Monday, July 7, 2008

Nepal and Hawaii

Supporters gather to greet Nepal's former king on his birthday

KATMANDU - ABOUT 500 people gathered outside the summer home of Nepal's former king on Monday to greet him on his 61st birthday.

Mr Gyanendra, however, did not meet visitors and nobody was allowed inside the Nagarjung palace, situated on a forested hill just west of the Nepalese capital, Katmandu.

'We have come here to show that the people of Nepal still believe in the king and that the monarchy should be reinstated,' said Mr Muskan Poudel.

Nepal's centuries-old monarchy was abolished by the Constitutional Assembly in May, and Mr Gyanendra left the main palace in June. Mr Gyanendra and his wife have been living in the summer house since.

Mr Gyanendra was forced to give up his authoritarian rule in 2006 after weeks of pro-democracy protests. He was later stripped of all his powers and command of the army. -- AP

July 4 Double Holiday for Hawaii -- 1776 and 1894

Let's remember what Hawaii was like on America's birthdate in 1776. Captain Cook had not yet arrived. Hawaiians were living in the stone age. They had not yet invented the wheel, had no written language, and no clay pottery. They had only extremely small amounts of metal that washed up in driftwood from sunken ships. There was constant warfare among competing warlords. There was no concept of human rights -- both slavery and human sacrifice were practiced. The death penalty was imposed on anyone who stepped on the shadow of a high chief, or any woman who ate a banana or coconut.

Things had functioned that way for a thousand years and would have remained unchanged except for the arrival of British explorers in 1778, followed by European and American whalers and businessmen, and then American missionaries in 1820.

Okay, but that's no reason for them to give up their monarchy and become part of an already unwieldy large republic.

In 1893 a revolution led by a local militia with 1500 members put an end to a corrupt and ineffective monarchy, replacing it with a republic.

A republic which is also corrupt and ineffective.

President Grover Cleveland's letter was tersely phrased. Cleveland had spent a year trying to destroy the revolutionary Provisional Government until Congress, following a two month investigation, told him the U.S. had done nothing wrong during the revolution and he should stop trying to undo it. U.S. Minister Albert Willis had given a letter to President Dole in December, 1893 on behalf of President Cleveland, "ordering" Dole to step down and restore Cleveland's friend the Queen. But in August 1894 it was Willis who swallowed his pride and made a pretty speech while personally handing Cleveland's letter of de jure recognition to President Dole.

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