There are two important happenings that I want to talk about. Each significant in its own right. So I will keep them seperate.
Firstly, on Friday, I was fortunate enough to catch up online with my South African friend Sheena. She did a 20 Q interview with me regarding my experiences so far, my mental state and explaining just why there are so many men around touching each other. You can read the interview here* (of course, I must stipulate at this point that any swearing contained therein was her creative input, and not mine..;))
It was strangely ironic that, in the evening of Friday I went to the Lazimpat Gallery Cafe to watch one of their weekly movies. The movie was called "In My Country", and was about the South African Aparteid and all the trials that took place. Knowing very little about the entire subject (it pains me to admit), I was very moved by this movie. It goes through some of the stories of victims of the racist regime and how they confronted their attackers. Amnesty would be granted to abusers (often white police) as long as they made a full confession, were confronted by their accusers and prove that they were under orders [anyone feel free to clarify my brief version of history]. The purpose of this amnesty was to allow the country to move on through their terrible past and start over.
The reason this was important to me is not just the movie itself (although I found it very informative and emotive), but what happened afterwards. Raj (the very friendly guy that seems to work at LGC 24/7 and now knows us quite well) asked if I had liked it. He said it was a very good movie and very significant to Nepal. I have found it all to easy to miss the fact that Nepal has been engrossed in a messy civil war for the last 12 years. In fact, it was only months before my arrival that the king was kicked out of office, and since my arrival that we had the "election" of the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister.
Raj said he saw the significance of the reconciliation and said that he thought it could easily work here. There were many human rights crimes committed by both the government/police/army and the Maoists as they battled for control of the country. He told of a story of a family in the village where he grew up "very far from 'ere". This is my understanding:
"A man and a woman had gone out to speak to the Maoists about the seizing of their land. The police arrived at their house and found their 7 year old child there. The child, completely unaware of the politics told them that the parents were speaking with the Maoists. The police shot the child and threw the body into the river. They believed that the parents were Maoists, and in that case that the child would grow up to be Maoist."
Raj believes that if there could be a confrontation and a complete and honest admission of guilt, then Nepal will be able to get on with getting on, and fix this country up some. If only things could be so simple.
It was a horrible reminder to me that this country is struggling with some terribly deep running scars, and that they are desperately recent.
*Not available yet