A true Patriot

The flare up between the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader on the issues of the Security Council bid and Bhutan’s foreign policy is a welcome debate on important issues but it has become controversial for the strong language used by the PM.

Though a hard and clean fought campaign, Bhutan had to face the harsh and unhealthy realities of international diplomacy securing only 20 votes, which would also not have been possible without the sincere efforts of those involved.

The Opposition leader echoing the sentiments of a considerable section in Bhutan questioned the very need to bid for the seat, its negative implications even if Bhutan won and the need to focus time and attention within the country. He also voiced concerns over the overall direction of Bhutan’s foreign policy for a small country located in a geo-strategically sensitive area.

The Prime Minister reacted strongly and some would also say emotionally terming the OL’s statements ‘very irresponsible and unpatriotic’ and not coming from a ‘loyal citizen’.

The Prime Minister’s emotional statement comes from the fact that he and his government invested much time and effort, especially the PM himself who put in his own strong personal effort behind the bid. It also stems from the fact that the PM has been the strongest force behind Bhutan’s foreign policy moves and is also closely associated with it as evidenced from his many visits abroad.

However, whatever the reason for the outburst, questioning the loyalty and patriotism of a citizen be it the Opposition leader or anyone else on grounds of criticism or feedback on any policy, foreign or domestic is neither democratic nor fair.

This is also not a single incident but part of a growing trend where government authorities backed into a corner either by a critical media or other critics, use terms like ‘Opposition Conspiracy’, ‘National Interest’, ‘affecting Bhutan’s image,’ and the latest addition of being ‘disloyal’, ‘unpatriotic’ or even better a ‘foreign spy’.

The latter additions are a particularly harsh and unfair criticism when viewed in the context of Bhutan being a small and vulnerable country between big giants, and therefore naturally anxious of its sovereignty and independence.

These criticisms in some ways are similar to the practice of ‘McCarthyism’ which is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. This term was coined after a Republican USA Senator, Joseph McCarthy who at the height of the cold war unleashed a wave of red terror in the USA from 1950-54 branding many innocent Americans as Communists without evidence leading to an atmosphere of terror and suspicion,  loss of jobs and even imprisonments. Suspiciously, most of the so called ‘Communists’ were associated with his rival party. Subsequently these charges were thrown out by courts. This phase is regarded as one of the biggest challenges to democracy in America.

In dictatorial and backward nations like North Korea etc genuine political and social dissent is quelled by using the ‘patriotism’ card and fear of being branded as a ‘traitor’ by the state. Of course the definition of ‘traitor’ is such a state is not agreeing to every whim and fancy of the supreme dictator.

The last thing Bhutanese democracy needs is ‘McCarthyism’ where people in power feel they can define or set their own standards for patriotism and loyalty in a country which has no shortage of it.

Bhutanese politics is still developing and it will bode well if any kind of fear mongering or defamatory politics is not allowed to take root as it will only take the country backwards.

Real unpatriotic and anti national activities are occurring in our borders where for the last few months there have been ambush attacks on our security personnel some of which have been fatal. The government so far has not issued any statements on these attacks either in expressing support for the armed forces or condemning these attacks.

It is only His Majesty the King who has been actively engaged in boosting the morale of our armed forces, comforting the family of the deceased, visiting these places and taking an active interest in securing our sovereignty and security. At the same time His Majesty has not chided the elected government or anyone else for not being patriotic enough but has rather taken a huge burden silently.

The government’s labels on being unpatriotic instead of being thrown at terrorists armed to the teeth and out to harm the nation, are instead directed to the Opposition Leader, journalists and citizens at home just doing their jobs.

The government of the day must realize that exercising constitutional rights to express genuine dissent, criticizing policies or even exposing graft is the highest form of patriotism.



“The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain. “
George McGovern 

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  1. This paper should be called as Oppositionese not Bhutanese. This is paper which promotes Tshering Tobgay…..

    • and u r chamchagiri to dpt……

    • i salute this paper whatso ever it have written has written the truth and right thing only. The whole cOuntry especially the humble, poor and ordinary citizens like has feel that PM should concerntrate his personal and official attention more looking and solving the internal issues- ENSURING SECURITY OF THE ORDINARY BHUTANESE PEOPLE AND FARMERS LIVING IN SARPANG AND OTHER SOUTHERN DISTRICTS. 2 or 3 kidnappings , 1 murder and 3 blasts and many tabbings cases have taken place in just one or two same months! What is govtn. doing, are they worrying or do they ever have care for us? thats the question which ‘ll never be answered! Many of us are really sad with PM and his corrupt minister (home). Pls. be at home and give us not your empty promise”equity and justice’ but just a secured home. We feel in secure even at our own home now. DPT HAS FAILED IN GIVING SECURITY TO THE PEOPLE, iT WAS  ALWAYS OUR BELOVED KING WHO LOOKS AFTER HIS PEOPLE AT TIMES OF DISASTERS AND THREATS, LONG LIVE OUR BELOVED KING!

