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."

The good and the bad

14 Jun

Some good news and some bad news today. The good news is that I moved out of my fleabag hotel and into the Peace Palace Hotel Baglung. Relative to the other, it is as nice as it sounds (and cheaper after negotiations). All the rooms face outside, motel style and I’m on the top floor with barred and screened windows on two sides of the room (lots of light and air).

I have a huge balcony with an amazing panoramic view of the city and the mountains (although they are mostly covered in clouds on a rainy day like today). As I type, there is a brown bodied, yellow billed bird making some interesting calls just out my window on the balcony wall. There is only one other room on this floor and we’re not connected, so I won’t have the same problem as the last place (communal bathroom next to my door).

My new roommate!

And so far, my only roommate has been a friendly enough lizard who I have no problems with. Right now, there is a conference with human rights activists from Kathmandu giving some talks on transitional justice. A group of internally displaced people as well as victims’ families of the civil war are attending to talk about their experiences as well as local leaders and politicians.

Yogendra said that it would be in English, but I guess we had a bit of a miscommunication. He was trying to translate, but it was too difficult to keep up. The meeting room was absolutely full with people outside trying to listen in, so I decided to give up my seat for someone who could actually understand and who could get more out of the talk than me.

The conference on transitional justice in Baglung included testimony from victims of the civil war and IDPs.

Now the bad news… Unfortunately, Baglung only has dialup internet and I’m not even sure it is 56K (remember that?). Trying to even check your email is like pulling teeth and I’m not sure how I’ll be able to upload photos. This is a major concern because so much of what I’ll be doing requires contact with the outside world via the internet.

I’ll be able to manage, but as was evident from today, there are other obstacles beyond the slow internet. While I was typing an email to AP about my status, the electricity went out in the village. This is the third time in less than 24 hours.

The first was at 6:30 last night during the ceremony at CYC and that lasted roughly 3 hours. The electricity went out later in the night and again this morning at 10. Its 13:15 and it’s still not back. Needless to say, I’m running on battery power.

Posted By Tassos Coulaloglou

Posted Jun 14th, 2007

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