‘Headwind, Laxmi’s Story’ is still available.

Headwind, Laxmi’s Story is still available through mailorder directly from the author’s online bookshop. Here you’ll find the first chapter of the novel to get a grip with the story of Laxmi. Click here for Headwind, Laxmi’s Story Sample. You can buy the book here. If any questions arise on orders or shipping, please drop me a line at alice@woordenstorm.nl.


In 2011 and early 2012 I wrote the English language novel ‘Headwind, Laxmi’s Story’ about a young Bhutanese woman who was born in a refugee camp in Nepal after her parents were exiled from the supposed to be Shangri-La country Bhutan. Laxmi was resettled by the UNHCR (United Nations refugee agency) to the Netherlands. In her story she looks back at het past life in the camp and tells about her struggle to create a new life in a society that is alien to her. And all the time she longs for her true love, the boy she grew up with in the camp and who now lives in the United States as a resettler.

Headwind, Laxmi’s Story is about coming of age in between cultures, about the life as a refugee and a migrant. About having to struggle for a decent life and about a love that seems impossible. It’s about the caste system that is a fundament underneath the Hindu society and the changes that come when people are taken from their home, their country, culture an religion and implanted in a modern society. But above all it’s a story about a young woman with a difficult past who fights her way through life, like most refugees do.

headwind front coverHeadwind, Laxmi’s Story Sample

 

 

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Kan boeddhisme wel bestaan in het westen?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfoto: Boeddhistische stupa in Boudanath, Nepal © 2011 Alice Anna Verheij

Ik heb een tijdje gewerkt en geleefd in Nepal, dat zal bekend zijn. Voor diegenen met dergelijke ervaringen is het ook ongetwijfeld bekend dat het Boeddhisme daar net zo alomtegenwoordig is als het Hindoeïsme en dat de versmelting van beide onderling en met het dagelijks leven overal voelbaar is. Die versmelting met het dagelijkse leven is dusdanig dat het ook duidelijk zal zijn dat alle aspecten van de samenleving zich ook in het Boeddhisme manifesteren. Je hoeft er maar een tijdje te zijn om te gaan inzien dat er geen grens is tussen filosofie, religie en het leven. Althans in de beoefening ervan. Maar ook zaken als onachtzaamheid, zelfzucht, discriminatie, sexisme, xenofobie, misogynie en zelfs geweld zijn onlosmakelijk verbonden met zowel dat dagelijkse leven als de beide religies.

Azië is wat dat betreft een groot verschil met de rest van de wereld en zeker met het westen. In het westen wordt Boeddhisme door veel mensen gezien als verlicht, geweldloos en zelfs verheven. Maar de werkelijkheid is dus anders. Heel anders.

Waar in Azië met name het Boeddhisme zich steeds vaker gewelddadig manifesteert (denk aan Bhutan dat Hindoe’s het land uitgejaagd heeft door etnische zuivering en Birma / Myanmar waar monniken moslims uit hun huizen jagen en vermoorden), manifesteert datzelfde Boeddhisme zich in het westen als een religie die zichzelf omgeeft met onechte mystiek, onterechte verering van individuën en flagrante onoprechtheid. Het is niet moeilijk om met eigen ogen te zien in welke mate ook deze Boeddhistische wereld geleid wordt door simpele menselijke emoties als egoïsme en zelfverrijking. Je hoeft er slecht een tijdje voor rond te lopen in Nepal of India en goed om je heen te kijken om het contrast met de situatie in Nederland te zien. De vrolijke kleuren van de gebedsvlaggetjes kunnen niet verhinderen dat onoprechtheid zichtbaar is.

Ook in Nederland.

Sinds langere tijd volg ik de discussies rond Zen-scholen en leraren, de Boeddhistische Omroep BOS, het Boeddhistisch Dagblad, het BUN en een lijstje met andere drieletterige organisaties die zich voordoen als de bewakers van die Boeddhistische leer in Nederland. De wijze waarop in Boeddhistisch-Nederlandse kring mensen elkaar zwart maken als het om leiding en sturing van de eigen organisaties gaat is schokkend. Net zo schokkend als de arrogantie van dergelijke organisaties, het gebrek aan transparantie en het opkloppen van het eigen belang.

Wat mij steeds meer verbaasd is de structurele discrepantie tussen het gedrag van mensen en de filosofie of religie die ze zeggen aan te hangen. De verloochening van de eigen waarden die ze anderen voorhouden als essentieel is opvallend. Niet alleen bij Christelijke politieke partijen en kerken, moskeebesturen en ‘belangenorganisaties’ maar dus ook bij dat ogenschijnlijk zo verheven Boeddhisme. Er is nog steeds niemand die mij kan of wil verklaren waarom zelfs een man als de Dalai Lama weigert zich uit te spreken over de etnische zuivering in Bhutan zoals uitgevoerd door zijn eigen geloofsgenoten. Net zo min als dat niemand lijkt enige zelfbeheersing te betrachten als het gaat om andermans beleving van de filosofie of religie waar men toe behoort. Je hoeft er slecht de artikelen over die BOS, BUN en Zen-leraren maar over te volgen.

Wat wel duidelijk is wat mij betreft is dat georganiseerde filosofische en religieuze stromingen uitblinken in het zichzelf ongeloofwaardig maken voor hen die zich er in verdiepen. Zou het dan toch zo zijn dat filosofie en religie alleen in de individuele beleving gevrijwaard kan blijven van corruptie? Zou het dan ook zo zijn dat wanneer meerdere mensen gezamenlijk een filosofie of religie zeggen te omarmen dat er altijd sprake zal blijken te zijn van het afkalven van de voor die filosofie of religie kenmerkende normen en waarden? Ongeacht over welke filosofie of religie dat gaat? Gewoon omdat de mens nu eenmaal zichzelf corrumpeert?

Want als dat zo is, dan kan een mens maar beter atheïst zijn.

© 2013 Alice Anna Verheij

Boeddhisme in Nederland: zweefteven, roddel en achterklap.

Even vooraf: ik ben geen Boeddhist. Het Nepalese grapje ‘Do you know the Buddha? He was a great businessman’ is aan mij niet zo besteed en enig belang ontbreekt mij om te doen waar ik al een hele tijd zin in heb:

Een aantal zogenaamd journalistieke boeddhisten met de koppen tegen elkaar rammen.

