Sunday, March 06, 2005

Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka: Lessons For Nepal

The Pakistan scenario is that the king somehow manages to make peace with the world, and so he is free to pay lip service to democracy within the country. He has already tried his best to present the Nepali Maoists as if they were the local Al Qaeda, a blatantly outstretched comparison. On the other hand, the Americans dealing with Nepal are likely to rely on their readings of communism in Russia in the 1930s, in China in the 1960s, or even Cambodia and Peru. And so they might fall for the king's logic, that the choice is between him and the Nepali Al Qaeda. That might give the king the three years he has asked for. Then he might perpetuate a pseudo-democracy. He might allow elections but always keep his shadow over the country. He might continue to treat an elected Prime Minister as someone who works for him, like an employee.

The Burma scenario is the ruling junta ignores the world, finds allies in a few states, and keeps on keeping on. Cutting aid does not work, sanctions do not work, and leaders are kept under arrest forever, it seems.

The Sri Lanka scenario is of a country falling apart even when it is a democracy, and highly literate, but when it refuses to deal with ethnic grievances peacefully. The ruling cultural elite - Sinhala in Sri Lanka, Nepali Speaking High Caste Males in Nepal - just do not make that social leap to a more egalitarian vision.

Reference material: I searched for the terms "democracy in pakistan," "burma democracy," and "sri lanka civil war" at Google Scholar and collected all those journal articles that were available online in full for free. From among those I am providing here some that I think are relevant to the situation in Nepal. I hope this can deepen the debate and discussion.

Democracy In Pakistan

Burma Democracy

Sri Lanka Civil War

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