It was heart-rending to read the sad tale of the Chaudhary family from Bardiya ('937', #351). Let us publicise cases of missing civilians like Bhaban Chaudhary and pressure for them to be addressed. The village of Baidhi of Bardiya is still missing a large number of its young men. These stories of hidden pain must be remembered so the families can have justice.
. Jitman Basnet is a brave and selfless man. Thank you for bringing out his story ('Disappeared, dead or alive', #351). He suffered so much and survived, never buckling under severe torture. And then he found the courage to help fellow inmates and their families when he got out. Now, despite threats, he is continuing his struggle. Let's hope Jitman Basnet and others like him finally get the justice they deserve.
You have done a great service to the families of the disappeared by highlighting their tragedy in your special coverage (#351). The Supreme Court order on 1 June, the same day your issue came out, was perfectly timed to give additional impact. This verdict is a glimmer of hope from the justice system, recognising the plight of the families of the disappeared and the state's responsibility in making their fate known. Unfortunately, as you say in your hard-hitting editorial ('Disappearing truth') Prachanda and Girija are protecting their armies and don't want the truth to come out. The UN's OHCHR sent a report on Bhairabnath to the government last year. Never mind taking action on the recommendations, like setting up an independent investigation, the government never even responded. It may just ignore the Supreme Court order like it has ignored everything before this. But one day, with reports like yours, the complete truth will come out.
. What about the hundreds of army and policemen slaughtered in cold blood by the Maoists? ('How Krishna Sen was killed', From the Nepali Press, #351). Your paper should give equal coverage to such criminal cold-blooded atrocities committed by the Maoists, who do not have the mandate to rule us Nepalis. Fear keeps the media and civilians quiet, lest the monster rear its ugly head again. Only free and fair elections can set us free.
You rightly point to the importance of the half the electorate who are still undecided about which way they will vote in the next election. But this is not unusual, and points to political consicousness of the Nepali people. Political parties better start re-examining their platforms.
In 'Playing with matches' (State of the state, #352) CK Lal's predictions regarding the Maoist threat are utterly convincing, considering the increased activities of the Madhesi Mukti Morcha and the YCL. Lal is among the few intellectuals in Nepal who raised the madhesi issue long before MJF was even formed.
Thank you for printing Daniel Lak's 'Stir it up' (Here and there, #352). It was like a ray of sunshine amid those biased articles that lambaste Nepal's horrible situation. Don't Nepal-bashers realise that they are just feeding the fire? It wouldn't be surprising to find out that that most of the know-it-alls live outside Nepal. We all love Nepal. Let's put all our energies together and push her in the right direction, instead of just skewering the Maoists, the Congress, etc. They are all Nepalis, after all
. As long as my mum doesn't have to stand in line for cooking gas, my father doesn't have to wait seven hours for a little petrol, and my niece doesn't have to watch the news to know whether she can go to school or not, I don't care about politics. I would never vote for these so-called people's leaders and their empty promises unless I see them queuing up with me in queue for water, petrol, and cooking gas.
The Backside piece on the US Embassy in Nepal's travel advisory was excellent ('From socket bombs to whips', #349). Do consider expanding your recommendation to Kaiser Mahal to include not only all Nepalis in, or travelling to the USA, but also all US citizens. Unlike the Maoists, we Americans are in dire need of someone-anyone, whether citizens of our country or not-to talk sense to us on this matter. Thank you for your column, dear Ass. You have turned out to be a worthy replacement to, and of the same calibre as, Kunda Dixit and his Under My Hat. I benefit from and enjoy your writing weekly.