To Lincoln Memorial

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Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC.

So we walked from Capitol Hill and up the steps of Lincoln Memorial. I couldn’t feel my legs, dead tired from walking about 2 miles with less than excited 2 year old.

Between placating her and admiring the grand monuments around us, I couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable because growing up I didn’t see history and heritage get so much importance.

My parents didn’t take me to see Nepali artifacts and historical monuments. It is a shame that I haven’t visited Lumbini- Buddha’s birthplace, and I know very little about our art history.

When I was a kid, history was not celebrated in Nepal and from what I see, it is the same today. Every country has their share of unpleasant memories and mistakes. America’s history is not perfect but still the country takes pride in it. Why are we so afraid to look back?

There is no shortage of heroes in Nepal, but where is our Lincoln Memorial and where is our MLK Memorial? Yes, we have managed to erect statues of notable figures across the country, but are they really there to honor those individuals? If yes, why do they stay lonely year around except on certain national holidays?

And to make matters worse, there are some who want to sanitize history by denying it. Hence the disrespect towards founding leaders. Nepal’s founder King Prithvi Narayan Shah, he was no saint but does that permit us to deny his contribution in founding modern Nepal? I mean, even Nelson Mandela is criticized but he is respected too.

Why can’t we develop pride in our past and learn from the mistakes? Why do we need a sanitized history to love our country?

My Uncle’s Kathmandu and My Washington DC

My uncle visited Kathmandu, for the first time, when he was a teenager. The city fascinated him. Bustling roads, glittering shops, big houses and the phenom-electricity(!).

For a boy from a small village in Nuwakot, Kathmandu was a different world, a different planet.

Yesterday, I found myself in similar situation. My only advantage-yes, I was familiar with electricity and I had experienced automobile ride.

Washington DC, America’s capital fascinated me. A huge contradiction and a huge question mark. On the outskirts, the city is suffering. Dilapidated housing complexes dotted the scene, with groups of young men and women looking lost and dejected.

City’s homeless population also took me by surprise. In the world’s most powerful nation’s capital, it is hard to accept the people are living in such desperate situation.

Move a little towards downtown and you see a different world.Washington DC is a beautiful city,history adds to that. Wealth and influence also shines throughout the city. You just know when you have made the transition from the ” undesirable” section of the city to the better side.

That is just so unjust and tragic. Right under Jefferson and Lincoln memorial, as Martin Luther King is watching; America carries on as usual, even in sight of such gap between rich and poor.

My uncle saw hope in Kathmandu, he saw possibilities. After pleading for days with his parents, he was allowed to join a government run school in the city. He was certain that the break would give him the opportunity to succeed in life. Kathmandu presented life and dreams for my uncle and for my family. I am not sure if my daughter sees the same in Washington DC.

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Washington Monument.

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The Justice Department, a homeless person sleeping on a bench nearby.

Last updated 3:47 PM EST

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US Capitol

Death Penalty Will Not End Crime, It is No Justice

Yesterday, state of Georgia executed Troy Davis, convicted of killing an off duty police officer. Davis, to the very end-moments before being injected with lethal drugs, claimed innocence. His case gathered many supporters from around the world, including some very well known figure like Rev. Al Sharpton, Jimmy Carter, the Pope; because there was too much dobut whether Davis was the actual killer.

No murder weapon was found, and the seven of the nine eyewitnesses changed or recanted all or part of their testimony and the lack of physical evidence directly linking Davis to the crime also added to the mounting doubts. Unfortunately, after years of efforts to set him free or at least clemency from death penalty, Troy Davis was executed.

This case presents the huge moral dilemma of the Death Penalty. You cannot kill a citizen without infallible proof, even slightest doubt or possibility of misstep should be enough to stop an execution because no matter how long it takes to prove the truth-it can be done. A person once gone, is gone forever.

In Troy Davis’ case, what harm would it have done to state of Georgia if they had stayed the execution and investigated the conviction some more? Yes, he got number of opportunities to prove his innocence, but what wrong can one more chance do?

But the man is now dead and if it is proven in future that indeed an innocent man was killed by the state, what repercussions will the state face? How much will that hurt the justice system and people’s faith in the system?

Unfortunately, some idiots (yes, I will call them that) are now calling Nepal to bring back death penalty. I don’t think they understand the gravity of this punishment. You are asking a state to kill its citizens in the name of the law and that is a huge moral black hole. There is no justice in killing someone, and for a country with limited diagnostic and legal resources bringing back death penalty will surely kill hundreds of innocents.

What Nepal needs is better policing, more spending on resources for the victims and also for the accused and a Government serious on ending current environment of impunity. Death penalty should have no place in Nepali justice system.

Here are some relevant posts:

Demand to introduce capital punishment in Nepal

Nepalese capital hit by demonstrations demanding death penalty

 

+1: Nepali Blogs and Bloggers Who Rock!

For a while, I have been thinking about writing a post on Nepali blogs and bloggers. Today, a day after 6.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal and parts of India, I feel compelled to do this post-as a thank you note. Without their timely, regular posts and updates, it would have been very difficult for me and the diaspora community to get the news on time. Mainstream media’s lumbering ways just don’t cut it in times of national tragedy.

Nepali language must read bloggers

Dipak Bhattarai, short, strong posts on hot button issues.

