Nepali Times
Tearing ourselves apart

if all that is transpiring around us wasn't so serious, we would have fallen off our chairs laughing at just how daft we have shown ourselves to be of late. The establishment has a care-a-hang attitude, the civil service couldn't be bothered, the private sector hasn't shown itself able to overcome its own greed and the revolutionaries don't seem to mind they are on a path to self-destruction.

If everything was going well and the country was steaming full-speed ahead to a bright future, this complacency would have been excusable. But at a time of multiple crises when salvation lies in pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, this fatalism isn't just idiotic- it shows a lemming-like suicide instinct.

When it comes to bargaining and compromise, Nepalis can't even show enlightened self-interest, we excel in shooting ourselves in the foot. In fact, we excel in not learning from mistakenly shooting our toes off and proceed to shoot ourselves in the foot again and again.

The name of the game these days seems to be: everyone for himself. So, petroleum dealers, domestic airlines, transport unions, two-stroke three-wheeler owners, teachers, students, everyone is striking for something or other. Strike and you shall receive, is their credo. There can be no better time than now to bring things to a standstill and gain concessions from a government that is on its knees.

Gas stations shut down for four days and the government gives in by allowing them another six months to keep on mixing kerosene with diesel and petrol. Domestic airlines are told to get rid of decrepit ramp buses that look like vintages from the Old Bus Park, so they stop all flights for two days causing enormous losses to themselves. CAAN, which has quite a few stinky skeletons rattling in its own closet, buckles and allows the buses to stay in an apron. Now, transporters are due to stop all buses and trucks to protest an agreement for Indian and Nepali transporters better access across the border.

The Maoist revolutionary students, in what they think is a show of strength, decide to go ahead with their on-again-off-again five-day shutdown. When it looked like the people were fed up and were not going to go along with forced closure, the comrades in an act of extreme bravery blew up a Safa Tempo. Once again, it is the shopkeepers, the tea shop owners, the daily wage earners, the school children who suffered. Children are punished again for the inability of adults to get along, penalised for someone else's greed and lack of foresight.

The choice is up to us citizens: take all this lying down and stay home, or go out into the streets in whatever wheels we like, open shops, take our destiny in our own hands and together muster the courage to overcome fear.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)