I am fascinated with a little Asian country. Most of you know which one by now. Consider that Nepal is about the size and shape of Tennessee. It contains the population of California (33 million) and is sandwiched between the two largest countries in the world: India on three sides and China (Tibet) on the north. Nepal’s borders with India are open, allowing floods of Indians into the tiny country where they scrape out an existence only slightly less meager than the one they had in India. Much to the chagrin of the Nepalis, who are left to wrestle them for jobs, resources, space. They’d rather the border be closed, or regulated much the way Bhutan and India have done.
The China-Nepal relationship is insteresting as well, from the 1700s when Nepal was forced to sign agreements of neutrality towart Tibet. Which carried into 1955 when China held Nepal to that neutrality. Which takes me to this article, reporting that Beijing has announced plans to build a train and tunnel under Mt Everest, through to Nepal. You might have to take that news with a grain of Himalayan rock salt about this size…
Because apparently (according the the same article) Beijing also announced that is was building a rail to the US across Siberia and Canada. Ahem. At least that’s what they’re reporting to their people.
But the thing I return to is the idea of being a tiny, neutral country in the midst of all the gigantic nationalism they’re surrounded by. That’s an interesting thing to think about. Because it’s easy to be the biggest, to assert your might and force those you’ve defeated to do things. It’s quite another to be able to live between those mighty behemoths and cut your own unique path.