Thank you, UNMIN

Flag lowering ceremony of UNMIN. UN Photo by Chandra Shekhar Karki

At January 15 midnight, United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) concludes its four-year long stay as monitor of the Maoists combatants and arms. Although, it’s exit didn’t coincide with the conclusion of peace process – the official end of the Maoist’s People’s Liberation Army that fought hard and violent for more than 10 years, UNMIN’s role in bringing the peace process to this spot is laudable.

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Maoists, lead now

When Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda visited Girija Prasad Koirala at a hospital on March 17, Koirala told him to shoulder the big responsibility of the peace process.

Probably Koirala, who passed away three days later, foresaw his demise and wanted leaders to know the importance of peace process and the need for unity [his last audible words were, according to his daughter Sujata Koirala, ‘national consensus.’]

The grandfather of Nepali politics is no more. The peace-broker is gone.

And, now, it’s time for the Maoists to fill in the role he was playing.

Why Maoists (or why not any other party or leader)? There are a few reasons.

Koirala did not tell any other leader to shoulder the responsibility of the peace process. Why? Because he knew nobody is capable. His own Nepali Congress is left with managers or leaders [but no statesman]. CPN-UML is seriously lacking the good leader. And, the two parties are more likely to be involved in internal scuffle rather than working united for the nation.

Even Maoists are not the best right now; but then there are leaders who could become the statesmen, and they lead the largest party which also happens to be a major player of the peace process.

Dr. Baburam Bhattarai said it was mistake in their part for not electing him the first President of Nepal. It would of course had been a fitting responsibility for Koirala, but Maoists played childish failing to understand that the politics is the game of balance rather than domination.

It looks like now they have understood it [unless they translate Koirala’s shouldering responsibility statement into leading the government meaning]. It’s up to Maoists now to try for national consensus and the successful conclusion of the peace process.

If Bhattarai can write that ‘we bowed our heads in reverence to GPK’ for his statement before the CA Elections [“I know my party is going to lose the elections and you people will win. But I will be happy if the elections are held in a peaceful and democratic manner.”]; he and his party should also think that ‘they should be happy if the peace process comes to a successful conclusion’.

For Maoists, it’s an opportunity to lead the nation. For Maoists leaders, it’s an opportunity to transfer themselves into the statesmen.

Maoists, lead now.

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Someday, we will find a way

These days I am almost optimistic about Nepal’s political future. True, because I believe in what the world should call ‘the Nepali magic’: when it looks like we are going to worse, something good happens and we move towards better.

Wasn’t it true during the 1990 Revolution? Everybody believed the then King Birendra bowed down too early, but it was exactly at the time when the Jana Andolan (the Popular Movement) was looking to go bloody.

It was also true for the Maoist Conflict. It took almost 14,000 lives but then after 10 years of the beginning, the so-called People’s War came to an end exactly at the time when Nepali started getting frustrated with daily news of violence.

So with monarchy! With soft-heart Birendra, monarchy was almost okay but after the Royal Massacre that killed all the royals except a few, Gynendra did not appeal much of the people. Yet he decided to become powerful playing on people’s frustrations over political parties. And, with army censoring media; leaders house-arrested, it looked like a glum future – at least half-a-dozen years.

But when other things looked like not working, the people rose. The Jana Andolan II or April Uprising was built on two things: the hope of peace (since Maoist tied with other political parties and signed a deal) and democracy!

It too was successful without much blood!

Right now, darkness looks like descending. May 28, 2010 is the deadline for the Constituent Assembly (CA) to promulgate the new constitution or to die. The Interim Constitution is silent about CA’s extension and at least legal experts believe CA can not be extended in a constitutional way (off course, the CA can do it politically).

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav is either urging the parties to complete constitution writing in time or has grown ambitious about ruling. His advisors, and he himself, is saying he would be the only man in power standing if the CA fails.

If that happens, we will have a constitutional deadlock and may be an autocratic ruler who also happens to be the supreme commander of the Nepal Army (and has a soft corner from among the army men for saving their chief from falling ‘constitutional acting’ against the Maoist government decision).

What then?

As an optimistic citizen with faith on the Nepali magic (which I believe is the result of Nepali’s peace-loving / patriotic nature), I believe the CA will meet the deadline.

I am also saying this because almost all the groundwork – the draft documentation of the constitution’s major parts that takes time – has already been completed (kudos to the CA members in the thematic committees).

The delay is due to difference in some aspect that needs the consensus / agreement among major political parties (read: top leaders) which they can garnish within a few days (and they would meet day and night, here and there, on person and on phone) to agree.

Let’s be optimistic! (However, let’s continue being concerned about it.)

[The title of the post is a line of a song that I love: Someday by Nazanin Afshin Jam who is an Iran-born Canadian Miss World runners-up and social worker. The chorus is: Someday, we will find a way, someday, someday, someday, the darkness fades away, someday. If you want to hear/watch the song, here it is; lyrics here.]
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