Thor bu - Curiosia Indo-Tibetica

Textual and visual odds and ends from India, Tibet, and around.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Buffaloes on parade

So, as Iain had already reported, there was a nice little riot in Basantpur over the buffalo sacrifice and we happened to walk straight into it.

At first it felt almost like home, but then the storm-troopers jogged in:

Although they were quite harsh, one could see that years of riots gave them ample training. Whereas in Hungary two years ago the police sent in a water canon without cover (any child below six or so who's ever played CS will tell you that the strategic value of a canon in this case becomes roughly equal with that of a trolley bus).

The rathyapuruṣa however did not seem phased. Back to the alleyways around Dharmapath and Basantpur, regroup, move out. In the end the tear-gas did it. Never you mind, the next day there was yet another protest, this time nightclub owners and their employees. Yes, that's right. Strippers however did not throw stones and stuff and they got bad reviews the next day in the papers.

Of course a secular government that Nepal aspires to have should not dabble in matters of religion. However, the protesters did not seem to me like politically motivated intellectuals. Then again, the French Revolution wasn't started by middle-aged white collar workers out for a bit of mêlée after a hard day at La Bourse either.

But we should not judge what's going on. Our task is to understand, not to like or dislike. So, the only remaining thing is to start wondering which songs will be voted for "best to listen to during a riot" in Nepal should the protesters be able to afford iPods. Guess what won in Hungary? Rage Against the Machine of course.

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Blogger I. S. said...

One factor at work here is the widening acceptance of the notion that political power is earned through violence, an idea that was previously confined to the elite but which is now sinking in pretty much everywhere.

For street battle music, I'd have to nominate The Prodigy, esp. "Hot Ride", and of course Atari Teenage Riot's "Revolution Action".

7:03 am  
Blogger PDSz said...

I guess this is the fate of every new democracy. I remember that in post-1989 Romania for years on end 'it's a democracy' was used as a phrase for justifying 'I can do whatever I want'.

The solution now lies with the political elite and their will to listen. If people see that things can be settled through civil protest, the violence will go. If they will be faced with cynicism (one of the most notorious lines of the above mentioned Hungarian PM was: 'let them protest, they'll get bored of it and go home'), violence will become commonplace.

Of course, they will have to be cautious in evaluating the 'weight' of protests. Newars making up a substantial chunk of the Valley should of course be given priority over nightclub owners.

Good nominations! For old school facing overwhelming majority I propose 'Smoke on the Water' - chanted by half of Belgrade with 'target' signs in their hands whilst USAF was 'strategically' reducing them to rubble.

1:11 pm  

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