The launch of Operation All Clear against the Indian militants by brave Bhutanese soldiers, led by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief the Great Fourth King on December 15, 2003, is an important chapter in the history of Bhutan.
When such a significant event was unfolding, I was in Sarpang Middle Secondary School. On the eve of the last examination day, I saw military trucks speeding by. Speculation was rife that we were on the war footing with militants from across the border.
Three months before the war actually happened, a group of officials came to our school to conscript us into militia. I was far too young to join.
Now, after seventeen years, the country is fighting yet another war. But this time the enemy is invisible. Under the guidance of our King and the government, we are sailing safely in these troubled times.
Since the first case of coronavirus in the country, the burden of confronting this unprecedented crisis has fallen heavily on the shoulders of one group. Our health professionals have been leading in the forefront. They have been relentless—tracing contacts and screening suspects by going door-to-door in virus hotspots.
Health workers face risk of exposure, yet they continue to deliver essential services day and night. The experience of caring patients can be physically and emotionally complex and, sometimes, overwhelming when they have to stay away from their families.
Despite many challenges, our health professionals have been tackling with the situations very well.
We, the people, remain thankful.
De-Suups, along with Royal Bhutan Police, Royal Bhutan Army, forestry and immigration officials, among others, have been playing an outstanding role in combating this common enemy. Those deployed to the border areas have been discharging their duties with utmost dedication. Their presence has also prevented miscreants from carrying out illegal activities. They have also been taking the lead role in crowd control to ensure that the standing protocols are strictly followed.
Bhutan Red Cross Society volunteers are also providing additional support to the frontline workers in advocating, screening and controlling crowd besides providing many other critical services.
The coronavirus has brought many challenges that have serious implications on economic growth and social development. Hundreds of people are jobless, and the prospect of the nation’s economy looks bleak.
But then, Covid-19 has also been a blessing in disguise.
It has brought the whole nation together. But we have a long way to go. Resilience is critically important, now more than ever.
Can we defeat coronavirus?
Yes, we can!
Vaccines are within reach. There is nothing that human ingenuity cannot conquer. But we must preserve ourselves first. All the hardships that the humanity has faced have led to a better world through better understanding and innovations. In this sense, we are living in such an epochal moment in the history that we have all the power and responsibility to shape the future that is safe for all.
But then, looking inward is critically important. What others aren’t doing should not matter in our fight. Bhutan can go on without praises from abroad. We are happy counting the small mercy along the ways. More importantly, we must never lose focus.
M.Ed II 2020
Samtse College of Education