regime on February 8 will deal it a fatal blow, I think.
February 8 has given us focus, it has energized our bases, and it has made a rapid bipolarization possible. The chips are falling in place.
Instead of bullets, the Maoists should go on a massive offensive with an out and out propaganda war and target the foot soldiers of the RNA, and the low paid officers of the police force. They should use the airwaves, they should engage in some massive pamphleteering. They should wake these people up so they are more prone to switch their sides to the cause of democracy.
These foot soldiers are not royalists. They just went in for the monthly salary. They need to be educated on democratic values just like the rest of the population. The Maoists should learn from Lenin, and try to win them over by raising their class consciousness. The Maoists have their work cut out for them. The work involves words, not bullets.
Dr. Baburam Bhattarai is the ultimate wordsmith. I have devoured his writings this past year, scant that they have been. He writes crisp. His party needs him now more than ever before, now when victory is so near, you can almost smell it.
Threat of violence also falls within the purview of a war of words. The Maoists have threatened to march their armed cadres into the Kathmandu valley itself should the royal regime get down to a military crackdown on peaceful protestors. That message has to be spread far and wide. That is propaganda work. The threat will be its most successful if it never gets carried out.
But if they now go back to their old ways and resort to violence, that will be a serious jolt to the democracy movement. Why would they want that? Especially when victory feels so near.
Their ceasefire has not been the ceasefire of an armed group that is tired and near defeat. The ceasefire has been the work of a smart, agile leadership that made some sound political analysis, and threw the regime off balance through a brilliant military move. An already globally isolated regime became even more isolated. What looked difficult before became real: an alliance between the Maoists and the seven party alliance got forged. The UN has been happy with the Maoists and openly critical of the regime that refuses to talk sense. It is hard for any global power to demonize a group that even the UN has been singing praises of.
These have been major achievements. The initiative has been seized from the royalists.
But if the Maoists were to now resort to violence, that will be a major step backward in every way. I don't believe they will. People who made the brilliant move of the ceasefire will likely not go dumb overnight and lose their sound political acumen. I don't believe they will.
But I feel the need to write these words of caution regardless.
The seven party alliance has already decided to engage in some major pamphleteering. The Maoists should do the same. They should work to build a nationwide network so as to make it possible to smuggle their hard hitting pamphlets into the army ranks and the police. If they could only reach 30,000 foot soldiers of the RNA, that would be an achievement.
The Maoists have been good at being able to track down the families of the RNA foot soldiers in the villages. Maybe they should do that and make a democratic, non-coercive attempt to convince those family members. Words might get passed on.
These foot soldiers are people who have been willing to fight and die for a measly monthly salary. It should not be hard to work on them and convince them to live for their country.
I am not exactly suggesting a mass uprising within the army, a mutiny, or anything like that. I am suggesting if the propaganda work is done well, when it is finally crunch time, and the regime is near collapse, these foot soldiers will come to a point where they will refuse orders. A breakdown in the RNA chain of command might be possible.
The same might apply to the police.
I would urge the student organizations who most often engage in street clashes with the police to change their tactics. Instead of confronting the police, go to the police line, and stop. Engage the front line police officers in small talk. Let the police line be a peaceful dam. And build the crowd behind it. Do peaceful, creative sloganeering. Win them over. Don't pelt them with stones. Soon these police officers will be taking orders from the democratic, interim government. It is not like they are on the other side.
More so than the army and the police, it really is about the people. I am extremely pleased with the programs of the eight parties to foil the February 8 polls.
To sum it up:
- Maoists, extend the ceasefire if you can.
- If you can't, then keep your armed cadres on "active defense."
- Don't start a new round of violence. The democracy movement can not afford it.
- Instead fight a war of words. Wage a major propaganda war to win over the RNA foot soldiers.
- Visit homes to convince people to not show up for the February 8 polls.
Annan urges Nepal government, leftist rebels to reach truce People's Daily Online, China
Annan presses Nepal to match rebel cease-fire
Mukherjee and Millard meet Nepal
Abuses drop during Maoist truce
SC appointments draw criticism; NBA calls meeting to discuss ...
