Those Who Walk Away from Omelas. Or Pleasantville. Or Bhutan.

The other day The Oregonian — a slender paper indeed, Section A being all of eight pages — had a certain “pleasant” aura to it.  It was “Pleasant News day”.  By this I refer to their inclusion of two feel good stories, one involving the Tallest Man in the World, and how after being cited as the tallest man in the world by the Book of World Records, his life had become more pleasant as all manners of people threw in their lot and helped with the difficulties alloted by being so tall.

And the other item picked out from the wires.  Bhutan held elections for the first time ever, at the behest of their beloved king who wished to lead the nation into a semblence of modernity.  Held somewhat against their will, they naturally “Royalists” who wished to continue the latest of their beloved King’s 5 Year Plan, and the nation enjoys a higher quality of living than does their neighboring nations of poverty stricken Nepal and India, one of the reasons they are circumspect about giving up a benevelant monarchy in favor of Democratic elections.  All very … pleasant.

Looking for the article online, I do note one of the cut-off points takes us to this:

But this dedication to preserving Bhutanese culture has a darker side.

More than 100,000 ethnic Nepalis — a Hindu minority — were forced out in the early 1990s and have been living as refugees in eastern Nepal.

Bhutan says most left voluntarily, and refugee rebel groups have set off at least nine small bomb blasts this year in an effort to disrupt the election, killing one person. Bhutan sealed its borders Sunday to head off more attacks and said it will not reopen them until after the vote.

Well, you can’t win in any Pleasantville, I suppose.

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