Global Voice Exclusive Interview with Dr. Luke Vandari Levis, Nepal
Honourable Member of Parliament / Member of Congress:
This month’s Global Voice is an exclusive interview with Luke
Vandari Levis PhD (aka: Lok M Bhandari PhD). He is:
a Member of Nepali Congress Democratic;
US Relations Co-ordinator;
UN Peace Ambassador;
President, Himalayan Mission Inc., including Kathmandu
International University & Himalayan Center For World Mission.
GLOBAL VOICE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH Dr LUKE VANDARI LEVIS, NEPAL
GV: Dr Levis, how would you describe the political and social
situation in Nepal today?
Dr Levis: Around 40,000 people have died in the past 10 years of
civil war in Nepal. After King Gyanandra took power by force
nearly three years ago, he fired the democratically elected
prime minister and the government. So the future of Nepal is
very uncertain and there is no peace here.
GV: How has it changed during the last 3-4 months?
Dr Levis: During the past few months the civil war between Maoist
and the government forces and the Peoples Democratic Movement
has grown stronger than ever before. The king is importing
sophisticated weapons from China, and the Maoists are
importing weapons from India. India and China have played a
vital political role over the past few months. However, America
is backing India, and Indian guns and weapons companies
continue to supply weapons to the Maoist. The good thing is the
seven party alliance is doing pretty well, and they have a
12-point co-operation agenda with the Maoist to fight against
the king. It is working pretty well.
GV: What are the main reasons for the present turmoil?
Dr Levis: The king of Nepal wants to be a politically active
king. He is the prime minister and he is the king. The
government wants to preserve Nepal as the only Hindu state in
the world. Economically the country is poor, except in
Kathmandu where the real estate and banking industries are
doing really well. Fear of the Maoist drives millions to
migrate into Kathmandu or other major cities and everything has
become so expensive. Highways are blocked, there is a shortage
of food, a drinking water crisis, a shortage of gas, and the
king is too proud to give up his exalted position.
GV: Are there any peace talks? Who could take the initiative —
India, the EU, Finland?
Dr Levis: Peace talks have to be started by the UN or the EU, or
a country like Norway or Finland. However, talks would require
full co-operation from India and China and the USA as they all
have growing interests. All previous peace talks have failed
because they have been one-sided rather than inclusive.
GV: How do the people suffer?
Dr Levis: Innocent people have been shot or killed without
reason. The king and his military and police continue to harass
and abuse the people. People are not able to travel outside
their homes. Neither the Maoists nor the government respect
human rights or protect civil liberties.
GV: What is the Church’s role in all this? Peace? Help?
Dr Levis: The church leaders are not generally capable of such
complex political tasks. They do not have authority over
political leadership, and they do not have good links. The very
best thing they can do is pray.
GV: Is the church growing or declining?
Dr Levis: As of now, the Church is growing very much. Today there
could be as many as two million Christian believers in Nepal.
GV: What would be the first steps towards a solution?
Dr Levis: The king should not play an active role in Nepalese
politics in the 21st Century. If the king would humble himself
and leave executive power to the people’s elected government,
then that would be a good first step towards a solution.
GV: What can the international community do?
Dr Levis: India in particular could encourage the king to humble
himself and step out of politics. Solidarity from the
international community on this matter would be very helpful.