“Down a narrow alley and up the stairs of an unglamorous building in the bustling island city of Malé, a slight-framed, bespectacled man sits alone at a polished boardroom table. His minute stature, reflected on the vast wooden surface under drab lighting, is accentuated,” writes Mary Boland for the Irish Times.
“It is a scene redolent both of the new political reality in which he is swamped and his preparedness, shirtsleeves rolled, to continue pushing a controversial agenda regardless of who comes or does not come to the table.
Mohamed Nasheed, the democracy campaigner, journalist and environmental activist who in 2008 became the first democratically elected president of the Maldives – and the darling of the climate change protest movement – is once again fighting for a political foothold.
“It’s not easy to overcome a dictatorship,” he says, his high-pitched voice rising often to a squeal, his body twitching with energy. “You can change the ruler, you can change the dictator, but it’s difficult to uproot it unless you have some time in between, and unless you have a fair amount of support from others also: from the international community, from international agencies, from NGOs, from everyone. We were not able to muster that kind of international support to nurture democracy in the Maldives.”
The saga of the rise and fall of Nasheed (47), the most popular politician in this south Asian resort archipelago of 1,192 tiny, precariously low-lying coral islands necklaced in the Indian Ocean, reads like a political thriller.”