Joe Hendren

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Take action: Pro-democracy movement in Nepal needs your support now!

Earlier this week I received an email from Lee Yu Kyung, a Korean journalist currently reporting from Nepal. Lee highlighted how the Nepali army and the police are attempting to supress the efforts of independent journalists currently working in Nepal - by beating them up.

In the email Lee also stressed the need for the international community to show its support for the Nepali people through solidarity movements, solidarity messages and whatever else people could do.

So I sent a message of solidarity to Lee, and wished both Lee and the Nepali pro-democracy movement "kai kaha" for the days and months ahead. I also asked where people would be best to send messages of solidarity, and for any suggestions of good Nepali media to 'keep up with the news', saying I would be happy to publicise both on my blog if it would help.

I received the following reply from Lee Yu Kyung ( last night.

"Hi, Joe Hendren
thank you so much for this reply. i don't mind anything! you can put down my email or whatever from my appealing message. and the message, i think, should be delivered to the both, people as well as the government. but people are now thirsty for solidarity message from international community."

Lee suggested sending solidarity messages to the two main political parties, who are part of the seven party coalition calling for the resumption of democracy.

These are
Communist Party of Nepal (UML):
(have been part of government before)
Nepali Congress:
(looks like equivalent of the Labour party, including a liking for privatisation during the 1980s!)

"For media, 'Kantipur publication' is most popular daily with best coverage. it publishes also 'kathmandu post' which is english paper. here some journalist contacts. they can use the international solidarity message. i strongly believe. more soon...the cafe is gonna close for day curfew..sorry! best Lee.,,,,,,,,, "

After a bit of hunting I found the Kantipur website in English. I also found this fantastic recent editorial from the Kathmandu Post. Well worth a read!

"Currently, Nepal stands at a crossroads. On the right side of it is a new Nepal where people are fully sovereign; insurgency is resolved and the Maoists join the political mainstream; the state is restructured to accommodate the disfranchised populace; and the society makes a peaceful transition towards prosperity. On the wrong side of it is the status quo, where the fundamental issue of sovereignty remains unresolved; the Maoist insurgency continues; state, under the direct control of the king, remains unitary and unwilling to address the issue of widespread exclusion. As Nepal has entered the final stage of the labor pain, the international community, unfortunately, seems to be supportive of the status quo. The international community's euphoric reaction to Friday's royal address is ludicrous, to say the least. It also shows how shallow is their reading of Nepali history and how far removed they are from the present ground reality.
If the [countries of the world] do not review their stance immediately, and continue to dishonor one of the most peaceful and colossal uprisings in modern history, they will soon find themselves on the wrong side of Nepali history."

Through my own searching around I also found another couple of useful sites, including Nepal News and United We Blog for a Democratic Nepal. The blog includes some photos of recent pro-democracy demonstrations.

Dear blog readers, please consider sending a message of solidarity to the political parties or email one of the journalists listed by Lee. Also feel free to pass on/link these contacts - it would be great if we could get a small solidarity movement going - the people of Nepal and the independent journalists in the country need our support.

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