December 4, 2009Platform Bhutanese Oversea citizenLeave a commentGo to comments
Building Dutch Bhutanese identity
The exiled Bhutanese resettled in The Netherlands that forms the smallest ethnic group is now organized to maintain their identity. They have established a union named Bhutanese Community Netherlands (BCN) under the corporate law in Amsterdam. There are more than a hundred Bhutanese individuals most of them resettled in The Netherlands under the UNHCR program after the Bhutanese regime refused to take them back from the camps in Nepal. Their number will grow with the fourth batch of refugees scheduled to be invited from the camps early next year.
Maintaining ethnic and cultural identity along with the integration in the multicultural Dutch society is for Bhutanese a remedy to cultural shock and a solace to begin with new life for the second time. Their eighteen years of stay in the refugee camps in Nepal after being forced out of Bhutan indeed changed their concept of the world and bewildered to the extent that prudential approach and orientation became inevitable to begin life in this new country. This is essential particularly when they have to adjust their collectivistic societal norms and values to individualistic society of The Netherlands. The new organization should dedicate to identify the missing link and supports their successful integration.
Reorganizing among the resettled Bhutanese in their new circumstances and help each other appeared quite difficult, being confronted each time by their past experiences or personal point of references. Discussions leading to founding this community began early this year in the bars and private gatherings led by a few who were influential in the camps in Nepal. This was consolidated in April through a meeting called by those who came to Holland on their own and formed an adhoc committee of six members to expedite the legalizing procedures. Their work was disturbed when a Nepali expatriate Sashi Paudel intervened by holding a meeting on 20th June with the selected Bhutanese individuals. Suspicion among the Bhutanese population began whether BCN will practically be apolitical or a tool for a few interest groups to use in the manner many have experienced in the camps in Nepal. The adhoc committee accelerated their pace and the general meeting was held on 19 September that elected LP Dhakal as the president and also other office bearers. An statute was also ratified. Controversial clause that is not to allow political portfolio holders of any political parties to become central committee member of BCN was approved by the majority but the same gathering that constituted about 20 individuals ignored mechanism to prevent political portfolio holders getting elected. Thus violation of the rules and regulations began from the same day when BCN was formed. This continued to be aggravated when the president took the advisory committee’s advice supported by proof that the general secretary of BCN Ram Bdr Karki is already a central committee member of Bhutan People Party , as ‘disturbing issue’ and continued in clandestine the legalization procedures. It is yet not known who and how many of his subordinates represented BCN in the Notarial authority as founding members.
The way BCN began to operate appears non different from dozens of human rights, social and political organizations formed in the camps in Nepal that divided people and pained. This is evident from the first meeting minutes of the legalized BCN held in 29 November that absurdly suspended its women representative CK Dal with outrage because of the only fact that she asked the president to make clear from the beginning itself what the controversial issues could be and what spirit BCN will foster. According to the set rules in the statute member can be suspended for a month on the grounds of repeated damage done to the organization and the suspension must be followed by repeated warning. But, in the contrary, the president and the general secretary suspended her on their will and anger and it is ridiculous since that decision was taken in absence of the victim.
Therefore BCN is running out of its corporate values and responsibilities and thus became a tool to take revenge against the weaker section of the community instead of protecting them. It is contaminated with political manouvre and therefore already began to show no respect to whoever opposes their idea and operaton. The bigger dilemma for Bhutanese in Netherlands is the question whether their identity will be preserved collectively or exposed and what values will be passed down to the future generation ?. Gautam
From Nanda Gautam's Blog