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Nepal: Maoists Need To Be Ostracized

Nepal: Maoists Need To Be Ostracized


By John Lama*

Maoists are still adamant. Despite their professed commitment to peaceful democratic process, they have not ceased to murder innocents, abduct people and extort money. Deputy Prime Minister Khadka Oli asked them not to resort to such atrocities. Stating that the sustenance of the guerrilla force entailed a huge amount of money, Maoist supremo Prachanda responded by asking the government to earmark a largesse from the national exchequer to support them. On the one hand, it clearly implies that they are not going to eschew their brutal pressure tactics. On the other, how presumptuous it is for the guerrilla leader to seek a sizable section of the taxpayers’ money in order to sustain the armed militias who are hell bent on gruesome murder, loot and extortion.

The parliament, couple of days ago, was expected to make a historic proclamation curtailing powers and authorities of the King who has been reduced to a pitiable pigmy in the aftermath of recent mass movement. But the failure of the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) to arrive at any conclusion with regard to the elimination of the supreme position of the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) - that is customarily held till date by the Nepalese monarch himself – prevented the reinstated House of Representatives from fulfilling its commitment. This incident was greeted with widespread vandalism including burning of tires and government vehicles, in different parts of the capital, thus forcing the Home Minister to appeal for restraint. Despite their denial, it has been blamed on the Maoists.

When asked about the Soviet communists, Ronald Reagan, former President of the United States, once said, “We’re naïve if we don’t remember their ideology is without God, without our idea of morality in the religious sense – their statement about morality is that nothing is immoral if it furthers their cause, which means that they can resort to lying or stealing or cheating or even murder if it furthers their cause …….. If we’re going to deal with them, then we have to keep that in mind.” Reagan’s insightful observation is ineluctably applicable when it comes to analyzing the basic characteristics of Nepal’s Maoist communists. They seem prepared to go to any extent if it serves their nihilistic ends.

It was an egregious blunder on the part of SPA to shake hands with Maoists who outmaneuvered the former into entering a so-called 12-point agreement in New Delhi last year. Precisely because of that understanding with Maoist guerrillas, who were bent on turning Nepal into a communist republic through violent insurgency, the movement against the ‘royal regression’ had failed to garner Western support at the initial stage. In retrospect, Western governments were stressing reconciliation among constitutional forces that inevitably included the King. However, Koirala tried to distance himself from the Maoists as the movement progressively gained momentum. But the Maoists used, with exceptional finesse, various national and international media to prove their active involvement in the popular movement that in the later phase, morphed into an uprising against the institution of monarchy. It had already reached a point of no return and Koirala, a one-time arch enemy of communists, had no choice but to kowtow to the diktats of Maoists.

Now, Koirala should have also realized that the ominous threat of radical communism is hovering over the sky of Nepalese politics. The leader of the Maoist outfit has already presented his roadmap that, if not checked on time, will ultimately pave the way for Nepal turning into a communist republic. The present government headed by Koirala, no matter how powerful it claims to be, is seen to have woefully failed to contain Maoists’ insidious moves marked by surreptitious involvement in various destabilizing activities. Instead of spending the political capital earned from successful mass movement on giving a new direction to the tattered country, they seem mired in a fit of vengeance and vendetta against the King, his supporters and the security forces. Tit for tat can never be a precursor to the creation of a peaceful democracy based on enhanced socio-political culture. A vibrant democracy always demands a solemn commitment to humane values on the part of entire stakeholders concerned. Similarly, democracy cannot be nurtured by a government kowtowing to the evil diktat of extremist communists and hysteric outbursts of misguided mobs.

The more the democratic forces get swayed by the ‘evil design’ of Maoists, the more they are likely to be deprived of the support and sympathy of the international community. In course of time, it might eventually be translated into Western democracy’s growing support for the institution of monarchy as a traditional force potentially capable of containing the communist/terrorist menace. It could also be a part of monarchy’s long term strategy aimed at undermining democratic forces, at least, in the eyes of the Western World. It is true that when it comes to establishing and promoting broad-based participatory democracy, the West today plays as significant a role as the people of a specific country themselves. If the past experience is any indication, it would be either naïve or chauvinistic to think otherwise. Therefore, it would be prudent for the democratic forces to devote their energy, effort and resources to the sustainable development of democratic institutions on which the much-vaunted restructuring of the state can be endurably built.

In this context, media and some of the mainstream newspaper organizations in particular, should cease to pay obsequious loyalty to Maoist extremists. The way they have started a sordid tradition - of deifying guerrilla leaders by highlighting with exceptional prominence their venomous interviews on the front page of the broadsheet daily and by printing their photographs on the cover page of a sister weekly – should be urgently stopped. It is better for them to present themselves as some respectful institution dedicated to professional objectives rather than a slavish mouthpiece of a ‘terrorist outfit’. Professional integrity rather than vengeance or ingratiation - should be the guiding force of media.

Maoists need to be strictly ostracized as long as they stick to their guns. If they are sincerely committed to peaceful democratic order marked by broad-based and competitive pluralistic politics, they should act accordingly, including the dismantling of their armed militia before going to the elections for constituent assembly. They should not harbor any illusion that the Nepalese can be hoodwinked mere by their theatrical uttering and statements. The way they are still terrorizing the entire Nepalese society compels one to draw a parallel between them and the Islamic zealots whose sole objective is destruction. Democracy and destruction are two diametrically opposite poles. They cannot coexist. In the meantime, democratic forces should also not forget that Maoists, by refusing, in effect to eschew terror and violence, are not contributing to their solemn endeavor. Rather, they are wittingly or unwittingly engaged in the strengthening of some forces that are still conspiring against the timely will of Nepal and the Nepalese. (05/17/06)

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(*Mr. Lama can be reached at johnlama @ hotmail.com)

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