Dat is inderdaad weinig Boeddhistisch maar o zo Hollands nuchter. Want wat is er aan de hand in Holland-Boeddhistenland?

Enige tijd geleden benaderde een nieuw online medium me naar aanleiding van mijn kritiek op het mensenrechtenbeleid, of eigenlijk de onderstreping van het wanbeleid op dat gebied, van het petieterig kleine koninkrijkje Bhutan in de Himalayas. Een landje dat het presteerde om zowat 20% van de eigen bevolking in ballingschap te sturen en daarin persisteert.

En zodoende sprak ik met twee ambitieuze heren die een journalistiek platform wilden maken om in Nederland het Boeddhisme, wat ze zelf aangaven te belijden, kritisch doch met journalistiek verantwoorde blik te beschouwen. De noodzaak daartoe vonden ze in de weigering van organisaties als de Boeddhistische Omroep die betaald wordt met geld van de publieke omroep, uw en mijn geld dus, om ook maar één kritisch bericht over het Boeddhisme te laten zien of horen. ‘Open Boeddhisme‘ was geboren. Een beetje rare naam overigens want de tegenstrijdigheid is nogal groot in die naam gegeven het toch vrij extreem gesloten karakter van het Boeddhisme. Het is overigens een dappere poging.

De mannen hadden wel een beetje gelijk natuurlijk want inderdaad, ook ik was daar tegenaan gelopen in het kader van de kritische documentaire die ik maak. Overigens neem ik daarin geen stelling tegen het Boeddhisme op zich want dat doe ik nergens simpelweg omdat ik een aantal aspecten van het Boeddhisme begrijp èn omarm (zonder me Boeddhist te noemen) en het onderwerp van mijn film er in directe zin niet zo bar veel mee te maken heeft. Wel stel ik vast dat het Boeddhisme zeker niet gespeend is van gewelddadigheid, genderongelijkheid, homo- en transfobie en rascisme. En daar sta ik niet alleen in maar weet ik me in die vaststelling gesteund door de nodige kenners, de geschiedenis en het besef dat het Boeddhisme zich gewoon in het gezelschap bevindt van alle andere religies waar dogmatiek nu eenmaal impliciet is.

Edoch, de website van Open Boeddhisme een tijdje volgend vallen een paar zaken direct op. Zo is er een onjournalistieke fixatie op slechts drie onderwerpen en is daardoor alle andere informatie rond het Boeddhisme in Nederland gemarginaliseerd, letterlijk verstopt in submenutjes terwijl de redactioneeltjes te frequent eendimensionaal zijn. De website lijkt een soort kruistocht te voeren tegen de BOS (Boeddhistische Omroep Stichting), BUN (Boeddhistische Unie Nederland) en BZI (Boeddhistische Zendende Instantie). Er is een overmaat van artikelen over belangenverstrengeling (die er vast en zeker is in een dergelijke kleine gemeenschap), het falen in het Nederlandse gevangeniswezen door de BZI als het om geestelijke ondersteuning gaat en de bizarre verbindingen tussen de genoemde drieletter woordige clubjes. Er deugd in ieder geval heel erg weinig van de elkaar financieel overind houdende organisaties, het extreme gebrek aan transparantie en de vage bestuursstructuren die eerder aan politbureaus doen denken dan aan netjes georganiseerde organisaties.

Weinig verlicht in dat wereldje allemaal, zal ik maar zeggen.

De reacties van die drieletter clubjes op de website van Open Boeddhisme liegen er niet om. Roddel en achterklap is hun deel en het Boeddhistisch Dagblad (een in ieder geval inhoudelijk diverser medium waarin overigens ook enige zelfkritiek op het Boeddhisme zorgvuldig wordt vermeden) is volgens de heren overgegaan tot censuur ten opzichte van mensen die reageren en Open Boeddhisme als bron vermelden.

De BOS, ach de BOS, de BOS dus, weigert de Open Boeddhisten de mogelijkheid in beeld of op de radio te komen en de BUN en BZI voeren zo lijkt het een loopgravenoorlog met de mannen. Natuurlijk blijft het Boeddhistische wereldje in Nederland zich vooral uiten in zweefteverigheid als het gaat over het geluk van de mens in hun bruto nationaal gelukkige wereld. Maar van een afstandje is vast te stellen dat het eigenlijk een vrij donker wereldje geworden is binnen het formele segment van het polder-, tulpen- of klei Boeddhisme. Een wereldje van roddel, achterklap, beschimping, verdachtmakingen, ruzie, en vampirisme (want het lijkt er ernstig op dat een aantal mensen elkaars bloed wel kunnen drinken inmiddels).

In die donkerte is enige verlichting bepaald nuttig maar lijkt ook uitgesloten te zijn binnen deze impliciet gesloten gemeenschap. Het beeld dat ontstaat als de spade een stukje dieper in de Boeddhistische klei wordt gestoken is dat van mensen die in de praktijk niet kunnen belijden wat ze pretenderen. In Nederland geen door giften overeind gehouden kloosters en maatschappelijk geaccepteerde bedelmonniken maar nu juist commercieel opererende Sanghas (in dit landje zijn dat gemeenschappen van vooral leken Boeddhisten die heel mindfull zijn, in Azië gemeenschappen van Boeddhistische monniken of nonnen). In Nederland wordt wel weinig verlicht elkaar het leven zuur gemaakt en in Nederland is zelfkritiek geen usance. Wat dat is negatief en derhalve niet verlicht. Het tapijt waaronder de rommel geschoven is blijkt zwaar.

Dat polder Boeddhisme heeft overigens voor de oppervlakkige maar zeker voor de diepgravender blik geen lor uit te staan met het Boeddhisme zoals dat in Azië gepraktiseerd wordt. Nederland is daarin niet anders dan andere westerse landen waar er door een oranje brilletje gekeken wordt naar dat ‘vreedzame en mystieke’ geloof, maar datzelfde brilletje donker en ondoorzichtig wordt als het gaat om het geweld dat er in Azië van datzelfde boeddhisme uit gaat. In het Boeddhistisch Dagblad geen artikelen over het openlijk rascisme in Birma onder Aung San Sui Kyi’s partij en bij de Boeddhistische monniken die Islamitische hulporganisaties de toegang tot het gebied weigeren waar minstens een half miljoen Islamieten verrekken in vluchtelingenkampen onder mensonterende omstandigheden. Weggejaagd uit hun huizen door Boeddhisten. Geen openbare discussies over het geweld van de Birmese én de Bhutaanse regeringen tegen mensen met een andere religie. Geen woord over de zowat één miljoen vluchtelingen die vanuit Bhoeddistische landen op gang is gekomen in de laatste twintig jaar en waar de rest van de wereld voor opdraait. Geen objectief geluid over de waanzinnige corruptie onder de Tibetanen buiten Tibet en geen artikel over de diep trieste wijze waarop in Aziatisch landen diezelfde zo verlichte boeddhistische gemeenschappen omgaan met minder validen en ouderen.

