Monday, September 05, 2005

To Trust Or Not To Trust The Maoists

Do I personally trust the Maoists? I don't have to. I do business with the Maoists. I look at their public words and actions. I have measurement points. I have marks. There are stepping stones they can step on to earn my trust. It is step by step and it is always measurable.

Between a Maoist outfit that is at war with the state and one that has declared an unilateral ceasefire, I trust the later about ten times more. They earned it.

What should the state do? The state should reciprocate. It should declare its own three month long ceasefire. And then it should go one step further. The state should say, we are concerned this ceasefire is a tactical military move on the part of the Maoists. They are only doing it so as to recuperate and rest and gather strength, so they can attack us even more fiercely at the end of those three months. And so we request the international human rights monitors to be allowed access to all their military installations to make sure this is not the lull before the storm, that instead this indeed is a ceasefire. And we will offer the same to those monitors.

Now that would be a proactive approach. And if the state were to do that, then I would give the state the benefit of doubt, that these indeed are people who want peace for the country, but are careful not to get outsmarted by the Maoists.

But instead the words and actions of the regime since the announcement of the ceasefire makes me feel I do not trust the regime. These are not people who want peace. These are people who want a continued low intensity civil war in the country so they can keep on in power for as long as possible.

Prove me wrong later with your 20/20 hindsight, but my reading of the situation is I do trust the Maoists. I think their call for a ceasefire is genuine. They intend to seek a permanent peace during these three months. But they will not be humiliated, that's for sure. They were humiliated during every prior peace talk.

The Maoists came out saying they do not wish to hold talks with the regime. I don't blame them for that. It is the regime which has said that, that they do not want to hold talks with the Maoists. The Maoists have said the only way they will talk with the government is if it were to revert back to the pre 2/1 era in terms of fundamental rights. I agree with the rights part 110%.

The regime has warned the Maoists they will be militarily defeated or they could surrender. The Maoists in turn have warned a higher level offensive than ever before.

I don't agree with this back and forth at all. But do I understand it? Yes, what is going on is called action-reaction. You can not put all the blame on the Maoists.

Just like I don't trust or distrust the Maoists, I go by their public words and actions, the same applies to the regime. I go by their public words and actions. And I don't like what I see.

It's not too late even now. Reciprocate.

So that the military aspect of the civil war is brought to a halt, and so the focus can shift to the political part of it. That is the only way. There is no other way. It is a political solution now, or a year from now, or two years from now. It is not going to be a military solution. So why postpone it and put the country through the pain?

The regime still has the opportunity to engage the Maoists as long as the intent is to engage them in a respectful dialogue. Here is how that dialogue would go:

Maoists: We want a roundtable conference of the three forces, and an interim government of the same. That interim government takes the country through a Constituent Assembly.

Regime: Agreed. But before that can happen we want the country to have a single army. No RNA, PLA business.

Maoists: Agreed.

This is how.

If it goes this way, the monarchy could still be saved. I mean, the country should continue to be at civil war just because an absolute monarch is totally incapable of bringing peace, is that what? The very reason the country is at war is because an absolute monarch is in charge.

Your Majesty, you are the problem.

This is still not too late. The king could still save the monarchy. And it is still possible noone ends up at the Hague. And it is still possible to have a transition period that does not punish members of the current regime.

But time is running out fast.

The regime needs to react to the ceasefire positively and seize the initiative from the Maoists.

Prakash Karat has come out saying the days of the monarchy in Nepal are over. Karat is one of the smartest individuals active in Indian politics today. That is a Prime Minister in waiting. His words carry a lot of weight.

But I still think the king has a little bit of time left. He could still save the day.

Think in steps.

Step 1: Realize there is no military solution. And the longer you persist at the military solution option, more isolated you get from the international community as well the Nepali democrats.

Step 2: Respond positively and creatively to the ceasefire. Go for the respectful political dialogue option.

That is it. To change one's political stand from what it was six months ago because circumstances have changed is not the act of an individual who lacks resolve, that is the move of a person who looks at political reality on a daily basis and faces it as is. Human affairs are much more complicated than the weather, and noone has found a way yet to predict the weather. Peace is the act of a brave person. Only cowards fight mindlessly.

Otherwise the Supreme Court is closing in on the king. The democrats are. The global community is. The Maoists are. The people are. And rats will jump off the ship also later in the game.

