Friday, February 18, 2005

From a friend in Nepal

I thought this might be of interest. I received this today from a friend who has been travelling and teaching in Nepal, India and Thailand for the last 5 months. -R


After 4 days of train travel in India, I flew from Varanasi to Kathmandu. I wanted to travel overland b/c its considerably cheaper...but the Maoists closed off all land borders for entry and exit to locals and foreigners.

Kathmandu is quiet, but very stressed. The energy is quite different from 2 months ago. The people are scared. Thus far there haven't been any bombs in the central Kathmandu area. But, the situation is escalating. I am glad to be leaving Nepal in 20 days. It doesn't feel safe here. Traffic is sporadic, and phones and internet are now only available on the black market. Right now, I'm sitting in a family's living room using their computer.

There has been quite a few food shortages due to new import bans. So. many restaurants have closed and the price of food, even Dal Bhat is enormous. There are protests in the park, and demonstrations in the steets. The military is everywhere. There's even a curfew that begins at 8pm. with the military patrolling the streets. They bang their sticks on the ground to announce themselves. All night long I could hear them outside my window.

Aside from all these things I was glad to leave India. My experience with Indian men has been more than disappointing. Sadly, women travelling alone are easy targets.

I booked my plane tickets in Mumbai. I have 20 more days in Nepal, about the same in Thailand, and then I fly into _____ 3/31 and then back to __ sometime in early April. Not so far away. I can't say I'm ready to return, but I'm running out of money. What to do? At least I'll have missed winter before I return to the valley.

How are all of you?

I send my love,


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

On Creating Resistance Memes

"It was too dangerous to openly state ones opposition, with the possible penalty of being sentenced to time in a concentration camp.

"You had to keep everything secret," remembers Wittenstein. "You could not even trust your friends. I was in a movie theatre once and during a news reel, when Hitler was speaking, someone must have made a remark. He was removed by the Gestapo. When we talked anything about politics at home, we would put a tea cozy over the phone so no one at home would hear. It was a great risk, of course. It would be weeks and months before you knew someone well enough that you could talk to them.

- from Holocaust Biographies: Hans and Sophie Scholl - German Resisters of the White Rose by Toby Axelrod

We clearly haven't gotten quite to this point, (although people like Sherman Austin might disagree), but what happens when they do? We feel protected by our vast communications networks, which seems rather naive, considering who controls the corporations and satellites that comprise those networks.

It might be a good idea to come up with a bunch of resistance-oriented memes or ways of identifying like-minded thinkers. There are obvious ones like "team colors" as one of the presenters described Anarchists black & red. The myth of the "Underground Railroad Quilts" has been busted, but the fact that it captured so many people's attention and credibility is interesting. If the meme spread so quickly in just 3 or 4 years, perhaps something similar would be viable?