Om maar eens een paar zaken te noemen.

Ach, zoals gezegd ben ik geen Boeddhist maar sinds ik de zelfverklaarde Boeddhist Erica Terpstra de hand heb zien schudden van Dago Tshering, de Bhutaanse afgezant van de premier aldaar én een gedocumenteerd mensenrechtenschender, wil ik dat ook niet zijn. Bloed aan de handen blijft immers plakken aan de geest. Overigens is het interessant om te constateren dat ook bij Open Boeddhisme de kritiek op Bhutan verdwenen lijkt te zijn naar de marge want die ‘factcheck’ is er dus nooit gekomen. Toch niet zo open dus blijkbaar.

© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

The Floriade exhibition and Bhutan part 2.

An update.

Today we had a conversation with one of the people responsible for bringing Bhutan to the Floriade World Horticultural Expo in Venlo, the Netherlands this year. Next Sunday that expo will come to an end to return in ten years or so. As some (but not enough) people know is Bhutan the country with the largest number of refugees through ethnic cleansing per capita worldwide. On September 22nd the Floriade held a Bhutan Day focussing on the contribution of Bhutan to the world with the Bhutanese philosophy of Gross National Happiness and the countries rigid but nature friendly eco policies.

Bhutan House of Happiness:
“Happiness often sneaks in through a door, you didn’t know you left open.”
And so do human rights violators.

Main guest of that day was Mr. Dago Tshering, special envoy for the Bhutanese prime minister Jigme Thinley and the one responsible for the ukaze that started off the ethnic cleansing and many of the repressive policies behind that. A man with blood on his hands.

Our conversation was meant to get an answer to some questions concerning the organizers for Bhutan’s Floriade precence comments on the fact that they hosted one of the worst ethnic cleansers who is because of that in the eyes of many a de facto criminal.

We got our answer.

The organizers state that they are not in any way making any statement that they label as ‘political’. This means that they do not have any comments regarding the above and will not distance themselves from the presence of Bhutan and Bhutan’s special envoy of the prime minister, Mr. Dago Tshering. They acknowledged that they were in aware of the Bhutanese refugee crisis from the start but did not check the background of their honored guests.

The answer was not a surprise but is a trigger for further research on the financing of the Floriade event and the use of government and other susidies for presence and events on the Floriade for specific countries that are known for their human rights violations and by doing so passively supporting the governments of these countries to present themselves in a positive manner to the world without any discussion about these governments human rights violations. While the Floriade is partly subsidised by the Dutch government who in another capacity is taking the financial consequenses of keeping the UNHCR refugee camps and UNHCR third country resettlement project operational. Countries like China, North Korea and Bhutan have been present on the Floriade expo without any discussion on their human rights situation so far.

In the coming week extra research and the responses (or lack of that) from involved people like Mrs. Erica Terpstra (ambassador for the Bhutan presence on the Floriade) and long time VVD politica and the Floriade direction will result in an article concerning these matters and challenging the organization of the event about the human rights violations of their participants. Some information is already available including the answers to parliamentary questions regarding the €5,000,000 subsidy by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture for the Floriade and the skyhigh salaries of the Floriade board. More information will follow in the coming days regarding the flow of money.

Sometime next week such an article will be written and published in the media.

© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

Dutch Floriade exhibition embraces human rights violator.

Note: today we received an invitation from the organizing committee of the Floriade to discuss our findings with them. Of course we accept that invitation.

On September 22nd this year a Bhutan day was held at the Floriade World Horticultural Expo in Venlo in the Netherlands. The day was centered around making the world a better place and the concept of ‘Gross National Happiness‘. Amongst the people present that day was Mrs. Erica Terpstra, a well known Dutch liberal ex politician who made a television program about beautiful Bhutan, its nature and culture. Next to Mrs. Terpstra, Mr. Dago Tshering was present. He holds a minister seat in the government of the small Himalayan kingdom.

Erica Terpstra returned home with the honor of having a tulip named after the queen of Bhutan presented, presumably unaware of the fact that she had been shaking hands with a notorious human rights violator. Because, who is Dago Tshering for real?

In the early ninetees, after demonstrations against the at that time already longtime ongoing civil rights violations, a process of ethnic/religious/cultural cleansing was started by the Bhutan government. In just a few years the civil rights and citizenship were taken away from over 20% of Bhutan’s population. Changes in marital and citizenship laws were cooked up to do that. Wearing other clothes than the traditional dress from the powerful ruling elite minority was forbidden and the Nepalese language was banned from schools and government organizations.

Through a policy of state terror in which political murder, random arrests, torture and years long incarceration of intellectuals and leaders from the south and east of the country, the population in those regions was oppressed. After violent attacks by the Royal Bhutan Army and the police against village leaders, their families and other local leaders, a total of over 100,000 and possibly 150,000 people fled the country. Many of them at gunpoint after being forced to sign papers stating they were voluntary leaving and abandoning their homes, land and possessions. The by far percentagewise largest exodus in 100 years really started off in the first months of 1991 after an edict written by that same Dago Tshering who came to Venlo in the Netherlands to welcome the visitors to the Bhutan pavillion on the Floriade exhibition.

Because, on August 17, 1990, Dago Tshering, then Deputy Home Minister of Bhutan wrote a ‘NOTIFICATION’. It states literally, and I quote:

You are hereby instructed to immediately inform alls the gups, DYT members and the general public in your dzongkhag that any Bhutanese national leaving the country to assist and help the anti-nationals shall no longer be considered as a Bhutanese citizen. It must also be made very clear that such people’s family members living under the same household will also be held fully responsible and forfeit their citizenship.

