Comment: Government of the people, by the people, for the people…

The type of government that a nation consents to has a profound influence on its people and their quality of life. In the writings of early historians, Maldivians were depicted as “a most gentle people.”

Less than forty years ago, when a tourist visiting Male killed his girl-friend, practically the whole population of the island stopped their work and went to pay their respects. People were genuinely moved with sympathy for a victim of violence. “We were in deep shock. We were stunned really,” one man recalled.

How things have changed.

A single day’s headlines now expose the darker reality of this ‘Sunny Side of Life.’ A sixteen year old boy is murdered in a public park while law enforcement agents are busy arresting people for the crime of being “in possession of a cursed chicken.” A 65 year-old man is killed for his meagre pension money.

Meanwhile, the police pepper spray, beat and arrest people with impunity and young children are given guns to hold and admire as a tactic to enhance the profile of the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF).

Yes, change is inevitable. However, it is important to ask why such a fundamental change has occurred in the psyche of the whole nation in a 30 year time-frame. There might be many contributing factors but one of them stands out.

The style of governance under Gayoom’s regime affected the attitude of the whole nation. The violence, torture and lack of regard for other people’s dignity that characterises his regime, is unfortunately colouring the mind-set of ordinary citizens. The recent shameful episode of three policemen and an MNDF officer robbing expatriate workers makes sense in this dog-eat-dog society which is frighteningly becoming our reality. And why not? When ‘the best and the brightest’ of a country usurp power by pillage and brute force, the masses have no reason not to emulate their example. Exposure to violence desensitises us and reduces our sense of humanity.

There are a plethora of practical and philosophical reasons why the Maldives should embrace democracy at this stage of its development. One outstanding reason is the failure of the ‘Unity’ government that has emerged following the coup, which is neither a united nor a legitimate government. It is a loosely held conglomerate of ambitious individuals vying for power. The last thing on their minds is the well-being of the citizens. The sudden increase of police numbers, promotions and bonuses, in a period of economic recession, is testimony to the fact that the limited resources of the country are being squandered for the self-serving obsession of holding on to power.

Journalists, politicians and individual citizens discuss the execution of the coup that brought this regime back to power. While there is no doubt that a coup took place, and a legitimate, democratically-elected government overthrown, it is simply too generous to accept that a successful coup has been executed. A coup is not simply the acquisition of power. It also entails the maintenance of power by providing a functioning system of governance that would enable the usurpers to achieve legitimacy, at least through longevity.

What is obvious now is that the coup was a botch-up of gigantic proportions. The perpetrators of the coup underestimated the resilience of the people, ignored the determination of the MDP and assumed that Nasheed would walk away quietly and the rest of the population would return, sheep-like, to the conditions prior to the 2008 elections. However, three years of freedom from police persecution and terror has prompted a paradigm shift in the psyche of the nation. The coup government is struggling and is in a state of limbo. Their recent dealings with political activist and lawyer Mariya Didi and Chief Superintendent MC Hameed, Head of Intelligence of the Maldivian Police Service (MPS), have demonstrated the inadequacies of the regime in dealing with people who cannot be frightened into submission.

The regime has also made it clear to the general public that they are not capable of anything other than knee-jerk reactions. Meanwhile the people suffer as they watch the drama unfold and the numbers of political detainees continue to increase.

This failure to consolidate power is partly because autocracy of any form is an anachronism in the 21st century. Traditional respect for authority and the unquestioning subservience of citizens to those in power are fast disappearing. This is an age of social media and instant dissemination of information. Syria, Egypt and Libya provide clear evidence of how autocratic governments all over the world have been under increasing pressure. The type of Machiavellian political philosophy that advocates the suspension of common-place ethics from politics is out-dated and irrelevant in the 21st century, as is the Hobbesian interpretation of the social contract that people should submit to the authority of an absolute sovereign power.

Yet, these ideas form the political creed of the current regime in the Maldives; a cynical, out-dated creed that ignores the human potential for growth, both morally and intellectually. Thus, all autocratic governments, as the one that the old dictator has ‘gifted’ to the Maldives for a second time, are preoccupied with the business of propaganda, creating their own versions of the truth in an increasingly information-rich world.

