Addressing the 13th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit in Dhaka on Nov. 12 and without mincing words, King Gyanedra of Nepal warned the region and the international community of the “double standards and the selective approach that is assuming a dangerous character, rather than terrorism itself.”
At a time when the South Asian region, one way or the other, is in the grip of terrorism, the King emphasized that terrorism knows no geographical boundary, and as such terrorism in Nepal is certain to affect the whole region.
Furthermore, His Majesty voiced Nepal’s condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations committed by whomever, whatsoever and for whatever reasons and expected a similar attitude on the part of the international community.
Just a week ahead of the regional summit, the US warning to the political parties that their emerging potential alliance with the terrorists here is not acceptable to the world’s only super power, sent cold chills down the spines of the political leaders and their blind supporters.
The warning, while exerting a knee-jerk halt on the path of such an unholy alliance, also created enough steam to invite the fire brigade. As such, the very next day, political leaders were working overtime to send out a barrage of statements explaining that dialogue, not alliance with the Maoists, was the parties’ aim. In actual reality, the parties had already travelled the road to building an alliance with the Maoists, hence the US warning.
Two important issues emerge out of the King’s hard hitting address on terrorism at the just concluded regional meet and the US warning to the parties of hob-knobbing with the terrorists.
The perception was that the announcement by the Maoists of a three-month ceasefire made Nepal’s terrorist card lose steam and the non-reciprocal gesture by the government was, in fact, hurting the possibility for peace.
These myths presented by the political parties rather ran out of steam when the US warning explicitly pointed out that despite declaring a three-month ceasefire in September, the Maoists have done nothing to indicate that they are prepared to abandon violence in the long term. Abductions and extortion continue unabated. As such, a reciprocal gesture by the state would have proved wrong.
The second point being that at this moment, the seven party alliance is not yet able to produce a national roadmap for stability, security and peace. And this is due to the fact that instead of sincerely pursuing a national agenda, political leaders are busy working overtime to promote their petty causes by quickly grabbing power and letting the common people suffer through bandhs, organizing street protests and now satyagraha.
Satygraha is born out of truth, love, duties and is packaged with the history of sacrifice and suffering, and, hence, it is action of the most disciplined nature. That means if one has performed one’s duties sincerely, then one may endeavour to be a satyagrahi.
One may ask if any of our political leaders fits this bill. Let the people be the final judge of this issue. Interestingly, the public have been rather disenchanted by such stunts of the political parties and proved them to be full of sound and fury signifying nothing.
The King’s “no guts no glory” address at the regional body on the threats of terrorism to this region, in particular, and the world at large should bring home the sense that in handling terrorism, there must not ever be any double standards by anybody and especially by the US-UK-India troika in Nepal’s case. There is no small or big terrorism. Terrorism is terrorism, said the King and this menace must be sincerely, swiftly and severely dealt with by all.
Finally, the King’s address and his direct meetings with the Heads of States or Governments attending the SAARC Summit has provided a better understanding and the ground realities facing Nepal that necessitated the Feb 1st Royal move. The move, in fact, is to protect the onslaught on democracy from the thoroughly incompetent political leaders and the threats of terrorism and not at the cost of democracy.
By Subarna Chhetri