With this order to the Dzongkhas’s, Dago Tshering personally kicked off the ethnic cleansing that would in the end lead to the exile of over 1/6th of Bhutan population.

The Netherlands is, together with the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the European Parliament, financing the UNHCR refugee camps in Nepal and the resettlement of the larger part of the population of these camps to these fore mentioned countries. By doing so the West is taking the rap for the effects of the Bhutanese ethnic cleansing that was initiated and excuted since 1990 by Dago Tshering and the current prime minister of Bhutan, Mr. Jigme Thinley. The international community has until now spend tens of millions of dollars on this issue and will continue to do so on request by the United Nations. The European Union itself has sourced the UNHCR at the end of 2011 with over 3 million euros for upholding the refugee camps in Nepal and taking care of the after effects after these camps will be emptied by the ‘durable solution’ as the mass resettlement is euphemistically named by the UNHCR.

Bhutan has since 1991 systematically refused to take a serious effort in repatriation of its own people to their villages and homes. The victims live in diaspora without expectations for return to their motherland.

In 2012 however, Dago Tshering is received and honored by the Floriade. There were no Bhutanese refugees present in Venlo. They were not invited by the organization and Mrs. Terpstra probably again had no idea what she was dealing with.

© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

The Bhutan lie exhibited on the Dutch floriade

Today was Bhutan day at the Floriade 2012 floral exhibition in Venlo, the Netherlands. A day underlining the message of Gross National Happiness as advocated by the king of Bhutan and his vasals like Jigme Thinley, the prime minister who are both responsible for the ethnic cleansing in the early ninetees in Bhutan.

Image

Early April our queen Beatrix visited the Bhutan pavillion on the floriade to consume the lie. No mention then and no mention today about the continuous human rights violations by the Bhutanese government. No mention about political prisoners, violence against the Bhutanese citizens, the abuse of civil and human rights.

Of course not.

Because like Mrs. Happiness Netherlands, Erica Terpstra (ex sporter, ex politician and derailed public figure), the local Rotary club, the many companies involved in trade with Bhutan, the Floriade organization and the royal family, do not want to know or hear about what happened in the early ninetees of the past century and what is still happening regarding the fate of the Bhutanese people living in the south and east of that country.

The Floriade is a money (greed) driven event where companies promote themselves in a socially acceptable manner. And so, all the people passing through the Bhutan pavillion and all the companies involved, prefer positive-only information. The receivers are switched off, the ears closed and the eyes blinded. Be positive, be the change, be this and be that, be positive and be happy, that is what it is all about in this positiveness show.

In another place on the globe tens of thousands of Bhutanese still suffer hardship in camps. With too littje food, a lack of adequate healthcare, hostility from the surrounding community, without rights, without citizenship, be stateless, poor and driven away from their motherland over twenty years ago. By force, at gunpoint and as a result of threats, abuse, torture and even murder.

In yet another place on the globe (actually many other places of the globe) people live who have been resettled and who have suffered the exile, the camp life and the hardship. And who have been enabled to start a new life elsewhere. Away from their country and region, their culture and their friends and even their families. Living in diaspora. They are the ones who are not seen at the commercialized Floriade event. They are the ones who are not seen by our queen or our crown prince who prefers to shoot bows and arrows with his Bhutanese counterpart. They are the ones without the voices and without the faces, without the power to stand up.

And it is them who we care about. The fact that their situation is largely unknown in the misinformed western world is the reason why we do our work. Why we make our film, have published our books and exhibit our photos. To advocate their rights to be like we are, human beings with their own place under the sun and the same rights as anyone else.

Come visit our exhibition in the Domchurch and buy our books. Help us to tell their story and capture their history, help us to not forget them and help us to delete the myth of gross national happiness!

UNFORGOTTEN photo exhibition
Domchurch Utrecht
September 15 to Oktober 26, 2012

 

 

Still no news from Jeetan

I think I have a friend in prison.

At least, he was imprisoned a couple of months ago and until today I’ve not been able to get new information regarding his safety and well being.

My friend Jeetan training refugee kids in a Journalism Training, summer 2011

I am convinced of his innocence to the charges against him. I worked with him for a while and I’ve seen his passion for his people and the youth that he supported and trained. He is a special guy.

I suspect that his arrest has a lot to do with his continuous efforts for the youth in the camps and his work as a writer / poet involved in community work and refugee journalism.

Currently most contacts in Nepal seem more or less frozen or have at least weakened. Partly because some of my friends were resettled to other places on the globe and mostly to the United States. Partly because some of them have been threatened. The effect is that the story of Jeetan (an alias for his real name Jit) is still unclear.

And I find that worrying.

Therefore I repeat the appeal made by the AHRC (Asian Human Rights Council) on his behalf. Here is the story. If you want to support and apeal his case, and I urge you to do so, go to the AHRC website and sign the petition. This is the link.

This is the story of a desperate guy who was arrested unjustly only days before he was supposed to resettle and get a better life elsewhere:

14 May 2012

———————————————————————
NEPAL: Bhutanese refugee tortured and threatened with false charges in Kathmandu

ISSUES: Torture, Refugees, IDPs & Asylum seekers, Police violence, Arbitrary arrest and detention
———————————————————————

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a 29-year-old Bhutanese refugee, Jit Bahadur Subba, having applied for third country resettlement was arrested from the office of the International organization for Migrant on 27 April 2012. After his arrest, he was kept in illegal detention for two days without receiving any arrest warrant or detention letter in the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), Maharajganj, Kathmandu. He was severely tortured under interrogation and threatened that false charges of drug smuggling would be filed against him. He is now detained at Hanumandhoka Police Station and needs immediate medical treatment. He was not allowed to meet with his lawyer without the presence of the police. 

CASE NARRATIVE:

According to the information we have received, 29-year-old Jit Bahadur Subba lives in the Bhutanese refugee camp, Beldangi II. He belongs to one of the thousands Nepali-speaking families who, after having lived for several generations in Bhutan, were expelled from the country to refugee camps in Nepal twenty years ago. Mr. Subba had applied for resettlement to the USA and was kept in the transit office of the International organization for Migrant (IOM) in Baluwatar, Kathmandu for investigation of his identification documents from 12th to 27th April 2012.

