Friday, July 11, 2008

Monarchy in the news

In case anyone's wondering, I get these links from Google Alerts.

Iraq indivisible

Fifty years after the Iraqi army toppled the pro-West monarchy on 14 July 1958, Iraqis who live in their now terror- stricken nation are too preoccupied with survival to celebrate what many of them esteem as a revolution of national liberation against the colonial power of the time, Great Britain.

"Pro-West monarchy". Makes you think sadly on what Might Have Been.

The mess in Nepal continues:

Post-royal political deadlock drags on in Nepal

KATHMANDU (AFP) — Nepal's Maoists said Thursday they were still unable to form a government and fill a post-monarchy political vacuum because ethnic parties from the south were holding up the process.

The impoverished Himalayan nation has effectively been without a proper government since May 28, when a newly-elected constitutional assembly voted to sack unpopular king Gyanendra, abolish the 240-year-old monarchy and proclaim a republic.

Disturbing signs for Nepal

KATHMANDU - The inordinate delay in the world's youngest republic in finding a president as well as a prime minister leaves Nepal wide open to disasters - both natural and man-made.

"Law and order is in tatters, particularly in some Terai districts [in the south], and the culture of impunity remains intact," is how the Brussels-based International Crisis Group described Nepal's condition in its latest report, released this month. Ongoing haggling over the formation of a government is a related issue of concern....

This Nepali calendar year started on April 13 and the abolition of the monarchy on May 28 is already considered a destabilizing factor.

Although Nepal's interim statute envisages a secular country, time-tested traditions and beliefs in a pre-dominantly Hindu society are unlikely to disappear overnight.

There's some rather intriguing stuff about the various omens, still believed in by many Nepalese, which foretold harm to the king (which of course happened) and predicts numerous natural disasters for Nepal in the next few years.

This does not augur well for the Maoists, led by Prachanda, who are set to rule Nepal for the next five years. "None of the present political parties has a future," says the astrologer, adding that a new party will come into existence, along with a new set of leaders and the return of the monarchy.

We Jews aren't supposed to believe in omens and astrology, alas.

I rarely approve of anything a court does these days, so I report this with pleasure:

Spanish court upholds fines for Catalan nationalists who burned photos of king and queen

In last week's retrial, Judge Jose Luis de Castro dismissed the defendants' argument that the charge violated their right to freedom of expression. That, the judge said, protected their right to protest the monarchy _ but not to vilify the royal couple by burning their photographs.

The judge said the fact the two had masked their faces before burning the pictures showed they knew they were committing an offense.

Bhutan Emerges As The World’s Newest Democracy

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has emerged from 100 years of absolute monarchy to become the world's newest democracy, and doing so without a revolution or civil war....

Today, the new young king of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, is trying to build on his father's efforts to transform the country.

Earlier this year, the country held mock elections to introduce people to the idea of voting. In March, Bhutan became a two-party parliamentary democracy, and voters participated in the first direct election of a 47-seat National Assembly.

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