  2. In a real democratic political settings, both the parties or individuals should remain tolerant of the criticisms or critical remarks made by the other(s) and take it positively and constructively…..Examples are aplenty….Indian, Australian parliaments you can watch the debates in the parliaments or remarks the OL or PM make publicly before media….In a young democracy this is healthy and not harming……..but if we view such remarks from the Buddhist perspective, then it’s all “Tsigtsub”…meaning defiled words which one potentially creates speech sin….and bout for suffering in the Hell when one dies…..and if we are to go by this believe, then all our MPs will once have to bow down before Chegyi Gyelpo to rinse their speech sins when they die…….LOL

  3. This paper is trying to create rift in the Country.

  4. I cant believe this. Editor, you are full of shits. why are you always one sided. In 2013, we don’d need Opposition party. This paper will do. what would you call to those who opposes the UNSC bid? Terrorist would not b appropriate. “disloyal and unpatriotic” is the right word.
    ‘However, whatever the reason for the outburst, questioning the loyalty and patriotism of a citizen be it the Opposition leader or anyone else on grounds of criticism or feedback on any policy, foreign or domestic is neither democratic nor fair.
    what is that suppose to mean? I wonder who gave the permission for the intuition of this paper. I sincerely hope that. you took up the Journalism whole heartily. If not, you better do journalism once more.

  5. awooo i now totally believe that this paper is funded by opposition party. 

  6. Whenever there arises a controversy between the government and the opposition, this paper seems to support the later.

  7. A “True Patriot” to me is a person whose intentions are genuinely for the peace, unity, prosperity and harmony of the country and its citizens and that the intentions and motivations to work towards such noble goals has very minimal selfish hidden agendas. In relation to the above bickering between PM and the OL, it seems like a major deviation from dignified politicking to personalized mudslinging games as the election dates approach. This is very un-becoming of highly educated people who claim to the public of their unwavering “Tha Damtshik and Ley Ju Drey” to Bhutanese people while much of their intellect and energy are wasted in such bickering. I hope even the opposition is not trying to gain some mileage by feeding onto the negatives of the UNSC bid and this paper in the process becoming biased and overwhelmed by the negativity lens through which its reporting. I see both positives and negatives that have come about through this campaign. OL’s demand for the expenditure details of the campaign is expected from any responsible politician as public fund is involved and the government is accountable to the people of Bhutan.

    • Trying to gain political mileage through this paper is what the Opposition is exactly doing. 

      • I hope and pray that Bhutanese political parties promote bi-partisan politics over partisan politics like in any vibrant and working democracy. For the sake of our small and peaceful country, the last thing that the people of the country would need is divisive and partisan politics. All the good intentions of the poilitical parties will go down the drains if they are not mindful of partisan politics inspired by failed democracies around the region and the world.

        • thanks to Chief Justice and his constitution drafting gang, we have to go by this Indian way of dirty politicking…..

  8. DPT is full of corrupted people and it is evident from present situations. The worst thing is i would like to f*** the Office of Attorney General which finds no fault with the land case. Now people can decide who is patriotic and who is not.

  9. Dont explain what is McCarthyism.

  10. I never supported DPT or PDP. I am satisfied following rules, sweating my ass out for honest work.

    Every Bhutanese in right sense will tell that the Bhutanese is always promoting PDP and OL blatantly. This is not journalism. It is called Propaganda….

  11. Minds of the Bhutanese people have never been more corrupted…………..Alas….I long to turn back my clock and live in pre-democratic era under the benevolent ruler, our King.

    • David Luechauer

      I sometimes wish this for you and your people as well!!!  Unfortunately, Pandora’s box has been opened politically, socially, economically.  Now comes all the joy, all the sorrow and all of the great in between of having to really live life instead of being taken care of by others.