We Will Not Fall Prey to Maoist or King’s Ambush: Nepal Leaders
King should relinquish power: Ranabhat
26 people killed during ceasefire: NHRC
Democracy must to achieve MDGs: Experts
SC appointments draw criticism; NBA calls meeting to discuss appointments
Trent Lott And Gyanendra Shaha
CNN.com - Lott apologizes for Thurmond comment - Dec. 10, 2002 "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either," Lott said at last week's party...... Thurmond ran as the presidential nominee of the breakaway Dixiecrat Party in the 1948 presidential race against Democrat Harry Truman and Republican Thomas Dewey. He carried Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and his home state of South Carolina, of which he was governor at the time...... During the campaign, he said, "All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches." ..... Earlier Monday, Lott issued a statement, saying, "My comments were not an endorsement of his positions of over 50 years ago, but of the man and his life."......
CNN.com - Bush calls Lott comments 'offensive' - Dec. 13, 2002 ..... Lott, a Mississippi Republican, said he would not give up his leadership post, despite the furor over his remarks..... Lott's explanations about what he meant when he praised segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential campaign have been inadequate..... The comment in question was delivered one week ago during a 100th birthday party for the retiring Thurmond...... Lott noted that in Thurmond's 1948 presidential campaign, whose centerpiece was opposition to integration, Mississippi was one of four Thurmond carried..... "We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years either," Lott said....... a report of a similar comment he made at a 1980 campaign rally for Ronald Reagan in Mississippi....... "You know, if we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today," Lott was quoted as saying of Thurmond in a November 3, 1980 ...... Lott vigorously opposed desegregating his fraternity when he was a student at the University of Mississippi in the 1960s...... Lott insisted, did he mean to endorse Thurmond's since-discarded segregationist views. Instead, Lott said, he meant to praise Thurmond's stance on defense, law enforcement and economic development......
Wired News: Blogs Make the Headlines
Trent Lott - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Right Wing Watch - Trent Lott
Kendall Clark: the Real Distraction of Trent Lott
Trent Lott: Show This Racist the Door
On Lisa Rein's Radar: Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott Is A ...
Rush Limbaugh's Trent Lott Spin Zone
In December 2002, Trent Lott had been Senate Majority Leader for years. He showed up at a party for Thurmond, the racist who ran for president half a century or so ago. And Lott made an overtly racist comment. For the longest time he did not apologize. Finally he apologized but he never understood that he had made a racist commet. He lost his job on the issue.
"What should have I told Thurmond, that I am glad he lost in 1948!" Lott said at one point. The guy just did not get it.
The reason I am telling this story is because this reminds me of where the Nepal king stands on democracy. The guy just does not get it.
He is someone out to get for himself either an executive monarchy or an activist monarchy. Both are wrong on democratic grounds.
February 8 Will Speed Up Bipolarization
The king's international isoliation is near complete. But only internal factors will bring democracy to the country.
February 8 is to come as a blessing in disguise. It is making a rapid bipolarization possible. It is also sending the party cadres into homes across the country to spread the message of democracy.
The king's obstinacy makes room only for a confrontation, a showdown. Looks like that is what he will get.
62 of the 75 district chairs of the Nepal Students Union have threatened to resign if Girija Koirala does not take back his arbitrarily formed central committee of the organization.
What a waste!
A duly elected Gagan Thapa leading the NSU would have been at the forefront of the movement. Instead he and his colleagues are having to fight Girija.
It is not good for his party, it is not good for the country.
My broadband connection has been down. So I have been coming online wireless, through my cellphone. It works just fine for the most part. But I have been missing on some of Umesh Shrestha's video clips.
Second Sunday In January
The local group here in New York City that I meet with meets next then. There is something to be said about meeting in person. I am really hoping to put in some work. There are more Nepalis in NYC than any other place in the States. This is a good place to be for the democracy movement.
Moral Support: For the longest time, that is all there was the consensus for, that we will extend moral support. The expectations from the folks on the ground in Nepal were not much more. Democracy is such a basic, unifying theme that moral support is not hard coming by. But still there was and is much dissonance. The various organizations could work in a much greater harmony than they are used to. If you want to sample the dysfunction of the seven party alliance in Kathmandu, all you have to do is deal with the Nepali organizations in America: they fare worse, actually.
