I appreciate the idea of including Maoists in development (Involve Maoists in development? #162) although I doubt its practical feasibility in terms of implementation. Theoretically, the logic is noble. It tries to address the politics of exclusion at the grassroots level, lets stakeholders feel part of the development process and makes the benefit of development accessible to everyone, irrespective of their political belief. The main question, however, is how this going to happen? Unless the Maoists are brought into the political mainstream at the national level, it is almost impossible to imagine that they would agree to work together with the government or other people who belong to political parties at the local level. So if we really worry about delivering the fruits of development to everyone, we should concentrate on first solving the Maoist crisis.
. I am aghast at the naivety shown by foreign donors in Nepal. How on earth is the government going to involve the Maoists in development, when the Maoists have said that they don't want to be involved? In the Maoist 'base areas' we have seen that development is the least of their priorities. Their priorities are extortion, forced recruitment of child soldiers and killing or driving out anyone who does not believe in their ideology. Nepal's donors need to dump their romantic notions of a revolution and try to help the government address the security problem so that peace can be restored and development restarted.
. Navin Singh Khadka describes the resistance of the government and the Maoists to several of Nepal's donor agencies' proposals to restart development projects in Maoist stronghold areas. The resistance of the government exemplifies its military-based formula for national-security: a top-down approach. What the donor agencies are proposing is a bottom-up approach to establishing security and peace in Nepal that looks beyond traditional security definitions.
In Nepal and many other nation-states, military-centered conceptions of national-security predominate. Typically when the stability of a state falters, even from internal threats, the state-military's role is to 'secure' the nation through an exercise of power. Currently in Nepal, curfews, checkpoints and 'armed encounters' are some of the manifestations of security measures. However, for the people of Nepal, disease, hunger and poverty prevail as causes of destabilisation and insecurity. In addition, children raised in a culture of violence and the dissolution of family structures because of migration, displacement and the loss of family members are emerging threats to human security.
Seeking security from a traditional military-centered approach begs the question, security for whom? The proposition of various donor agencies to resume development projects in the Maoist controlled regions with the involvement of Maoists is progressive to say the least, and precisely what is needed. The insecurity of the people of Nepal can not be understood by the same military-centric approach that is floating over society at present. Individuals fit into the broader structures of war and violence differently to governments and the ruling elite. What is military action against internal unrest except a method of stabilising state structures and protecting the positions of the ruling elite? It does little for the faltering human condition.
At the same time, perhaps the Maoists should consider expanding their mode of revolution, as they too have appeared non-supportive of the donor agencies' proposal. The suggestion here is not that the traditional military-based mode of security is unnecessary but that it is not sufficient to deal with conflicts that stem from identity politics and economic deprivation. Since the violence has grown from the ground-up, wouldn't it make more sense to address it in the same manner?