Tassos Coulaloglou

Tassos Coulaloglou (Collective Campaign for Peace – COCAP): Tassos was born and raised in New Jersey. He attended the University of Wisconsin (UW) and graduated with his BS in Political Science in 2001. Tassos spent one year studying abroad at Utrecht University in Holland while in his final year at UW, After graduation, Tassos moved to Lithuania to become a freelance journalist and teach high-school history and English as a second language. In 2004, he returned to the States to work as a team leader with the League of Conservation's Envirovictory political campaign in Milwaukee. He returned to Eastern Europe the following year and resumed writing before starting graduate school. At the time of his fellowship, Tassos was studying for a Master's degree in International Relations and Diplomacy offered jointly by Leiden University and the Clingendael in Holland. After his fellowship, Tassos wrote: “...now in class, I try to break the Euro/America-centric positions that seem to dominate and ask what the Nepali view would be…this fellowship pushed me to understand a people, to think in their terms."



A stroll through Baglung

25 Jul

I’m back in Kathmandu for a meeting with the four other Peace Fellows as well as some other COCAP personnel from the regions. We’ll be discussing our progress on the collective proposals and addressing some concerns we, the Peace Fellows, have regarding the structure and efficacy of the COCAP model outside Kathmandu. Being here has also given me a chance to share some photos that I’ve wanted to upload for a while now but couldn’t in Baglung. These pictures below were taken over a month ago when Yogendra and I took a stroll through Baglung to meet some of the locals.

We started through the “busy” streets of Baglung, where people were out and about enjoying an early evening without electricity.

 

 

But first we needed some ambulatory sustenance, so we grabbed a few bananas from the corner shop.

 

 

While passing a small alley I saw some blooming flowers with the hills as a backdrop. Soon after snapping a few shots, a group of women started shouting, inviting Yogendra and me to join their group. From the hammer and sickle sign, I had an inkling that they’d be some communist group.

 

 

I sat down and asked what they were discussing. Interesting enough, it was a woman’s faction within the National Communist Party of Baglung. While the Maoists are staunch anti-royalists, I was surprised to find out that most supported the monarchy and were calling for a constitutional monarchy and not a republic. They explained to me that the king was a symbol of Nepal and that throwing away the monarchy would be a mistake. When I asked what the monarchy had done for the Nepali people in the past I received few answers. Oddly enough, most said the king was a “bad man”. I left confused.

 

 

Yogendra and I then walked away from the center of town to see the beautiful surroundings of Baglung. Obviously, we weren’t alone in finding a quiet place for contemplation.

 

 

But soon we were back on the streets and ran into a Maoist leader in Baglung. In fact, the gentleman that Yogendra is speaking with is leader of the Young Communist League (YCL) in Baglung district. The YCL is the youth wing of the Maoists and have become the de facto security apparatus of the party, now that the regular Maoist forces are in cantonments. The YCL didn’t exist before the Maoist fighters were placed in these barracks, which are now overseen by the United Nations Mission in Nepal. The YCL have been blamed for numerous kidnappings and extrajudicial actions since the Maoists joined the political process. Incidentally, the YCL leader’s brother was kidnapped and disappeared by the Nepali Army during the civil war. The two who are listening intently are also YCL comrades.

 

 

Grumpy old men — Nepali style.

 

 

There is a reason the little girl on the right is the only one not smiling. If her sister finds too many lice, she’ll end up looking like the other two on the left.

 

 

Some ladies brightening up Baglung.

 

 

And finally back to Yogendra’s room for some chiya (tea). Of course Yogendra, my focal point facilitator and dai (big bro) is on the right. His eight year old son, Yaman, is in his lap. In back is his ten year old, Yamuna and just on the right is his three year old daughter Manjita. On the left is Bikash, who works for CYC, the COCAP focal point office of the western region.

Posted By Tassos Coulaloglou

Posted Jul 25th, 2007

4 Comments

  • Mary B.

    July 27, 2007

     

    Beautiful pictures, Tassos. Thanks very much. I have been reading your blog and found it most interesting. Your encounter with the women’s group was good to hear. I have a feeling that change in women’s rights will be hastened if women group together.

  • prem

    March 13, 2009

     

    Natural smile photos nice thing, I loved. Your Encounter with the women’s group feel much inspired.Natural feeling and smile could able change the system of political monarchy will be better than hinsa(wepones and war)in the society.

  • Jordan 6

    September 12, 2010

     

    Your bolg is so fantastic, I very very love it. Today the wether is good, Do you have a happy day? I hope you happy every day. Let the joy flew into your heart, Let the good luck in your body, Let the land flowing with in your heart, let the time with sincerity and unforgettable.

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    June 19, 2012

     

    I needed to thank you for this good read!! I certainly
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