Thursday, December 6, 2007

Resettlement condom can explode

Source: Kathmandu Post

BY SOM N SUBEDY

One of the hottest topics among the Bhutanese refugees in the camps nowadays is the resettlement offer made by the United States and the core group countries. Much has been said and written in favor and against the proposal by various personalities. Being a second-generation Bhutanese refugee, I tried to analyze the much-hyped resettlement offer objectively. And to my surprise, I found it to be very similar to a condom—a much-advertised product for modern living which helps to keep unwanted misery away, but you have to be careful how you use it.

Condoms and the resettlement offer are both temporary things, but there is one vital difference between the two. The former is a use-and-throw item, while the latter, once taken (used), cannot be chucked away. The Bhutanese refugees need to be clear about the resettlement plan even though it comes in a very attractive and alluring package like a condom.

Inside the camps, condoms are distributed free of cost in places like health centers, the Youth Friendly Center, Bhutanese Refugee Women Forum and other outlets. In the same fashion, resettlement forms have been placed in the camps for free distribution to all.

Both are used for protection from angst—one from disease and unwanted pregnancy, and the other has been publicized as providing relief from the anguish of a refugee's life. UNHCR and the core group countries are working hard to convince the refugees to accept their offer by showing them a "dream garden" of Western nations. They make it sound like once the refugees reach the destination decided by these countries, the agony of living in the cramped camps will be over. But the poor refugees are not yet ready to accept their talk fully, because they see no guarantee of their unanswered questions being resolved. Will Jigme Singye Wangchuck be let off scot-free in spite of his inhumane action? If not, who will guarantee that he will be made to stand a fair trail? What will happen to our properties that we were compelled to abandon because of the draconian measures taken by the despotic regime? Will the core group countries guarantee that another exodus of refugees will not happen as a result of the motivation that the resettlement offer may provide to the tinpot despot?

Therefore, the refugees, particularly the senior citizens, are not very much convinced by the calisthenics of UNHCR and the core group countries—as condoms at times burst and put the users in trouble in spite of the guarantees made by their manufacturers.

The refugees are apprehensive that the resettlement condom may explode in the process. This would throw them into unprecedented chaos. This is the kind of unfortunate situation that they fear.

Although there are several parallels one can see between a condom and the resettlement offer, there is a conspicuous difference. The refugees are not told who pays whom and what amount. But all the accounts are debited in the name of the refugees who have been selected to relocate in third countries. This suggests that the ethnic cleansing carried out by the tyrannical regime of Jigme Singye Wangchuck is acceptable.

AMDA has been distributing both male and female condoms in the refugee camps. The US and UNHCR are distributing only one type of condom, that is, resettlement forms but no repatriation forms. Should it not be a priority concern for the core group countries and UNHCR that the refugees be repatriated to their birthplace under the principles of human rights and democracy which they talk so much about?

When condoms were introduced in the refugee camps in the early 1990s, the inmates refused to use the device because they were shy and also because it got in the way during intercourse. They waited for the health staff and educated refugees to use it first. In the present case too, the refugees are waiting for the educated and knowledgeable among them to sign up for resettlement first.

Another reason they are reluctant to fill up the forms is that there is no guarantee they will be leaving for another country. If their applications are rejected, they become vulnerable to reprisals from groups opposed to the resettlement plan.

Just as one uses condoms in private and refrains from showing them in public, UNHCR, the US and the IOM are treating the resettlement process like a secret operation. Nobody knows how many have applied, who they are, how many of them have been called for an interview, what the interview is like and why one is selected when another is not. There are a host of such questions that the refugees want answered, but everything has been kept under wraps in the name of security.

Another side of the resettlement plan is that it may be extended to Tibetan refugees too and thus bring great embarrassment to China. If China does not reproach US Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey's statement, it would appear that China supports the hidden interest of the US to resettle Tibetan refugees in the US. Nobody knows how the Government of Nepal will take that.

The way Hari Bangaley, former member of Bhutan's National Assembly, used the resettlement condom in the refugee camps for his and UNHCR's interest is widely viewed as one of the reasons behind the opposition to resettlement. He tried to blow the resettlement condom out of proportion and showed it to the refugees, blaming all those who would not agree with him. But Bangaley's condom exploded with a big bang with the loss of the lives of two innocent refugee youths.

