A couple of weeks ago I was astonished to read in not one but several newspapers, in both Nepali and English, that the government planned to ‘celebrate’ April 25th. By the time this article is published April 25th 2016 will be behind us but not the continuing astonishment at the inanity that persists among politicians in this country………………and skullduggery I might add. The term ‘honest politician’ has long been an oxymoron, judging by the free-flow of indignation from the public and the press. Not a day goes by but we hear or read about another failure to deliver compensation to the villages, failure to solve problems of short supplies of quite mundane things such as school text books, tasks that should be written into the regular cycle of a fairly efficient government.
People seem to enter politics here to ‘earn’ from the community rather than to serve it. That is why we have no statesmen or women of note any more.
An example of the political mindset is demonstrated every time attempts are made to establish the Truth and Reconciliation process and call before it cadres of one group or another to testify about murders and extortion carried out during the ‘Unpeople’s War.’ (Unpeople is a term coined to indicate that such an act did nothing it purported to do. It destroyed infrastructure, broke families apart, robbed villagers, and forced mere children out of school and into a battle for which they were ill prepared.)
Accepted that more than one side was to blame and people have held their judgements for a legal decision concerning those who did the most harm and committed the most heinous crimes. But will we ever hear these decisions, will they ever be made? Most politicians/ cadres/commanders or whatever the going term is these days cite the agreement made in Delhi as a reason why they should not now be tried for acts committed during those years. The fact is, however, that the agreement was made on foreign soil without the people’s consensus, and by SPAM, the seven party alliance and the Maoists. Ever since, this agreement has been cited whenever it suits those accused.
Unfortunately or not, the acronym carries its own special meaning. It may mean a political grouping here, but among all those who have served in regular, legal armies or grown up through ‘legally’ declared wars (as if war is ever legal) SPAM is the name given to a cheap substitute for meat. It comes in a can and is supposed to be constituted of pork and ham; although it is more likely to be a mixture of scraps and fats with a padding of bread and whatever to give it a robust tightly-packed look. It’s nutritional value is low, it is a false food, a ‘cheap’ meat. At the time I found SPAM a great acronym for our politicians, governors and parties, combatant and otherwise. They lived up to their name by cheating the people out of a referendum on the most important issues facing the country. They used the famous agreement made over the border to shove the people of Nepal into preformed of their making. It was badly done, badly done indeed! Years later they have collectively lived up to the name- cheap meat!
Now, they have insulted we the people once again by celebrating last year’s earthquake, using it as an occasion to ‘strut their stuff’, their pomp and circumstance! And if that isn’t what they meant to do then our newspapers are seriously in need of proper professional ‘readers’ to scan and correct their pages before putting the newspapers to bed.
It is time now to stop all this shilly shallying and sectarianism. Nepal is no longer Shangri La in the sense of pristine, clean beauty: a tranquil haven where time stands still. Yet, for many in the past it has provided a safe harbour from persecution and political vendetta. That is, unless you happen to be Nepali. Nepalis are a persecuted majority dominated by a bunch of political plutocrats; many of whom probably had nowhere to really rest their heads until they first came to this Valley. Now they have everything and demand as their right much much more.So, we treat them with exaggerated respect; pretend they are clever, when clearly most of them are not. The stickier their fingers, the more we seem to admire them. Are we afraid of them, or should they be afraid of us, the well-schooled urban electorate? The war is over, they are all well-fed- better fed than they ought to be, so from whence come their fears of Truth and Reconciliation?
It’s simply that: they fear the truth. And what is that truth?
The truth is there are murderers among us who are getting away scot free. There are people who forced children to pick up weapons and use them. There are people who were assigned to keep the law who committed rape and assassination and tried to bury the evidence. The price of revolution and progress we were told. But after a couple of revolutions, mostly of the ‘rent-a -crowd’ variety, where is the progress? We are dictated to by neo-feudal and struggle without power for most of each day. The cost of food rises each day. With lack of the promised irrigation we’ll soon be able to gather gundruk straight from the ground! No gas, no diesel: we can’t even generate our own power if we have the finances to do so. And how about the truly poor?
Since April 25th 2015, we have wept silently for our compatriots who are clinging to hillsides under makeshift huts and tarpaulin tents. Reconstruction has been slowed down, by what? By that same political plutarchy we have helped create through our silences, through our timid hints and disguised lectures. When will we realise that people who can turn a blind eye to the suffering of so many children will never take our hints. When we complain more vocally they think probably that we don’t mean them but a set of ghoulish predators which has remained invisible.
It’s time now to stand up, speak out and be counted. It’s time to tell the members of our government that they are the ghoulish predators, they and their cohorts. It’s time for the old political order to shred its shrivelled, mouldy bark and let the younger generation take over. They have now proved their worth; and they are a waste of space. It’s time to tell the truth and shame the devil!