For a man who was tossed out of office by a police and military revolt less than two months ago, former President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives seems positively ebullient, determined to dramatise the dangers of climate change just as passionately as a citizen activist as he did as a head of state, writes George Black for One Earth magazine, in a Q&A with Nasheed.
GB: People say that a big part of your appeal is that you don’t play by the normal diplomatic rules.
MN: Well, what have the rules of diplomacy done for the specific situation we face? Last month there was a coup in the Maldives. But the United States and India were unable to understand what was happening. What’s to understand? The coup was live on TV! The problem with normal diplomacy is that it just wants to maintain the status quo.
GB: I’m guessing you see a parallel there to the rules of diplomacy as they were practiced in Copenhagen.
MN: People don’t want to move away from what’s comfortable. They like things the way they are. They come to the talks, they go home to their beautiful wife and their kids. They have no passion. You can’t express your concerns openly in the normal language of diplomacy. You lose sight of the bigger picture, so you develop short-sighted solutions. Your diplomacy is played out according to the text messages you’re getting from certain industries.