Nepali Times
War and Peace

First it was the EU representative, then it was the UN bosses in Nepal, followed by the German ambassador, and now we have the envoy from the Court of St James ('Interview', #171) joining the Euro chorus demanding democracy, human rights, ceasefire and peace. It should not be that hard to see that it is not the Nepali government which is obstructing the exercise of democracy and human rights in Nepal: it is Maoist terror.

The Maoists have slaughtered thousands of people in the most gruesome manner for their beliefs, thousands of people have been abducted and tortured, hundreds of thousands have been extorted and robbed, just as many have been forced to flee their homes and those unable to leave are cowering under Maoist terror outside Kathmandu city limits. It is the Maoists who systematically destroyed the VDCs and DDCs. They made it impossible for political leaders to visit their constituencies and it is the Maoists who are preventing the holding of democratic elections. And in the areas that they control, the Maoists don't allow free press, civil society or human rights-they rule by instilling fear. However, none of the self-serving votaries of democracy and human rights have ever felt it necessary to censure the Maoists in clear and unambiguous terms for their deeds. If it is their policy to treat the Maoist rebellion and the government's measure to contain it as moral equivalents, shouldn't the Europeans at least call on the rebels to lay down their arms even as they threaten, harangue and demoralise the government? Should or should not the Nepali government seek to defeat the Maoists so that killings can stop, democratic elections can be held, and people can live without fear and exercise their fundamental rights to life and liberty?

On the one hand Bloomfield says, "Maoists must not be allowed to win through violent means" and in the same breath adds, "The cost of trying to achieve a military victory or even forcing the Maoists back to the negotiating table" as inadvisable. The UK emissary goes on to make a grandiose claim: "We are attached to the observation of human rights and the British are knowledgeable about how wars of this nature can be successfully won...we do have a lot of experience around the world." In the process of creating the empire where the sun never set, the British sure learnt a lot about fighting and winning. But to imply that those conquests were somehow for the love of human rights is rather preposterous. Hopefully the people in Ireland will not read this.

As far as military operations in a complex guerrilla war go, the Royal Nepali Army has done a commendable job in respecting the rights of non-combatants. Although there have been thousands of civilian casualties (some of that very wilful) in Iraq and Afghanistan, none of the British, American or any European soldiers have been brought to justice. The Royal Nepali Army, on the other hand, has taken legal action against a number of officers and soldiers for their misconduct against civilians. Perhaps the European emissaries ought to try their human rights prescriptions on their own and the US military before they try peddling it in Nepal.

Jack Shaw,
by email

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)