Although it was really good to be able to come home for Dasain, even briefly, much of what is happening amazed me.
The political factions spout democracy slogans while making decisions crucial to Nepal's future without the mandate of the Nepali people. Was the so-called 'rhododendron revolution' the only mandate needed? It had some genuine participants, no doubt, but who would deny that many rent-or force-a-crowd participants were 'encouraged' by the Maoists? Is the widespread extortion at gunpoint democracy or thuggery?
At any given time in a nation, political party members make up a minority, significant only in the votes each brings to the table. These people have brought no votes in almost a decade, yet they are passing laws, making policies, talking of turning the whole structure of the nation on its head, replacing a constitutional/ceremonial monarchy. Replace with what, I'd like to ask. A presidency that will rip the people off even more, rebuilding expensive institutions and, as history shows, lead to more dictatorships and corrupt practices?
Political cadres have robbed the majority of a voice, through guns and by paying off newspapers to bleat on about the same old stories. Expat organisations carry more clout through their money than the people of Nepal, and they love wielding it despite having little knowledge of what they're doing. That's true globalisation, when people who don't even have a vote and have not been voted for make all the decisions for a silent majority, cowed by force and money.
Now, the job of the interim government is to prepare the country for general elections. If the Maoists want to be a political party, they can put down their guns and campaign. People will accept them if they do it democratically. There should be no short cuts, no daft talk of dismantling the Nepal Army. Haven't they seen what happens elsewhere when civilians try to disband armies?
Terrible blunders have been made and it's now time for reconciliation in the style established by Desmond Tutu, not through reprisals and witchhunts. The SPA-Maoist talks give no cause for celebration so far.