A Handful of Dust

I wonder, and hope others among you wonder too, how on earth we ended up with all these dictators! Without naming all of them too specifically, because I am referring to the world as a whole, I don’t think that added together they’d produce a reasona

April 25, 2017, 3:15 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.10,No 17, April 21,2017 (Baisakh 08,2074)

I wonder, and hope others among you wonder too, how on earth we ended up with all these dictators! Without naming all of them too specifically, because I am referring to the world as a whole, I don’t think that added together they’d produce a reasonable intelligence quotient.  They’ve led us into a mess again. With poor planning their incessant digging and digging reminds me of a satirical song from the sixties:

   “ Don’t dig here, dig it elsewhere

       You’re digging it round and it ought to be square..”

 I remember being in Thailand when dear old Bouncy Baby Kim (BBK)took over North Korea. Thai television was doing a frantic ----look back at Daddy and now forward to Bouncy Baby--- coverage of Daddy’s funeral. My goodness the tears, sheets and sheets of them coming out of the men and women of the North Korean army. Normally so smart and goose-step perfect they looked as if they were crumpled up in their misery. I remember thinking at the time that there was a group that were receiving above average rations from the benefice of the dear leader.

 Now BBK comes into the headlines once more with his threats and bombs and his chiefs of staff so delighted at being able to fire them that they are literally swooning in each other’s arms. They’ve found a new whipping boy to blame for the penury of their people and the lamentable state of their economy: Donald Trump. Let’s see who whips hardest and longest!

 So, I wonder what to make of it all! Not even Honest Joe (Stalin) could petrify the troops into such immaculate goose-stepping order. That ,I decided, was because if ever the world had thinkers who would worry at the bone of reason behind the bosses actions, they were surely Russian.BBK would have drawn from your average Russian soldier, a great deal of sceptism, and I am sure newsreel coverage of him executing his uncle must have drawn even more.

 Not so, the gullible publics world wide, not to mention Nepal. Many grumblers may be looking back right now and thinking why we didn’t insist on a referendum over the monarchy and remaining a Hindu state? Why indeed? What do we have that is so special now  ancient artefacts are not only in disrepair but ruin and now the palace is a ‘museum’ with hardly a story to tell. Had they not been destroyed with hardly a hope of proper restoration think what wonderful backgrounds we would have had for theatre ,folk dances, and all the treasures and stories of Nepal.What a cruel blow!

 Now, with dear BBK, we can see his cruelty. When our youth go to labour in the Gulf States we can hear from them what punishments certain of the people suffer from their own BBKs. Some time ago someone recounted to me about  the first time he had seen someone beheaded in the open air in one of the strictly Moslem Arab countries..    

 Soldiers are cruel in the name of defending their countries, in the name of religion: it’s been going on for centuries, which is not to say that like all traditions, we should cling to these actions. We shouldn’t cling to any of them in fact. But, we are sheep and  follow the shepherd’s horn, or in our case the political baloney.

 Like many others I was watching the television when the status of Nepal took a sudden shift. I knew of one elected politician who tried to object to the abolition of the monarchy, and he was quickly muffled and a weapon stuck in his ribs. That man is dead now, but I shall remember him as the ‘one just man’, the one who knew that each of us had the right to have a say on such a matter. The rest went on sticking to their own stories and reasons for following like sheep the demands of the Maoist Party.

 How they all bristle with pride when the Gorkha armies are referred to as the ‘bravest of the brave’, but among the elite who make up our governing bodies, there’s not a Gorkha among them.They are not brave. The Maoist top guns slid to power on the shoulders of disillusioned youths, and the Congress clung to the coat tails of Indian politicians, whereas others went where there was most to be had to enrich their coffers. Yet, how about the people of Nepal, the many tribes and tongues, the artisans who built the beautiful temples to the glory of their gods, temples which were the wonder of the world? There were those who began to build knowing they would never witness the completion, but they were content to hand the skills down to their progeny.

 Not being born here, I have watched, with despair and extreme sorrow, for over forty-five years,  as faction after faction has thrown away the heritage of this land. Some have remarked to the Heritage Society people that they can do as they please since , particularly the palaces, were built with the ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ of the people. It always struck me  what a sad insult to the architects and masons to reduce their magnificent buildings to ‘blood, sweat,and tears.’  At the same time  the political elite think nothing of lobbying for ‘food for work’, this is honourable. It may well be but I, for one, don’t believe it’s an honourable gesture to tempt labour out of populations in return for food alone; that’s mere exchange without value added.  Think of the implications and you’ll see that it bears all the marks of slave labour.

 So here we are, halfway through 2017. In a few days it will be 2 years since the 2015 earthquake knocked so many of us out of our socks. Rebuilding in so many areas has not started, although thanks to private groups some sizeable resettlements have been built. Women are still not liberated, although they pretend that they are if they have comfortable resources. Our politicians still pout and fight over who has the ‘gaddi’ next. As for the patrimony of our ancestral people, the temples, the shrines, the stupas; and yes  the palaces and forts, all that is left will be soon in the clouds of dust blowing over the Kathmandu Valley.


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