Ruder Finn, the PR company employed by the regime to sanitise their record of human rights abuse, is not a new phenomenon, but the effectiveness of this huge monetary investment in disinformation, remains to be seen. Dr Hassan Saeed may indeed be destined forever to keep ‘applying lipstick to hideous pigs,’ as Yameen Rasheed so aptly puts it. However, the regime would be ill-advised to believe that the rest of the animals on the farm are impressed by the propaganda of Snowball and Napoleon.

It is generally agreed that the stability of a government is directly related to the economic well-being of a nation. What is less well understood is the fundamental human need for justice, order, goodness, and unity. In his hierarchy of needs for self-actualisation, Abraham Maslow defines these as ‘Meta-needs’, crucial qualities that help people to develop to their potential.

Where is justice when power is acquired and sustained by force? Where is order when the roads are filled with disenfranchised protesters and thousands are demanding that their right to vote be taken seriously? It is laughable to expect the nation to be united when the ruling hierarchy itself is divided by their personal agendas and are incapable of investing energy in the well-being of the people. The previous democratic government was much maligned for detaining a judge who was regarded as corrupt and morally questionable. While this may have been ‘impolitic’ in the cut-throat business of staying in power, it is a refreshing sign that the people’s government had the moral fibre to act decisively in a question of right and wrong, rather than be intimidated by political expediency.

But why democracy?

Winston Churchill’s words that “Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried” have often been used as an apology for democracy. It seems to suggest that democracy is the best of a bad lot and we may as well make do with it because nothing else works any better. But modern research and experience seem to suggest otherwise. ‘The Spirit Level’ written by researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett is based on a variety of cross- country comparisons. They argue that greater equality does not only produce better outcomes for the poor.

“Equality,” they point out, “is better for everyone,” including the rich and the elite of the society. Their well-evidenced thesis shows that unequal societies suffer from more insecurity and status-related fears, which permeate through the whole society, destroying the positive influences of community living and lowering the spirit of the poor and the rich alike.

Although it is simplistic to assume that democracy provides a totally equal society, empowering the people of the country to decide the direction of their government and its policies are crucial pre-requisites for a healthy and inclusive society. The good health of a society is of huge benefit even for the rich as it provides a stable, educated and flexible workforce capable of keeping up with the demands of a constantly changing world.

Thomas Paine, in his treatise Rights of Man points out that representative democracy is the most inclusive and the fairest form of government. Three centuries later, this claim still holds good. Democracy opens the door for the utilisation of everyone’s energy, ideas, creativity and intelligence for the well-being of the whole population. Conversely, the raison d’etre of any autocratic government, as with the regime currently in power in the Maldives, is the preservation of their own privilege and exclusivity.

It is not a historical accident that the democratic movement, especially since the coup, has resonated strongly with the combined voices of women and the youth of the nation. Any successful society in the 21st century must address the needs of these two powerful, but traditionally over-looked groups. Islamic fundamentalism has been legitimised in the Maldives by the coup of February 7 which saw the regime’s cynical manipulation of a small group of radicals to overthrow the democratic government. The inclusive nature of democracy is also the only response to the mindless, patriarchal and antiquated agendas of these individuals who consolidate power and maintain their own personal self-esteem through the subjugation of such groups as women and youth.

As a form of governance, democracy has the added advantage of allowing a safe and disciplined transfer of power. Autocratic rulers, who invariably need to abuse basic human rights to stifle opposition and to stay in power, inevitably carry with them increasing political baggage. Just as with Gaddafi in Libya, Assad in Syria provides a contemporary example of an autocratic ruler who has little to gain but much to lose by relenting to the demands of those who see that his days are numbered. The only option open for him is to fight to the bitter end.

