Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Trouble in Nepal

Nepal, one of my favorite mixed-up pseudo-democracies, seems to be in the midst of a coup, led by Gyanedra, their king. During our 2001 honeymoon, his brother, King Birendra was gunned down, along with 9 other members of the royal family, by his son, Dipendra (of adult diaper fame) who went on to shoot himself. We were in Thailand, watching live sex shows and getting dysentery while the drama unfolded. The developing story was the obsession of the locals, and I followed right along. Thailand has a wide assortment of variants of Hindu faiths mixed in with their Buddhism, and a great many Thai people believed that the Saha dynasty of Nepal are direct descendants of the Hindu god Vishnu, plus relations were said to be very close between King Birendra and the Thai Monarchy. The new king was crowned while lingering on life support (I bet it was hard to get the crown to stay on with all those tubes). His rule was a short one. His uncle, who had been named regent, ascended to the throne, and by the time our honeymoon trip ended, it appeared all was well in Nepal.

I had a few Nepalese buddies when we lived in Saudi, and they were part of the Nepalese majority that revered old King Birendra (he wasn't quite a god to them, but he was definitely "number one with a bullet"....oops, sorry). Birendra introduced democracy to Nepal and, while his detractors say that all of his reforms were only attempt to undercut the Maoist movement, his death has been followed by a reversal of previous advances in individual freedom for the Nepalese.

Another Nepal info page here, and here.


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