Logistical Support: In November a major leap was taken. It was decided moral support is to be continued, but logistical support is also to be provided. I think this was a major decision. I actually compare it to the Maoists moving from the goal of a communist republic to a democratic republic.
5 Projects: A lot of ideas started flying around. It was amazing how quickly specific project ideas materialized. Many people contributed to polish up the ideas. So far so good.
Numerous Mini Projects: I think we are now at this next phase. There is no central organizing authority. There is no one central leader. All who wish to contribute have the option to come forward, pick a mini project of choice, and start working. The idea is really of a rather loose constellation. The project I have been most involved with has shown some progress: Mero Sansar Video Clips.
But there also have been problems, which can always be expected when large groups are involved.
Time For Madhesi Militancy Is Now
NDF Owner, Stop This Nonsense, Reinstate Immediately
NAC Goes Proactive
In The Quest For Social Justice Feelings Are Going To Get Hurt
The Cloud Model, Not The Pyramid Model
Umesh, Turn It Into A Business
Diaspora Logistical Help To The Movement
Logistics To Bring Down The Regime
To: ND Group, c/o Puru Subedi
Nepal Democracy Google Group Does Not Believe In Free Speech
What have been some of the major problems?
Territoriality: The model is designed for it. Any interested person can participate at any stage, at any level, with an intensity of choice, publicly or anonymously. Say you are a new person, and you go to the very beginning and start arguing only moral support should be extended. Anything wrong with that? No. Because we organize and discuss online, none of the debates ever really closed. That is healthy. No decision is final. Or say you come up with a sixth project, and that is not even listed, should you refrain from carrying out? No. Or you take a look at the five projects, and you come up with mini projects within that are not specified. Can you take those ideas and run with them? Sure. Do you need anyone's permission? Heck no. I personally think small groups of 3-4 individuals working on many small projects might be the most efficient way. It will be nice if all groups kind of keep each other informed, or at least the outlines of what they might be up to. But even that is optional.
Anonymity: My idea is to act openly. If people can face the police in the streets in Kathmandu, why can't we even put up our names from the safety of the US? But that's just me. If there are people who would like to donate money, or work on the projects, but not divulge names, that would be a legitimate personal choice.
Ethnic Issues: This keeps coming up, again and again. On the Madhesi issue, for me it is a policy level thing. It is not about, oh, let's just get along. If you want me to tell you where I think you stand on the social justice issues, I have made it easy for you. Go ahead and critique this: Proposed Constitution. Other than that let's all work together on the 5 Projects in the most efficient manner possible.
Outmoded Group Dynamics: This has been the number one problem. Technology has made the cloud model possible. But people are stuck with the pyramid model in their minds.
Inertia: People who will whine endlessly, but not do anything. We have plenty of those.
I have yet to come across a person or a group who intended to donate or work on the projects who found no room to work. That is the beauty of the cloud model as opposed to the pyramid model. You have the power to decide your involvement level. You yourself are in charge.
I think if we all can think in terms of the freedom fighters in Nepal, and it is for them that we are doing the work, it should become easier for us to get along, and do our work.
In The News
SC summons Tanka Dhakal in contempt of court case NepalNews
18 students injured in clash at Balmiki Bidhyapeeth
Opposition parties call for boycott of civic polls
Central Committee meeting of RPP kicks off
Families of disappeared people lock up NHRC
EC sets up election offices
UML activists arrested
Maoist killed in clash
RPP in Crisis
NHRC seeks king’s audience for peace process
OHCHR receives assurance from Maoist leadership
Four judges appointed at Supreme Court
Nepal rebels assure UN over poll threat Indian Express, India
Rebels in Nepal pledge non-violence
ScotsmanCommunist rebels say they won’t kill during Nepal’s municipal ... Khaleej TimesNepal rebels assure UN over poll threat Reuters AlertNetNepal Maoist nabbed in Darjeeling Times of India, India
Leahy’s Prescription: More Chaos For Nepal Gorkhapatra, Nepal
After Threats from Rebels, Nepal Govt Mulls Insurance for Polling ...
