“Nasheed’s ouster Maldives’ historical equivalent of Tiananmen Square”: US Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies

One of the world’s leading scholars on non-violent conflict, Dr Mary King, has compared the resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed with the ruthless crushing of democratic movements in Communist China and Soviet Russia.

“For 300,000 Maldivians, President Nasheed’s ouster was the historical equivalent of Tiananmen Square in 1989 or the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968: the sensation of new freedom one day, its threatened disappearance the next,” said Dr King.

Dr King’s comments were included in a statement from the International Centre on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), which will today award Nasheed with the James Lawson Award for Achievement in the Practice of Nonviolent Action. The ceremony will take place at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

The press release stated that the award is in recognition of Nasheed’s “leadership during many years of the nonviolent opposition to dictatorship in his country, his courage in the face of an armed coup earlier this year which forced him from power, and his renewed nonviolent action on behalf of restoring genuine democracy in his country.”

Dr King, a professor of Peace and Conflict studies at the UN-affiliated University for Peace in Costa Rica, is a former recipient of the James Lawson award herself.

The award is to be presented by Dr James Lawson himself, a leading activist in the American civil rights movement who is best known for devising the Nashville lunch-counter sit ins of the 1960s.

President and founder of the ICNC, Jack Du Vall, said that nonviolent action can be the only basis for a ruler’s legitimacy.

“The question for the Maldives is whether it will have a real democracy or not, and whether it will be led by a person who was elected to that office by the people and whose elevation to power was based solely on nonviolent action,” he added.

President’s Office Spokesman Abbas Adil Riza said that he was not aware of the statements, saying that the ICNC was “free to say whatever it wished.”

Asked for a government response to such opinions, Abbas said: “The Maldives is a free society and has a free media. Only the courts will decide if it was a legal change of government.”

The Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) mandated to investigate the circumstances surrounding the February transfer of power was recently reformed in order to enhance its credibility.

The group began its investigations on June 21 and is scheduled to have completed its work by July 31.

The CNI is not a criminal investigation and will hand its findings over to the President, the Attorney General (AG) and the Prosecutor General (PG).

Nasheed’s US visit has included a speech at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), a briefing given to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a follow up meeting with the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia Committee on Foreign Affairs after it had sent a team to the Maldives earlier in the year.

Nasheed is also said to have met with State Department Assistant Secretary Robert Blake as well as having briefed the International Republic Institute on the political situation in the Maldives.


19 thoughts on ““Nasheed’s ouster Maldives’ historical equivalent of Tiananmen Square”: US Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies”

  1. http://youtu.be/W3oTAAQgLps

    Its about the judge in the commission. I cant believe it still !!

  2. Nasheed will be remembered as a corrupt dictator who toppled another dictator.

  3. America is so so far away. Dr.King therefore has not had an update. Former President was a violent man when he was President. He teargassed Former President Gayoom's compound befor taking him violentlt into police custody. Former President personnally ordered the abduction of The Chief Judge after violently breaking down his edroom door. Etc.etc.

  4. @ Look...
    Watched the youtube video of the Judge. This is a horror show and a fix by the coalition govt. No chance of a fair investigation!!!

  5. Nonsense. What else could these political journalist for this political 'minivan'?!
    Yeah democracy only in form will hugely benefit Maldives especially this newspaper and its associates if any.
    Go on with your drama and be a joke, which certainly has a market in the US.

  6. @Look at this video

    Thank you, saw the video and just speechless I must say. Dr Waheed sanctioned this man? The Commonwealth sanctioned this man?

    Like the video says, what hope is there for us when we have this judge chairing the CNI?

    But I am not surprised that a Singapore judge was brought in. After all they have to protect Gayoom don't they, with all the millions Gayoom has invested in Singapore.

  7. I want to laugh at this silly professor. When somebody try to be too smart, one makes mistakes in judgement. Same goes to this silly professor.
    As for Nasheed, he is definitely a good thing to happen to this country for a long long time, but this doesn't mean he didn't make mistakes. He made mistakes and that made his office untenable. The opposition who is now in power is nothing like the Chinese military. they are a silly bunch of idiots who just filled the vacuum left by Nasheed. There was no coup and nobody who can make such a plan. Give them (the baagees) to write real nice love letter, let a lone a plan of a coup, and they will still fail.

