In the famous tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, when the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes with much ado and pride, few eulogizes the quality of cloth and his taste for fashion, no one dares to say that the Emperor is naked, until a child shouts, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” The acolytes of Mr. Oli’s are trying to make Mr. Oli wear the Emperor’s New Clothe.
The echo chamber has taken upon the concerted effort to redeem Mr. Oli’s ailing reputation with a hashtag #IamWithKPOli. While I appreciate this effort and a slew of articles to portray Mr. Oli is a dreamer, I believe a person should be judged by his actions, attempts, failures and success. Let’s put out the achievements of Mr. Oli’s government record in public and have a discussion about it. As Lincoln said, “..if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” And after Mr. KP Oli has come to power, as a PM of Nepal, he has revealed his true character: Prime Mocker! It is difficult to decide whether his constant failures to deliver basic governance is more shameless than his regular appearance as a standup comedian in media is more brazen. I leave that for the readers to judge Mr. Oli in light of his past as a decapitator, present as Prime Minister and future which is yet revealing while I write this article.
Mr. Yuvraj Ghimire condones Mr. Oli’s crimes against humanity in an article by saying, “In 50 years, he has faced conviction and even completed a life term in jail for killing the ‘class enemy’ in eastern Nepal during the 70s.” The obvious problem with this statement is, firstly it’s a false claim. He did not complete his sentence; he escaped from the prison and joined political party. Secondly, it was not simple killing, it was brutal beheading, something we see what ISIS does today. He was active member of “Murkatta revolution”. “Murkatta” literally translates into “beheading”. The ideology is same: absolute intolerance for the dissent.The reawakening of this ideology can be attributed to recent arrest and deportation of Mr. Robert Penner, a Canadian citizen, working in Nepal who tweeted some critical tweets. Recently, few British citizens were arrested for merely appearing in a protest rally. While Mr. Oli always spends his words regarding development of tourism in Nepal, the actions of his Govt. has led government of UK to issue directive against traveling in Nepal. The current persecution of dissent by the Oli Govt. has rekindled the ultra-nationalism and lead the Nepali society towards more confrontation.
Mr. Ghimire further makes a nuanced distinction that the ridiculous statements of Mr. Oli’s are actually his “dreams”, and tries to exonerate Mr. Oli by saying, “..even his most serious and ambitious declarations are seen as a joke and he has had to continuously clarify that these are his dreams and it is possible to realize them.” This reminds me of Marie Antoinette, as the legend goes, when Ms. Marie was confronted with the fact that French peasants are starving due to lack of bread, she infamously said, “Let them eat cake”. If only Ms. Marie had an apologist to make this sound like her “dream” to feed poor starving people not with bread, but with cake; it would have redeemed her reputation. Alas, Mr. Ghimire wasn’t around that time. Should Nepal not dream of developing a mars mission? Of course it should! Should we have a public discourse on it? Well, let’s first get proper home, food and jobs for the one fourth of the population which is below the poverty line. Dreams, too, should have a priority. I’ve a dream that one day no person shall sleep hungry in Nepal, the earthquake victims will have homes. These are the realistic dreams for Nepal as of now.
Further, Mr. Ghimire quotes Mr. Oli’s retort, “Where does the constitution say I can’t dream?” to a parliamentarian who questioned about his “impossible dreams”. These are linguistic conundrums to avoid real questions and criticism and should be viewed as cheap-shots, not eulogized as sense of humor. To put things in perspective, the constitution also does not say that, “you can’t walk on road nude”, but the justification that “I can do it because the constitution does not say not to do it” is a primary school brat’s argument for having one more toffee as the “rulebook” doesn’t say that you can’t have one more toffee after he just had the nth one more toffee.
On Tuesday, Mr. Oli surpassed all level of reverie as he proclaimed, “Nepal, a land-locked country, will soon have its own ships at sea in the Pacific and Indian Ocean.” To the best of my knowledge, the GoN has no policy, treaty or agenda corroborating Mr. Oli’s reverie. One needs to remind Mr. Oli that he’s the PM, i.e. Prime Minister of Nepal and his statements should reflect upon it. A loose talk might get some laugh, but at whose expense? One is boggled to think.
Looking back, Mr. Oli who used to vehemently oppose federalism and used to retort “.. to depose king and to bring federalism in Nepal is akin to say that you will reach USA on bullock-cart (from Nepal)”; it must be “Karmic connection”, that somehow he became the first PM of federal Nepal. He also used to ridicule his party’s idea of joining hands with Maoists, “We cannot carry the Maoists on our shoulders like Mahadeva used to carry Satidevi’s corpse”. And today, Mr. Oli and Maoists hobnobbed to form government. In the last emperor, Mr. Reginald Fleming aptly said, “Words are important. If you cannot say what you mean, your majesty, you will never mean what you say and a gentleman should always mean what he says.” Mr. Oli is no gentleman, let alone a dreamer!
For those who are trying hard to rejuvenate Mr. Oli’s dream, are in effect, trying to take Nepal into a deep slumber. Our priority should be the earthquake victims, the rising discontentment among citizens regarding the new constitution. We should elevate the discourse and ask questions on the efficacy of the government to handle the crisis, not slip for the glib talk and eulogize the dreams of a man, who has a proven track record of not fulfilling dreams.
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