NewsLine NepalNepal Army Launches Massive Operation to Foil Maoist Plan NewsLine Nepal, Nepal
Nepal Army Keeps 25 Soliders Under Custody
NewsLine NepalChand appointed RNA spokesperson Nepali TimesNepal's King Firm in His Roadmap for Democracy NewsBlaze, CA
A ceaseless ceasefire
Nepali TimesNepal to hold elections despite rebel threat Reuters AlertNetSenator Leahy's Lateral Strike On Nepal NewsBlaze, CA
Four judges appointed at Supreme Court
Nepal rebels assure UN over poll threat Indian Express, India
Rebels in Nepal pledge non-violence
Leahy’s Prescription: More Chaos For Nepal Gorkhapatra, Nepal
After Threats from Rebels, Nepal Govt Mulls Insurance for Polling ...
Nepal Army Keeps 25 Soliders Under Custody
A ceaseless ceasefire
Thursday, December 29, 2005
To Talk Or Not To Talk To Giri
I am for talking. What do we have to lose?
A few days back I criticized Girija Koirala for wanting to talk to the regime. (Koirala's Request To The Regime To Postpone Elections) Now I think I was wrong, Girija was right. We got to talk.
Tulsi Giri Interview
Tulsi Giri Is Beyond Redemption
Response To The Panchayati Ghost Tulsi Giri
This guy Tulsi Giri is quite a character. There is not one major world power he has not criticized. He criticized India for inviting the Bhutan king to its Republic Day, and that was way back in February. He has taken the US and UK to task. There is another doctor-politician I know of who is known for his bluntness, Governor Howard Dean. Do they teach these people something at medical school? I wonder.
Some of the things Giri has said are outlandish, like his threat of jail time to the politicians. We threaten him with jail time right back, and then we still talk. Giri is not exactly a democrat.
What do I read into his words? He came out claiming the 12 point agreement between the Maoists and the democrats does not bother him. Only a few days later, he sounds like he does care. He is worried. Girija provided Giri with a slight opening, and he took it with gusto. That shows Giri is worried about the agreement.
But I am against pushing his nose in the dust. You help your opponent save face if you intend to do business.
I disapprove of the king but I also try to understand him. If we were to give him the benefit of doubt, what do we see? He did not invent Article 127. He overstretched it, true. If a near takeover of the country by an armed rebel group is not an emergency situation, what is? I am not justifying him, I am just trying to put myself into his shoes. And until the country gets another constitution, the 1990 constitution is the law of the land. The king has disfigured that constitution beyond recognition and repair, but that is a whole different topic.
My point is this. Either the seven party alliance should seek an overthrow of the monarchy like in France and Russia, or it should negotiate its way to a constituent assembly. Those are the only options I see.
My preference is a constituent assembly. Even if the monarchy is to be overthrown, I want it to be done through the ballot box. That decision is for the Nepali people to make. But if the seven party alliance were to opt for the France, Russia option, I will fully support it. They are the ones on the ground, I am not. I follow their lead. (The King Is Intent On Visiting France And Russia)
But decisions have to be made. The seven party alliance needs to be banging heads more. Tulsi Giri is right in his criticism. Seven parties are talking seven different ways. Leaders within the same party - the Nepali Congress - are not talking with one voice. That might be freedom of speech, but that is not unity of purpose.
Considering I don't see the seven party alliance anywhere near the France, Russia option, I am assuming we are still set on the constituent assembly idea. As long as we get there, does it matter how we get there? I think not.
And that is why we should be as flexible as possible.
We should not abandon the constituent assembly. As soon as we do that, we lose the Maoists, and we are back to square one. Personally I am for a constituent assembly with or without the Maoists.
Our commitment has to be to a constituent assembly. And that commitment has to be strong. Only then will we be flexible on every other issue.
First, clean the house. Bang heads and clear up heads. Giri is right. What do we want? Do we want to go back to before October 2002? Do we want to revive the House? What?
I think the last mile marker the seven party alliance has is the 12 point agreement. (10 Point Agreement To Succeed 12 Point Agreement, Prachanda Statement) I am not surprised Giri rejects that outright. Bijukchhe was also offended he was not consulted before it got signed. Giri was not part of the deal making, so he does not recognize the end product.
You make peace with enemies, not with friends. Giri is an enemy, that is why we need to talk to him.
