Nepali Times
Here And There
A new day dawnin’


Has the situation always seemed so unsustainable? I'm beyond despair at the state of Nepal and the world. Now I feel optimistic. Strangely, almost inexplicably so. Perhaps it's yet more wishful thinking, but I've been trying to articulate it to myself through the rage, frustration and sheer incomprehension at the state of the world.

The forces unleashed in recent years both here and abroad continue to rampage over blasted landscapes. Maoists and security forces spreading fear and terrorising civilians in this country, various 'coalition' forces cavorting in Iraq and failing to keep the peace in Afghanistan. Mad mullahs still roam freely, dumping videotapes at TV stations and dreaming of the next 9/11. Israel and the Palestinians lurch in all directions save towards sanity.

Movie star governors in California, environmental degradation everywhere, no more fish in the ocean, social programs overturned, rolled back and deliberately bankrupted to make way for the greed-mongering privatisers, a global economic and social consensus based on fairness thrown out without regard for any consequence save instant enrichment of the political-military-economic elite that forms our opinions and dominates our lives.

And yet. And yet. There's a glimmer of something amidst the gloom that those with even a trace of a conscience feel so acutely. The foxes are in charge of the hen house for the moment, yes. But it can't last. We're running low on plunder and perhaps finally, short of patience with pirates. Oh, it will take time, perhaps a generation or two.
But it'll happen. What's coming is a wave of outrage and scorn for the corporate consensus of the past generation. We of the 40 and 50 axis fancied ourselves different from the old right and left, able to compromise, to mix profit with social justice, to find a Third Way that lead to equity and prosperity. In the 1990s, we enthused about Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Helmut Schroeder and others. Now we're stuck with President Bush and I for one, am glad. Because you know where he stands, how he acts. And you also know that his side is soon going to lose the battle.

Around the world, demographics are shifting gradually and inexorably. In America, Michael Moore's 'Stupid White Men' still predominate. But they're losing ground rapidly. The United States in 50 years will be much less white, much more multicultural, multilingual and still, yes, the economic engine of the world. Its entrepreneurs will be from Haiti, Latin America, Nepal and Sub-Saharan Africa. The political mainstream will be left of centre, caring, cosmopolitan and sympathetic to

international thinking. It's inevitable. And it is being driven ever quicker in that direction by the long, drawn death throes of the white right, which knows full well that its days are numbered. That's why they're desperately shrill about everything from gay marriage to arms control.

Oh, there'll be a cost, a big one. Petroleum products will be consumed at a ferocious rate as big oil takes its last chance to cash in. Environmental and social legislation around the world will be gutted as swashbuckling dinosaur corporations take their fin d'siecle opportunity to ramp up their profitability before the backlash. Forests will come down, wetlands will be drained and air will become unbreathable. Big Western drug companies will make a fortune from treating the imagined agonies of the

rich, while ignoring the poor. But watch out. What's coming isn't a revolution-apologies to comrades everywhere-but an explosion of the sort of thinking that informed the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights, an intolerance for the hypocrisies and crap conservatism of the past; a new dawn for diversity, racial harmony and inter-community teamwork that both enriches us all and improves the world.

Or so it seems to me in my more fanciful moments.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)