    I am no supporter of the baagees or Anni. I am an average guy who sees both sides of this drama.

  8. @Moosa rasheed
    I am a patriot and I love justice and this country!

    "There was no coup and nobody who can make such a plan."

    I am appalled!

    What did we see on various television live footage? Various religious and political people were talking nothing other than bringing President Nasheed's government "down".

    I cannot see it not being unplanned!

    President Nasheed could have made all the mistakes and made his office untenable.

    There is no constitution that allow what took place on the 7th of February 2012 which brought down President Nasheed and his government.

    The Constitution of the Maldives clearly state ways and means to oust any head of state who is unfit to rule.

    As a patriot, I would not side President Nasheed or anyone.

    I would say and prove that what took place on the 7th of February 2012 was nothing other than a carefully articulated coup!

  9. yes moosa, Nasheed, is definitely a very good thing that happened to this country for a long long time. He was an incredible activist. He was an unparalleled whistle blower. But the man proved to be a disaster when he was given the top job. he failed miserably. He got himself lots of good for nothing activists and a ragbag of dissidents to fill up top jobs in the govt. these people tried to fill up their pockets and Nasheed's position became untenable

  10. Even it was said by a US professor, nonsense is nonsense any where, this is totally bullshit.

  11. If a true Master of Islamic knowledge, having a liberal leaning, was truly capable of ascertaining, maintaining power in a purely subjective manner, if he were a master over his own 'Naffs,' A Servant of reason and the greater good alone, and if he had the power to bring others into this pure vision, this would be ideal. Yes, I am talking about the conceptual framework of what I describe as Maumoonism, that liberal Islamic version of Plato's philosophy ruler model.

    Yet, because we are human beings, and driven by forces other than reason which are impossible to master all of the time, the philosophy ruler model is an absurdity. Even modern fans of Plato and his depiction of Socrates generally believe that his political vision was only meant to be an ultimately unrealizable ideal helping us struggle towards a more complete way psychologically and morally.

    Maumoon's supporters believed in the power of his Mastery of Arabic and Islamic knowledge to uphold the maximum level of human rights realizable within the Maldives, in a manner which brought satisfaction to those who wanted Islamic Law to be upheld whilst still developing tourism and Maldivian wealth creation. Before Maumoon, religion was at logger heads with tourism development. Maumoon was able to use his mastery of Arabic to promote the most tourist compatible implementation of Islam realizable in the Maldives. He was granted absolute control over the dissemination of knowledge about Islam, so that he could promote a Religious leaning which was as progressive and tolerant as it could be without provoking the wrath of the religious for being too Un-Islamic. He could argue the Qur'an and Hadith much better than the fundamentalist types who would have used their power to bring tourism down alltogether if they could have done. Therefore, for a long time, the masses believed his version of Islam was the correct one, and the more intolerant version of Islam was incorrect.

    According to Maumoon supporters, Maumoon's Mastery of Rabic and Islam was essential to reign in the 'tyranny of the Religious majority' in the most non-violent way possible.

    Maumoon was, they say, a liberal at heart. For example, I had even heard it said that he even tolerated or turned a blind eye to a few he knew were atheists, or Christian, or gay, so long as they were kind people. But he knew he could not fail to take action against such if it got 'out' that these ppl existed, or else the masses that he held at bay would have attacked him and his ppl, the families of those labelled un-Islamic, and, so, for peace, for Mercy and for the preservation of harmony, life, for protection of the masses, that is - to prevent innocent people being hurt, he had to be seen to take action against those whom the Public perceived were un-Islamic.

    So, it was explained to me, Maumoon's mastery of Islamic knowledge and complete control over it, and his absolute power, were essential for upholding the maximum level of human rights realizable. This was because, Islam was the only authority MOST upheld. So, to uphold a liberal Muslim authority as having absolute power was seen as the only way to control the convince the masses that less tourist friendly models of Islam were not true Islam. So it was argued, without his absolute control, the human rights situation would have detoriated as 'freedom' would have been hijacked by extremists on one side, and by hedonists on the other, creating conflict, bloodshed, loss of Maldivian life, disunity, and eventually, a loss of sovereignty.

