Friday, May 15, 2009

Ben Petersen in Janadisha Daily

Ben Petersen writes here is something I wrote for the Daily Newspaper- JanaDisha. It was translated into Nepali- so i'm not sure how it read for them, but here it is.

As a foreigner, a journalist and especially as someone who is concerned about the people of Nepal I am deeply worried about the recent moves by the President Ram Baran Yadav and the political opposition to go against the government and stage what has to be seen as an anti-democratic coup.

It has shown to me, and i think the whole world, that even though the Nepali people have removed their king and fought so hard for democracy, the rich and powerful in Nepal have no interest in respecting the democratic will of the people. The Martyrs of Janandolan 1, Janandolan 2, the peoples war, and all the movements did not sacrifice their lives, so that the ceremonial President could over rule the executive government to save a General who threatens the very idea of democracy. It is an insult to every Nepali to see your political "leaders" in the UML and the Congress putting their own interests (and the interests of India) above the interests and the desire of the Nepali people they claim to represent.

I do not understand how these people can look themselves in the mirror. How can they justify their actions? This General Katawal has not only played a key role in suppressing the people in the past, not only has he supported anti-democratic coups by the ex-King Gyanendra, but now, then he is generously given the opportunity by the Nepali people to play a progressive role in the New Nepal, he refuses to follow the direction of the government, that legitimately has the support of a majority of people. How can the UML and the Congress defend their actions to defend this man. This man who has no respect for the people and democracy. how can they be the saviors of democracy- when they protect those who would strangle the Nepali Republic while it is still a baby in the crib?

But while in parliament I see bureaucrats and corrupt politicians acting for themselves, on the streets and in the eyes of the people the real democracy is still strong. The real democracy in Nepal was not created by the bureaucrat, and it was not dreamt in the minds of the powerful people in Delhi and Washington. The birth of Nepali democracy has been the reward for the hard work and sacrifice of all the people of Nepal. Democracy was born in every village, every town and every city. Democracy shines in the eyes of every average Nepali i have met- and now this shine is a fire- as the Nepali people are rightfully disgusted that their democratically elected government has been overthrown by the same elites who have run this country for all time. To add insult to injury, they do this in the name of "Democracy".

The one thing I have learnt the Nepali people more than anything is that Democracy is not in an assembly and democracy is not limited to just a vote. Democracy means that power must come from the people. Nepal has proven this- and the waves of real democracy- democracy from the streets has already smashed the monarchy and opened the door to a better- and a socialist- future for Nepal.

Many governments around the world will support the opposition. The great "democracies" on India and America has already played a key role in attacking the Revolution of the Nepali people. But while the "international community" may be against you- the worlds progressive people will always be on your side. Everywhere working people and oppressed people have been impressed by your struggle for democracy and national sovereignty. Your struggle gives an example to the whole world, that even in a small and impoverished country, you can fight for your rights- and you can win!

For me I see an interesting time ahead for the people in Nepal. There are both great ricks, and great opportunities. But the one thing is certain, that justice does not lay on the side of the President in his coup. Justice will never be on the side of those who sit in Delhi and Washington and try to interfere with the sovereignty of proud nations. Justice in Nepal will always be on the side of the people, and no matter what the so called "democrats" say or do. When the people of Nepal cry out against injustice and autocracy then their voices will always carry with it the power of democracy and revolution

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