Expectations of Peace in 2006?
2005 passed with war, earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorism, rainfall, sexual abuse, forced displacement, extreme economic deprivation, global warming and many other difficulties for people all over the world - including those in Nepal. 2006 and 2007 may also not be very rosy. The disasters of 2005 were a warning - a warning that has by and large been completely ignored. There were actually two warnings: One is of natural disasters, the other of the great trials of war. When things get out of balance, the universe has a way of balancing them despite the wishes and desires of the rich and powerful. Needless to say, these things affect all the rest of us even more.
The conflicts in Nepal, northern Uganda, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Sudan and the Congo serve as examples of forced displacement and were cited as examples of complex situations that include terrorism. The UN and international organizations have been unable to undertake adequate humanitarian and peace initiatives because no coherent and systematic attempts are made to end these conflicts.
Thus, we don't see anything good happening from Iraq to Kashmir or from Afghanistan to Nepal, either for people or for warriors. Antiwar advocates are clamoring for end-of-war involvement in 2006, because insurgents cannot be overcome. Nepal has also emphasized the need for lasting peace in order to boost the country's economic activities.
Israel and Palestine continue to make good progress. Israel successfully negotiated a modus vivendi with Hamas, but unfortunately not with Hezbollah. This will continue to be the trump card vis á vis Syria, Iran and Lebanon. If Lebanon steps up, this can be solved quite neatly. Turkey continues in its perfect positioning.
The 2006 Mexican presidential election and Nepal's general election will be the most interesting elections.
At present, the world faces an unprecedented crisis due to terrorism. As a result, all sectors of the world have been seriously affected in 2005. Thus, it is absolutely necessary to establish peace in the world - including in Nepal - in order to create overall conditions that will create a greater flow of investment in 2006.
Terrorism is and will remain the preeminent threat and wild card in 2006. More resources will have to be committed in terms of personnel, technologies and on-the-ground intelligence to counteract this amorphous new threat. Europe and Australia look to be the most likely targets. The Northern Route (Nepal-India border) appears well monitored, but the devastating Pakistan earthquake has unfortunately created a rather large new "tribal area" due to the difficulty of effectively getting aid and supplies there. The Midwest (America's heartland) Africa, Europe/Baltic region, China, India, Russia and Nepal are the most vulnerable target areas.
Therefore, if we want to bring peace in 2006 to war-affected countries - including Nepal - then we must present the alternative in great detail, assuming we are dealing with large groups of people, so that we can be assured that it will work and not lead to chaos. It is true that peace organizations cannot eliminate misery, but they can reduce it see to it that it’s not just shifted around from one person to another.
Nepalese people simply cannot afford another terrorist uprising or any other form of tension in 2006. Real and sustainable peace must be approached holistically. This year's budget must allocate money to work toward bringing peace. The year 2006 must have the prospect of bringing good and peace to the Nepalese people because political stability and peace encourage non-violence.
There are lots of outcomes. If we think that by just being peaceful, no matter what the circumstances, everything will turn out ok, then we are ok. If we think that when an aggressor attacks all we have to do to avoid injury or death is extend our hand in friendship or kneel and pray, then we are facing reality.
Therefore, people have to perform small and big tasks in many different fields. Throughout history, there are examples where leaders have not thought out the details and ended up with a situation worse than before the change. The only way to eliminate war and terrorism is to pressure politicians to decide what to keep and what to discard. Will we be able to live in peace in 2006? The answer to this question depends upon what happens in the coming days.
Nepal, a country uniquely situated in the Himalayas, is in the process of entering the world of modern nationhood. Conversely, many of the most developed nations are retreating from the model of the rational state structure evoked in the 20th Century into a more emotional, religious and even magical state system.
What does this mean? For Nepal, it means there are many excellent historical examples to follow as it deals with this process. It also means that many developed nations will be watching Nepal to see how it deals with the process of clarifying its own belief systems.
Nepal, in its spiritual wisdom, has a variety of visions and dreams to choose from, and this is to its advantage. Indeed, Nepal can pick and choose from these three great examples in deciding what course is best for its future. Nepal is, of course, influenced by the world and it, in turn, influences the world in many subtle ways. It is the only Hindu kingdom in the modern world. It is also the birthplace of Guatama Buddha, known to many as Shakyamuni. Thus, two of the world's greatest religions can lay claim to a place deep in Nepal's heart and spiritual bosom.
Asians and some Westerners know well what Nepal means to the world. That these Westerners are predominantly the fierce falcons who climb the world's tallest mountains is perhaps not a coincidence, for they see things few other humans actually get a chance to see.
As we stand on the precipice of a new year, we wave goodbye to 2005, a year of incredibly momentous change for the world and Nepal. We can all hope and pray that 2006 will bring peace, prosperity and continued progress in the long march of human endeavor that we call "life." And may Nepal, as well, find the path to its own unique destiny.