Question of one national organization

Published on Jul 02 2010 // Opinion
By Dick Chhetri

It is not about you and me
It is not about you and me. It is about the Bhutanese in America. It is perhaps unfortunate that within a gap of few weeks, we Bhutanese are bound to observe two conventions—both of them claimed to be of “national” level. We recently observed the first convention of the Organization of Bhutanese in America (OBCA). The 3-day third convention of the firstly formed Association of Bhutanese in America (ABA) begins from today. Many from within the community are eagerly waiting for ABA to lay out the plans to eliminate this mistrust and avoid the path of division.   

The creation of two different national level organizations will be a blow to the morale of Bhutanese in America and it sends out a ripple effect to the Bhutanese in exile. It will not only divide the people but lose support because most of the people will remain in between reluctant to contribute on either side. How does this impact the future of Bhutanese in America? At this crucial hour, many are interested to know about the practical steps taken by the ABA to open the doors of possibilities to make one national organization in America. The ongoing convention should adequately pave ways towards the formation of a “united” community at the national level.   

When viewed from practical perspective, there arise some questions: Is this convention going to be peoples’ convention with voting rights given to all to determine the future of Bhutanese unity in America or is it just another convention of a group in contention with others, setting the paths toward divisions? What are the proposals to include all those new friends who feel disenfranchised in many ways by the ABA? Is ABA, as a first-born organization, going to opt for specific measures and live up to the expectations of the people?  I trust that there is still time to live up to the promise and deliver it.  

Here it might appear that the writer is turning harsh to ABA’s convention but personally neither I am in support of ABA nor do I favor OBCA. At this crucial hour, I do not hesitate to take the side of many within the community dreaming of a single national level organization giving people progressive and pragmatic opportunities to make a new beginning. This may not solve all the problems but certainly instill the foundation of trust in the community. Together, we might find ways to tackle many basic problems facing at the initial stage of struggles especially in those states where there are no local organization.  

It must be made clear that it is time to think twice about the stakes involved in the unity of all Bhutanese in America. It is time that we all take timely actions to respectfully tell ABA and OBCA to come together as one at this very initial stage before the fire of division spread and engulf us. Honestly, I see an unfortunate fork at the road that if ABA does not recognize, accept and offer a solution now, we all are doomed to divide. This is the time for ABA to lead by offering valuable and varieties of options, giving the people good reasons to follow. We want one organization at the national level without competing among the two but by coming together in understanding as one.  

At a time when the third country resettlement process is gaining good momentum, a clear majority of freshly resettled people in USA have been encircled by various problems including difficulties in finding a job, clearing off the basic bills, among others. Some of the challenges that the resettled Bhutanese are facing might be immediately addressed from within the community. Solving such problems through individual efforts is an uphill battle. Thus, it is the demand of the time that we come out with a strong “one national organization” that can guide the Bhutanese in USA in the right direction so that the people tomorrow will be grateful of the paths we have shown today. It might be too early to say but let’s hope the ongoing convention of ABA will leave no stone unturned to bring unification on the single subject of one National organization for all Bhutanese in America.    

(The author is Chairman of the Bhutanese Community Support Organization in America)