On 27 April 2012 at around 2.30 pm he was arrested from the IOM office by 4 to 5 police officers in civilian clothes. He was not given any reason for his arrest nor was any arrest warrant produced by the police. He was then brought to the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), Maharajganj, Kathmandu. He was kept there for two days, without being provided with a detention letter or an arrest warrant. He was brought before a judicial authority on 29 April 2012, exceeding the 24-hour delay set up by the constitution for every person who is arrested to be produced before a judicial authority. This amounts to illegal detention.

He was kept in the CIB for two days, reportedly without being provided with any food or water. His family was not informed of his arrest. There he was interrogated regarding his alleged involvement in the forging of a fake passport and of having purchased Nepali citizenship. The first day he was tortured under interrogation by two policemen, wearing civilian clothes. He was slapped across the face a dozen times, the soles of his feet were beaten and the policemen beat him all over his body. Due to the pain he almost lost consciousness. The policemen then interrogated him on other the involvement of other persons in the same charges and, as he could not provide information, the policemen put a packet of drugs in his pocket and threatened to charge him with drug smuggling. As the policemen were wearing civilian clothes, he could not identify their ranks.

On 29th April, he was sent to Metropolitan Police Range, Hanumandhoka, Kathmandu, and was provided with warrant papers. He was produced before Kathmandu District Court on the same day. The court remanded him into custody for five days the first time, and for six days a second time. According to the police his case is under investigation under charges of forgery of citizenship documents and passports.

At no point during his detention was Mr. Subba informed of his legal rights. His lawyer visited him twice: once on 3 May in the office of the District Attorney, Kathmandu, and the second time on 8 May at the MPR Hanumandhoka. In both cases the police refused to allow the lawyer to meet with his client without the police presence. This is in spite of the Interim Constitution of Nepal guaranteeing the right of every person who was arrested to consult a legal practitioner and that the consultation should remain confidential.

The police was also present during the medical check-up of the victim when they sent him to Bir hospital on 7 May. Due to the presence of the police, the victim did not dare mentioning the torture to the doctor and the doctor did not ask about it either. Therefore the presence of the police during the medical examination prevented the victim from getting proper treatment and he was just provided with some anti-allergic medicines.

The victim’s health condition has deteriorated due to lack of proper treatment and the poor conditions in Hanumandhoka detention center. His body is covered with scars of worms and insects and he suffers from sleeplessness.

The victim is very afraid that he may receive further torture and measures must be taken for his protection immediately.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please join us in writing to the authorities listed below to express concern upon learning of the torture inflicted to Mr. Subba and urge the authorities to guarantee his physical and psychological safety. Please demand that an investigation should be launched into the allegations of torture and that the perpetrators should be held accountable. Please further urge the authorities to ensure that no confession extracted under torture could be used in court proceedings against the accused.

Please be informed that the AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment calling for his intervention into this matter.

Alice Anna Verheij
writer, filmmaker, journalist, human rights worker

Twee onvergetelijke tentoonstellingen op komst.

Vanaf half september tot na sinterklaas worden er twee onvergetelijke tentoonstellingen gehouden door mij en mijn collega Eveline van de Putte.

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Van 15 september tot en met 26 oktober is UNFORGOTTEN te zien in de Domkerk in Utrecht. Daarna zal deze tentoonstelling van 10 november tot 7 december te zien zijn in Café & gallerie Quirky in Den Haag.
UNFORGOTTEN is een tentoonstelling met de beste foto’s uit ons bestand van 18.000 foto’s die we in het kader van het Headwind project gemaakt hebben in Nepal, Sikkim (India) en Nederland. De foto’s laten het leven van de vluchtelingen uit Bhutan zien in de kampen in Nepal en gaat in op de resettlement van hun waardoor zij in enkele jaren in diaspora worden gebracht.

  • 15 september – 26 oktober
    Domkerk Utrecht
    Project presentatie en vernissage met live muziek op zondag 23 september om 12.30u.
  • 10 november – 7 december
    Café & galerie Quirky, Tasmanstraat 128 Den Haag
    Vernissage en fundraising dinner (traditioneel Nepalees-Bhutaanse schotel) met live muziek op zaterdag 10 november om 18.00u.
    Reserveren gewenst. Prijs: €20 waarvan €5 gedoneerd wordt aan de Empowerment Foundation voor het Headwind project.


Reserveren is gewenst en kan op 070 3808502 of info@cafequirky.com

* In English *

From September 15 until October 26 UNFORGOTTEN, the photo exhibition, can be seen at the Domchurch in Utrecht. UNFORGOTTEN will be brought there in co-operation with the Domchurch Citypastoraat.
Special presentation of Headwind and UNFORGOTTEN is on Sunday September 23rd at 1 PM.

From November 10 until December 7 UNFORGOTTEN will travel to Cafe & gallery Quirky in the Tasmanstraat 128 in The Hague. The vernissage on Saturday November 10 will be followed by a fundraising dinner at 6 PM. Cost €20 of which €5 is donated to the Empowerment Foundation’s Headwind project. Reervations needed and can be made at 070 3808502 or info@cafequirky.com.

Headwind, Laxmi’s Story. Pre-publication of the novel.

Dear readers,

today I give you a free sample as a pre publication of my latest novel ‘Headwind, Laxmi’s Story’ that is currently in its final stage before publishing. I hope you enjoy it and will get even more curious and interested in this book that I wrote straight from the heart in the summer of 2011 while staying in Nepal for the Headwind project.

This pre publication contains an explanation of the novel, the prologue and the first chapter. Right click on DOWNLOAD to get the PDF file.


As of today I accept pre-orders for the novel. The book price for non Bhutanese will be €17,95 / 1900 NPR / US$ 22, for Bhutanese this will be €9,00 / 990 NPR / US$11 excl. postage and packing.

For preordering please send an email to alice.writes@xs4all.nl and I wil answer with information regarding payment options.

Alice Anna Verheij
author of Headwind, Laxmi’s Story 

Six women.


Video courtesy of Bhutan News Service, filmed at Beldangi 2 on April 29, 2012

Six Women

Six women who do not exist
Waiting till death hard fist
Self chosen fate

Because their life is no life
No joy, not even for a while
Too often betrayed

Eyes directed the other way
Don’t see their loss, hear their say
They are not there

No one stands in front and stays
Or takes away their pains
In defence

When police throws them in a car
Resistance broken, no help so far
In their despair

Treated as if without rights
Because politics always decides
To force them to live

Alice © 2012

I feel powerless in support of these women I’ve met and respect deeply for their perseverence.
It’s always the women that pay the price in international conflicts and international disregard. 

