King Gyanendra has finally admitted he made a mistake, but he hasn’t said sorry for the past four years.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.
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.
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.