Saturday, April 22, 2006

Nepal: One Step Forward, Long Live Democracy!

KUNDA DIXIT, editor of the Nepali Times, has the big story coming out of Nepal today: One Step Forward: The Absolute Monarchy Is Dead. Long Live Democracy. (with video and translation of the King's speech saying he will be handing power over to the pro-democracy alliance opposing his regime)
King Gyanendra has finally admitted he made a mistake, but he hasn’t said sorry for the past four years.

But coming from such an obstinate monarch who has been so determined to wrest power, it must have taken quite an effort to say what he did. It has been four wasted years, years in which Nepalis slid deeper into misery and hardship. But better late than never.

In his much-anticipated Friday evening address to a curfew-bound capital and a nation in turmoil, the king finally admitted what we have known all along: that sovereignty resides with the people.

This was a key philosophical concession, and he followed it up with an offer to the seven parties to propose a name for a prime minister. This may be just enough to rescue the country from the jaws of anarchy for now.

But because the king yielded only after his back was to the wall, the obvious question now is whether a people who have regained sovereignty will accept his offer. In the past three weeks, people Power II was already turning from a pro-democracy movement to a pro-republican one.
By the most amazing of circumstances, the very same Kunda Dixit, was here with us in Manila during the just-concluded Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference sponsored by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance. The conference proceedings are posted at this website.

At around 5pm this afternoon, I was watching Kunda Dixit anxiously monitoring events in Nepal on the Internet and chatting casually with him about the situation in Nepal. I saw for the first time a printed issue of the Nepali Times, the newspaper he edits. He was even showing me an innovation they have there of a "soft copy" edition, when circumstances, such as the earlier crackdown in Kathmandu, don't permit an actual printed edition. Mr. Dixit is a soft-spoken person, but you must read his piece above to get glimpse as I did of the intense struggle to re-establish Nepalese democracy after the death of the previous king in a massacre several years ago involving his own son. The present Nepalese king is the brother of that previous ruler, who was apparently well-loved in that he governed as constitutional monarch, whereas the present King Gyanendra abolished the Parliament, and made himself an absolute ruler.

ABSCBN News also has coverage of tonight's events.

I am happy for Kunda Dixit and the Nepalese people. Though as he points out, there is still much uncertainty, I raise a cry of celebration.

Long live Democracy in Nepal!

Including news from Mount Everest, Nepal....
***

FILIPINOS ON MOUNT EVEREST Kunda Dixit was quite familiar with the websites that specialize in live blogging events on Mount Everest, where, as I was relating to him, two groups of Filipinos are hoping to summit the world's tallest mountain either this year or next year. Here is the Latest News from Everest 2006

April 21, 2006 - Deaths in the Icefall
posted by Alan Arnette on Apr 21, 2006 @ 07:56:24 am
Sherpas were killed in the Icefall early Friday morning. Apparently some of the huge free standing ice "fins" collapsed. IMG read more

Sad news from Everest
posted by Joost Schreve on Apr 21, 2006 @ 11:13:19 am
Tonight, sad news comes from IMG on the Everest South side: IMG expedition leader Mark Tucker reports that a big read more

Cold and snowy, Hot and clear
posted by Alan Arnette on Apr 20, 2006 @ 09:04:34 am
All dressed up with nowhere to go! That describes the climbers on Everest these days. After a few days of read more

April 19, 2006 - Snow!
posted by Alan Arnette on Apr 19, 2006 @ 08:33:46 am
Will 2006 be a repeat of 2005? Last year the weather was so bad that climbers had the latest read more

While we were surfing these Everest sites this afternoon, no one could've known of the sudden turn-around of events that would transpire a few hours later in Nepal, with the king indeed bowing to the apparent will of the people. I hope this is also good sign for the Philippines -- in all the mountaineering it must do to climb out of its own anti-democractic pit.

But even on Mt. Everest, the news was about the restoration of democracy to Nepal.

6 comments:

HILLBLOGGER said...