More information on how these women are treated, lied at and cheated can be found elsewhere on this website and on www.bhutannewsservice.com

How CNN does not do it’s work on Bhutan’s behaviour.

I am appalled by CNN’s lack of journalistic fact finding and truth seeking considering Bhutan. This is my response to the article on their website on the UN Happiness Summit:http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/01/the-u-n-happiness-summit
CNN published this blog from Stewart Patrick without any comment and without any hint of the Bhutanese reality. They are not doing what they should do on this topic as a free press organization.

The U.N. Happiness Summit

globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com

Editor’s Note: Stewart Patrick is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Program on International Institutions and Global Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security. By Stewart Patrick, CFR.

My response:

Dear all at CNN, dear Stewart, dear readers,

I am flabagasted and to be quite honest disgusted by the onesided views presented in this article on this website. I am amazed that CNN without any criticism lends itself for the propaganda of the Bhutanese government. Let me explain.

It is a well known an proven fact that in recent history (early ninetees) the King and government of Bhutan have been orchestrating the percentage wise largest ethnic cleansing of it’s own population resulting in about 1/6th of the population being forcefully thrown out of the country. They have done so after a decade of discrimination, human rights violations, oppression including army killings, imprisoning innocent citizens, torture of political prisoners, stealing land, houses, cattle and goods. Of their own people living in the south and east of Bhutan for the simple fact that they are ethnically and religiously different from the Druk minority that holds power in Thimpu.

Over the past twenty years way over 120000 refugees have lived in and around refugee camps instated and maintained by the UNHCR without Bhutan giving any sign of allowing repatriation. Mr. Thinley, the prime minister, has been and still is the mastermind of both that ethnic cleansing as the cover up operation of the export of the concept of Gross National Happiness that te west has been all to eager to accept as a great way to look at what really counts in life.

Bhutan is constantly stating that Gross National Happiness is what it all should be about and is supported in that by the governments of the very countries that are now taking in 1/6th of Bhutan’s population through the largest massive third country resettlement project. Triggered by the US and executed by the UNHCR and IOM this resettlement program is in fact throwing the exiles from Bhutan in diaspora in a timeframe 6 or 7 years. It therebye passively supports the Bhutanese ethnic cleansing policy.

It is horrific to have to conclude that the free press is silent on this but is noise on the concept of Gross National Happiness as advocated by the government of Bhutan. It is downright disgusting that the UN is hosting an event to give this dictatorial government the opportunity to spread it’s lies and deceit while at the same time it is the UN that is shifting around 100.000 Bhutanese the globe unjustly.

It is also crazy to know that Bhutan is a memeber of the United Nations based on false data on the number of inhabitants in it’s country (when they joined they grossly overstated the number of Bhutanese to be over 1 Million whereas at the time any reasonable guess would have given a figure of around 700000 inhabitants which is under the minimal required inhabitants for a country to be a UN member). Bhutan has been living a lie since the 1980’s and has abused it’s population. It is in fact one of the biggest human rights violators when taken it’s size as a country into account.

When will the international community and when will the international press stop supporting the geopolitical framing of the Himalayan reality which is in fact one of poverty, unhappiness, ethnic cleansing and human rights violations. As a writer, film maker and journalist I am apalled by the lack of journalistic fact finding and thruth seeking in this article and many other media considering Bhutan.

Yours truly,
Alice Verheij
director of the upcoming documentary ‘Headwind, the forgotten exiles from Bhutan’
the Netherlands
www.headwindfilm.com

Fulbright Program: US academic arrogance at work.

Sometime ago I wrote an email to the US Fulbright Program (funded by the US government) about a scholarship they gave to a scholar to study the conceot of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan. Paid by them and thus paid by the US tax payers. As people reading my publications are probably well aware the concept of Gross National Happiness is a hoax. A cover up of te reality that Bhutan is in fact the country with the terrible history of being the percentagewise largent ethnic cleansing nation of the last 50 years if not longer.

This, dear readers, is the response of the Fulbright program to the questions asked:

This of course means that they simply do not want to answer the questions raised and hide their responsibility behind their acclaimed history as an academic organization of importance. Fulbright is with this answer the hallmark of US academic arrogance and certainly does not enter into discussions about theit granting policies in regard to human rights breaching nations. My answer to them is this:

My conclusions based on the response from Fulbright are obvious. These ‘academics‘ are disgusting and more interested in supporting human rights violating regimes than entering discussions about their policies. Interesting enough it is the same government of the US that is funding most of the third country resettlement effort of UNHCR to resettle the Bhutanese exiles who were exiled by the government that Fulbright is actively supporting.

That attitude reminds me of the books of Karl May in which the North American indians frequently state about their American counterparts that they are speaking with split tongues. Deceitful and manipulative. It is sad to see that Fulbright is still having that General Custer attitude.

Alice © 2012

New flyer for Headwind available for immediate distribution.

In a last CALL FOR ACTION the Headwind production team is working together with the new eu1.tv pan European tv channel (available on cable and internet) by Ziggo and UPC. In the coming week both the new trailer as a new way of crowdfunding will be published on the eu1.tv website. To support that effort we will distribute flyers on the Movies That Matter film festival starting off in The Hague on March 22 at the Filmhuis.

Alice
director and producer of Headwind 

This is the flyer:

Short trailer of Headwind released today.

Today the short trailer of Headwind is released with a call for support and funding.
More information about the film can be found at http://www.headwindfilm.com.
The trailer will be published on http://www.eu1.tv too later today.

We still need substantial funding for the completion of this film.

Alice
director of Headwind

A letter to the Fulbright International Educational Exchange Program.

Today I have send the following email to the Fulbright Program. In astounishment after reading an article of some time ago that was published in an American newspaper about a scholar who was granted a scholarship to go studying Gross National Happiness in Bhutan.

This is the link to the article in the Portland Herald and before that published in the Sentinel.
This is of course the link to the article written by Kai Bird in The Nation.