The fact that Gayoom has initiated a court case against an 82 year-old Maldivian historian who claimed that there were 111 custodial deaths in the 30 years of Gayoom’s rule is a timely reminder of how insecure autocratic rulers feel as they come to the twilight years of their political careers. The costs of this predictable path of action are staggering in human, social and economic terms; not just for the perpetrator of the crimes, but for the nation as a whole. Democracy, where the head of a government is decided by the consent of the majority of the people, is the only way of avoiding such a political quagmire.

Ultimately, however, it is a question of governance. In this context governance describes the methods a government use to ensure that citizens follow its processes and regulations. Good governance, like good parenting, is not simply a set of rules to achieve compliance through fear and punishment. Good governance is underpinned by a strong set of moral and social imperatives. It relies heavily on a series of ethical and social requirements such as justice and a shared vision by all its constituents. As abusive and violent parents enslave their children in a vicious cycle of similar behaviour, oligarchic systems of governance which portray that ‘might is right’, have a hugely negative and vicious impact on the citizenry.

Just as thirty years of life under Gayoom saw an increasing number of Maldivians lose their innate sense of fairness and compassion, Waheed’s recent sanctifying of the MNDF has ramifications for the type of society we live in and will continue to live in.

What the country needs is healing, justice and the voices of its populace to be heard. What is on offer is more imprisonment, more thuggery and more money being wasted in white-washing these actions. For many people, including large segments of the police force, MNDF and ordinary citizens, there is something extremely obscene in the disparity between what the country needs and the oppressive responses of the regime.

Maldivians have the courage and maturity to take risks and grow as a nation. The only way forward now is through an early, democratic election, before the powerful tentacles of autocracy reduce the country into another abyss of hopelessness, as it did for thirty years under Gayoom. History does not have to repeat itself.

Democracy is premised on the understanding that human dignity is an inherent right. But with the exception of a short period of three years under a fledgling democracy, generations of Maldivians have grown up and grown old with the belief that life is an inevitable submission to force, brutality and loss of dignity. Violence begets violence. It is an insidious force which destroys the very foundation of nationhood: justice, trust and compassion. To live wisely, the nation must attend to the welfare of all its citizens, not just a privileged few. The rule of the few must end. Government should be of the people. It should be by the people. And most importantly, it should be for the people.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


21 thoughts on “Comment: Government of the people, by the people, for the people…”

  1. @ Minivan:

    If all comment pieces that are conveniently the sole view of the author do not, in fact, reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News, why does your publication only feature comment pieces that echo MDP propaganda and/or support Nasheed's return to power in some format or other?

  2. a Dhivehi translation of this commentary will be the best thing that can happen!

    This article is informative, timely and inspirational.


  3. Government by the people for the.. what?

    Nasheed came into power due to a coalition, he barely got 25% votes,
    And he turned on the coalition within weeks..

    So yep for the people by the people, lets rephrase this, for MDP, by the British, For MDP

    (P.S thought it was actually a good thing Nasheed and MDP, bringing democracy to this country, and then..
    soon it turned out that Even people from within his party cannot disagree with him or his decisions, Hows that for democracy?)

  4. Just as Maldivains refer all varities of tuna as ‘sea fish’, people are now using the word democracy. Democracy is not a monolithic concept – please do not bastardize the word.

    There is Athenian democracy, Consensus democracy , Direct democracy, Economic democracy, liberal democracy, Messianic democracy (the band promoted by Maumoon and Nasheed), representative democracy, social democracy and even totalitarian democracy.

    Maldives is now a ‘managed democracy’ by MNDF and Police, which may not necessarily a bad thing.

  5. Yes Latheefa your "democratic" president Nasheed,Anni kidnapped a judge. Nasheed locked up the Supreme court. He even signed a decree abolishing Superior Courts. People just did not accept it. He tried to intimidate MP Yaamaeen and MP Gasim, But now adays we the people will not accept,. Gayoom was a dictator but before he went away he gave us a good constitution and democracy. You or Nasheed cannot take it from us.
    By the way are you married to a British man./?

  6. latheefa ahmed VERRALL? oh ok. with a name like that you would know how to comment on maldivian affairs. you are an abosolute authority in this.