Dinesh Wagle, with International/regional perspective.

AakarPost, great personal stories and tech stuff too.

Mysanar, has lost the cozy blog feel and has morphed into a more big media moonlighting as a blog phase, must follow nevertheless.

XNepali, posts are in Nepali and English and the entertainment section is especially popular.

Shabda, Dhaiba’s blog is a treat for who love Nepali language. Great literary sense and quite poetic.

Archana Shrestha, well she was my class mate in college so I will not write more about her blog- it may sound trumpeting, but do read and you will understand why it is so popular.

And many many more..

This list is not complete and will never be complete, just a small token of gratitude. Even with all the difficulties of daily life, especially electricity issues for those in Nepal, you continue to share and inspire dialogue. Thank you!

Thanks to Aakar, I have updated the list and added blogs.

Prbht, politics and technology.

DAcharya, short stories, travelog as technology.

ENepal, his Twitter handle is playful and changes frequently, but serious blog on tech issues.

Deadly Wakeup Call

Thank you for following our Nepal earthquake update yesterday. 24 hours have passed since the tremors were felt in Nepal, and parts of North India. Reports of damages, injuries and casualties are still coming in.

According to Kantipur, the 6.8 magnitude quake has claims 8 lives in Nepal.

The number will rise in coming days as reports from hard to reach villages trickle in. The epicenter was close to remote villages of eastern Nepal, with limited transportation and communication tools.

In Kathmandu 3 people died when British embassy’s poorly maintained wall collapsed. Republica reports that the British ambassador has met with victims’ family and expressed sympathy.

The government has offered aid of NRs 25,000 for those injured and 100,000 for the family of deceased.  to the family of deceased, 100,000 compensation has been recommended by a Government committee( but has yet to be finalized).

 

No details on how they plan to help the villages where number of houses have collapsed- winter is approaching and Nepal’s biggest holiday Dashain is just 9 days away.

It is also important to note here that just hours after the earthquake struck, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai left Kathmandu to attend United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

He did not wait for the death/ destruction picture to clear up before leaving. At Twitter, some Nepali tweeps noted the fact with disappointment.

After all, people do have pinned lot hope on this Prime Minister. Was that too soon?

Some bloggers have shared their experience,

Aakar Post in Nepali.

MySanar has CCTV videos from department stores, capturing quake’s effects.

Nepali Blogger on the quake, English.

Nepal Earthquake

Reports of strong earthquake felt in Nepal and parts of India are coming in. Mysansar has the details. Major Nepali news sites are taking long time to load and some are not opening, Mysansar is holding up so far.

You can follow conversation and updates at Twitter, under the tag #sept18quake.

Posting some relevant tweets

“@salokya: ताप्लेजुङका पहाडी गाउँहरुमा अधिकांश घर भत्कियोः KTV #Sept18quake”

“@dipakbhattarai: भक्तपुरमा केही घर भत्किएका छन्। #Earthquake #Nepal”

Updated 10:19 AM EST

“@salokya: Image Channel- मनमोहन अस्पतालमा उपचार गर्ने क्रममा अनिता श्रेष्ठ, साजन श्रेष्ठ र एक अज्ञातको मृत्यु, बेलायती दूतावासको पर्खाल भ #sept18quake”

“@damakant: Reports say that some of the 15 injured people taken to Bit Hospital in Ktm had tried to jump out of the window”

Updated 10:47 AM EST

“@USEmbassyNepal: 6.8 earthquake felt in Nepal. US citizens in Nepal who need emergency assistance call the embassy at 1-400-7266 or 1-400-7269

“@thedailybeast: 6.8 Quake Hits Northeastern India: Buildings collapse in state of Sikkim. http://t.co/Sloq9hZN #cheatsheet”

Updated 11:07 AM EST

“@aakarpost: Star News reporting false news, ‘British Embassy Building Collapsed’ ! #fail #earthquake #Nepal”

Updated 11:49 AM EST

“@damakant: #Earthquake in #Nepal & #India: Indian cabinet dispatches 5 cargo planes to quake-hit areas; Nepali cabinet DECIDES to provide relief!”

Updated 12:03 PM EST

“@frankietaggart: Five dead so far in #Kathmandu #earthquake (epicentre across the border in #India). #AFP”

Updated 12:07 PM EST

“@salokya: Last Tweet for 2day: See video of CA Hall, Shopping Mall सभासदहरु भागाभाग http://t.co/5aOBhvNT #Sept18quake”

Updated 3:39 PM EST

“@keshuvko: PM Bhattarai off to New York to attend UNGA after massive quake in Nepal http://t.co/6c5hoB1A”

Updated 4:10 PM EST

This concludes our updates, will have a post tomorrow on the quake and relief efforts.

Danny Denzongpa’s Old Nepali Songs

I am big Danny fan-love Danny the bad guy and the singer too. I don’t know why he completely stopped signing,big loss for music for sure. Immensely talented actor, painter and singer, I feel that his gifts and contributions are not sufficiently recognized/appreciated.

I will be consoled if he starts appearing in movies more regularly!

Here are some vidoes of him I found at YouTube, enjoy!

Danny with Asha Bhosle

Rato Rani

Suna Katha

Man Ko Kura Lai (one of my favorite song!)