Monday, January 12, 2009

Unite for Democracy

Radical communists regard goodwill gestures and concessions as nothing more than contemptible weakness and an irresistible invitation to take advantage.
The Maoist ascendency to the power was the biggest political surprise of 2008. The result of the Constituent Assembly (CA) poll, which was conducted without the required political preparation and adequate security arrangements by the Nepali Congress (NC) led government, shocked everyone: from immediate neighbors to the power centers overseas. As a matter of fact, the “April surprise” not only shocked the keen observers outside the country, but also the major political parties of the yesteryears, who till then thought that they were the ones that were actually mainstreaming the Maoists.

The CA election completely turned the table around. All of a sudden, benevolent appeasers, whose never ending concessions to the Maoists reduced a genuine peace process to an “appease process” were at the receiving end. An unexpected victory in the CA election gave the Maoists an opportunity to go their own way.

While the people who are aware of what radical communism is capable of delivering watched the Maoist ascendancy to the power with trepidation, gullible “coffee shop” hopping intelligentsia appeared least bothered. The defeat of democratic forces in the CA election was rationalized as a step forward in integration of the Maoists into the democratic process. The Maoists know very well as and how to garner the sympathy and support of a gullible intelligentsia and partisan civil society, don't they?

It's been almost nine months since the CA election was conducted and approximately four months since the Maoists formed the government. A question that we ought to be asking ourselves is -- are we in fact better off than we were a year ago? If the answer is no, how long should we wait before we decide to do something about the rapidly worsening situation?

Puspa Kamal Dahal, himself, has admitted that he has failed to deliver and match the people's expectations. The grand dream of transforming the nation with hydro dollars has gone bust after the declaration of energy crisis. Hundred plus hours of load-shedding per week and labor union militancy have dwarfed the possibility of foreign direct investment in the country. How will the Maoists transform the nation and provide dividends they have been promising all along? Every Nepali should be asking this question in order to come to a rational conclusion on whether or not the Maoists have what it takes to transform the nation.

The Maoists simply do not care about the sufferings of poor and the downtrodden. They gain from the unfair advantage that Nepalese people suffer from a lack of hope in the possibility of getting an authentic and good government that will tend to the grossly unattended needs of our society. What the Maoists are doing is cleverly manipulating the psychological insecurities of Nepali people. They are least concerned about how badly it hurts collective self-esteem.

Instead of taking responsibility for the failures, Puspa Kamal Dahal and his psy-war experts, are once again threatening a "mass revolt." They do so because it benefits them politically. By simply reminding of us pain, suffering and dread of future terror, they want us to eventually weaken and give in to their demands. Their ultimate goal is to capture our hearts and minds -- to convert us.

How can threat of bloodshed transform our attitudes in favor of the Maoists' worldview? Wouldn't we recoil in horror and, if anything, move farther away from sympathy toward the perpetrators of violence? Nope. Look at how jihadists in radicalized Islamic societies across the world "convert" innocent individuals to Islam by threat of death. It is just a matter of applying the tactics that works at individual level to a larger scale. It does work. The counterintuitive result of the CA election is a proof. It's been already tested on our own soil.

When Thomas Jefferson said that “people get the government they deserve,” he must have had people like us in mind, who can easily be duped. It did not take us very long to buy “revolutionary dreams” sold by the Maoists, did it?

So what is the way out? A strong democratic alliance is the need of the hour. It, however, has to have clear goals and objectives. Or else, it will be perceived as a “grand design” of fat cats within the NC, UML, RJP, and RPP to make a grand come back, and hence, will not take off. The Nepali people, who have been duped again and again in the name of salvation, deserve a detailed plan about how salvation would occur this time around. There are way too many “dream merchants” in Nepal for people to believe in.

Patience is great, but the longer we wait, the more damage gets done. The very day our southern neighbor comes to a conclusion that the China-leaning Maoist regime cannot be dislodged anytime soon, disintegration of Nepal is guaranteed. For India, its national security is more important than territorial integrity or sovereignty of Nepal.

The delay in emergence of a strong democratic alliance will cost us dearly. The Maoist party by cozying with Upendra Yadav is under a false impression that Madhesi revolt is all but over. Besides that, the Maoists do not have any moral ground to go against the wishes of the ethnic parties since they ignited the flame of dissident politics. It has to be done by an outfit that understands the threat and is genuinely interested in empowering the Madhesis. By not going after a permanent solution, the Maoists are allowing ethnic hustlers that are ready to outdo Lengdup Dorje to forward their political agenda.

By attacking media and interfering in religious tradition, the Maoists are feeling the pulse of Nepalese society. They will tell you what you want to hear, but will do what benefits them politically. The Maoist ministers' sojourn to the jail where Ramesh Babu Pant and Ramesh KC were housed clearly exhibits moral bankruptcy on part the Maoist ideologues. Don't we know already how low they can stoop?

There might still be some within the major political parties of yesteryears that think “appeasement” is the only way out to moderate the Maoists and secure the lost political space. This is a prescription for disaster. Appeasement always encourages your master to further subjugate you. If more subjugation is not immediately forthcoming in response to appeasement, it's only a strategic delay. Radical communists regard goodwill gestures and concessions as nothing more than contemptible weakness and an irresistible invitation to take advantage.

Ignore history at your own peril!

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