Saturday, June 6, 2015


The number of times that I research a country and am told that it is "one of the world's poorest" is becoming frankly depressing. 

At the time of writing this I am living in Miami, where a regular meal in a regular restaurant - by which I mean Papa Nikos’ kebab house or Senora Gonzalez’ empanada café in the back room of the service station, and not Rip-Off Bistro on South Beach or The Trendy People’s Over-Priced Hang-Out in Coconut Grove - gives you more food than you can eat at one sitting, and a Styrofoam box to take home the remainder, so that you can generally get two more good meals out of it, for less than $15 - plus tip, of course. 

America actually throws away more food every day than the rest of the world consumes – I am not sure if that statistic includes China, but it remains a staggering statistic anyway. If we can assemble international coalitions of "first responders" to tackle Ebola, why can we not airlift the means of growing food in indoor, computer-driven farms, and solve the pandemic of hunger too? (And yes, I know the answer, and it is a horrible answer – we are doing everything we can to overcome Ebola, not because we really care about the Africans who are dying of it, but to make sure it doesn’t come and affect us; we do nothing about Third World poverty because we have already prevented it from coming and affecting us - or at least, we thought we had, until it started arriving in migrant boats, and now we are desperately trying to turn back the migrant boats as well).

Meanwhile, back in Nepal, the Maoist insurrection has finally ended, but the consequences of the recent earthquake will take somewhat longer before the country can begin to recover. Until 2008, Nepal was a monarchy that lived in near-total isolation on the slopes of the Himalayas. There had been a brief experiment in multi-party politics, back in the 1950s, but the king didn't like it, so he put a stop to it. And again in 2002. And again in 2005. In 2006 he finally got the people's message, sat down to talk with the Maoists, and signed a peace deal in which he agreed not to mention the tens of thousands they had massacred along the way, and they agreed to leave their call for the abolition of the monarchy intact in their organisational charter – he was replaced by the first President, Ram Baran Yadav, in July 2008. Peace deal is self-evidently a euphemism for "surrender".

The new government is now working towards a constitution, but no one has a clue how to make one that will work, mostly because of the ethnic divisions, the ideological differences, and the huge numbers of refugees from Bhutan living in the country. They were working towards a constitution anyway, until the earthquake in April 2015. Everything is now on hold because of that.

Marks for: 122,000 (the average cost, in US dollars, of a climb of Mount Everest from the Nepalese side)

Marks against: 3,500 (the amount of that which will actually reach your personal Sherpa)

You can find David Prashker at:

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

No comments:

Post a Comment