At some point, I was planning on writing a piece about the situation in Nepal, but I think I would rather just direct attention to Radio Free Nepal, a blog of pictures, stories, and observations being published anonymously by brave people in Nepal.
King Gyanendra’s assumption of power in Nepal, and the dismissal of the democratically elected government, come after years of conflict between the government and Maoist forces. The conflict has put Nepal further and further under the influence of the Chinese government. The Chinese, whose talent for irony has long gone unappreciated, have been offering support to Nepal in combating the Maoist guerrillas who have controlled most of the countryside for the past several years.
China’s influence over the government has made a bad situation worse. In addition to casting aside the democratic freedoms of the people of Nepal, the king has taken several steps to crack down on Tibetan refugees. Hoping to curry favor with China, Nepal has shuttered the offices of the Dalai Lama in Katmandu, and closed the office responsible for aiding and housing Tibetan refugees. You may recall that it was an earlier crackdown on Tibetan refugees in Nepal that forced the Tibetan nun Sonam to flee to the United States, where she was imprisoned by the Department of Homeland Security.
The royal coup in Nepal has fallen out of the mainstream news of late, in favor of the gripping saga of Paris Hilton’s hacked cellphone. Give credit to Radio Free Nepal for trying to keep something that really matters on the mind of the English-speaking world.