As the US demands war on Iraq it is easy to lose sight of "small wars" around the world. But there is nothing "small" about the civil war in Nepal for those suffering its consequences. Neither is there anything small about the $20 million in emergency military funding to the Nepal government authorized by the US Congress in August 2002, the £6 billion authorized by the British Parliament, or the shipment of 5500 Minimi machine guns scheduled for delivery by Belgium.
The US and Britain have taken the lead in advocating a "two-
pronged" international response to the armed insurgency in Nepal: i) massive funding to security forces renowned for gross human rights violations in order to suppress the insurgency to the point where, ii) the failed development policies of past decades can be retrenched and intensified. This is a recipe for disaster not resolution; a recipe for another interminable civil war that gains occasional brief notice in the Western media while destroying the lives and futures of millions day by day, year by year.
Insurgencies always have a history, though they are frequently reported on as if they do not.
Many who have visited Nepal, or even lived there for extended periods, may also feel that the armed insurgency has appeared out of "nowhere". Nepal's history of peasant uprisings and their often brutal suppression, for example, barely gains mention in standard histories. Links are provided here to materials that give a glimpse into the condition of dalits, ethnic minorities, women, children, bonded laborers and others. There are also links to materials on pressing land and resource issues.
When arms have been taken up against the state tremendous pressure to takes sides ensues. When one side is labeled "terrorist", the space for critical analysis further narrows. But to refuse George Bush's "fer us or agin' us" formula for responding to the world demands just such critical analysis - of the perspectives from which reporting is done and conditions of censorship, of the deep social inequalities in Nepali society, of the policies of multilateral and bilateral development agencies and their consequences, of the international arms trade and its impact upon "small" places like Nepal. Links are provided to begin exploration of these facets of the crisis in Nepal.
Like the "Garden of the Gods" at Pashupatinath, this page remains under construction.