Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Time for caution in Nepal

Nepalis may be dancing in the streets of Kathmandu today after the special national assembly abolished the country's monarchy and ushered in a republic, but the really hard work begins now. Elimination of the monarchy, which the assembly did on a 560-4 vote, was only the first step, and was the chief demand of Maoist insurgents who agreed to end 10 years of fighting and join the goverment. The Maoists, who still have not dissolved their army, are now the largest party in the assembly. Nepal's King Gyanendra, who just a few years ago was revered as a incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Hindu god of protection, was ordered to vacate the Kathmandu palace within 15 days. So far, so good. But this only is Day 1. Nobody who remembers Chairman Mao, the communist who led the revolution that took control of China in 1949, believes the Maoist rebels will be content with a government that depends on the consent of the governed. China still doesn't have that, 59 years later.

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