Dear Fulbright people,

today I’ve read this article in The Portland Press Herald concerning a scholarship for a study by Mrs. Gretchen Lechler who plans to travel to Bhutan to study Gross National Happiness:
I am amazed and quite honestly astounded by this.
Because yesterday I read this article by Pulitzer Price winner Kai Bird about the Bhutanese diaspora and the cost of that for the US, the international community, Bhutan and the Bhutanese refugees:
I have personally spend six months in 2011 in Nepal to work on the first feature length documentary about the Bhutanese exile and the third country resettlement project of the UNHCR and it’s effects. So I know very well the reality of Bhutan. By experience.
It is totally flabagasting to see a US government funded organization to spend a load of money on a scholarship for studying the myth of Gross National Happiness in a country that is in reality percentagewise the largest ethnic cleansing country in recent history. Especially since it is the same US government that has started the resettlement effort on request of the UNHCR and is actually welcoming over 60,000 Bhutanese refugees to become US citizens.
This scholarship is a disgrace, as is this study that Mrs. Lechler is undertaking. There is no way that Gross National Happiness can be objectively studied without extensive visiting of the Bhutanese refugee camps and realizing that a large portion of the Bhutanese people is all but happy.
I sincerely request your organization to think again because by this scholarship Fulbright is actually passively supporting human rights violations. And preferably, to request Mrs. Lechler to study GNH in the Bhutanese community in exile. To do that she doesn’t even have to leave the US. If needed I can provide all relevent contacts for that and am more than willing to assist in any possible way.
With kind regards,
Alice Verheij
writer, film maker, journalist
The Hague, Netherlands / Kathmandu, Nepal
Alice © 2012

Pulitzer Price winner’s article republished on Headwind website.

Today The Nation granted me the rights to republishing an article written by Pulitzer Price winner Kai Bird on the Headwind website. Kai Bird’s article is an excellent account of recent history concerning the Bhutanese ethnic cleansing and exile in the early ninetees of last century, the ongoing resettlement of Bhutanese refugees and the long term to be expected effects of this on the position of Bhutan, it’s king and government.

Kai Bird won the Pulitzer Prize with his excellent co-authoring on a biography of Robert Oppenheimer, the ‘invertor’ of the atomic bomb. Mr. Bird has work for many years in the Middle East and has recently published his autobiographic ‘Crossing Mandelbaum Gate‘ about the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and how he has lived, grown and endured in the region. Mr. Bird has lived for some time in Kathmandu, Nepal and recently traveled to Bhutan and was a guest of the royals.

‘The Enigma of Bhutan’ is an absolute must read for anyone interested in the Bhutanese ethnic cleansing and exile, the ongoing largest UNHCR third country resettlement project and the effects of this all on Bhutan.

The article is published in The Nation’s March 26, 2012 issue and can be read on the website of the Nation and on the Headwind website.

Alice

Call for Action: the importance of free Bhutanese journalism in Nepal.

A couple of days ago I wrote an article on this website to advocate the role of journalism for the Bhutanese community in exile. I did that after a fire incident hit the Beldangi 2 refugee camp near Damak in the Jhapa district of Nepal. The whole situation concerning information flow of the events proved the importance of adequate and independent journalism in the region.

Yesterday I received further information on the challenging situation the free journalists focussing on the Bhutanese refugees / exiles are. For many years now they have been covering the situation and major events for this large group of people with almost no financial means. On their own pockets and with little support from abroad. And because these journalists are refugees themselves they have to be careful as they are not issued formal journalists status in Nepal. Refugees are not allowed to do paid work outside the refugee camps.

Journalists and community workers from Bhutan Media Society bringing relief to fire victims in Sanischare camp,
Morang District, Nepal, summer 2011. (Photo © 2011 Alice Verheij)

Their challenges are not only financial. Due to the nature of long term refuge in camps (more than 20 years now) it is only logical that tensions rise frequently inside the refugee community inside the camps and the Nepalese communities around these camps and in nearby villages. Working as a journalist coming from the refugee community means that one has to toe the line quite often. Some of these men (unfortunately only men are doing this work) are threatened or even abused. The work can easily become from relaxed to difficult to dangerous. Only their perseverance and conviction that free journalism is the essence of a free peoples has been and still is keeping them active.

Bhutan is not a free country and threats are often coming from Bhutan to the more active refugees in the community who inevitable critisize the government of their country that has exiled them. Nepal is not a completely democratic and liberal country although much progress has been made in the past six years after the revolution that abolished the monarchy. In present day Nepal there still is an instable government and freedom of press is not something that can be taken for granted. The number of attacked journalists is unfortunately impressive. This poses an extra danger to the work of the Bhutanese journalists in exile.

Lastly there is the massive UN guided resettlement going on. This means that some of the group of active young journalists are leaving the area to be resettled in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Denmakr, the UK or the Netherlands. So continuous refreshment of resources is essential to keep proper journalistic work alive and news regarding the situation in the refugee camps flowing. It is therefore that a lot of things are needed. Equipment, training and good connections with the journalistic community in Nepal and abroad.

Much of what is needed is still there but to be honest journalism is endangered strongly. These journalists need support. Urgently. Their running cost mounts to some 535 dollars per month to keep the websites online and the journalists at work. That amount of money is needed for transport and media access and normal running costs. Thankfully there is a free news agency setup some years ago. The Bhutan News Service. They as a group are connected with a community aid group the Bhutan Media Society and they keep the websites www.bhutannewsservice.comwww.apfanews.com and www.radiobhutanonline.com alive and kicking.

And now they are about to go down. The funds are exhausted, there are no reserves available and support is low. The exiled community globally is not economically alive to the level that it can be expected that they on their own will be able to cater for the cost.

I myself have been working with these journalists extensively in the past one and a half year. I know their qualities and their sacrifices. I know what they can do and I know that if they can no longer work that the effect will destroy one of the last remains of freedom for the Bhutanese living in the camps in Nepal.

CALL FOR ACTION

If you want to help them, please contact me through email at alice.verheij@xs4all.nl. I would like to work with anyone who understands the importance of free journalism in refugees communities and am able to channel support to the right people and organizations. Any media organization, Journalistic educational facility or individual journalist is kindly requisted to contact me and step in to build a proper financial backing for these young and strong journalists and to facilitate training facilities for the upcoming generation of free Bhutanese journalists.

Alice Verheij © 2012
director Headwind (www.headwindfilm.com)
friend of Bhutan Media Society

About the need for free journalism for the Bhutanese in exile.

