Attending A Maoist Mass Meeting in Pokhara

Maoists organized a massive rally and mass meeting in Pokhara a few days ago and Neil Horning attended with his camera. Here is his report:

When I told my classes I was taking a day off to go to Prachanda’s speech on March 8th. They asked “Why? You can’t understand what he says.” I didn’t really have an answer, other than it would be pretty silly to call myself a Maoist expert and not go. Needless to say, I now feel justified in attending. Much has been made about some of Prachanda’s controversial statements, but I haven’t seen much else covered. For those who want to know what actually happens at these events, the following is my account of the day. On the corner of Halanchowk, lakeside, the Hoteliers Union was getting ready. They had a band playing traditional horns. Continue reading Attending A Maoist Mass Meeting in Pokhara

Ethnic Federalism in Nepal is a Recipe for Disaster

Ethnic Groups and Race Based Federalism: A Recipe for Disaster for Nepal

By Khagendra Thapa

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” It seems that Nepal has no leader who can speak out the truth and not just repeat like a parrot what the Maoists comrades have been saying ever since the SPA came to power with the blessings from the Comrades as well as our friendly neighbor to the south.

With the untimely death of the 1990 constitution, the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and their comrades the Maoists together code named as SPAM have claimed to represent all the people of Nepal and the interest of the Nepalese people whether the people like it or not. SPAs claim to represent the people because they were elected more than seven years ago. The Maoists comrades claim to represent the people because they have been able to coerce the people to support them by intimidation, extortion, armed kidnapping, and cheap slogans. Together the SPAs and the Maoists, the so called SPAM have become the most powerful political force or so they claim. With the mighty Prime Minister Mr. Girija Koirala in the driving seat and his Comrade Prachanda in the front seat together with all the heroes of Janandolan II and eleven years old insurgency veterans, the bus carrying the Interim Constitution was in motion. Unfortunately, the arrogance of SPAM was challenged by both the Terai residents (Madhesi Group) and the Janajatis. The Interim constitution also made provision to form an interim parliament with the addition of 83 Maoists and 48 other members who are part of SPAM. After all, the scrapping of the old constitution may not have been an excellent idea.

Lack of Patriotic and Visionary Leadership

It is indeed very sad for the people of Nepal that there is not a single national level patriotic and visionary leader with clean image. Right now, Mr. Girija Koirala is the leader of SPAM. However, Mr. Koirala is not accepted by all the people. First of all, he is the leader of the half Congress party. The other half of the Congress party is led by Mr. Deuba. Mr. Koirala’s behavior during the Tanakpur Treaty with India and his lack of interest to safeguard the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country puts a question mark on his patriotism. In addition, Mr. Koirala as a Head of State and Head of Government failed to express his opposition to the encroachment of Nepalese territory in various border areas by India including in Kalapani, Susta, Illam, Jhapa. Saptari, Banke and Bardia. In fact, even the Ranas who ruled the country for 104 years were more patriotic than any of the SPAM leadership. For example, during the British Rule of India, Nepal maintained all even numbered borders and the Brirish maintained all the odd numbered pillars every year. That kind of border maintenance was abandoned both by multiparty rulers and Panchayati rulers.

Secondly, Mr. Koirala does not have a clean image. His involvement in various scandals during the time he was prime minister for the major part of multiparty government from 1990 to 2001. In fact, Mr. Koirala refused to present himself to the court when he was summoned by the court on corruption charges.

Thirdly, Mr. Koirala does not have any vision or any other plan to develop and help the country and the people. He is a happy camper as long as he is in power.

Fourthly, majority of the leaders of all political parties do not have clean image. Many of them have been involved with corruption, nepotism, favoritism, and influence peddling. Some of them even have criminal records including murder.

How about the Maoists Comrades? What kind of credibility do they have? Well, as we all know 13,000 Nepalese people lost their lives as a direct result of the so called people’s war started by the Maoists insurgents. Another 26,000 committed suicide because they could not bear the pain and suffering caused by the war. Over a million people were internally displaced. Many more people left the country in total despair without any hope for themselves and for their children. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Nepalese people working as laborers (often doing the most dangerous and life threatening jobs which nobody else would do) in many Gulf countries as well as in Malaysia and South Korea. Continue reading Ethnic Federalism in Nepal is a Recipe for Disaster