We win if he talks reasonable. We win if he talks unreasonable: we expose him. But talks, by definition, will involve give and take. We can not show up at his door with a finished copy of an agreement and expect him to come around to it.
What could Giri ask for?
First, he will ask for clarity. Fair enough. Then he will say House revival is not an option. Then he will say, come take part in the February 8 polls. We say, no thanks.
Then he might say, both the Maoists and the seven party alliance are for House revival as long as that House takes the country to a constituent assembly. That is true. Then he might say, how about this? Forget the House revival and forget municipal polls. Instead let's hold elections to a new House, and let all the parties take part. Like now. Within a month or two. And then let that House deal with the Maoists.
I think that would be a valid compromise. The Maoists will also have to agree to it, because it goes along with the 12 point agreement. That House will give birth to an all party government. That government will hold peace talks with the Maoists, and head on towards a constituent assembly.
Am I for this idea? No. I am for the formation of an all party interim government through political decision. But considering the seven parties will not let go the House revival idea, I think this would be a valid compromise. We end up with a House, but there is no House revival. The king is out of the picture. Both the legislative and the executive come back to the political parties. The parties might even amend the constitution to bring the army under the parliament before holding talks with the Maoists.
I am not really proposing a roadmap here. What I am saying is once you engage in dialogue, all sorts of options open up.
Political dialogue is how you make political progress. Endless mass meetings will not do what political dialogue will. So go talk.
10:43 PM Update: I just talked to Madhav Nepal. I ran this idea with him. He disagreed. He said to hold elections to a House would be to lose the Maoists. Besides elections will be costly. If elections are to be held anyways, why not elections for a constituent assembly? Valid point.
Nepal sounded excited about all the massive rallies his party has been holding all over the country. He gave a long list of towns where they have been and were going to be.
I opened up a private e-channel of communication with him yesterday. It is direct, it is cheap. It works even when I can not reach him over the phone. It is efficient. It will basically be a series of memos. In private you open up more.
In The News
Government can consider parties’ proposal: VC Giri NepalNews ..... the government could consider the demand of political parties to postpone the municipal polls if the political parties come with a positive attitude...... first and foremost, the parties should make their stance clear and only then the government may agree to postpone the municipal polls...... political parties must be clear in their motive whether they want dialogue to postpone the municipal polls or postponement of municipal polls for dialogue ...... Girija Prasad Koirala called on the government to postpone the municipal elections so as to create an environment conducive for dialogue with the parties....... “However, the government can sentence the political leaders to jail if they try to disrupt the municipal polls. We can term them fanatics and send them to jail if they start talking too much” ...... had ruled out any consensus with the agitating seven-party alliance on the basis of the 12-point understanding ....... “The Feb 1 royal proclamation will not be withdrawn and the dissolved parliament will not be revived.” ...... Giri also said that the top leaders’ statements are inconsistent.....
Government can consider parties’ proposal: VC Giri Nepali Times, Nepal .....
Political Parties Won't Come to Power Now: Dr Giri
MR Josse: Straight shooting by Dr Giri Scoop.co.nz (press release), New Zealand
Dr. Tulsi Giri, Nepal’s royal deputy, organized a news ... United We Blog, Nepal
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Why The Maoists Should Not Go Back To Violence
The Maoists announced a three month long ceasefire, and then extended it by a month. That extension expires in a few short days. They have said they will not extend it this time around. What is in store? What could happen?
I sincerely hope they do not go back to their old ways. I hope they are not planning some kind of a large scale, surprise attack on one of the RNA installations. Because if they do that, we will be back to square one. All political progress made since the ceasefire announcement could go down the drain. The Maoist-Democrat alliance will come under a tremendous strain. The international community will want the seven party alliance to choose between them and the Maoists, and the Maoists are not going to be a choice. The regime will claim victory. They will happily go back to war. The bipolarization in the making will evaporate off.
Why would the Maoists want that?
The best option would have been if the king had reciprocated to their ceasefire. But the king did not. That shows the king is not at all interested in the idea of a constituent assembly. I don't agree with him on that one, but I can see why. A constituent assembly could turn the country into a republic. Even if the monarchy is retained, it will be truly a ceremonial one. Why would this self-professed activist king want any of those two options? Put yourself in his shoes.