Today, he is not in a position to say sorry for his disastrous act. All those who want to use the resettlement condom must pause and think that it cannot be thrown away after use. After you use it you are stuck to it and no one knows what the future holds in store.

(The writer is a Bhutanese refugee.)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very cheap article.
Hope the site owner would not allow any spaces in this site for such a cheap article.
The writer seems like talking with few people in one of the bars at Bangay Bazar.

Khem Regmi, Kathmandu said...

Your use of condom as a metaphor was really praiseworthy but it seems he is not familiar with the important functions of condoms. As condom is used for safety and it saves people from untimely deaths, resettlement rescues the refugees from extreme pain, and misery of the refugee camps. Thanks god the resettlement proposal came to us in an attractive package which is comparable to a condom; if it had come in the form of antibiotics, the refugees would have problems digesting it.

There is no hope that Bhutan would agree to repatriate its citizens unless India and the international community put serious pressure on it. Under such circumstances, nothing is better for the refugees then to opt for the resettlement package which has a purely humanitarian intention. The resettlement condom has been designed not in a hurry-it took almost seventeen years-and we are very optimistic that it will not “explode” in the future.

Settlement to the homeless is the basic need and it is their basic right too. One cannot think of his/her life without a place to settle. So, the refugees are grateful to the innovator of the resettlement proposal and request the authority concerned to implement this at the earliest.

Anonymous said...

Oh well... this gentleman does not even know who he is talking about!

Hari Bangaley was NOT an Assembly Member! That is another Hari Adhikari.

Thosw who oppose Bangaley do tno even have the guts to speak the truth. Bangaley at least has some courage and scruples left in him.
Shame on you, Sombey!

Anonymous said...

Bangaley is a culprit responsible for taking innocent lives of two refugee youths in Beldangi-II camps. He is not advocating for resettlement to common refugees, rather is trying to flee alone in the name of protection. He created violence in camps and now is living in Kathmandu with a big financial status. Do anyone know that he was bitten because he possess rude characters like playing with innocent girls and woman in camps, a drunkard. How can he manage the expenses for his biking, 5 packets costly cigrettes, mobile phones using like landline phone. Please be infrom that he will be soon taken to America. If he is not a culprit or naughty guy why is the report of beldangi incident getting lost? Bangale is backed by UNHCR and few other organisations financially so that he is boosting a lot.

Anonymous said...

Oh!! Who this holy shit!! to write so cheaply? Asshole !!!

This writer is one of the maoist figures in belcity 1 to engage hinself and his brothers in intimidations. By the way, dear friends! do you remember one incident that took place in belcity 1 ...He is the one who should be arrested along with his brothers.
F**ked up!!
Meet in hell!! mother f**ker!!!

Anonymous said...

FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU, Preferring resettlement blindfoldedly, AL OTHER PEOPLE ARE MAOISTS. SUBEDY CANT BE A MAOIST AS I KNOW QUITE WELL. HE MAY BE WRONG TO WRITE SUCH A THING IN ARTICLE BUT HE IS NOT A MAOIST. I BEING ONE OF THE ACTIVE MAOIST ACTIVISTS SAY THAT HE IS OUT OF OUR GREAT IDEOLOGY.

Thupten said...

Each individual refugee has the right to accept resettlement/repartriation proposal. The question is whether he/she accepts it under intimidation or free will. One should not forget that refugees have spent the last 18 years in the host country with suffering and misery with no postive outcome. And let me also add that we only live for once and that's for real- and we as human being at the end of the day seek a better life no matter what. Whether we go back to Bhutan or opt for third country resettlement let's do when we have the strength, courage,spirit, and the age.

Varati Niraula - Beldangi II said...

Guess What!!
The condom exploded. Mr. Som has flew to US. I saw him in the Transit Center in Kathmandu. He barely came out of his room fearing that other would recognize him and beat him to death. He any how managed to land safe in US soil.
I agree that you are not a Maoist(he made his own comment in this post) but you are an opportunist. A betrayal to the people. I am saying this because I heard him speaking to people about the resettlement. He is a jerk, a big looser, booooo. A real Bhutanese leader in exile.
And that applies to you, Dr. Rai, Balaram, SK, Ratan and timi haru ko chamchas you are all there in US and other countries.
Do you have any more to say Som Ji.