Viva Nepal Telecom!

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USA Today reports that the small Himalayan nation of Nepal is feeling the squeeze in the wake of a cell-phone ban. King Gyanendra shut down cell service after seizing power last month and declaring a state of emergency—purportedly in response to the threat posed by a Maoist insurgency. The cell ban is intended to make it difficult for government opponents to coordinate, but ordinary citizens and businesspeople are being hurt by the mobile blackout as well. A third of the country's telephones are mobiles.

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  1. This is horrific. If it hadn’t been for the operatically tragic murder of the royal family by one of their own a few years ago.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1365393.stm

    If there were a “legitimate” monarch, I suspect the Maoists might not have grabbed so much traction.

    …Oh well, I guess the only thing we can do is unilaterally bomb, invade and occupy Bhutan.

  2. Actually the maoist insurgency started years before the royal family massacre so the monarchy was legitimate (or as legitimate as a monarchy can be). The only reason the current king would be considered illegitamate is because of the bizarre and highly suspicious details of the massacre by which the current king inherited the throne.

  3. BTW, it’s not just phone service that has been shut down all media is being censored, newspapers, radio, TV. The news & info radio stations are prety much reporting the weather 24 hours a day.

  4. Are you suggesting that the Maoist insurgency had the same magnitude of support–latent and otherwise–before the massacre as they do now? Are you suggesting that the king’s brother enjoys the same level of “legitimacy” that the king’s son would have enjoyed had he assumed the throne–assuming the massacre never happened, of course?

    P.S. Please tell me you’re suggesting that bombing, invading and occupying Bhutan wouldn’t necessarily benefit liberal movements in Nepal.

  5. Gorkali – why suspicious? I don’t know a damn thing about Nepal, but am always hungry for a good conspiracy story.

  6. Ken,

    I wasn’t implying that the massacre and inheritance of the throne to the late king’s unpopular brother didn’t provide a great boost to the maoist movement, it most certainly did. I was only pointing out that the insurgency had started many years before and had been growing steadily up to that point.

  7. …Oh well, I guess the only thing we can do is unilaterally bomb, invade and occupy Bhutan.

    It could happen. Dubya’s cowboy cronies in the energy business could then grab all that lighter fuel.

    Oh, wait … that’s butane.

  8. Is there any doubt who eliminated the entire fmaily of late King Birendra? How come that AK rifle or whatever its name, selected its bullet to hit his family only? Nobody in Nepal is secure in future, as long as autocracy reins.

  9. The alleged story goes:
    On that fateful day the late king had called an emergency family meeting (not sure what the emergency was)at which his brother (the current king)and brothers son (current prince)were to be present but were not (conveniently, I guess they got stuck in traffic or something). Meanwhile the late king’s son is distraught over the fact that his mom does not approve of his fiancee because she is of lower cast or something. So he gets drunk does “drugs” get an automatic assault rifle and kills his entire family at the meeting before turning the gun on himself. No witnesses. There are actually lots more details, but I’m at work.

  10. “Meanwhile the late king’s son is distraught over the fact that his mom does not approve of his fiancee because she is of lower cast or something.”

    My understanding is that the heir’s intended was Indian, and that this was the cause of the late Queen’s objection.

    I don’t know why this story didn’t get more coverage in the West. If the Queen of England had refused to let Prince Charles marry Camilla way back when and Charles had done something like this in response, it would have been the story of the century.

    …And Charles was never due to become the head of government.

  11. But most people in the west don’t have the ideas about “proper” people to marry as much as they do in asian countries. I know a lot about the strictness of (east) Indian couplings, and it seems the Nepalese might be similar, from the reports.

  12. Ken,

    You’re probably right about the prince’s girl being indian. Also, while the queen was shittin’ bricks over his girlfriend, it is my understanding that the king had absolutly no problem with the arrangement whatsoever. In any case the story stinks to high hell. Does it really seem likly that he fly off the handle over a dispute with his mom and murder his entire family (including aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.)Also when I was in Nepal a little over a year ago I spent some time talking with a guy who was the prince’s personal fitness trainer(he’s my uncle in-law)and he claims that he talked to the the prince just 45 minuets before the whole thing went down, and that he seemed sober as a bell and acting perfectly normal. Of course he could of been bullshittin’ me, but I have no reason to belive he would lie. Anyway I guess we’ll never know what really happend.

  13. On second thought I think I’ll go back to the prince’s girlfriend being of a lower cast more so than just being indian. IMHO Nepali society’s adherence to the vile cast system as status quo is one of the main reasons that democracy has largly failed there so far, as well as many other social & economic problems.

  14. Nepal also has a terrible record on press freedom. Reporters Without Borders ranks them amongst the worse offenders of such; up there with Saudi Arabia, Libya, Cuba and Eretria.

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