Instead if the Maoists were to reciprocate the king's unreasonableness, they would be doing the king a huge favor. It would be unreasonable to go to war.
So I say to Prachanda and Baburam, don't do it. Don't go back to war. Instead do this: Isolating The Monarchy.
What options do the Maoists have?
One obvious option is to extend the ceasefire. They have done it for seven months in a row in the past. They could add a few more to these four months. They still get to keep their armed cadres in an "active defense" mode.
Another would be to let the ceasefire expire, but still keep the armed cadres in an "active defense" mode. Technically the ceasefire is over, but in practical terms not much has changed.
But the best moves the Maoists could make are not military at all.
The Maoists have increased their army size from three to seven battalions after the ceasefire announcement. Does this prove the royalists were right along, that the only reason the Maoists declared the ceasefire was to give themselves a breather? No. I think they waited for a week and then realized they might have to engage in yet another round of combat, so they prepared.
Prachanda has said this regime will fall before the Nepali new year. He is the first person in the Maoist-Democrat alliance to have come up with a deadline. I like that.
The Maoists have also warned the regime that if they were to engage in a military crackdown on the peaceful demonstrators in the capital, their army will march into the valley from both east and west, kind of like Fidel Castro marching into Havana. This is not unlike the diaspora warning the regime of global legal action should there be a military crackdown. (Project Nepal Democracy)
The Maoists have also announced programs of peaceful mobilization of the people. (Maoists Should Go Beyond Ceasefire To Peaceful Mobilization)
My recommendations to the Maoists are based on what they themselves have said.
- Do not go back to violence.
- Engage in a major propaganda war with your threat against any possible military crackdown. That will encourage the people to come out into the streets.
- Engage in peaceful mobilizations of your cadres and the people as much as you can.
- Launch a propaganda offensive against the RNA foot soldiers. Lenin did that to great effect. Infiltrate the army ranks with your propaganda. Let them see the current regime is not in their interests. This is much stealth work, not unlike planning a major military campaign. Channel your martial urges into this.
- Isolate the king. Build on the work done so far. My proposal is in the diagram above.
- Do not make any attempts to kill those who might decide to contest the February 8 polls. Instead visit as many homes as possible to urge people to stay back home on that day. If you kill candidates, you invite a fissure between yourself and the seven party alliance due to the global power arithmetic. The acts will be too spectacular to get ignored.
- A day or week long nationwide strike to disrupt the February 8 polls is okay. Whatever floats your boat.
- Revise your 12 point agreement. The seven parties should drop the House revival idea. The Maoists should agree to integrate the two armies before the constituent assembly elections as long as the interim prime minister is the Commander In Chief of the army. (10 Point Agreement To Succeed 12 Point Agreement)
OHCHR receives assurance from Maoist leadership NepalNews
NHRC probe team visits Nagarkot
Four judges appointed at Supreme Court
RPP in Crisis
Their Majesties to visit eastern region from January 1
UML General Secy seeks UN intervention for peace
Nepal yet to pay over USD 26 mn to India for military supplies Outlook (subscription), India
Nepal army starts 'biggest' Maoist hunt
3 killed in Rolpa clash
UN intervention necessary in Nepal: Leaders Webindia123, India
Seven parties set to disrupt municipal polls Kathmandu Post, Nepal
NHRC to meet king to talk ceasefire Kathmandu Post, Nepal
Govt considering parties’ proposal Kathmandu Post, Nepal
Political leaders dare govt on Thapa's threats Kathmandu Post, Nepal
Monday, December 26, 2005
Koirala's Request To The Regime To Postpone Elections
What did Girija Koirala mean by that? I am bewildered.
It can be understood to have been a peace and reconciliation overture, soudly rebuffed by a government minister. It is unrealistic to think this regime is interested in any such thing.
But then what do you mean by postponing elections? If it were to be held on March 8 instead of February 8, would you participate? I hope that is not what Girija meant.
February 8 will make bipolarization possible. And we have to move to that end. Since the regime will not take it back, we have to cash it to our best interests. A sound failure on February 8 on their behalf could end up the fatal blow to the regime that it deserves.
The parties perhaps do not have the resources to conduct a continuous movement as yet. And hence their sole focus for now to disrupt the February 8 polls has to be seen as a sound strategy.
