Quite fortunately, very few people have ever heard of La Perrière in France. Amongst these happy few: a handful of my relatives and friends, Google Earth explorers, and my tax collector. After serving in Nepal as the French ambassador, this is my retirement hideaway in the deep of the countryside of western France.
Our most recent visitor from Nepal was the musical group 'Sukarma', with Dhrubesh Regmi, Shyam Nepali and Pramod Upadhyaya who held a private and delightful concert in my former farm attic. The next day, they performed in Vibraye, a nearby town that has restored its abandoned railway station warehouse into a modern theater. It was a magnificent event and a great success.
Nepal's cultural ambassadors reminded us Nepalophiles in France that the country still exists despite the imaginative wrongdoings and stubbornness of its politicians, that it hasn't fallen into pieces. Sukarma is shining proof that Nepali culture still thrives amidst an environment that might threaten its very survival. And I was also glad to see that the financial and economic crisis that shakes Europe has left enough money in the pocket of my local fellow citizens for them to buy tickets and enjoy music previously unknown to their ears.
Culture helps us bear hardship. The musicians from Nepal reminded us with their soft tunes that life isn't only about having water flow from our taps and electricity without load-shedding.
Now that Nepalis are considering adopting a French-style constitution, it may bear reminding that our politicians are duly trained in writing a new constitution in a few days. And France is in the throes of picking a new president out of a mob of candidates each more appalling than the others. Sukarma helped us forget at least for a short while that elections are next year.
Our two countries are not in good shape. I miss Nepal. I wish it influences the curse of events in France. Thanks to the Nepali brand of federalism, I could yell loud enough to obtain self-government for La Perrière, forget about Sarkozy and Strauss-Kahn, and welcome tax-free all my friends from Nepal. Vive le Népal.
Michel Jolivet served as Ambassador of France to Nepal from 2004 to 2007