Sunday, March 18, 2012

Children Of War Learn To Cope With Peace

Let’s willfully suspend our disbelief for a moment and accept that Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal really did not know their daughter and son, respectively, were to become beneficiaries of the government led by their party.
Still, Manushi Bhattarai and Prakash Dahal would have been able to gauge the scale of discomfiture they were inflicting on the two leaders.
Manushi, in particular, could not have been unaware of the ‘family factor’ behind the precipitous decline in the image of her father ever since that Mustang ride went south. Could it not really have occurred to her that our distraught premier could not afford another controversy so close to home?
An elected student union leader at the Tribhuvan University (TU), Manushi told an Indian newspaper: “The international cricket stadium is within the university premises, and there are often negotiations between students and cricket authorities. The TU was also recognized as a separate team in the national games. I had been nominated in that capacity.”
Just from the tone of that clarification, it’s clear that Manushi’s refusal to take up the position in the Cricket Association of Nepal offers little mitigation to the circumstance.
Prakash Dahal has already mortified his father far too much to plead ignorance of the implications of the latest bout of influence peddling. Of course, the money the government planned to spend on the Everest expedition was an investment in a national team. But Prime Minister Bhattarai’s spokesman Ramrijan Yadav still chose to press the obvious. “This is not the first time the government provided such financial support to those aiming to scale the world's highest peak. The money is not provided just because there is the son of the party chairman, it is provided to a team."
Yadav raises another vital question. Would the government have made such a hefty investment had the Maoist chairman’s son not been part of it? In his quest to appear magnanimous, Prakash subsequently rejected the government’s $25,000, asking it instead to spend it on conflict victims. The conflict of interest was so palpable that the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML, no strangers to influence peddling, decried the move as a manifestation of an administration run amok.
The larger issue relates to the progressive degeneration of the Maoists into just another party. Every threat of state capture or renewed revolt becomes hollow diversionary tactic. Whether the ex-rebels’ internal rivalries are real or contrived becomes less relevant to the nation.
As new entrants to the community of one percenters – as measured by both power and pelf – the Maoists’ children are entitled to their share of the good life. They could be less ostentatious in their assertion of a sense of entitlement.
Just imagine how many offspring of today’s fringe leaders may be pushing their folks to bypass regular political organization for unconventional yet proven recipes for preponderance?