Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stefan Comes to Kathmandu

This note is addressed mostly to y'all from Wally-town: Stefan is coming to Kathmandu. Yagya has offered to host him, and it is possible I will hang out with him some, but not quite as much, because I am still re-writing a script, some forty-percent of it after a meeting yesterday. Yagya also has to work, so I don't know how we will arrange for Stefan to be shown the city. Perhaps carting him off to Dhulikhel is an option. He is here for too brief a period, has to have his Indian visa renewed, and can't travel much within Nepal because of the various bandhs and "agitations" going on in the country.

On that note, my high-minded opinion:
--I think one look at the democratic exercise in India is enough to indicate what amount of trouble is portended by a document--the nation's constitution--that relies too heavily upon concrete definitions, too-precise demarcations around ethnic groups or language preferences or regional autonomy. It should be especially weary of becoming a document in the service of defined groups, at the expense of serving the abstract ideals of an individual citizen of the nation.

Instead of protecting the rights of the indigenous people of a region, it should universally protect the right of the individual. It should discriminate against non-citizens by discriminating against them as individuals whose certain inalienable rights have been suspended within its borders: for instance, a foreigner may not just as easily own property, or enter matrimony without meeting an extra set of legal requirements. A foreigner may not petition for his right to congregate in protest against the nation, and so on.

It is dangerous to write groups into a constitutional document, even if they be women or homosexuals or dalits: rights should be protected for each individual within the nation: those who hold a citizenship certificate, and those who meet legal parameters for a future acquisition of the certificate. Nothing more.

Then there should be special laws protecting the rights of the inarticulate minorities, of which I can think of the children first and then some of the disabled population, but nobody else. For everyone else,
there should be an equal import of the exact same letters of the law.

Democracy is not based on real ideals: Facism is based on real ideals. People *are* in fact created unequal: in girth, length, force of limbs, in wit. Not each individual is equally adept, or inadequate, at each effort. If the natural course of things is allowed to reign, we get a feudal system, where obvious superiority of strength and wit, capriciousness and guile and greed, translate to a better access to material resources, and thereafter, human resources. Obvious wealth translates to obvious access to more opportunities to prosper.

On the other hand, Democracy that is defined as abstract ideals lends itself to a debate that removes the monetary or physical might of the citizen, while appealing to ideals that have currency across cultures and time: integrity, equality, morality, nobility, fidelity.

Thus, escaping the confines of the individual's definition, Democracy can remain a constant, while continuously re-inventing itself in conversation with the spirit of the age.

Writers of a document like the constitution of a nation should not presume to know the minds of the future generations, especially through their hubris of representation. A constitution is always written for a distant, brighter, better future, not to solve the petty power-struggles of the day.

After saying all of this, I do, however, acknowledge that the body of history is mostly composed in scores of injustice. Groups that have been materially disadvantaged in the past will always coagulate in an effort to effect a short-cut to a dominant position. Nepal is especially unfortunate in two regards: its fractured ethnic and regional make-up; and, in the fact that rebellion was most successfully initiated by a group that can't operate on the fuel of fragmentation. Although the Maoists might have courted dissatisfied ethnic and regional groups to form a coalition in order to challenge the status-quo, they can not begin defining themselves as a group tolerant of multiple political actors. They are a totalitarian group waiting for a more opportune political climate.

I think Nepal is going to the shits. I think the insistence upon muddling the preamble of the constitution is a reason Nepal *will* go to the shits. I think it is a bad idea to define people separately in a document designed to guarantee equality for all, because I think the only reason to bargain for the inclusion, or exclusion, of a group as a special identity is to beget undue advantages for one group, while putting another at disadvantage.

What good governance should solve through education, employment and free expression, these idiots are trying to guarantee in the constitution.

That shit don't fly.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Yeah. Do that. I'm lurking, waiting for your comments. Yeah. Do it just like that. You know I like it. You know you want to. Yeah.