  7. Gayoom's government, Nasheed's (Anni) and Dr. waheed's government was/is all controlled by criminals such as highly corrupt and party cronies or close family or friends who have no ethical or human values! Nasheed's fall came becoz of Mariya Didi and Rekko Moosa who were extremely corrupt and was strongly advocating to spread gay right, atheistic free thinkers and nation wide alcoholics campaign with themselves involved in those activities with young MPs and senior politicians!!! The story was not different from Gayoom and dr.waheed. Both were/are not in control of their governments! Nasheed unlike both came from a humble beginning and also have strong support of the moderates, but sadly Nasheed secretly support the likes of the Mariya and Rekko Moosa for some unknow reason, which is a contradiction of itself! Nasheed failed to rule this country for the people since the beginning of 2011 after the local council elections.

  8. Minivan is a propaganda machine of Anni and what else we can expect from this ?

  9. @Nigam

    Your comments about Moosa and Marya is despicable. This is the kind of distortion and spin that people come up with when confronted with the truth.

    And what is the truth? That a group of army and police officers helped those in power today to remove an elected President from office.

    There is not one case in court against Moosa and Marya for corruption.

    The culture of guilty until proven innocent that represented the regime of maumoon Abdul Gayoom have not left us, has it? Slander, spin, lies appear to be the order of the day.

    Part and parcel of the Gayoom political machinery.

    Freedom of speech does not mean that we can write whatever we feel like about whomever we want.

  10. @ GAYoom lovers/loyalits' accusations/comments:-

    (1) "locked the Supreme Court" -
    Locking up of a Supreme Court where the constitutionally TERMED 'Interim Sitting Bench' of the court HAS EXPIRED and that the parliament HAS FAILED to appoint a new bench of judges IS A MUST for any president. Especially, when the EXPIRED 'Interim Sitting Bench' ATTEMPTS to BECOME PERMANENT UNCONSTITUTIONALLY and the 'Interim Sitting Bench' judges THEMSELVES DECLARES it publicly. A letter by the Interim Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed to President Nasheed saying that he believes that AFTER the interim term the bench BECOMES PERMANENT is UNCONSTITUTIONAL and MUST be STOPPED and the building of the Supreme Court SHOULD be PROTECTED & LOCKED by the head of state. Why? Because after the expiration of the 'Interim Sitting Bench' all of the judges are MERE CIVILIANS. If those civilians can enter the building of the Supreme Court then why can't the fishermen passing-by get in there and DECLARE that they (the fishermen) are the permanent bench of the Supreme Court?

    (2) "arrested opposition MPs"
    The only MPs arrested were Gayoom's half brother (MP for Mulaku area - Abdulla Yamin) and Gayoom's loyalist pauper-turned-millionaire with no history of any lawful way to become rich exponentially (MP for Maamigili area - Gasim Ibrahim). Both of them were involved in a MPs buying off scandal while trying to sum-up the votes for an impeachment of Nasheed. Leaked phone call conversations of these two with two other MPs, MP for Kulhudhufushi -laywer cum MP Kutti Nasheed with MP Ahmed Nazim, plannig revealed that all four were heavily involved with the pledge of obstructing all the then government programs via a new billed called 'financial law'. They've cleverly drafted that nothing can be done to the government unless the approval from the parliament which most of the time over shadows the power of the executive. This was done deliberately as the parliament majority was on the side of Gayoom.

    (3) " kidnapped a High Court Judge using the military instead of the Police"
    When a judge (senior or junior or a close friend of Gayoom or not) is a pedophile and asks little girls and boys to get naked right in the court room, lets murderers to walkout of jail under the pretext of 'making the government of Nasheed responsible' and continuously let the corrupt MPs keep out of jail or 'untouchable' by any functioning investigating bodies; and the Judiciary Services Commission FAILED to take ACTION on that particular judge, THEN any president MUST LOCK UP that judge. THERE IS A LAWFUL EXCUSE to place the judge under detention until the Judiciary Services Commission or the parliament takes and action on the judge. NOT another court can or must say or do anything on such an issue as there will be conflicts of interest and it's not their mandate to take actions on another judge.