In The News
  • Govt doubts Maoists’ sincerity behind truce call NepalNews The government spokesperson’s statement came after a marathon emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers under the chairmanship of His Majesty King Gyanendra on Sunday to discuss the Maoist announcement.
  • India concerned over recent political developments
  • Over dozen oppn leaders arrested in protest rallies in Kathmandu Demonstrations still continue in areas
  • Ceasefire a positive development: NHRC
  • No word as yet regarding the royal visit NepalNews Nepali authorities are refraining from making comments on the royal visit. ...... an official at the Royal Palace Press Secretariat said he did not haveGovt doubts Maoists’ sincerity behind truce call any details about the proposed visit. He advised us to contact the Foreign Ministry instead....... A senior Foreign Ministry official told Nepalnews Monday afternoon that he had not heard anything about the royal visit as yet....... The government has already allocated budget for the royal trip......
  • UN welcomes the ceasefire, Vice Chairman Bista says “Wait”
  • Give peace a chance Kamala Sarup ..... There can’t be good war and bad peace.
  • Apex court questions RCCC’s legality
  • King Gyanendra will be last monarch in Nepal: Karat: the days of Nepal monarchy were numbered ..... urged New Delhi to stop any support to King Gyanendra..... "We are sure that this king (Gyanendra) is going to end the spell of monarchy in Nepal because people there are convinced that the monarchy is against democracy" ...... "It is highly deplorable that King Gyanendra resorted to violence against a peaceful demonstration in Kathmandu leading to large-scale arrests" ..... G.P. Koirala and other senior political leaders were injured in police action .....
  • Nepal protesters clash with police, 100 held Reuters AlertNet, UK the third day of protests..... police burst tear gas shells and used canes to break up the rally as activists emerged from a maze of alleys shouting "Long live democracy" and other slogans....... a naked suppression of the people's right to peacefully protest..... political parties that controlled more than 190 seats in the 205-member parliament dissolved in 2002
  • Top leaders hurt, held in protest rally in Nepal Khaleej Times
  • Nepal's political parties defy ban for second consecutive day ReliefWeb (press release) Nepali Rajdhani daily reported Monday that the Maoists announced their unilateral ceasefire Saturday at the behest of India...... Nepalese political parties however claim that the Maoist ceasefire came because of their joint efforts.
  • Ex-PM Koirala, other leaders held in Nepal Economic Times “Koirala fainted while being dragged away by police” ..... Nepal’s feisty independent media, facing restrictions since Gyanendra took power, prominently displayed the news of the truce and asked the government to reciprocate. “The royal government must suspend military operations and give a positive signal that it is ready for a political solution,” the widely read Kantipur daily said in an editorial. .... But state-run radio and TV ignored the truce announcement. ..... “This (the truce) is basically a challenge to the king who has been consistently saying that he would not talk to the Maoists”
  • Gyanendra does not represent us: Nepal parties to tell Annan Indian Express, India Gyanendra faces the prospect of receiving a markedly less-than-eager welcome from the international community on his arrival in New York ..... Seven pro-democracy parties at a meeting in Nepal on Sunday have decided to write to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, saying the King is an ‘‘autocrat and does not represent Nepal, its people and the Government legitimately’’....... The keenness of Nepal’s political parties to see Gyanendra being given a hard time at the UN comes almost as an endorsement of the appeal by the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists CPN(M) for a joint struggle to establish a ‘‘democratic republic’’....... A decision was also taken to organise a massive protest rally on September 9—the day Gyanendra is scheduled to leave ...... Kofi Annan is understood to have his own reservations about the King....... all that Gyanendra changed was his council of ministers, which he expanded, bringing aboard an ex-convict and a loan defaulter—actions the UN viewed as acts of contempt....... Meanwhile, the Maoists’ unilateral ceasefire—engineered critically to build world opinion against the King—failed to elicit a response from the government.
  • Nepalese parties write to UN against King United Press International
  • King Gyanendra will be last monarch in Nepal: Karat:- Webindia123, India
  • King Gyanendra will be last monarch in Nepal: Karat:, India
  • Nepal’s political leadership hasn’t gained confidence of ... United We Blog, Nepal I saw a boy falling on the road because a police kicked on his testosterones. Another one got his hands cut....... Devendra Raj Kandel, a former state minister at home ministry struggled to avoid arrest. In the photo above, a policeman is trying to take the flag off from his former boss. In the photo below, the former minister is seen scolding police because they bit him on his back.
  • UN Hails Maoists’ Truce Call Himalayan Times, Nepal
  • Nepal arrests 200 anti-monarchy protesters ISN, Switzerland
  • Defy The Orders, Enter The Prohibited Area UWB While describing yesterday’s somewhat violent mass protest, a reporter told me, “That reminded me of the 1990’s mass movement.” ...... defied the government issued prohibitory order and entered the area ‘restricted’ for rallies and demonstrations. Police arbitrarily fired nearly one hundred shells of tear gas and indiscriminately lathi-charged over protesters. They arrested 80 demonstrators including many central level leaders of parties. The police manhandled Girija Prasad Koirala, 83-year-old president of Nepali Congress, largest political party, and he fainted briefly....... Their cadres and followers are in merry mood because of the parties’ new and firm stand against autocracy....... a program with new aim: defy the govt. order by entering the restricted area .......
  • Defying Ban Is Diminishing UWB One policeman, after he lathicharged to one protester, was heard saying that his first assignment to control the mob was wonderful. As the protest in Bhotahity was not attracting crowds, we headed for New Road where Teargas was fired. But, there must be something wrong with the teargas, for our eyes were not hurt......... New Road looked very much like a battlefield and it reminded me of the earliest post-Democracy protests I actively participated. Then, I was a Bachelor Level student and a regular participant on such rallies. I participated in Dasdhunga Andolan, Tanakpur Andolan et al. But, today I was a mere spectator, watching helplessly the police brutally lathicharge the wayfarers........
  • Police Repression Against Political Leaders And Activists INSN ... protests and demonstration in Bhotahiti, New Road and Basantapur, inner core city of Kathmandu ...... Some of them were rescued and taken to the nearby hospitals by human rights observers of COCAP. ....... Suman Malla, chief reporter from Pahad Weekly and Shyatram Parajuli, journalist, Saptahik Awaj, camera man from Nepal 1 TV channel were deliberately injured by police. Protesters were shouting anti monarch slogans and demanding democratic republic in Nepal........
  • The King Talked About In A Maoist Meeting Drishti The Maoist Politburo met on its own territory in western Nepal ..... The decisions of the meeting will not be made public before the participants have not returned to their respective work areas .... They talked of the king's recent travels .... Local level meetings will follow.

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