The Past Three Weeks
These past three weeks I have talked to many individuals, in the US and in Nepal, some of which are Bimalendra Nidhi, Dinesh Tripathi, Amik Sherchan, Shambhu Thapa, and Sudha Sharma. Tripathi is in Baltimore and we stay in touch. He is the point person at this end for the legal action project. Nidhi has been busy preparing for his party's general convention in early January. Amik Sherchan is a firebrand, quick to lose his temper, energetic, passionate. Shambhu Thapa is promising. He and the Nepal Bar Association are the other end of the legal action project.
I set up another mirror site for the five projects: Project Nepal Democracy. It is largely informational.
There have been many authors to the ideas collected at the site. And it is not like this document launched all things listed. Several of the projects were already being worked upon, some by groups who did not know of each other, and still do not interact, because they do not need to.
Take one example, the ezine Loktantra. It has been named in the document, but it has been the work of some folks in Delhi and they have been putting it out for months now. Loktantra got launched months before the diaspora in the US started talking in terms of these various projects.
My point being there is no central authority. As long as the work gets done, it does not really matter how, and by who.
But the information site is a pretty good picture of all the work that is being done by the diaspora.
Each project has several mini projects.
I personally think small groups of 3-4 people tackling many mini projects is the best way to move ahead, the most efficient way.
I have been for being open. But that is just me.
There are many donors who do not wish to disclose their identities. There are some projects where one donor does not know of another. Book keeping is to be kept only among the group because that is how the donors wish it. That is also one valid model.
I think each project, and each mini project is going to end up with its own little subculture. There is not going to be one standard way.
I have been to only one of those so far, the one in DC in 2002. And I expect to attend the one in NYC during the summer of 2006. Hopefully the movement in Nepal will have succeeded by then, and we will be in a festive mood.
To me going to an ANA Convention is not that different from going clubbing. You buy the ticket, you go in, have fun, come out, and be gone. You don't really care to know who owns the club, who the manager is, and so on. You just want the water, you don't much care about the piping. Actually there were loud complaints after Dallas last year that the tickets are too pricey. And there is no open book keeping. I think that is a problem. The ANA needs to display the details at its site.
Madhesis are conspicuous by their absence. Instead you see throngs of Pahadis/Bahuns.
After Dallas last year Ratan Jha called me in exasperation: "ANTA has ended up with more Pahadi than Madhesi members!" People like Kiran Sitoula, Sanjaya Parajuli and Pramod Aryal became Life Members, looks like.
Nepal Democracy Forum
The official reason given to kick me out of the forum has been that I went public with this letter by Jeet Joshee: NAC Goes Proactive. The heck with Jeet Joshee.
That is just so lame. So NAC was going to send a quiet letter to Jimmy Carter and then expect him to go off on a Nepal tour? Was that the idea? The use of that letter is not that Jimmy Carter might respond to it, he will not, that is just the political reality, but that the NAC wrote it and sent it, and the letter can have a major propaganda value for the democracy movement. But if you are not going to take it public, why did you write it in the first place?
On Carter's map, NAC is a no name organization, no offense.
How ridiculous is that? I personally do not know Jeet Joshee. I had never heard of him until recently. But if he does not realize the propaganda value of the letter he wrote, I doubt his political acumen.
I think my ouster is more a got-you-on-a-technicality mindset of a handful of self-important people whose primary contribution to the movement is to send each other links to Kantipur articles.
Mero Sansar, Blogger Nepal
Umesh Shrestha and Krishna Prasad Dhungana, the two Kathmandu based pioneer bloggers have been doing amazing work. I am so impressed with the progress they have made.
They are very close to turning their blogs into self supporting businesses. That has been the unreported story. I can not disclose all the details, but it has been so exciting working with them.
These dudes are so happening.
Political Consciousness And Literacy
My recent interactions with my fellow Madhesis have led me to feel you could have been born a Madhesi, but the Madhesi political consciousness is like acquiring literacy. It is a conscious effort, there is work, effort involved.
Understanding the concept of free speech for many Pahadis/Bahuns is the same way. The literacy has not been achieved yet.
On the American scene, it is about the Desi identity. That is the brown identity.
I am a Desi.
Friday, December 23, 2005
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