Note: This entry is about PGI Editor Dan Logue’s experience interviewing Rabin Subedi for the Fall 2008 issue of Perspectives in Global Issues.
Since interviewing Rabin, I’ve had some time to really think about the actual events in Nepal last spring. It’s really a remarkable event that was so ground up that I truly think it will ultimately work out in the end. The Nepalis have taken ownership of the process and decided to do it in their own way. That seems to be the only way that democracy ever sticks.
Rabin told me he’s sent the link from the preview to friends and family and I guess it has gotten a very welcome reception. Not that I read my own press or feel that it really has anything to do with me, but it’s nice to know that I was (in some small way) able to get this story out and put a humanity to it. The story was pretty much buried in obscurity by the US media, which is really a disservice considering how much we Americans go around touting democracy. Maybe it was because the US didn’t seem to have that much to do with it??
For me this recent movement just proves the point that democracy can’t be a top-down or imposed concept. It needs to be organic and have its own flavor based on national culture and history. Nepal had made attempts at democratization years past, but it didn’t stick. Obviously, the population as a whole wasn’t fully ready for it. But this time they ran with it and were successful. Hopefully it will be a good sign for other countries around the world. The US very much has a role to play in the consolidation phase. It’s not enough just to have elections, there needs to be assistance in building this new civil society and helping to iron out the inevitable bumps.
This will probably sound cheesy and overly sentimental, but I think the basic human story is easily the most important. Having gotten to know Rabin and hear his story really showed me just how important this movement is to his country, and him. Being a human rights lawyer gives him a front row seat to the workings of the new republic. What also makes it interesting is that he has a young son whose future just became that much brighter.