    As a conceptual construct, this seemed ideal. As I said, it would have been if human beings were all completely reasonable and willing to sacrifice their freedom.

    Yet, as we know, the maintenance of any executive mantle, of absolute power, is ultimately a self defeating exercise, as, to maintain absolute power even IF you believe it is for the wellbeing of ALL, is to depend on the support of money - and power - and that power is always repressive and corrupt by nature - as such wealth and money come at the expense of the degradation of others. Absolute power provokes resistance.

    The problem of course, is that human beings desire freedom from control by other human beings. The struggle for autonomy is innate, it is inbuilt. When we lose our autonomy, we become angry, or we become depressed, our creative potential dies, our nation becomes stagnate and begins dying. Islamic fundamentalism is the perfect vehicle to harness the sense of powerlessness and anger into a political tool. Extremism is ultimately, a giving up of human hope and love in submission to the psychological forces of depair and anger which are produced by the repression of or our failure to achieve autonomy, and a creation of hope in the ultimate realization of these things in another world. Extremism, therefore, is the ultimate product of a personal sense of slavery, although it usually only manifests as extremism when it is given the political freedom to do so, it is still ultimately the sickness of a soul which does not feel it can achieve autonomy. Hope was killed by the repression, and the manifestation of that hope as extremism occurred when the repression went. When removing the repression, we have to find ways to reawaken hope through the encouragement of creative expression, the arts, poetry, art, sport, for example, or else dead hope takes on a religious face. Therefore, extremism is the product of repression, not of freedom, even though it usually manifests when freedom occurs due to the fact that freedom rarely comes with foresight into how to awaken the hope of the already hopeless.

    Our inclination to be Governed by our perception of self or Allah alone makes us resist absolute power by nature, we are not robots!

    SO YES, liberty and democracy, free and fair elections, a culture of freedom are the only ways to develop the Maldives, to safe guard her autonomy, sovereignty and social justice.

    Extremism must be repressed by force, yes, but, those inclined to it must be brought out of it through love, through reconnection, through the awakening of hope, through, poetry expressing their pain or art expressing their pain which will begin to awaken their creative enrgy and love - these things the materials of hope.

    How does all this apply to the new Unity Government, you may ask?

    The Unity Government presents itself as a technocracy, and indeed, there are some brilliant, brilliant minds in Waheed's Government.

    The danger is, if they believe they can do the thinking for the people, because they are smart enough to do so, they may think they can do the people's thinking! They do so by repressing the will, the thought of the people through repression of elections, of liberty, and democracy.

    They, our geniuses in the Unity Government, must have elections sooner rather than later so as to allow autonomous will and thought to survive for the wellbeing of ALL.

  12. Any comparison and analogy made between events in Male, Maldives and events in Beijing, China, and the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are highly exaggerated and far-fetched, and therefore silly.

    Mohamed Nasheed was a good thing to the Maldives, and is still a good thing now. But he is nowhere near to the all-time greats in the world.

    It is good to have a sense of proportion and balance in discussing world events.

  13. Agree with Michael Fahmy completely.

    I sincerely advise pro-Nasheed organizations in the West to give serious consideration to public sentiment in this country.

    While Nasheed has his supporters none among us regard him as having the moral authority to be the Messianic figure projected by pro-Nasheed news outlets and institutions.

    Promoting an individual for your own goals is all well and good but embarrassing yourselves in the progress benefits no one.

  14. http://maryking.info/ Read about Mary King and her work from her own website and make your own judgements whether she is qualified to speak on the change of power in Maldives in February or not, instead of processing what second rate amatuer outlets such as the Minivan publish.

  15. How can you guys question over legitimacy of an award such as this one ? Simply baffled why our people are lost in time! We will not have the same thoughts in the future. let our young generation grow up!

  16. You don't need to thrown in spice. We can destroy our nation quite easily.

    Watch us, take ourselves on a fast downhill. Along with it, our future, our kids future, etc.

    By then, all who can leave the country will have left, while the rest fall prey to gangsters.

  17. MARY KING? what does this old lady know about Maldives? Why not talk about millions of people who has been denied civil liberty and human rights in United States MARY KING


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