Submitted by Ben Ayers on Wed, 2009-04-22 09:15.
This morning, the United Marxist-Leninist political party - one of the four leading political parties in Nepal -threatened to pull out of the government in reaction to the death of a young member of the party’s youth wing, the curiously named ‘Youth Force.’ The young man was allegedly shot by members of the ruling Maoist party’s youth wing, the ‘Young Communist League’ in the far western district of Rupandehi. The Young Communist League and the Maoists denied any involvement in the incident, and eventually a small radical and ethnic-based militia group the ‘All Terai Liberation Front’ claimed responsibility.
By early this afternoon, the United Marxist-Leninists rescinded their threat, but continued to blame the Maoists for the incident. All of this, just another day in Nepali politics, one of hundreds of such incidents occurring in political and ethnic skirmishes across the country.
These events, it seems to me, are symptoms of a young and confused democracy. Growing pains of a sort that America went through centuries ago, yet they stand in great contrast to the way youth in America and the West seek to create change today. On the other side of the world, Vice President Biden is urging G20 protesters to be patient with the world order, to give the economic recovery a chance. The banners wave and gyrate in response, and I remember my own days of sporting various stickers on my Nalgene bottle, occasionally scratching a few thick markers across signboards and feeling very important while walking around some street or another. I often wonder now about the gulf between these two worlds – the absolute, manic, and fatal passion of young Nepalis and the wholesome shouting of young Americans. How democracy, like youth, begins all fiery and explosive and slowly dilutes with age and assimilation.
Oh, I shouldn’t have gotten going on this. Suffice to say that I hope – against hope – that our world leaders will begin to look towards the world’s poor and voiceless when designing the mechanisms for our future. The economic crisis, of course, will fall heaviest upon those who can bear it least. The macroeconomic policies will favor heavily those who have the most. It seems to me world leaders could do well to take a course in irrigation, taught perhaps by a farmer from anywhere in Nepal – something along the lines of which crops to water first, about how quickly streams can dry up before they reach the roots.