Nepal and Baltimore

So much of my life has died before I have. Those two years in the mid sixties in Peace Corps Nepal were in many respects the greatest years of my life. I trekked across half the country. I was fluent in the language. I loved the culture and the people.

I went back a few years ago with the idea of writing a book, but it was so depressing I decided not to do it. Kathmandu is so polluted that half the people wear masks on the street. The beautiful Newari homes with their exquisite latticework fronts have been torn down for generic "modern" buildings. Over a million young Nepalis work as virtual serfs in the Middle East. At the airport almost every morning there are groups of young Nepalis waiting to ship out to Saudi Arabia or Dubai and there's usually a plane there carrying caskets of those who have died in those countries.

Tourism will not come back after the earthquake because what is there to see? It's all dust now. When I was there, cobblers made the shoes, tailors made the clothes, artisans made the dinnerware, now it's all the cheapest junk from China. The country is left largely to the poor and the poverty parasites, the World Bank and their kin who fly around the country in helicoptors pretending to do good when what they largely accomplish is to live an affluent lifestyle beyond anything they could imagine in their countries.

Baltimore and Nepal are neighbors. What they share is the radical inequality in the world. Baltimore is not about race. It's not just that the mayor, police chief and half the cops are black. It's that these young people without educations are screwed. They aren't screwed because they are black. They are screwed because they have nothing, nowhere to go and in our media centric world, they know they are screwed. They have far more in common with poor whites than they do with the black elite including politicians who have proven racial equality by being for most part as bad as the white politicians.

Watching CNN last night, I couldn't stand the blather, and how these reporters had hard-ons because a car was on fire. Nobody on television mentioned the issue of the mind boggling inequality in America. Unless something radically changes, in a few years the CNN reporters will be covering a riot in a poor white neighborhood where white "thugs" will burn down pharmacies and churches. And wealthy white folk watching the tube won't be able to cluck their lips about the black population and its woeful ways.