Nepali Times
PRAVIN RANA
Nepalipan
When you’re a poor country


PRAVIN RANA


So the World Bank has decided to suspend aid to oppose the February First move and bring the 'bad guys' to their knees. International human rights groups, in a joint draft report, suggest suspending all aid to Nepal. Items include toothbrushes, soap, Vitamin A, Pan Parag, pani puris, along with all military supplies. The Pan Parag ban is really going to hurt. For some odd reason, the report doesn't suggest banning Belgian chocolates, truffles, foie gras, beer or any kind of fricassee.

Hey, when you're one of the poorest countries, you get to be the guinea pig.

When you're a poor country you get to have countries like the United States tell India "Hey fellas, here's a good opportunity for you to take the lead. I know you're trying to get into the Security Council so why not use this as a tune-up opportunity."

(Based on a secret poll by Wolfensohn and Associates, 50 percent of the World Bank staff thought poverty meant flying Business Class instead of First. The remaining 50 percent thought subsidised food in the World Bank Cafeteria was one of the most successful poverty reduction moves by the Bank in the last 50 years.)

When you're one of the poorest countries, even Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice tell you to use the Gandhian approach to fight terrorists.

When you're one of the poorest countries, you don't get to have the Patriot Act - you get the Vitamin A Act.
When you're a poor country, you don't get to send terrorists to Guantanamo, you put garlands on them and hope they leave you alone.

When you're a poor country, all terrorists are called 'Maoist&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;', 'Insurgent&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#̵'216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;', 'Revolutionaries' or 'JNU Gold Medalists'.

Hey, I kid because I love.

But seriously, this might be a great opportunity for Nepal to begin shaking that foreign aid syndrome. My grades in school started improving only after my Dad said he was going to stop paying tuition. (Ok, they went from failing to just barely passing but lets not get caught up in details here.) It's a simplistic paradigm but people can get very creative when there are limited options.

Take the great Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding Fathers of the Oldest Democracy. He started out as a printer but he was also an athlete, inventor, writer, statesman, diplomat and a ladies' man (our politicians have that one covered) yet always humble. Even at the pinnacle of his career he continued to introduce himself to others as a printer. (Note to all political handlers in Nepal: please make Ben Franklin required reading for everyone in the political class.).

Ben Franklin found the notion of a government without arms a very peculiar notion. Surrounded by pacifist Quakers (kind of like some 'intellectuals' in Nepal) in Pennsylvania in the mid-18th century, he used, get this - a lottery as a 'work-around' to purchase arms.

Now I am not suggesting that there's anyone currently in the political class in Nepal that can match the intellectual firepower of Ben Franklin. But we know how to do this lottery/gambling thing. Or how about a tax on the national card game of Marriage, Cabin Restaurants or Massage Parlours? All we have to lose is our dependence on aid.

When you're a poor country, you have to put up with columnists like me.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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