Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Pamphlet: A Letter From Kathmandu

Posted by Mike E on March 22, 2010

We now have Jed’s first report from Nepal available in printable PDF pamphlet form. The is tabloid sized and folds into an illustrated pamphlet. The original first appeared in English on jedbrandt.net

* * * * * *

by Jed Brandt

March 7, 2010 — I can’t leave home for a few weeks without everything going crazy.

It took a bit for my time to adjust, to see things as they are coming here and where they’re coming from. Not the instant back-and-forth rhythm of New York multi-tasking anxiety time. Most days the electricity is out in Kathmandu. You can hear chickens in the morning, children playing after school and quiet talk at night when the old women laugh and call across the rooftops. Blackouts make working a computer hard, but the pace of people living by hands and minds alone, without so much mediation, is not a place I’ve ever spent much time. And I do love it here. The city is dirty. The people are upright, direct and curious….

Did I mention there is a revolution going on?

We haven’t seen a revolution in our lifetime. Not a communist revolution anyway, with broad support and participation sustained, growing over such a short period of time.

The Maoists are unorthodox, to be sure. They have defied everyone’s expectations, friend and foe alike. To their credit, they haven’t let their enemies tell them who they are or been confined to some historical script handed down by the Comintern in 1930-whatever. After a 10-year People’s War, starting in 1996, they grew exponentially among the rural people who make up the heart and body of Nepal.

2 Responses to “Pamphlet: A Letter From Kathmandu”

  1. Elliot said

    While I don’t agree with Jed Brandt’s political beliefs, or those of revolutionary movements in general, and object to many things in this article, most of them are open to interpretation and different ideas. However, to give an idea of the sloppy anecdotal reporting in this article take the idea that cars only arrived in Kathmandu 20 years ago. In fact, while automobile and motorcycle traffic might have only become a major problem in Kathmandu in the last 20 years (especially the last 10-15 years), there have been cars in Nepal for many decades. Cars were even hand carried in through rivers and over mountain passes long before roads reached Kathmandu.

    I won’t debate politics here, as trying to argue against the Nepali Maoist ideas and actions on a website supporting revolution in South Asia seems idiotic, but this article make it clear that Jed Brandt has little knowledge of Nepal beyond what he has heard in his brief time there.

  2. Mike E said

    Elliot:

    It would make more sense to argue the key matters and analyses, rather than trying to simply discredit an author based on micro-issues.

    In fact, the point you choose to focus on is ambiguous.

    Yes, the first car to arrive in Nepal was a rolls royce carried by hand over the mountains. And the king had to build a short straight stretch of road in order to have a place to “run” his little vanity piece.

    But, in fact cars-as-cars are a phenomenon of the last twenty years (as you yourself acknowledge). It seems you are splitting hairs — since in fact (if we don’t count royal baubles polished as wealth) cars in Kathmandu are recent, and it is (as Jed was pointing out) a city built for pedestrians.

    Again: why NOT argue the main issue (i.e.Nepali Maoist ideas and actions) rather than focus on the petty? Lots of people with different politics come here. And if you don’t want to make your larger points, then what IS the point?

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