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the tipping point

September 10, 2007

So the weekend was a complete success. The Jazz Upstairs Club was very interesting and the music was fabulous. Then we headed back to thamel to dance. There are very few pluses to living in a gender segregated society but one of them is that men do not dance with women, so you are never hassled while dancing.

the next morning we awoke to awful headlines in the kathmandu post “Prachanda declares the Revolution will begin again September 18th”. Prachanda is the leader of the Maoist Revolution and should it begin again in earnest we would definitely be evacuated and have to leave nepal possibly permanently. The Maoists now fear that they wont get many votes in the upcoming elections and are threating to tear the whole thing down. Luckily we found out this morning that the Kathmandu post often has incendiary headlines (every english nepali newspaper has a really extreme slant, one usually has to read the same stories in five or so papers to really get the jist of whats going on) and that all Prachanda meant was that civil disobedience in form of strikes and protests would begin again. That we can probably handle.  But everyday he changes his tune and if the Maoists p ll out of the elections then all hell will break loose and the Young Communist League and the Peoples Army may begin to lay siege to Kathmandu again.I couldnt bear to leave. I understand that for the Lawyers and SIT Organization heads back in Vermont this whole thing must seem so remote and dangerous.

My nepali brother in law is editing the promos for the South Asian Film Festival and so all the entries are upstairs in my house. Last night my sister Pinkie and i watched on on Hidjras (sp?) who are the “third gender” in india. Pretty interesting stuff, i urge you to check out the film if it gets released int he us..its titled (naturally) “The Third Gender”.

This morning was fantastic as we finally met Anil Chitrakar, one of our primary teachers. He is probably one if not the most amazing person i have ever met (besides my parents naturally). He is an Ashoka fellow, genius inventor, social entrepreneur and had returned a couple days earlier from camping with a bunch of billionaires in Yosemite. Was given a huge grant by the World Bank because he created this lamp system thing that uses solar powered energy and can also charge a cell phone and radio and all sorts of things. it costs seven rupees a day. it will replace kerosene lamps in billions of homes. truly. he gave us this unbelievable talk (which i am still marveling at and processing) on how to challenge paradigms and understanding “tipping points”–how change happens. it was pretty powerful stuff …

i have to pick a research paper topic soon. very scary. there is so much im interested in and now because of the conflict is has to be one that could be done in india if need be!

update: i had to choose my two topic ideas today and they are  1) Organic/Fair Trade Initiatives  and Local Governance in Darjeeling and 2) The Possibilities Art in a Chaotic State. I’d love to do the second one because Kathmandu has some incredible artists who create art in a culture that does not actively fund or recognize “non traditional” art and who must also work within the Nepali State which is a pretty frustrating and chaotic thing especially of late.

we leave for Darjeeling (india) tomorrow for a week so i can begin scoping out my research topics and enjoying some clean air (hurrah!) and High British Tea at the Windemere

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jamie permalink
    September 24, 2007 5:51 am

    Nobody left you any comments here…so I’m saying goodnight (for me, I suppose for you I should say good morning!). I love you and miss you and found the bit about the inventor fellow very interesting! Be safe and have the adventure of your life!

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