Manjushree Thapa's comments ('Educating foreigners', #186) are right on. I have visited Nepal a number of times and daresay I know a bit more about Nepal's history than most visitors, at the same time I know my actual knowledge of Nepal's history is woefully lacking. She is right, too, that a country in the fierce process of defining itself presents a chaotic face to the world.
. Manjushree's Guest Column was right on the button, at least it pushed one of mine. Now, she needs to write a counter-balancing article about traditional government antipathy to 'long-stay' foreigners in both the development and human service sectors. As I reflect on much of the 'aid' and 'assistance' that deluged the country in the early nineties, I wonder whether too much of it was 'invested' in the wrong places. What help was there for 'the people' to understand the true nature of the new constitution? In what way were the political parties encouraged to embrace the challenge to a new era of democratic internal organization, and discard globally discredited forms imported from 'south of the border'? Perhaps most importantly, what assistance was there for the indigenous, internationally-informed 'Fifth Estate' to translate the opportunities and responsibilities of parliamentary democracy in ways educative to both people and parties? May the Nepali people and Nepali organizations long have rights to the insight of Nepal-aligned and locally-informed foreigners. Such persons may contribute best to locally-appropriate solutions by warning about 'broken wheels'.