Thursday, June 15, 2006

Look Who’s Talking!

A day after Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala emphasized the urgency of retaining a ceremonial monarchy in the interest of peace and stability in Nepal, Maoist supremo Prachanda issued an ultimatum to King Gyanendra: abdicate or face execution.
The agenda of the much-hyped Koirala-Prachanda summit has been set. The direction of Nepalese politics certainly has not.
In an interview with Reuters, Prachanda sounded confident that the Nepalese people would vote in favor of a democratic republic. He hastened to add that Orwellian tag: “[B]ut we are ready to follow any result.”
Accept a popular verdict in favor of a ceremonial monarchy after the king has already abdicated or, worse, has been executed? Or does Comrade Awesome intend to crown himself at Nasal Chowk after working out a propitious date?
The arguments Prachanda advances in opposing the monarchy are pitiable, especially considering his proud claim during the interview that the Maoists had their own army of legal eagles.
“So-called King Gyanendra and his son Paras are goons and smugglers,” Prachanda began. Now look who’s talking. The more than 13,000 deaths in the last 10 years can be directly attributed to Prachanda’s folly. Since the state only responded to the Maoists’ first strike, these deaths could have been avoided had Prachanda stuck with horticulture.
As for the crown prince, don’t we want to check the blood alcohol levels of the singer he ran over to make sure it wasn’t a hit-and-run case? And the smuggling charges, well, everyone raises it when convenient but no one seems to be able to prove them. On the other hand, the billions in development infrastructure the marauding rebels have laid waste to over the last 10 years can be detailed with reasonable accuracy by someone like, say, the architect in Dr. Baburam Bhattarai.
If probity were at such a premium for our comrade, he certainly wouldn’t have rebuffed Sher Bahadur Deuba’s multiparty government, demanding direct talks with King Gyanendra.
If the implication is that the current monarch and crown prince were somehow complicit in the royal palace massacre, didn’t Prachanda already forfeit his claim to the moral high ground by holding talks twice with His Majesty’s Government, the second time bypassing the political parties?
If Prachanda is referring to the 19 deaths resulting from the royal regime’s crackdown on the protesters, then let’s not forget the 38 lives lost when the Maoists blew up that bus in Chitwan last year. Did they receive the “fair trial” Prachanda touted in the interview? At least the protesters knew they were violating curfew orders.
Then Prachanda turns asinine. “Their (King Gyanendra and Crown Prince Paras) blood is criminal blood, and they will not accept a ceremonial role. They will seek some sort of conspiracy.”
Pardon me, Comrade, but doesn’t that argument say more about you and your newfound SPA allies than about the king and his son?