A couple of days ago a fire ravished a part of the Beldangi 2 Bhutanese refugee camp in the southeast of Nepal near the little town of Damak. I know that camp well as I have spend there a lot of time filming my upcoming documentary ‘Headwind’. There were no fatalities or severe injuries and that of course is both a good thing and a miracle. Knowing the situation in the camp and knowing where in the camp that fire was I can safely state that swift action of the inhabitants of Beldangi 2 who demolished some 35 huts to prevent the fire spreading has saved them from a disaster like the one that took place on March 22 2011 in the Goldhap camp which was almost completely incinerated. This time ‘only’ some 250 people have lost their huts, their homes.

During the hours of the fire incident and in the wee hours of yesterdays morning I reported on the incident on my website mirroring and analyzing the information given to me through different channels I have with people in Nepal and outside of Nepal and who had direct access to witnesses at the scene. That has made it possible to be clear on the status of the incident and be clear on the fact that no casualties were to be counted, a thing that is of great importance to all Bhutanese who have family and friends living in that camp. I tried to be as objective as possible and continued checking facts and figures by referencing the information coming at me. Hopefully I did that well enough to serve the community. Looking at the statistics of my website it is obvious that the news regarding the fire was well read by many people in a very short span of time. I am pretty sure that a lot of Bhutanese have read the information I gave.

One thing that has become very clear is the fact that it is totally impossible to have any news concerning incidents like this spread to the global community (and international media if needed) without the presence of journalists in the area. Most of the people I connect with are young journalists who are taking their voluntary task as a non profit journalist very serious and they have once again proven to be the backbone of news and information gathering and publishing for the Bhutanese community.

But their work is under grave threats. Let me explain.

First of all none of them are regarded as professional journalists because they are refugees themselves and therefore not allowed to work as a journalist. This means they have no press cards and no legal protection like other journalists do have.

Secondly, a lot of them are themselves being resettled and the more experienced in that group of very motivated young people are quite indispensable for free journalism in and around the refugee camps.

Thirdly, they are lacking professional equipment and good connections for swift response even though some equipment was brought to them recently.

And besides all that they have only limited support for their work.

Still, there are some media initiatives that have proven to be of great value and some of them have been working in this area for years. Websites like Bhutan News Service , Media Network Bhutan and the newly instated e-paper The Refugee Herald are well managed regarding the circumstances they have to work under. These guys need support, continuously. Support from international media and support from the global Bhutanese community. Their work is of increasing importance now that the resettlement of the refugees is going fast. Within a couple of years most of the refugees will have been resettled, but not all of them will leave. Many (some think maybe up to 15,000) will stay in the camps after resettlement closes in 2015 as the UNHCR has hinted. Who will tell their stories if local journalism has gone? Who will keep relatives and friends informed of their situation from a journalistic angle.

This observation should lead to a call for action. A call fo action to the international journalistic community for support and a call for action to the global Bhutanese community to not let these guys down and support them in supporting the Bhutanese living in the camps and living in diaspora.
For me this means that I will continue reporting and traveling to the region in the coming years and do whatever is in my ability to help out.

Alice © 2012

Is change coming to Bhutan?

Today I read this news item at IPA Journal, a website maintained by I.P. Adhikari, who amongst others writes there frequently about all kinds of issues concerning Bhutan. It’s one of my respected information sources.

Latest news from Thimphu confirms that King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk has issues orders to release 16 people who have been jailed for smuggling tobacco. The names of all those sent behind the bars for carrying tobacco is not available at this hours but campaigners for release of monk Sonam Tshering confirmed that he has been released. The arrest and imprisonment of Tshering for carrying tobacco worth less than $2 had invited widespread criticism within and outside the country. His supporters had run campaign for his release.

Despite criticism, many citizens have been given harsh sentences for minor offences. The law enforcement agencies and courts became so harsh in implementing the law that citizens were barred for purchasing tobacco for their personal use.

Sale of tobacco is banned and consumers in all parts of the country have to travel to India to purchase, which is not possible in all circumstances. The tobacco Control Act does not specify criteria to call it illegal quantity. Under such vague provisions, people buying tobacco in different quantities have been given same sentences.

After public criticism, advocacy and division among the parliamentarians, the government amended the act in the last session of the parliament but did nothing to minimise sentences of those already given. The Act is still regarded as ruthless. The release of these innocent citizens is appreciated. It comes a few days before the king celebrates his birthday. Hope, families of these ‘imprisoned citizens’ will find meaning to smile at his birthday bash.

Of course people should celebrate this release and the intervention in the Bhutanese judicial system. For the first time in his reign the king actually shows some level of compassion with his people. Bhutan is not only an amazing beautiful country but also and amazingly strictly ruled country where general liberties and freedom are not something natural. Growing, harvesting and trading tobacco is prohibited by a 2010 harsh law. That law was relaxed in january this year reducing penalties. And now the king stepped in and ordered the release of the poor prisoners who were thrown in jail because they broke that law. In fact the king used his power as an usurpator to have them released.

But Bhutan will next year be scrutinized again for the human rights situation and it is obvious that the four yearly UN evaluation of Bhutan’s human rights status will give a lot of bad press. Simply because the continuation of the Bhutanese exile and the stalling of talks between Bhutan and Nepal that were supposed to end that situation and start repatriation. It is obvious that another negative evaluation will add to the slowly emerging political pressure on Bhutan. And as history shows time will always bring change, also in Bhutan.

So, the question is whether the kings compassion with the ‘law breaking tobacco smugglers’ (some of them Buddhist monks who just carried around 30 grams of tobacco for their own use) is in fact a move to demonstrate human rights improvement or is just an answer to building internal pressure in Bhutan.

One thing remains: change is imminent. No country can uphold human rights violations as a standard government practice. Not even Bhutan. The policy might last for decades as proven by dictators like Khaadaffi and Mubarak, but in they end they will fall when they continue repressive policies. Always. It is to be hoped that the king of Bhutan will not persist in allowing his government to breach human rights. For the sake of his people and for the sake of his reign.

Maybe, this release is a small but important step.

The news earlier this week of a cowardly terrorist bomb attack at a police station in Puentsholing which is another attack in a long list of attacks in the past decades gives a signal that there always is the risk of violence against the Bhutan government. The answer until now has been further repression. Maybe another answer would be wiser.

Alice © 2012