    Police simply requested the army to pull him off as there were other judges (of whom most of the sitting judges are appointed by the dictator Gayoom - his loyalists - and without any academic qualifications) simply came up with another court order that the police can't 'touch' the corrupt judge. So what should one do? We're taking about a pedophile/extremely corrupt (the axis of evil in the judiciary) and under qualified judge. Just ask the army to do it as they're not a civilian body unlike the police. And the president as the head of the state can ORDER this to up hold the constitution and SAVE little children from a child abusing sexual maniac who is also responsible for releasing top drug dealers and murders of the country (of whom most are linked with Gayoom and his parties/cronies of gangsters).

    Kidnap? Was it? Read this.
    About kidnapping, the famous British judge Lord Brandon said : First, the nature of the offense is an attack on, and infringement of, the personal liberty of an individual. Secondly, the offense contains four ingredients as follows: (1) the taking or carrying away of one person by another; (2) by force or fraud; (3) without the consent of the person so taken or carried away; and (4) WITHOUT LAWFUL EXCUSE.
    The Legal-Dictionary of defines kidnapping as: "the crime of unlawfully seizing and carrying away a person by force or Fraud, or seizing and detaining a person against his or her will". Also it states that "the law of kidnapping is difficult to define with precision because it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Most state and federal kidnapping statutes define the term kidnapping vaguely, and courts fill in the details."

    (4) "a lot of corruption involving people higher up in his (Nasheed) government"
    Then why can't these cases be filed to the courts by the independent commissions? The courts and the commissions are full of Gayoom cronies, so why NOT try these 'corrupt' people in the court? None, so far in the past three years and to date means these are just bogus fact-twisted 'stories' being brewed by 'Gayoomists'.

    (5) "MDP is imploding from inside"
    If so how come MDP is still with the most number of registered members in the elections commission?

    (6) "MPs and prominent politicians deserting him (Nasheed)"
    You mean the Gayoom-planted 'sleeper-agents' with designated 'objectives' of 'grabbing-the-stern' of MDP? Only a handful of these 'prominent politicians' have switched sides; Didi, Alhaan, Inthi, Abdulla Raheem and Histo NOT even 10 members - two MPs and three others who held senior posts in MDP.

    (7) "MDP could easily get crowds of close to 20,000 during the days of February, March"
    True, MDP does get 20,000 and over during Feb-Mar and even NOW. People are NOT blind not to see the videos and pictures.

    (8) " now they (MDP) are struggling to even get a 1000 to 2000 people to a rally. The normal crowd now is about 250 to 300 people."
    This and especially sounds like a joke towards Gayoomist parties instead of MDP. Because the coup-coalition is unable to produce a 1000/2000 while Nasheed was president. This can be confirmed from what Omar Naseer calling to the police in voicing out his plan while merely 250 to 300 people (plain clothed police/army personnel loyal to Gayoom) were protesting for 22 nights while Nasheed was in office. Omar was calling to the police and his group of protesters to gather up a volunteering group close to 2000.

    (9) "administration of Waheed is very prudent in that they can easily overpower MDP with sheer numbers"
    Then why not show the numbers with votes?

    (10) "His (Nasheed's) followers are hell bent on destroying the country "
    How come? Nasheed didn't bring a coup to his country and doesn't keeps violating and abusing human-rights in his country. In fact it was Waheed who did both of these and the international news media keeps reporting such events which eventually 'destroys' the country externally while the internal destruction is obvious - economical, social and development.

    (11) "if he (Nasheed) and his close people like Maria Didi and Reeko resigns from the MDP and give the complete reins to other capable people, the opposition to MDP would fragment."
    True, if Nasheed, Maria and Reeko resigns and simply handover the MDP to Gayoomists.

    (12) " it seems that you (the analyst writer of this article) do not seem to know what exactly is going on"
    On the contrary, it is YOU (Gayoomists) who DO NOT WANT other to KNOW what EXACTLY is going on in the Maldives. This can be proved with your twisted facts written here.

