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Monday June 2, 2008

Maoists & Monarchy

The death of 240 years of monarchy rule in Nepal should come as no surprise. It was in June 2001 that the then-Crown Prince, Dipendra, murdered ten of his close family, causing chaos and uncertainty for the country. His uncle, the current king, Gyanendra, took over the throne and has had a choppy ride ever since. When I was last in Nepal, some ten years ago, the country was hardly stable. Pockets of Maoists were controlling rural areas and near to where I was camped nine local police were brutally murdered in a local village. The Nepalese Maoists are largely younger people who are fed up with their lot. For years the Nepalese Royal Family acted with arrogance and impunity, watching their people sink into the depths of unimaginable poverty while they lived the high life with all the baubles of extreme wealth. I got to meet a few members of the Royal Family whilst in Nepal and although charming and welcoming to me, were quite obviously totally removed and uncaring of the harsh realities of the country. At the time I found their callous attitude and unbridled use of money for their own pleasure quite repellent. Now the people of the country have fought back to bring down this unjust regime. I have no idea whether the Maoists victory will bring about peace and happiness in Nepal. No doubt a new era of strife and hardship and misunderstandings will begin, but at least the people may now have a chance to shape their own country and future, and for that I for one am grateful.

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