The Politics of Terror

Maoists left jungle ending their decade long war and entered the capital. The leaders will be in the government soon, but the foundation for their biggest failure is on the making. The people, who had hoped something from them, have slowly losing the faith. And, they should blame themselves for it.

The major reasons why the normal people are unhappy with them include their politics of terror. Somehow most of the leaders and cadres, who enjoyed the domination based on guns they had in their hands, are not ready to stand in line with the normal people.

They believe they are special (which they are not) and they should be treated in that way. Be it the beating of a driver because he asked for the fare or threatening of people here and there is not going to make them good despite their efforts to gain the public support through various interesting programs (like helping the traffic, and cleaning an area).

For sure, the asking for donation hasn’t stopped. The cadre who will come to ask for donation would leave no words to make sure that the owner (of house or hotel or school or business) understands they can suffer if they deny.

The brutal beating of an hotelier is causing much uproar in the capital. It was brutal and condemnable activity. If the Maoists want to join the mainstream politics then they should make everyone understand that there is law in the country that everyone should follow. No political party can make their own law to impose the people.

The Maoists are still relying on the power of the bullets which can help them to beat up people, get donations, and terrorize people but for sure that’s not going to give them the people’s faith which they will direly miss once they are in the mainstream politics.

And, secondly, people had started believing that Maoists are not as serious about the social changes or the revolution that they had promised as they are for the positions. After all, it looked like the Maoists want to fight for ‘chairs’ not for the people.

The Politics of Protest

Who cares the citizens?

When there were closures and bandas, it was the industrialists that spoke most against it. They didn’t even hesitate to give our figures of what the country would lose due to a day closure. They were most vocal critics of the bandas requesting others to find the alternative ways of protest.

And when their turn comes for protest, the first thing they announced for their protest program was the indefinite closure. Easy to preach but hard to follow!

That’s probably because no body cares about the citizens. Take for example the decision by Internet Service Providers to close down internet for two hours, an hour in the morning and another in the evening. What they gained by that? And aren’t they violating the consumers’ rights by that? They need to provide 24-hour internet if they sell the scheme saying that unless there is circumstances beyond their control.

Let’s condemn the Maoists’ brutality!
Let’s condemn the closures!
Let’s condemn the closing down of internet!

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Bullet to cricket ball: A blind man’s pitch

“There is nothing impossible in the world.”

As he said these words in front of a gathering of people most of whom couldn’t see him, he was greeted by thunderous applause. Those clapping either knew that the speaker had proved his words or were enthusiastic about what was coming next.

Pawan Ghimire, the man crazy about making Nepali blind play in the Blind Cricket World Cup, spoke as one ambitious blind individual. And why not? After all, after losing his eyesight in a Maoist ambush four years ago, the Nepali Army (NA) captain has been able to put all that behind him and start life anew.

“I lost both eyes on July 8, 2003 in the Maoist ambush,” Ghimire told the Post. For a seeing-turned-blind, it wasn’t an easy life. It was last year that he was invited to participate in a cricket training camp for the blind, and he joined.

“I had played a little cricket during my childhood,” he said. “But during that eight-day training, I learnt much about blind cricket.” When the Pakistani trainers left, it was he who took on the responsibility of continuing the training.

He was then invited to the Third Blind Cricket World Cup in Pakistan as an observer, given a 22-day training and also awarded with a special prize from the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC). Since then, he has been a player-cum-coach conducting trainings.

“Now we have around 45 blind who regularly play cricket in addition to 150 who can play,” Ghimire said sitting in the Institute of Engineering grounds – the venue for the first ever National Blind Cricket Tournament being co-organized by Cricket Association of Blinds, Nepal (CABN) and the Welfare Society for Blind and Disabled, with support from PBCC.

“It’s really amazing,” Abdul Razzak, who led Pakistani blind cricketers at two world championships, said. “Within eight months of hearing about it, they are organizing a tournament.” The event will run for the next four days and is being participated by three teams – Bhaktapur, Kathmandu and Kirtipur. Rauthat was scheduled to participate but couldn’t make it due to the terai tensions.

“People here have the craze, they want to learn and do something,” Razzak said. “Very soon, Nepal is going to make a very good team and it’s an honor for us too because we initiated cricket here.” PBCC is all set to invite Nepal for a tour at the end of this year to participate in the Afro-Asian Games.

With the slogan “Rising with the Rising Nepal”, CABN is all set to send Nepal to participate in the Fourth World Cup in 2010. The organizers hope that the event will give the blind cricketers exposure. “This is for social awareness, we want to tell society that the blind too are capable of doing something,” event co-coordinator Sunil Timilsina said.

Ghimire’s achievement as a blind is something that had injected hope into many blind people. His father, who was present at the ceremony, proudly told the Post that he saw little difference in his son’s life after the incident.

When asked about the difference between being a seeing army officer and a blind cricketer, Ghimire answered insightfully, “The idea is the same – read and beat the opponent. Only difference is between lead bullet and cricket ball.”

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All About Blog Meet III

The Blog Meet III looked like a failure to the few who reached the venue at the scheduled time. The earlier two meetings had attracted exactly 12 bloggers each time – though there were changed faces. On Saturday, when I reached the Freedom Forum, there were only three – Deepak, Rosha and Tajim; and it was already a few minutes past noon.

After some minutes, RP Dahal joined us – for the first time. And, KP Dhungana as usual said when I called him that he was ready to be scolded but was making to the venue in a few minutes.

I had a list of bloggers who informed me they couldn’t attend (the ISL) and then it was James Gomez, whom I had invited in the meeting, who called me saying that he was nearby. James, who is a Singaporean politician/writer/blogger, is in Nepal for his professional work and since we had been friends since meeting in Manila and Seoul, I invited him.

