N.Y. Times Disinformation on Children in Nepal

Revolutionary Worker #1185, February 2, 2003, posted at http://rwor.org

"Nepal: Conflict Toll on Children. Two thousand Nepalese children have been orphaned, 4,000 displaced and 168 killed in the Maoist insurrection that began in 1996, a Kathmandu-based human rights group reported. The group, the Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Center, said more than 10,000 children had been denied access to education because of the insurgency. The center's president, Gauri Pradhan, expressed concern about reports that children have been recruited into the Maoists' army."

This news item appeared in the "World Briefing" section of the New York Times on January 16, 2003.

This is a good example of the dishonest method used by the bourgeois media to bolster anti- communist arguments. Statistics are taken out of context and manipulated in order to slander the Maoists in Nepal.

Let's look at what the N.Y. Times news item does in three short sentences.

It takes statistics about the total number of deaths, from both sides , and then implies that all these deaths are caused by one side--the Maoists.

This is a method commonly used to rewrite history and spread anti-communist lies. For example it is often presented as "fact" that Mao Tsetung was responsible for "killing millions of people." What's the formula here? Take the total number of deaths that occurred in the Chinese Revolution--including atrocities committed by the reactionaries and Japanese invaders, add this to the "insurgents' total" and presto-chango --Mao becomes a mass murderer. Sometimes the "official statistics on deaths" attributed to the revolution even include starvation and disease, caused by the oppressive system people are rebelling against. Sometimes the statistics cited are completely manufactured.

Four statistics are given by the N.Y. Times : 2,000 orphaned, 4,000 displaced, 168 killed "in the Maoist insurrection" and 10,000 denied access to education "because of the insurgency."

In fact, most of the children who have lost their parents have become orphans because their mothers and fathers were killed or rounded up and jailed by the government.

The overwhelming majority of the children who have been killed in the insurgency in Nepal have died at the hands of government forces.

Many schools have been closed down because reactionary teachers have left the areas where the guerrillas have control. The Maoists have built and run new schools in their base areas. Maoist students have organized strikes, closing down schools throughout the country, to demand equal opportunity to a free and relevant education.

The People's War in Nepal has affected the whole country. Clearly there is great turmoil in the countryside as a result of the insurgency and the government's attempts to crush it. Great numbers of people have left their villages as a result of the brutal "search and destroy" campaign by the government. At the same time there are some people leaving areas where the Maoists have control because they are reactionaries tied to the government; others don't support the Maoists; and some are simply seeking to avoid the hardships and conflicts of the war.

The N.Y. Times claims that "4,000 people have been displaced" by the insurgency. But the most compelling fact is the enormous support that has been built for this revolution in the countryside and the active involvement of millions of poor peasants in this struggle.

It is interesting that if you go up on the website of the Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Center (the organization cited by the N.Y. Times ) there is a detailed study, using statistics from 1998, of the many social and economic reasons why thousands of people, including children, have left the countryside. The report talks about poverty, unemployment, children from the countryside working in the cities, child prostitution, Nepalese working in India, the search for better homes and living conditions, students trying to get a better education, bonded child labor. In this report about the widespread "displacement" from the countryside there is no mention of the Maoist insurgency.

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