We've witnessed the birth of a democracy in Iraq last week. It's been touted by the Bush administration as an overwhelming successs. A better turn out to the polls (percentage-wise) then we have in North America. Funny that nobody is reporting who they voted for. We do know they were voting for policies, not personalities. According to my man in Iraq, http://dahrjamailiraq.com/, they seemed to have favoured a quick exit of American troops, that being the number one issue for Iraqi citizens, no matter if they were Shiite, Sunni, or whatever.
But then we have the strange case of Nepal where we've witnessed the swift end of a democracy on the very same day, Jan 31, 2005. The King of Nepal has let the entire government of Nepal go. "You're fired!"
Let's back up with a brief history as I understand it from doing some reading on Friday night. (Oh my Friday nights are fun) Nepal gained full independence in 1768, predating even USA's independence by 8 years. It was a full monarchy until 1990 when it became a constitutional monarchy, simalar to Canada, Netherlands and Spain, etc. A royal figurehead must have retained alot more power in their democratic government then most, but that's my speculation. The last general election was held in 1999 and was to last a 6year term.
The history gets real interesting on June 1rst, 2001. That's when the Crown Prince went postal. "King BIRENDRA Bir Bikram Shah Dev died in a bloody shooting at the royal palace that also claimed the lives of most of the royal family; King BIRENDRA's son, Crown Price DIPENDRA, is believed to have been responsible for the shootings before fatally wounding himself; immediately following the shootings and while still clinging to life, DIPENDRA was crowned king; he died three days later and was succeeded by his uncle."-from the CIA sourcebook.
In all there were ten left dead from that incident. And to add salt to the wound, the incident is open to speculation, there isn't conclusive evidence or proof it all went down as reported. There are some rhumour that the Maoist party was somehow responsible. Still, the generally accepted story is that there was to be a family meeting in the palace, when the Crown Prince entered from an adjacent room branishing a shotgun and began firing at everyone before finally turning the weapon on himself.
King GYANENDRA Bir Bikram Shah dissolved the Parliment May 22, 2002 due to incompetence and an ongoing insurgancy organized by Maoist rebels. A multi-party (minority) government was reinstated in June 2004 to ease the process of holding elections in May 2005. But it's not quite May yet.
So what happened this week in Nepal? Well, on January 31 nearly all communication has been cut. Celphones are not getting a signal, neither are landlines. All TV went out except for Nepali One, the government channel. Flights had been canceled. http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=116493 There has been some reports of gun battles http://www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=3285 and for a 2nd time the King has dissolved the government http://www.dawn.com/2005/02/02/top16.htm
Nepal is rather issolated, with the Himalayas throughout, but in the lowlands there are thick jungles. China is along the northern border, India along the south. Bhutan shares a simalar geography/climate and is just to the east. Being so issolated has been both a blessing and a curse. Stability in the region is needed for the greater safty of all it's neighbours. The underreporting of this current conflict has been purposful and our media has been complicent in helping that cause. Now I've done my part getting the word out.