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Bhupal Lamichhaney: Leave No One Behind

Leave No One Behind


By Bhupal Lamichhaney in US

I once overheard a discussion between a well-meaning pacifist and an Episcopal bishop from a developing nation that had recently endured mass genocidal terrorism. The pacifist remarked, “Don’t you wish the Brits and Yanks would just leave you guys alone to work out your own problems?” A look of shocked horror struck the bishop’s face. “My God, No!” he shuddered in dismay. “Then we would surely be doomed!”

Today, we watch in awe as the people of Afghanistan and Iraq repeatedly put their lives on the line to vote for democracy hoping their brave act will help stave off the vicious genocidal terrorists determined to reestablish their hateful regimes. We watch in pride as brave local and allied forces lay their lives on the line to assist each other in the courageous fight to sustain liberty for millions of innocent victims under former brutal rule. Acts of bravery always stand as beacons of light and hope for others struggling against genocidal torture and terrorism, an entity that refuses to die as an historical plague in our world. People are suffering unspeakable political torment in our global community every second, every hour.

We hear many debates about the pros and cons of international intervention to aid defenseless people in near and far away lands. Some say, “These kinds of people prefer to work out their problems in their own way. We have no right to interfere.” Others say, “We can’t risk our own safety to take care of the entire world, we have our own interests to consider; besides they got themselves into the mess, let them get themselves out of it.” The worst yet is to hear, “Well, we’re getting what we deserve for being free and selfish.” As if, acts of terrorism and murder can ever be justified and excused? Distorted thinking may soothe the conscience for a while, until those guilty of it find themselves on the other side of their excuses. What we know is the outcome of long debates on whether or not to intervene strongly and in a timely manner against the threat of genocidal terrorism ends up costing military and civilian lives needlessly.

Terrorist nations and those who harbor terrorists risk us all in their craze for power and destruction. Crimes against humanity are affecting free nations everywhere. Look to the recent past, to the winding village roads of Rwanda, Sudan, and the Congo where children once played; to Kurdish and Cambodian villages where millions of peaceful citizens once smiled in joy. Look at the devastating memories of terrorist attacks in a field in Pennsylvania; the streets of New York, Washington, London, Madrid, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Bali, and Manila; a school in Chesnee, an auditorium in Moscow. Presently we witness every day terrorist attacks in the mountains, villages, towns and cities of Afghanistan, Iraq, India, and Nepal. The agenda of every terrorist mind is vast, brutal loss of life in genocidal proportion. If senseless debate prevents the arrival of military and humanitarian aid to small defenseless countries under threat of terrorist take-over, then genocidal mania wins a national stronghold from which to launch its terrorism on the entire free world.

Freedom is never free. Gone are the days of complacency when people could remain isolated and blind in the comfort and security of freedom once won, ignoring people in near or distant lands who are struggling desperately for the same freedom, but who are too small in number and too weak in power to overthrow militant regimes. Modern events of terrorism have awakened free people to the threat upon them. How often must we search our consciences for courage and conviction of what to do? Either we daily rededicate ourselves to unselfish action to preserve freedom for our progeny, or we risk losing it to political tyrants who never cease to rise up in their multiple deceiving forms.

We have only to turn our attention to the brave citizens of Nepal to see the latter taking place right now. This year Nepalese citizens lost their battle to sustain democracy, so bravely won. We are facing the brutal rule of either a feudal or a Communist dictator. Both are masquerading as benevolent liberators of the people from the evils of democracy. All too well, we Nepalese have learned the hard lesson that to sustain democracy in a developing country takes the work and dedication of all to preserve freedom and justice.

Free nations everywhere know to beware Al Quida terrorists, but they must also beware leaders who preach the need to restyle ‘democracy’ to suit their particular nation’s unique interests, as King Ganandra did in February of this year. To justify his heinous military overthrow of Nepal’s constitutional democracy, he made the ridiculous statement that the country needed a ‘democracy more suitable to the soil of Nepal’. Dictatorial leaders think if they simply use the word ‘democracy’ or ‘freedom’ in their rhetoric the world will go back to sleep and not notice their destructive agenda. No matter this king’s interpretation of Nepali-style democracy, it is identical to the one his tyrant father fashioned forty years ago. The brutal tyranny of each regime speaks for itself.

Surely, the free world can learn a great lesson here as well. Democracy is democracy. Any deviation or modified form always compromises the freedom of people except for a few selfish leaders and their henchmen. No fascist dictatorship, no communist/terrorist regime is capable of democratic thought or action. Regardless of what they say or call themselves, they represent two sides of the same coin. They are genocidal torturers, terrorists, and killers at the core of their being. So, “What's in a name?” Well, for one thing, that which we call genocide, “By any other word,” smells just as rotten.

Can a free country remain an island unto itself anymore? Courageous, responsible people watch each other’s back. What free nation dare say anymore “we have no reason to help people outside our own national interest?” In truth, history proves the survival of any free nation exists well beyond their own borders.

So let us be clear. We are a global community fighting a global pestilence, suppressive regimes. If one nation loses its battle for freedom, the entire world loses. Funny thing about pestilence, it is always pandemic.

The motto of the US Marine Corps comes to my mind: “Leave no one behind.”

*************

Bhupal Lamichhaney is vice president of Human Rights Organization of Nepal (HURON) one of the oldest HR organizations in the country. He has been writing articles on democracy and human rights in English and Nepali languages.

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