Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nepal after monarchy is at risk of civil strife

Ya think?

The monarch has been deposed and a republican president installed. The world applauds or is indifferent. Let me be the voice of dissent. Nepal is making a profound mistake.

Fragile societies which have multiple fissures and fractures along ethnic, religious and social lines are far better off with a constitutional monarchy where the sovereign is a convenient and comfortable symbol transcending different groups within the country and providing a unifying symbol. By getting rid of the institution of monarchy, Nepal runs the risk of descending into chaos with endless fratricidal civil wars.

Remember Afghanistan had a king. It may not have been the greatest place to live, but at least there was a measure of peace, freedom and progress. The monarchy was eliminated and then began the long agony of the Afghan people who were now Khalq or Parcham supporters, Pusthuns, Tadzhiks or Hazaaras, but Afghans no longer. With all its faults, the existence of a constitutional monarchy would have enabled greater balance and harmony in a poor volatile country.

France has seen several republics and more constitutions because after the revolution, they were unable and unwilling to have an act of healing which is implied by the word “restoration”. In Belgium, the only Belgian is the king. The rest are either Flems or Walloons and if it had become a republic, the country would have split long ago to the economic and social detriment of all its residents. Closer home, Thailand is a good example of a country that has preserved stability and embraced prosperity under a universally revered king. It is not a coincidence that a Moslem army chief in Thailand dutifully bowed before his sovereign. The jury is out on the crown prince who has many detractors. The Thais should in their own interests ensure that the institution of monarchy continues.

The monarchies of Oman, Kuwait and the Arab Emirates have proved themselves much more tolerant, progressive and citizen-friendly than the republican dictatorships that were established in countries such as Egypt and Iraq. One could even argue that the Shah’s dispensation in Iran was better for half its citizens (women) than the present dispensation!

That last sentence is not even remotely a stretch. Read Reading Lolita in Tehran.

This editorial isn't really monarchist:

Clearly, a monarch is not needed in mature civil societies and functioning democracies.

Yeah, clearly.

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