Sunday, June 28, 2015

I/NGO Bullies and Tumors They Envenom

Cheers to T. Bell for another insightful article. Donors and the aid cohort would do well to contemplate its message aimed with expert marksmanship directly at them and the cancerous government that they foster.

One minor bone of contention with the piece is the opinion that Nepal’s civil war is partially to blame for lack of development and progress.
At first blush that might seem obviously true, but is that really the correct conclusion to draw about that dynamic period of engagement?

After all, the war was incubated and fought, according to revolutionaries, to remove obstacles to development—a battle they believed was waged against patriarchal, old-guard values, corruption and oppression that have crippled the country and economy for the foreseeable past. Maybe rather than stifling development, the revolution instigated it by systemically shocking the body politic.

That said, there are few to no foreigners who have anything but discouraging words and notions about the Maoists. The popular narrative lays disproportionate blame on the Maoists. They are summarily condemned, not the least because of a very poor branding (many of Mao’s policies have been disabused, even in the People’s Republic of China) and because Nepali conservatives (dominant in the media and public and private sector) with vested interests antithetical to the rebels are able to bend the ears, minds and hearts (and clink glasses in all too frequent drinking rumpuses) of diplomats and expat crowd.

It is easy to elicit reflexive head nods of assent by criticizing the revolutionaries and blaming them for societal ills that were actually centuries in the making.

Does the author truly believe that there would have been anything but more of the same business as usual in that ten year interregnum from 1996-2006 had there been no conflict? In fact, in the rest of the article he widely and rightly condemns the status quo for misdeeds and misappropriations during pre- and post-war periods. Would the state have behaved any more productively for development without the revolution? Conversely, perhaps the revolution even put the brakes on malfeasance and graft for a spell.

The way things had been going up until 1996, all seemed on a trajectory for more of the same, essentially, more unmerited blessings for office holders and the entitled sliver of society and few to no blessings for the majority of the population. In fact, it might be contended that the war in part ameliorated an epoch of wrongdoing with regards to personal rights, particularly for women and people outside the ranks of the ruling gang.

Up to the war and still even to this day, many non-privileged groups have faced deep discrimination akin to apartheid. Conservative rulers (informed by the Hindu religion and its casteism) have dominated for centuries, and their leadership has done heavy harm to Nepal. They truly have squandered the chance to be genuine leaders and have generally opted to exploit personal avarice. In fact, is it too far-fetched to suggest that their derelict leadership has in itself been akin to a war on Nepal? Haven’t the physical effects been as ravenous (e.g., certain sections of Kathmandu, including the Bagmati and Vishnumati rivers were post-apocalyptic pre-quake).

All things considered, despite the heavy and tragic toll on life and property, the revolution at least ousted the royal crown creeping toward tyrannical rule, and a democratic republic was born. The revolution also raised useful questions including the re-drawing of boundaries within the state to be more representative. Whether all that might have happened if there had been no rebellion pushing it to a boiling point is anyone’s guess, but in my modest estimate, without taking up arms, an otherwise extremely passive people with no leverage and little say would not have effected any more change than they had for the previous centuries. What has happened post-bellum is an entirely different topic, and the Maoists certainly share considerable blame for the continued gridlock and poor administration of the state.

Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life, and keep in mind the state was responsible for more civilian deaths than the rebels, it can be argued that the revolution was a catalyst for change relative to other periods.

#ThomasBell #NepalQuake #Corruption #FreeNepal 

No comments:

Post a Comment