    (13) "India has played a very clever hand here and has strengthened her position in her relationship with Maldives, which actually may not be a good thing for Maldives."
    Why are you (Gayoomists) so anti-Indians? And why would you want to take back GMR? So that corrupt Gayoomists can become millionaires just as the current president Waheed's Press Secretary Masood Imad who embezzled lots of money from Male' International Airport (MIA)? Massod was jailed under Gayoom on terrorism charges while blowing up some garages in Male' long ago right after Waheed returned from abroad with his PhD and wanted to get into politics. (We all know this)

    (14) "They (MDP people) are devils in the garb of politicians. You better meet people outside of MDP and you will come to know the truth."
    We're meeting people outside the MDP; and we're seeing a lot of people who were not into politics telling us horrific stories of the coup and the coup-coalition.

    (15) "Its not a coup is a major political failure."
    When the state TV/media is shutdown, airport is taken over by the police/army and the police/army either kills/attempts to kills or releases the order of the ousted cabinet members/govt officials can't leave the country - that's enough to know IT'S A COUP. The aforementioned events were and are on public TV/media and on social media - live. Nobody needs a national inquiry commission to find out what rises from the east side of every morning just after the morning star - it's the sun. Like wise, generally when the events of the above-mentioned takes place prior to the power transfer it's known as a coup.

    (16) "We (Gayoom & Waheed loyalists/coalition with extremist Islamic elements) are peaceful people and hate violence."
    Then why did didn't you clean the country from gangs and drug dealers and pedophile/corrupted judges in the 30 long years? Why are there so much of gang fights and murder cases and drug abusers? Why do we all see on 07th/08th Feb 2012 and still see police/army officers beating civilians and even members of the press?

    (17) "MDP don’t like our Police, Army, Judiciary, Religious scholars & Other politicians"
    Why? Is it because the police and army are mutineers who side with a long gone dictator called Gayoom? About the religious scholars - you mean the kind of religious people who makes pregnant the wives of own siblings such as Seikh Imran or those with extremist ideologies who call for the destruction of objects belonging to the Jew/Christians/Hindu/Buddist or other religions? Name one true politician without any trailing history of corruption/embezzlement/violations of human-rights and who's not a Gayoomist?

    (18) " They (MDP) are hell bent on destroying them unlawfully and with violence."
    Let's compile a list of medical reports, media reports, videos and pictures on violence and count the number of victims of the MDP and the other groups and see which comes with the most victimized group. We all bet it's MDP people being the most victimized.

    (19) "They (MDP) don’t know how to abide the constitution and make their own laws"
    Well, well. Where was the constitution on 07th/08th Feb 2012? Was mutineer-ing in our constitution? Was the attempted murder of MP Eva (with her husband), MP Maria, MP Moosa, MP Rasheed and many MDP supporters LAWFUL and CONSTITUTIONAL?

    (20) "MDP is not a political party its a sadistic cult."
    Sadittic cult is what we're seeing now. The return of the dictatorship Gayoom with a new face and along with the CULT of supporters who're blind to see the facts in the videos/pics of gross abuses of human-rights against their own countrymen.

    (21) "be a fair reporter rather than a MDP puppet."
    So who's to be fair? The reporter or the fact twisting Gayoomitsts commenting here?

  11. So much anger and personal attacks directed on the person who wrote this? Is the content making you sweat a little, if so good.... what we have seen since 7/2 is precisely "more imprisonment, more thuggery and more money being wasted in white-washing these actions." Clearly many among us are willing to let this continue, as long as that doesn't hurt them?

  12. Nasheed arrested a sick corrupt man with pedophilic tendencies who was diverting the course of justice in the country. Every criminal in the country, from corrupt business men to rapists has a pact with this judge, and boy did you make Nasheed pay for rocking your rosy boat. Well, we stand by him for our country, religion and the people. Even if we don’t succeed at least we die knowing that we tried.

