Prayers for our fighters

Still raging

Whenever we hear of forest fires, no matter where and no matter when, we hear of our armed forces fighting those fires. We’ve become used to seeing them arrive first on the scene, and leave last, only after containing the wild fires. Indeed, many of our forests have been saved thanks mainly to the bravery of our men in uniform.

And so it was this afternoon, when a fire broke out in the forests above YHS. Our armed forces mobilized themselves in no time, and rushed to contain the fire that, fanned by the early afternoon winds, was spreading quickly in the dense pine forests.

But tragedy struck. A truck, carrying more than 20 policemen, veered off the road as it tried to cut a corner in the narrow path leading to the forests. The truck’s brakes had failed. And it slowly plunged into the precipice below the road, all the way down to the YHS campus. The accident killed two policemen on the spot. And injured 17 others. The injured are recovering in the JDWNR hospital, but two of them are in critical condition.

The tragedy seems senseless, given that they were on their way to protect us and our forests. It also seems cruel – the policemen on the ill-fated truck were all very young men, mainly teenagers, who had only recently completed their training and had reported for duty just yesterday.

Like the rest of Thimphu, I’m mourning the loss of precious lives. My heart goes out to our police force, especially to the friends and relatives of the two policemen who died in the line of duty. Please offer your prayers for them. Please also offer prayers for the injured – may their recovery be quick and complete.


Sexual harassment

My wife and our daughter, aged 12, walk home every afternoon. They enjoy their walks, but they’ve been harassed by all sorts of men including commuters, taxi drivers and even school students, in uniform, younger than our son.

The eve-teasing is offensive and hurtful. Yet, they’ve continued to walk, even if they have to suffer sexual harassment, hoping that, sooner or later, we, men, will learn to respect our women, and permit them the freedom and simple pleasure of walking home from school or work.

During their walk today, they met the procession of vehicles carrying effigies and other remnants from the Jana Chidey prayer ceremonies. The men yelled catcalls at them; then they threw some remnants at them; and when my wife protested, they bombarded them with even heavier remains from the prayer ceremonies.

And who were the perpetrators? A couple of monks, in robes. And four policemen, in uniform.

My wife and daughter were harassed by monks, whose mission it is to spread the dharma, and by policemen, whose job it is to protect our citizens.

So they’ve decided to stop walking. They’ve given up. They’ve realized that eve-teasing in Thimphu is not just offensive and hurtful – it’s dangerous. They’ve decided, wisely, that, even in the middle of the day, Thimphu’s roads are not safe for women.


Policing the legislature

Jurmi Chhowing asked me to post his article “What exactly is The RBP’s Status?” on this blog. It appears that Bhutan Observer inadvertently ran an unedited version of the story. And, more importantly, that they wrongly credidted the article to Thuji Nadik.

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