Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Skewing the Himalayan Revolution by Gary Leupp

reposted from Counter Punch.

Two recent articles in the New York Times by Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Jim Yardley draw attention to the mounting political crisis in Nepal.  They point out that the fundamental problem is “the unresolved task of merging the two enemy armies” mandated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the Maoists and the government in November 2006. 
Yardley notes that the interim constitution composed in January 2007 will expire on May 28, when a new one authored by the Constituent Assembly is supposed to go into effect. But the writing of the new constitution has not been completed, and the peace agreement may fall by the wayside in a few months.

Yardley indicates that both parties are at fault for the impasse. “Many analysts,” he writes (without citing any names), “say the Maoists have maneuvered to keep their army intact as a bargaining chip to influence the constitutional negotiations. At the same time, the Nepalese Army, which before 2006 answered to the king, now deposed, has grudgingly succumbed to civilian control. In January, the defense minister announced that the army was not obligated to accept Maoist soldiers and should be included in civilian negotiations over integration — comments rejected by the prime minister and seized upon by Maoists as evidence of bad faith by the government.”

While superficially “balanced” (there’s no way the New York Times is going to take the Maoists’ side here, and yet it’s impossible for anyone familiar with the recent history to assign them entire responsibility for the gridlock) these articles actually imply that the Maoists bear principle responsibility. By treating the PLA’s continued existence as a mere political “maneuver” Yardley ignores the fact that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement explicitely provides for the the Maoists to keep their army intact pending “integration.”  More importantly it avoids what should be obvious: had the Maoists not fought a decade-long People’s War before deciding to suspend it and make the deal with the mainstream political parties in 2006 there would have been no toppling of the monarchy, no proclamation of the republic, no convening of the Constituent Assembly.

Since Yardley provides a very partial, skewed view of the historical context, it’s worth reviewing that history now as Nepal becomes front-page news.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Maoists Capture More Land

Reposted from Nepal News.

Unified CPN (Maoist) cadres have captured more land in Kavre and Kapilvastu, Wednesday. They hoisted their flags in 269 Ropanis [70 hectares/155 acres] of land at the banks of Indrawati river, in Kavre. Maoist cadres led by Mahadevsthan village committee secretary Shambhu Phuyal had gone with a bull-dozer in the land to hoist the flag.

The land belongs to Amritnath Ghalachhe, Pashupatinath Ghalachhe, Daya Laxmi Kharel, Man Thapa, Rajendra Khatri, Laxman Prasad Lamsal, Dharma Lal Shrestha, Anil Dhungel. Gokul Prasad Sapkota, Ram Krishna Shrestha, Purushottam Shrestha and Surya Lal Manandhar.

Likewise, there are reports the UCPN (Maoist) cadres captured about 33 Bigahas [22 hectares/ 48 acres] of private land in Kapilvastu, too. All Nepal Peasants Association (Revolutionary), Kapilvastu has said, the land is captured forever and will be distributed to landless squatters. However, the District Administration Office, Kapilvastu said, it will recover the land and hand them over to the rightful owners if it receives any complaints.