Saturday, July 30, 2005

No, Ambassador, Municipality Polls Are Not An Option

The autocratic, royal regime and the seven political parties are not equally right, not equally wrong, not equally powerful, and not equally responsible for the current impasse in the country. The regime is totally responsible for what it has been for centuries, for what it did in 1960, for what it has been doing for the past few years, and for what it has done since 2/1, for the ideology it represents.

You do not appease the autocrats: it is a matter of principle. It is to do with democracy.

The king's attitude is what's mine is mine, what's yours is also mine, and we can talk about the rest. It does not escape my attention that the king keeps paying lip service to democracy. Either he is dishonest, or he honestly does not get it.

Democracy is not when you turn one small appendix of an article that should never have been there in the first place into a substitute for an entire constitution, the 1990 document that was a half attempt at democracy.

This king has ruptured the appendix.

Mr. Ambassador, you are getting used by the king to do his bidding in what he thinks to be his intricate, elaborate game with the political parties, a cat and mouse game where he believes he is the cat. There is no little or more democracy. There is democracy, or there is no democracy. A king supported with taxpayers' money with salaries several times that of your own president, the least he can do is answer to those taxpayers. He does not have endless options.

And as long people like you will keep giving him the false hope that he might, he just might be able to have this three years, he is not going to do what is his only option: head towards a Constituent Assembly.

Musharraf is no democrat, neither is King G. I am not an expert on the compulsions of the Pakistani people, but the Nepali people do not share them. Forces outside Nepal ought to actively help the forces for democracy inside of Nepal, but be that not forthcoming the least they can do is not aid and abet the autocrats. Not only should there be no moral support and no military aid, if things go downhill, there should be thought of economic sanctions. There should be talk of the Haiti option.

Nothing can be done to suggest the move of 2/1 was legitimate. Only an all-party government can hold elections in the country. This regime can not, because it is not legitimate. It is hellbent on holding elections because there are a few regressive, monarch-worshipping parties that will participate. But first, even for that to happen, elections have to be possible. I don't see how they are possible.

Just when the Maoists are showing clear signs (
Chitra Tiwari eInterview With Dr. Baburam Bhattarai) of smashing the western stereotypes imposed upon them, with clear commitments to a multi-party framework as you and I might understand the term to mean, with clear yardsticks along the way, it would be a disservice to thwart possibilities of mainstreaming them. The goal has to be peace. Those who get in the way of bringing the Maoists into the mainstream are subjecting the Nepali people to a continued civil war. The king is one such element. I hope you are not another.

You are an emissary of a Republican president. I would like to draw your attention to this: 2005 Young Republican National Convention (US) Resolution 1 On Nepal. If Republicans assembled in the distant city of Las Vegas can get the thrust of it, and see the king for who he really is, and what ideology he represents, why can't you?

At this point, it is not the Maoists' commitment to a multi-party framework that is suspect. Granted a Constituent Assembly is the only outlet, it is the king who has never been for the idea. It is the Nepali Congress who has finally come around to paying lip service to the idea, but whose commitment to the idea of such an Assembly is suspect, because if they truly are for an Assembly, they would be willing to forego their demand for a House revival.

Please take a look at this:
Possible Framework For A Maoist-Democrat Alliance. Please get realistic. Please don't unwittingly help the king prolong his drama which, if it did not cause so much pain, would actually be funny.

This king keeps monkeying around with this so-called Article 127. Bandar ko haat ma nariwal. That has to stop.