  12. David Luechauer

    I read with great interest this article and the subsequent comments!  Ladies and Gentlemen of Bhutan – welcome to democracy in action and freedom of the press.  However, more importantly, welcome to reality.  The political friction, to which many are still unaccustomed, is still very, Very, VERY mild compared to that of more “mature” democracies such as India, The United Kingdom, and as we just witnessed – The United States.  A good rule of thumb to remember is that democracy is the hardest form of government because it absolutely demands that each individual defend – sometimes even with their own lives – the rights of others to yell at the very top of their voices statements and positions that they themselves would spend a lifetime yelling at the top of their voices an opposite position.  However, we can all learn to disagree without being disagreeable. We can be passionate in the “discussion” but when the votes are counted and the results are in – we all must shake hands pull together and do the next right thing.  Personally, I was sorely disappointed and saddened at the results of our Presidential Election – not so much that Obama won – but rather that so many people did not exercise their right or responsibility to vote.  Nonetheless, now that the results are in, it is time to roll up the old sleeves and get down to work together with those whom I agree and disagree to help my country move forward.  The same is true for Bhutan.  Personally, I believe and wrote that I thought the decision to even pursue a seat on the Security Council was foolhardy, reeked of arrogance and self-interest, and showed a complete lack of political sophistication.  Bhutan does not play the role in the region that Egypt plays in the middle east or that Switzerland plays in Europe.  Indo-China relations will be what they are pretty much regardless of what Bhutan does or doesn’t do.  Bhutan just isn’t a player in the world game. The money spent on this bid could have much better been directed toward conditions at home – and I don’t believe for even a moment that this was a case of you have to spend money to make money or that somehow the money spent on this bid would come back in terms of profile or aid.  However, the real tragedy of this whole bid and ensuing debate is if people take the unreasonable that those with whom they disagree are being disloyal, unpatriotic or anti-Bhutanese.  I have, sadly experienced first hand, just how sensitive people can be in Bhutan with those who have the temerity to speak inconvenient truths or even their opinion.  Nonetheless, in Bhutan I also gladly experienced first hand, just how strong others can be in facing up to the realities of those with whom they disagree.  The lesson for us all in situations and times like these are simple – speak truth as you know/experience it, allow others to speak truth as they know or experience, look for common ground or solutions that are bigger and better than each individual truth and move forward.  Democracy – like a good marriage or good parenting – requires thick skin, warm hearts, calm heads and the ability to work together with those whom we disagree without judging or belittling them.  A long time ago I learned that in many issues or in many situations, you or I “can’t” — but — we CAN.  I sincerely hope Bhutanese of all parties and all beliefs CAN maintain their opinions while working together to realize the collective dreams they share for their people and their land.  Namaste…. Dr. David

    • You are sad that Obama won, that the black President was re-elected in your country and you are throwing your frustrations on Bhutan. How do you know so much money was spent on UNSC bid by my country? Do you have account for that? I think your assessment are totally biased against the current government. It is wrong on your part to assume that you know everything about Bhutan and its people just because you spent few months here. It is wrong to assume that whatever has been fed to you by some of my fellow Bhutanese revealing their hatred towards the country and people are true. I don’t understand why you show interests even to comment here despite hating my country and people. Its wrong to assume that Bhutanese are represented by people who only comment here. In fact many of the comments made against the article in this forum are moderated and not published. Therefore it is wrong to assume that this paper alone promotes freedom of expressions and speech.  And finally it is wrong to assume that Namaste is the common word of greetings used here in Bhutan by its people.  

      • HI Phuntsho

        why you use to show such a big eggo on this forum, when ever i read the comments i have seen you words of eggo supporting the DPT. what is this? r u still stupid people brain washed by DPT philosophy which is just opposite to what is written on paper.or you r the party member to them. no when every one,even me once registered member of DPT came to know about their theory. and i see still you r far behind mai. think think think will be just big mistake for that. even now their elected member are try to go against DPT, just coz they could not speak as PM habbit of not accepting others openion.

        • Hey Tango, I am glad at least you are following my comments though you seem not to like them. I am not a Xenophobic person but I do not subscribe to whatever a foreigner says (learned or not). David is still criticizing my country, its leaders and people for whatever reasons. It certainly seems his stay in Bhutan was very eventful with lot of disappointing experiences only because he came here with pre-constructed ideas about Bhutan. 
          I lauded his first article which I thought was critical about our GNH approaches though he has put so much arrogance in it. But his subsequent articles only revealed his hatred towards my country. And yes I still support DPT. And you are wrong about the MPs. You should talk to them rather than making baseless accusations that they can’t raise their opinions against JYT. I have been talking to many MPs especially to the ones who represent my District and constituency, and they have different stories to tell. 

          • hey PHUNTSO
            it is ok now, all ur bullshit and dirty philosophy like PM,

            BETTER DO UR WORK

    • Charo, I am not surprised that you find my comments bullshit because you seem to have no brain or rather the brain of yours do not have the capacity to analyse things for yourself. You need somebody like this Chilip to tell you what to do. You are a somnambulist who gets easily hypnotized by anti-government sentiments. Do you really care for our country if you are a fellow citizen of Bhutan? I am not really sure if this paper care for our country, its priorities are different. Dr. David for sure doesn’t care for my country, why would he bother. He is just trying to prove his thesis right to us. That is it. Do you think a hard core capitalist  will care for future generations or other human being?  Dr. David  is against any alternative ideas.  Definitely against GNH. 

  13. The Proprietor of the paper got REAL SHIT from the DPT. Therefore, it is and it will always support PDP as opposition. However, PDP will vanish in the air!

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