The new blog will be up by next weekend, but in the meantime the world is still turning.
Li Onesto has written a thorough refutation of a recent article in Harper's Magazine on the People's War in Nepal. Updating the now-standard "caught in the crossfire" rhetoric liberals trot out whenever people take to fighting for a new world, Eliza Grizwold writes of hapless Nepalese peasants stuck between the King's army and the rising People's War. Sure enough, Grizwold's ersatz nuetrality ends with arguments for increased US military aid. Onesto's response takes on her method, and facts.
"People like Eliza Griswold are very disturbed by the reality that the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) now controls most of Nepal's countryside, their People's Liberation Army is able to mobilize thousands of guerrillas in battle against the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA), and in areas run by new revolutionary governments, they are radically changing the economic, political, and cultural life of millions of poor peasants. 1The Maoists began their People's War in 1996 and, ever since, Nepal's ruling class has been in constant crisis over how to deal with this insurgency which is now threatening to seize power. But instead of a serious discussion about why the Maoists have grown so rapidly, Griswold's theme, indicated by her subtitle, is that the majority of people in Nepal are caught in the middle--between a brutal government guilty of horrendous human rights abuses, and Maoists who are even worse.
"To paint this scenario, Griswold introduces: an 18-year-old girl in the RNA; an RNA Brigadier General trained at Fort Leavenworth; the editor of a conservative Kathmandu newspaper; the U.S. ambassador to Nepal; a doctor and several people at a center set up only for "victims of Maoist torture" (no victims of the RNA); villagers in a contested area in the Terai; two girls and the principal at Kathmandu Valley school who say they were "abducted by Maoists"; a human rights researcher who says "no one wants to abandon Nepal to the Maoists."
Almost all of these two dozen or so people are by definition hostile to the Maoists and were in cities or other areas under government control. Sweeping censorship and systematic disinformation by the Nepalese government 2have had a huge impact on people's opinions and what they know and don't know about the Maoists, not only internationally but within Nepal itself, and this is especially true among many of the people Griswold quotes."