It’s time to face facts: our current government is incapable of doing anything right. It’s nothing against communism but everything against the Maoists. Ever since the ceasefire, I wanted to believe them. When I interviewed them, I listened hard, my ears attuned to every word they said. I listened for inflections, for evasion, for nervous fidgeting. But nothing. All of them looked me in the eye as they spoke, unwavering and stoic, sentence after sentence, passionate and powerful. They spoke of equality, of changes, of hope and a better life. And they almost convinced me, until I realised they were quoting, word for word, almost verbatim from the manifesto.
I voted for the UML in my section. Why? Because they were middle of the road. I’ve always believed in the middle path. Like the Buddha says, everything in moderation. The Maoists were extreme left and the Congress was extreme right. I picked the middle path because they seemed the sanest. They weren’t blinded by ideology and neither were they caught in the tangles of old world politics. But it didn’t matter. The Maoists won overwhelmingly.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as the old adage goes. The Maoists promised like they always do. Changes will come. For the workers, the proletariat, the poor, the disadvantaged. But what happened? The same thing that happens every time. There’s a Nepali saying: jun jogi aye pani kanai chireka.
Baburam Bhattarai is on Facebook. He has over 4000 friends. I don’t know whether it really is him or an elaborate joke. Most of you reading this are probably friends with him too. I wrote on his wall. I asked him very clearly and lucidly why so many of his and Comrade Dahal’s relatives had obtained government jobs. I quoted a recently translated piece on Nepali Times from Drishti which listed all of Bhattarai and Dahal’s family members in the government. I asked: isn’t this feudal? The next day, my post had disappeared. Bhattarai, or whoever is moderating the page, deleted my post.
This is typical of the Maoists. They lie, evade and hide all of their misdeeds. And they think we don’t know. But we know. We just stay silent for the sake of peace. We don’t want another civil war. We don’t want any more dead Nepalis. We don’t want any more blood on our hands. And yet, the Maoists get braver and braver. Himalmedia was trashed a few months back, one of my former editors and senior colleagues beaten up. And this in Kathmandu. Needless to say, there was a huge furore over this. It was Himalmedia, some pretty powerful people. Senior politicians came, smiled for the camera and left. Yet, nothing changed.
If the Maoists are able to do this to Himalmedia, imagine what smaller, marginalised newspaper are facing all over the country? The Tarai is almost inhabitable for journalists. Madhesis and Maoists, both looking for someone to blame, someone to punish. Journalists make an easy target, everyone knows who they are, their job places them in the frontlines; there is no such thing as anonymous journalism. To paraphrase CK Lal: whenever a journalist’s name appears anywhere in an article besides the byline, you know there’s been trouble.
The Maoists are at the forefront of everything wrong with the country. There is no electricity, the economy is in shambles and ethnic violence continues. What is the government doing? Riding around in SUVs, going off on junkets, opening up new positions in government for their family members. And at the slightest bit of criticism, they threaten to quit government and go back to war.
So Mr Dahal and the esteemed leaders of the Maoist party, listen up. You are the government. There is no backing out. You are responsible for the fate of Nepal. And you cannot quit. You’re not children, you can’t throw a hissy fit every time someone criticises you. If George Bush had done that, America would be at war with almost every country in the world. Do you want to be told that even Bush handled things better than you? Do you really want to lower yourself to that level? Take responsibility. Start your work. Draft the constitution and meanwhile, stop recruiting soldiers for your army. It’s not us and them anymore. You are part of us now. We all want the same thing. Do you want another bloody war? Sure, you won’t get killed. You’ll go hide in your little holes and those who die will be poor peasants, farmers and workers, those gullible enough to believe your lies of freedom and prosperity. We won’t take anymore. Be grownups. Act like the leaders you claim to be. Shut up, no one wants to listen to your bullshit and your lies anymore. You’re driving Nepal deeper into the ground. There is no conspiracy against you. Shut up. Please just shut up. We just want to live like people, not like animals.