Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Danger of the "People's" Revolution

Spending all of your time in Kathmandu it is easy to forget that the rest of Nepal is very different, and what seems normal here is not what the typical Nepali considers typical. It is this bubble that kept the middle and business class as well as the politicians at large from understanding the real threat that the maoists poised back in the late 90's and why even after the slaying of the King and the up tick in the violence of the civil war in the early part of this decade that to many in Kathmandu the moaists were an enigmatic group. When I first arrived here I had to put up with many of their so called bandhs, political strikes enforced by thugs on the streets that bring all commerce and transportation to a halt, but those stopped after the spectacular failure that was the May 1st protests. Since then the Maosists have been quiet, and one can easily forget that this is a country where the largest political party are communists who regularly depict mass murders (of their own people I might add) like Stalin and Mao on posters and reference them in speeches. For all of Asia's complaining over colonial oppression  in the past, no western influence has killed more Asians than the communist ideals that well to do Asians brought back with them from studying in Europe.

Today the Maoists are back in the news as they have had a big political get together, and party leaders released several papers defining where the party should be headed. Republica put out an overview of some of the chairmans piece, choosing to focus on his confrontational stance with India (read the article HERE). The ideas that are expressed in the majority of it is no shock to me, but I am slightly taken aback with how honest they are about their goals and implementation. They basically admit to what I've always suspected that the war has never ended and they basically won't stop until there is a communist republic in Nepal. The language is littered with the normal socialist diatribe, using words like proletariat, comrade, cadre, and throwing around the phrase domestic feudalism in every other sentence. One part of the story that stuck out to me was "Dahal was of the view that India will intervene militarily in Nepal when the party launches a people´s revolt to seize state power; so the party should be ready to resist Indian intervention." It's not a matter of "if" but "when" the party launches the "people's" revolt.

The danger these kind of serious revolts cause are clear in history, and it's highlighted for me by my upcoming trip to Cambodia in December. Nepal is in less danger of becoming another Cambodia due to the fact that it is bordered by two very ambitious emerging powers, India and China. What Nepal risks if it falls into a deep civil war is being completely co-opted by one of those powers or becoming the center stage of a proxy war between them. Most people don't seem to realize how tense relations are between China and India, and it was extremely interesting to me that one of the first things to happen when North Korea flirted with starting a war the other day was that India ordered 30,000 troops to its border with China. Both sides of the Nepali government playing these two nations against each other is a very dangerous game and Nepal is in a delicate situation where drastic moves that destabilize the country could very easily lead to a complete loss of sovereignty, let alone the human tole that a drastic revolution like those of Pol Pot and Mao would inflict on the citizenry of this country.

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