As he was coming, I asked Utshab, who was working in his office nearby, to come for half-an-hour, and he did it. Ghanshyam Khadka also made it. Tapas too arrived despite having family function as his home and that made 10 of us.

James talked about his own personal life and how he raised his profile. He started from his family background, writing on book called Shame of Singapore (on the self-censorship of the Singaporean press) and then moving to politics and all.

Then he suggested a few ideas for moving BLOGAN ahead including the writing an research based report on blogging history of Nepal (so that some foreigners can’t come to study blogs and mis-interpret) and then possibility of blog growth (in terms of number and role as the media) in coming years due to the political situation of Nepal.

It was indeed wonderful listening to James and we all appreciated his ideas for BLOGAN.

And, there were of course our regular talks about updates and all. We, after much discussion, agreed that it’s better for us to move ahead with a formal, registered organization rather than remaining a loose network. The idea was basically based on our future plans as we found that we won’t be able to work on the plans like conference and trainings.

And, we also talked on having very clear agenda and aims. KP took the responsibility of formulating the first draft for discussion (which will be sent to all Nepali bloggers and posted at NepaliVoices soon). Then there was issue of membership; I took the responsibility of drafting the membership criteria for discussion.

Then we also decided that to move forward on the web-hosting services. Initially, we have been offered the space of 25MB, top-level domain registration and pre-installed WordPress along with a number of themes and plugins for Rs. 2500 per year. All of us agreed it was cheaper and then we are moving ahead with the plan. It will be soon finalized.

Despite having a great meeting, something that we all felt pessimistic was the number of bloggers attending. Probably also because I only sent invitation on Friday, next time I will send invitation a few days earlier. The next meeting is of course the first Saturday of Baisakh, same venue same time.

Post about the Blog Meet III by other bloggers
Utshab Pokhrel
Deepak Adhikari
RP Dahal

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Blog Meet III

James Gomez speaks during the Blog Meet

James Gomez, a Singaporean blogger visiting Nepal for his professional work, was the guest of honor in the third meeting of Bloggers’ Association of Nepal (BLOGAN). He talked about his experience in blogging, the situation in Singapore, and suggested a few ideas to move BLOGAN forward.

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Abdication: Safe Way Out for King

Is abdication of throne a safe way out for King Gyanendra?

I pondered the question after reading Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s interview on Monday. And I see, in the current situation, King has two more options. First, he can choose to wait till the decision on republic and second, he can, of course, try for a coup.

Many will laugh at the second option. But, there is every chance that King will try for it. Announcement of republic nation and throwing out him will be a dishonor to him and before suffering that, he will try to do something. Just imagine, if you are losing everything you had, won’t you give a last try (even if there are 1000 of armed people around you)?

He may have already given the last try. Who knows?

Is Koirala trying to suggest the king that he can consider a third option, and take a respectful retirement? And, he can then continue as a businessman or politician or whatever he likes to be.

If I am put into King Gyanendra’s position, of course, and if I am finished with my pack of options, I will not hesitate choosing abdication than waiting for the decision on republic.

That way, he will not only earn some praise and a respectful retirement but it will also help to prove him what he did by taking up the executive power in Feb 1, 2005 is because of need of the time.

And, there are more he can claim of, like his action has been instrumental in ending the bloody Maoists conflict (‘Do you think, hadn’t I taken up the executive power, the Maoists would have shaken hands with political parties and come to a peaceful settlement?’).

The idea of coup is a bit absurd one. Let’s forget it.

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Nepali Blogger Threatened

Umesh Shrestha, the blogger behind hugely popular MySansar.com, has been threatened of ‘action within 24 hours if he publishes anything that directly or indirectly supports Maoists or terrorists’.

An email with subject line reading ‘last information’ by Maoists Defense Group, an anti-Maoists group not known so far, has threatened him. Bloggers Association of Nepal (BLOGAN) and NepaliVoices.com strongly condemn the threat and ask the who-so-ever behind it to let all the bloggers enjoy the ‘freedom of expression’.

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Links Updated!

NepaliVoices.com has listed a large number of Nepali blogs on the sidebar. But since the number of such blogs has grown highly, I am changing the policy for the listing. Now on, I will do occasional (hopefully monthly) checking of all the blogs listed and will remove the blogs that haven’t been updated for a month.

Following that policy, I checked all the blogs today and removed those which haven’t been updated once in February (the list of those removed at the bottom of the post) and deleted private blogs. I have also changed the address of a few links to ensure every link is working.

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At Pokhara, Again!

Just after a month of my last visit, I am once again at Pokhara. This time to cover the final of the Aaha Gold Cup – a football tournament. I came with a few journalists friends and it was a nice journey.

The football final was very interesting as it saw more than 15,000 spectators in the stadium that has the capacity of 5,000. Nabil Three Star Club won the final in the tightly contested match against Manang Marsuandi Club but the only thing we were able to see from the pressbox was the heads of the players running around and the ball (only when it was on the air above their heads) as people had lined up in the touchline.

There was troubles a few times but none too dangerous and the Pokhareli people should be thanked for their patient during the match as it could have been a bad accident had their been any trouble.

It was the day of Fagu Purnima thus many of the spectators were probably drunk and the players who scored was treated with colors – rare scenery. At one time, a man ran entered the ground on the horseback and ran around. Overall it was a big sigh of relief for everybody as the match ended without major accident.

During my last two days here, I have boated at Fewa Lake for an aggregate of three hours – an hour on rowing boat and two on the paddle. I also went up the hill of Sarangkot for the beautiful visuals of mountains and then walked around lakeside.

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