Right on Dean! Let's raise a glass of champagne - a toast to the people of Nepal!

I've been dreaming of visiting Nepal and have postponed plans in the past to go visit this mythic Kingdom. Perhaps, I can now unfurl my plans - heheh!. Another diminutive country I want to visit in the region is Bhutan (oops, am not too sure of the spelling anymore).

VIVE LE NEPAL LIBRE!

Rizalist said...

It's amazing how this just happened. Kunda is clearly overjoyed. And if you read his piece at the Nepali Times, they call this event "People Power II"!

HILLBLOGGER said...

Re: "... the Nepali Times, they call this event "People Power II"!"

I'm not surprised. Those Nepalese are brave! Boy, they deserve democracy.

On the subject of democracy and monarchy, allow me to raise a toast to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II who is celebrating her 80th birthday today.

Here's to the monarch who happens to be a fierce and strong but extremely gracious proponent of democracy in the world today...To Her Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the British Commonwealth - hip, hip hourrah!

Juan said...

Strike 1: The Thais kicked out PM Thaksin.
Strike 2: The Nepalese booted out King Gyanendra.
Strike 3: The Filipinos .....???!!!???!!! Pres Gloria Arroyo.

"Let's raise a glass of lambanog - a toast to the people of Philippines!"

"The Manila Times call these People Power 4"

"VIVE LE FILIPINAS LIBRE!"

HILLBLOGGER said...

Juan Makabayan,

Allow me to join you with my own glass of lambanog...

Here's a toast to those Filipinos who possess physical and moral courage to topple the bogus president...

VIVE LA REPUBLIQUE DES PHILIPPINES LIBRE!

A BAS SON PRESIDENT NAIN!

(ooops..hic... hic... hic...)

Rizalist said...

This is a post from a reader in

RUMMEL PINERA said...

I believe Nepal is a member-country of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The stable democracies of the British Commonwealth of Nations, particularly Britain and Israel, should call upon King Gyrendera of Nepal to give way to democracy. That means King Gyrendera should bring back democratic representation in Nepal. But it would be much, much better if King Gyrendera would be called upon by the stable democracies of the world to just simply abolish the monarchial system in Nepal, so that Nepal would become a stable republic. It would be better if the “neo-cons” in the U.S. can add their voices to the international call for King Gyrenera to give way to democracy in Nepal. Let Nepal become a democracy! Let there be a peaceful and lawful process of democratization in Nepal!

The Filipino progressives should call upon every Nepalese or Indian embassy throughout the world to inform the current king of Nepal that it’s time for him to give way to democracy in Nepal. The king of Nepal would become truly heroic if he will just abdicate from his throne and allow Nepal to become a real democratic republic. The wise citizens of this planet should give full support, whether financial or moral support, to the Nepalese people’s peaceful and legal struggle to democratize Nepal.

The liberals of the world must think now if monarchism, even the limited one, is still suitable to our current world. My stand on this issue is that all monarchies in the world should be peacefully and legally abolished. That’s political abrogationism. Political abrogationism is simply the advocacy of
peaceful and legal abolition of all dictatorships, monarchial reigns
and despotic regimes all over the world. Such advocacy also preaches
that every country, every social organization and every culture in
our world should embrace real and moral democracy through peaceful
and legal means. I have established a “study circle” for the purpose
of promoting this cause here in our country. The study circle is called
the League of Political Abrogationes. We have a web page wherein
you can study the basic ideals of political abrogationism. Just type the word “political abrogationism” inside any available internet search box that is in front of you. Or you can simply type this and click: http://www.geocities.com/esabon/POLITICAL_ABROGATIONERS.html .
I really hope that you can find time to read the basic ideals of
political abrogationism. I know that you are a nice intellectual
who can help us in how to gain adherents for our cause. The cause of
political abrogationism should become an international one. Please help
us in gaining international support for our cause. This
socio-political cause is open to both conservatives and liberals.
Namaste! I wish all of you here at this forum the real happiness in
this world.

Sincerely,

Rummel Pinera