In The News

  • Talk about Municipality Polls: Moriarty Himalayan Times, Nepal James F Moriarty, today urged the political parties to hold dialogue about taking part in the municipality elections, which are going to be held in the near future....... the Rotary Club of Dharan, he said the parties are not satisfied with the declaration of municipality elections but there must be a negotiation for the betterment of democracy..... insisted that reconciliation between political forces and the Palace is essential for Nepal’s future..... "The USA is in favour of democracy in Nepal so we are against the February 1 royal takeover. But it is necessary for the Palace to compromise with the parties to prove its democratic nature. The present government is not functioning satisfactorily.”..... "The alliance of the seven parties is in its initial phase to solve the crisis facing the country, but the Palace must support it (Alliance)," he said, adding, "The Maoists are the main obstacle for initiating democratic process in Nepal."
  • US' myopic vision Kathmandu Post, Nepal - Jun 26, 2005 Should we give $ 2 million security assistance this year or $ 500 million to refugee camps scattered throughout India in the not-too-distant future?" questioned an on-vacation James F Moriarty, the US ambassador to Nepal, during a public function at the East West Center in Honolulu, US recently..... The RNA does need assistance ..... The bogey of Maoist threat is just bogus. Agreeing to the reason offered by Moriarty means recognising a threat that does not exist now, and is unlikely in the future as well. It only aims at providing legitimacy to February First...... If the actions of the royal government post-Feb 1 are any indication, the CPN (Maoist) do not appear to be any threat at all....... Emergency imposed (there was no reason to) and civil liberties and press freedom suspended; phones cut off (many post- and all pre-paid mobiles still remain disconnected); country-wide jailing of political leaders/cadres, human rights defenders and journalists; irreparable damage to bureaucracy by shunting seven secretaries in the government to the 'reserve pool' with no work, resulting in the suicide of one of them; thousands of journalists and other people rendered jobless; FM stations, the great vehicle of disseminating information and giving the voice to people in rural Nepal shut off in the name of security; killings an all-time high; security outside the valley deteriorating; people of eminence prevented from travelling outside Kathmandu as well as out of the country; until-now failed attempt to introduce a very harsh law to curb press freedom; beating of Maoists' victims in the capital, resulting in the death of a victim allegedly due to the beatings; formation of a commission to control corruption with the power of levelling charges, prosecuting, and even passing verdicts(!) against people accused of corruption; establishing autocratic panchayat-era regional and zonal commissioners above the chief district officer; parties and journalists and lawyers arrested for demanding democracy and rule of law.......... while UK's Ambassador to Nepal Keith Bloomfield and the European Union "see" through it, Moriarty and the US don't. Or perhaps pretend otherwise.
  • AI Calls for Gagan Thapa’s Release Himalayan Times, Nepal Amnesty International has expressed concern over the detention of Gagan Thapa, former general-secretary of the Nepal Students’ Union. The international watchdog has called on the authorities to immediately release him and other student leaders under custody unless charged with criminal offence..... Expressing concern over the safety of Thapa, the AI demanded that the authorities treat him and all other detained students humanely and grant them legal access and required medical attention. Thapa, who was arrested on July 27, is reportedly being detained at the Hanumandhoka Police Station...... “appears to be a prisoner of conscience detained solely for the legitimate expression of his opinions.” .....
  • NSU Holds Torch Rally in Maitidevi Himalayan Times, Nepal rally that started from Maitidevi Bridge at 4:30 pm ended at Maitidevi Chowk 15 minutes later.... a motorcycle rally from Chabahil Chowk that passed through Old Baneshwor and ended at New Baneshwor..... scheduled to organise a chakkajam on August 4 and will hold a protest rally in all the campuses throughout the country on August 6.
  • Seven govt. employees, including LDO, abducted in Ilam (1:20 pm), Nepal
  • Gagan Thapa declared prisoner of conscience Kantipur Online, Nepal
  • Nepal students vow to teach king hard lesson IANS, India students vowing to teach King Gyanendra a hard lesson if their three key demands, including against a proposed move to revise the education curriculum, were not met by the weekend..... "nationalistic" education, the protesting student and teaching community say it would be an attempt to rewrite history by exaggerating the role played by the ruling dynasty..... threatened to step up protests countrywide, including closing down campuses. .... On Monday, protesters will stage a march in the capital with black flags to denounce the arrests.... The student community, one of the key pressure groups in the kingdom, has earlier been instrumental in the ouster of ministers and fall of governments..... When King Gyanendra assumed direct control of the government in a bloodless coup in February, the students were among the first ones to protest and saw a large number of their leaders sent to jail during a nearly three-month state of emergency when civil liberties were suspended.
  • NC won’t ally with Maoists: Sushil Koirala Himalayan Times, Nepal “There is no possibility of making alliance with Maoists,” he said, adding it was possible only if the Maoists put all their philosophical commitment into practice. .... he said during the second convention of Maoist-Victims’ Association of Nepal (MVAN) ..... More than five years have elapsed since the formation of MVAN but the sufferers have got nothing from any party, not even sympathy, said Chilwal.
