Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's Here

After months of planning today is the big day...the election in Nepal. I, like everyone else, does not know what to expect. The early returns for me are impressive. They have very little to do with the polls though.When I was out walking around 7 am (got to get my mornin' yogurt) people were lined up already; men in seperate lines from women. This makes no sense until you understand that men control the women and if a husband was voting next to his wife, his wife would have no vote.
The most inspiring sight was the old lady who could not vote being carried to the polls. The country will be transformed by the elections and I guess she wanted to be part of it.
Less impressive has been the monument observers. There signs say poll observers but the ones I have seen have acted exactly like tourist. This group from the Asia Foundation had a tour guide who was explaining everything about the monuments in front of my house. Ian Martin, the UN representative here, said that this will be the most observed election in history. I hope the other observers take it more seriously then the dozens that I have seen in front of my house in Durbar Square.

I am worried there will be violence. The US State Department sent out their usual warnings "do not mix with crowds matter of fact do not leave your bathroom" or something like that. I know there is danger in the world, but it seems they are a little extreme sometimes, but I guess they figure better safe than sorry.
I feel real hope for the country right now, but it is tempered with the reality that the election is only one stop in a long journey.

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