Re: [justpeaceinasia] Nepal trip report
- Hi Max:Sorry sir, really got busy with tons of things at the local level. I would write to you in detail once I get a little free from the present busy schedules.With warm regardsGoldy
max ediger <maxediger@...> wrote:
Visit to Nepal
September 12 18, 2005
Prepared by max ediger
I made this trip to Nepal in order to meet with groups working on justpeace from an interfaith perspective. The trip was facilitated by Mr. Dhruba Maharjan of SPACE (Society for Participatory Cultural Education), Mr. Bal Krishna Maharjan of the United Mission to Nepal , and Walton and Ruth McCaslin working with the Mennonite Central Committee in Nepal . Special thanks to the McCaslins for allowing me to live with them during this brief visit.
These friends arranged a variety of excellent meetings which allowed me to begin learning about the situation in Nepal and what various organizations are doing. These were exceptional contacts and there was much interest among them to build on this initial exchange.
I will report here several things which came out of these meetings.
- I was able to meet with a variety of people closely following the on-going conflict within the country including an editor of an opposition magazine, people working in Maoist areas and several people who have assisted as mediators in talks between the military, the democratic political parties and the Maoists. While there was some hope that the conflict might be resolved peacefully, most expressed fear that a bloodbath could be in the near future of the country.
The hope comes from the fact that the democratic parties and the Maoists have been slowly forming a common agenda for peace. The Maoists have now announced a three-month ceasefire and have called for negotiations. They have expressed willingness to compromise on several key issues. The fear for the future exists because the king, who controls the military but seems to have little support from anyone else, has not shown any interest in negotiating. Some say his stubbornness comes because he is supported by the US and because he recently received a shipment of arms from China with a billion plus Rupee value. The Maoists have been labeled as terrorists by the king and the US is adamant that they will not support any negotiations with terrorists. Many people I talked with can not understand why the Maoists have been labeled as terrorists. They say that at least 80% of the people killed have been killed by the military and not the Maoists. They see the US as standing in the way of potential peace in the country.
Before I left Nepal , several prominent people told me that they fear the country will face a terrible war if the king does not agree to negotiate. The bloodbath, they say, will be terrible and retribution will be taken against those that both sides claim have been betrayers including possibly those working for peace and justice.
It is in this context that groups throughout Nepal are finding creative and courageous ways to work for peace.
- On Tuesday the 12th I was invited to attend a meeting and press conference organized by the Inter-Religious Committee Nepal . Dr. K.B. Rokaya of the National Council of Churches Nepal has formed a human rights advocacy organization called Christian Efforts for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation (CEPJAR). As part of his strategy for peace work he has convened religious leaders from various faiths in a forum called the Inter-Religious Committee Nepal . At least 8 religions participate in this forum.
The meeting on the 12th was to raise awareness among the citizens of Nepal about this forum and its desire to end the violence. Dr. Rokaya had invited about thirty people including representatives of the different faiths as well as newspaper and television media people. When the meeting convened, almost three times the number of invited guests showed up. I, along with another visitor, was invited to address the group and was able to introduce the work of Justpeace and also share some of the experiences of peacemaking from around Asia . The press gave the meeting very positive coverage which has helped to raise their profile and let people around Nepal know that the different faiths are working cooperatively to end violence.
- On the 13th and 14th, I joined a meeting of six local NGOs working in Maoist-controlled areas. The theme for this meeting was Conversations for Peace in Nepal . I was asked to provide input about justpeace for about one and a half hours. The rest of the time the groups shared of their own work, the problems they face and how the grassroots people are overcoming so many problems. I found these young people to be both creative and very courageous. They expressed the desire to learn more from groups around Asia who are also working in conflict areas. Obviously they feel isolated, so hearing about work in other countries was encouraging to them. This is an area CJPA could continue to make a contribution to.
I had several long conversations with Bal Krishna, Dhruba and Walton McCaslin about continued cooperation between CJPA and groups in Nepal .
- The names and activities of some local NGOs working for peace in Nepal will be added to the CJPA webpage so their work can become known more broadly.
- Many of the individuals and groups I meet asked to be placed on the CJPA mailing list to receive information we send out.
- In the future it would be good to arrange for some exchange visits for some of these activists. As mentioned above, they feel quite isolated and alone. If they can visit some other groups in Asia , it will give them energy and also help them in designing their movements for justpeace.
- We discussed the possibility of bringing together a small group of people (about 10) who live and work in areas of conflict to share experiences and seek cooperative ways of working regionally for justpeace. They were especially interested in learning more about Burma Issues and their approach. One possibility is to organize such a meeting in March or April next year in India . I will be helping coordinate an Interfaith School for Peace in Bangalore during that time. The 10 participants to this gathering could join the school for peace for one day to share their experiences and then meet separately for three or four days to discuss justpeace work in war areas. I suggest that the CJPA think seriously about this as a project for next year.
- As mentioned above, there was much interest expressed in learning more about the Burma Issues approach. One possibility would be to arrange for two or three of the Nepalese friends to visit Thailand and meet with Burma Issues for a week or so. We need to explore this possibility.
- There are many stories about how the village people deal creatively with the conflicting sides. A process for collecting these stories needs to be developed so that can be added to our webpage and also perhaps included in the book we are working on.
Visit my web page at http://daga.dhs.org/max
- We should consider inviting one or two people from Nepal to be a part of our CJPA committee.
Violence as a way of achieving justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. (Martin Luther King)
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
http://mail.yahoo.comGoldy M. George
Dalit Study Circle,Raipur, Chhattisgarh
Creation of a casteless and peaceful society is indeed the first step towards just, egalitarian, and harmonious society. A society of equals, neither unequal nor more-equals, beyond the strings of caste, class, gender, race, etc. Otherwise it would lead to social oppression, political exploitation, economic deprivation, cultural domination, gender discrimination, class isolation, deliberate exclusion. Lets believe in a society beyond this.
Yahoo! for Good
Click here to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.