October 4, 2007 Update
60% of Nepal’s population is under the age of thirty—an incredibly young population, as it is in much of Southeast Asia. In principal, that aught to be a huge asset for Nepal. So far, it is not. It remains an asset untapped and, in many cases, intentionally ignored by the elite congregation of old men who wield real power. Nepal’s Prime Minister is in his mid-eighties, too frail to attend many state functions, including his own inauguration. Politically, the youth are exploited to do the parties’ work out on the street but, at the end of the day, they are not to be trusted or given any meaningful say in party business. Unlike American society, where a rapidly aging majority is marginalized by youth culture—it’s borderline shameful to grow old in the United States—Nepal is thoroughly patriarchal and the youth are, at best, patronized and, at worst, utterly dismissed.