  • Melamchi locals file graft case at CIAA Himalayan Times, Nepal Tired of “repeated appeals” to the concerned authorities for compensation for their land and houses ... 35 residents of both districts gathered in Kathmandu ..... Hari Prasad Dhital of Melamchi lamented his family had been displaced due to the encroachment of his land and houses by the Royal Nepalese Army.
  • 2006 Declared As Visit South Asia Tourism Year SouthAsia Network, Asia
  • Maoists shut down 20 clinics in Baitadi Kantipur Online, Nepal
  • T-bills discount rate declining Kathmandu Post, Nepal lesser demand of domestic borrowings
  • RCCC verdict on Melamchi Kathmandu Post, Nepal the decision of the sentence was claimed to have been made under Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002 .... Later, when the proclamation of state of emergency was revoked, RCCC continued to exist by an order issued under Article 127, which merely speaks of the order to be issued to remove the difficulties arisen in connection with the implementation of the Constitution. So, the very nature of the formation of RCCC has completely been illegitimatized. .... Article 84 of the 1990 Constitution has expressly enunciated this principle in a book and has worded that 'powers relating to justice in the Kingdom of Nepal shall be exercised by courts and other judicial institutions in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, the laws and the recognized principles of justice'...... the principle of separation of powers.....parliament cannot enact laws to give judicial power to institutions, which are not inherently judicial. .... Article 85 (2), which reads that 'the law may establish special types of courts or tribunals for the purpose of hearing special types of cases.' ..... strictly prohibits to establish any 'special court' or 'tribunal' like RCCC for the purpose of hearing a particular case under proviso to Article 85...... Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 (ICCPR) to which Nepal is a party expressly mentions that in the determination of any criminal charge, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law......The convicted can be sent into prison only by the decision of courts. The irony is that Deuba, who, for the first time incited the King to exercise Article 127, became himself the victim of the same.
  • Students take out torch rally in Kathmandu NepalNews
  • Seven parties announce fresh stir; students threaten to shut down colleges NepalNews.... nationwide protests will start from August 2 ... various anti-government protests until August 21 .... demanding release of student leaders within 36 hours.
  • NC (Democratic) to launch nationwide protests NepalNews
  • RCCC verdict reduces atmosphere for reconciliation: India NepalNews
  • Being a non-White in London NepalNews Subindra Bogati .... Plain-clothed police start following a young man from the house he is renting but do nothing to stop him till he tries to board a train at underground tube station. Then police first corner him and pin him to the ground and unload five bullets into his head at close range in a full view of tube passengers...... A tragedy that has made non-Whites in this multicultural city shiver with fear. ..... male, Asian and young. .... media here were reporting that terrorist suspect with an “Asian” face had been shot dead by police. What a contaminated perception! The person they were reporting about and whom the police gunned down mistakenly was not Asian, but an innocent Brazilian..... Deependra Shrestha has stopped carrying a bag while going to University or Library. “I prefer to use grocery bags till the situation gets normal..... Gopal Shrestha, an investment banker with work permit to stay and work in the UK, says that the scenario will remain same for Nepalis to work in London even after these bombings. “We are Nepalis, not Asians,” he adds...... July 7 bombings, which were carried out by British-born suicide bombers .... police have recorded more than 1,200 suspected Islamophobic incidents across the country ranging from verbal abuse to murder in the past three weeks.
  • The Peace Pipeline Through Pakistan Kanak Mani Dixit Nepali Times ..... the prime minister replied, “…there are many risks, because considering all the uncertainties of the situation there in Iran, I don't know if any international consortium of bankers would probably underwrite this”. .... Iran has the second-largest reserves of natural gas in the world. India's galloping economy needs to shift from coal and petroleum to natural gas in order to attain and exceed the magical annual 8 percent GDP growth rate........ Musharraf was enthusiastic and willing to provide guarantees of the pipeline's flow and mollify Indian worries of a tap turn-off during bad times...... the mother of all confidence building measures, and the political economy of our region would be transformed...... After attacking and destabilising Iraq, Prez Bush is now on the lookout for other countries to restore democracy in....... this president is powerful, insensitive and uncaring..... India, the Southasian superpower, seems to have blinked in the face of the world's superpower. One would have expected India to be made of sterner stuff.
  • No Alternative To Girija Deshantar There is no alternative to a revolution .....It will be foolish to change leadership in the middle of an ongoing movement.
  • Democracy: The Only Thing On The Parties' Agenda Dristi The parties are no longer demanding the Maoists agree to a constitutional monarchy ..... The autocrats want to tire the parties, and crush the Maoists ..... They do not care that foreign aid has been cut drastically .... They wish to hold general elections in three years, and bring a party of their choice into power ... Looks like the king and the parties are headed for a permanent divoce...

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