Monday, April 26, 2010

May: A Month of Potential Chaos

So the Nepali constitution is supposed to be finished by May 28. From all reports in the papers there is no chance that this is going to happen. As one can imagine this has set off a lot of political posturing and flexing, especially among the CPN (Maoist). It seems hard to gage just how much of this is for show, and how much of it is a real threat to peace in this country. The CPN seems like it is not interested in any kind of compromise, and at the same time, there isn't a snow balls chance in hell that the powers that be would let them control the country. Currently India has been significantly bothered by their own communist uprising, and the idea that they would stand idly by while Nepal became a one party country under the hammer and sickle just seems remote. On top of this other powers in the world aren't real positive on a potentially destabilized communist country popping up in Asia. There are a lot winds blowing against the Maoists.

The limit of what they can realistically achieve has not however deterred them from being a sever pain in the ass, and a real danger to the country. Over the last couple of days they have been sending their cadres around to businesses asking for "donations" much like they did consistently over the course of the insurgency. These donations are about as voluntary as the required payment that gets asked by mobsters for "protection". You can say no, and many brave business owners do, but then you always risk vandalism, bombs, etc.

On May 1st the Maoists are shipping in thousands from the countryside for mass demonstrations here in Kathmandu. It's a Saturday, and I normally go to 1905 for the farmers market and to catch up with friends, but I think I will be staying in this day, as I have no desire to be down at that end of Kanti Path. As of today the Maoists have announced a general strike that will commence on May 2nd and be indefinite. What does a general strike entail? No vehicular movement, the closing of shops industry and school. Basically they bring the country to a stand still. 

They call this a people's movement, but if it were indeed a people's movement this strike would be maintained by the people according to their free will. Instead, this is enforced by the Moaist thug wing of the party, generally consisting of college age males that belong to groups like the YCL (young communist league) or whatever. Don't be fooled, these are 100% maintained by intimidation. If you drive your car gets torched, and  vandalism or worse is visited upon businesses or schools that defy the strike. 

Already today there have been small clashes between student protesters. Apparently rocks were being hurled down by Durbar Marg. While April has been a wonderful month, I get the feeling that May is going to be a little bit more bumpy. Tomorrow we'll go out and grab some extra supplies in case there are any shortages. If nothing else it's going to be an interesting month.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like things are getting a little tense in KTM. Take care of yourselves.


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