  13. Brilliant article! I don't see how people are comparing the rule of Nasheed to Gayyoom. It cannot be compared. It's a silly analogy, because it's like comparing oil and water. We have a very selective memory that can be quickly manipulated. I really do not understand how people can protect that disrepute judge? Someone everyone in the legal profession knows should have left long time ago, but some big shot lawyers are too opportunistic to let a dictator loyal moneymaking machine slip, so they all went in his defense even though constitutionally he would not have been appointed a judge on Aug 10, 2010. Latheefa, this is not propagenda its facts, most Maldivians understand this, it could that the people who comment on Minivan articles now consist of the current President Office staff.

  14. A superb article! Very analytic and philosophically mature!

    Judgments; whether something somebody did was right or wrong - good or bad, depends entirely on the ethics, morals (ethical motives) and upbringing of that person making the judgment. Reading through the previous comments and that too very personal comments towards the Author rather than the content whilst trying to justify the physical and psychological abuse of the citizenry by its own defense forces, I believe the question as to the moral character of some readers has already been answered.

    It is laughable and yet sad to know that even today, some people live with a mistaken belief that Maumoon established Democracy and also formulated a good Constitution. Shaheen Hameed was seen by many of his associates as a man of principle; an impartial barrister at the private law firm Premier Chambers who maintains neutrality when it comes to legal affairs.

    One might think so because once upon a time he was an outspoken critic of his uncle Dictator Maumoon. For instance: He was very critical of Maumoon in the famous Washington Times International Report 2002 in which he claims that even though he helped draft the country's constitution he does not approve it. He also goes onto say," ""it does not give us what we were looking forward to, which is greater transparency, greater democracy and more due process and rule of law".

    It is depressing that in an era of information and technology, some choose to remain uneducated to the events that followed such a historical change in the Maldives. The strive for change by Nasheed and the fall of a 30 year old dictatorship. But then again, staying uneducated or choosing to stay blind-folded may be one of the effects of continuous exposure to the abuse of the more educated crowd over the 30 years of autocracy.

    In the Washington Times International Report 2002, Shaaheen Hameed also criticizes the Maumoon-government’s provision of education to lawyers. “The government has not been very keen to train lawyers, to send people abroad to study law…it is not too confident about having too many lawyers.” In the absence of many qualified lawyers, there is less criticism. “When people stand up, they [the government] don’t like it…I think that is really why the government has not been too keen to develop the legal profession.”

    Today, isn’t history repeating itself? The people who are aware of their constitutional rights and are courageous enough to voice their rights are labeled as Terrorists. I re-quote ""When people stand up, they [the government] don’t like it".

    Justice is subjective. For instance, a man who kills another man in a time of war is considered a Hero. However, if he kills the same man in a time of peace, then without doubt he is labeled a Murderer. This establishes that morality is at times, circumstantial. Killing another being is wrong or immoral but depending on the reasons and circumstances in which the killing is done, the killing might be justified. For instance execution of a Murderer by Law.

    Likewise, assuming the accusation that President Nasheed ordered the Chief Justice to be arrested and assuming the arrest was unlawful, it is absolutely necessary we consider the circumstances and reasons. But then again, expecting analysis and consideration from a bunch of people trying to justify the escalating violation of human rights, violence and brutality towards the MDPians and the democratic voices by merely pointing out that the arrest of Chief Judge was unlawful makes me a fool.

    Chief Justice Abdullah Mohamed was ruled - disqualified to sit on Bench and a threat to the national security by the Judicial Service Commission despite which he was on Bench dilly-dallying a number of corruption cases. Months passed, no action was taken.

    Eventually this political tool was taken off Bench. This was when, the continuous attempt by some famed lawyers and business tycoons to display themselves as impartial men of principle failed. But one might wonder why? Well, it is obvious; the survival of The Hameeds, The Gayooms and a bunch of corrupt business men is directly related to the survival of Maumoon's ruthless dictatorship. Thus, their crony Judge.

    For this reason Shaaheen Hameed with a bunch of other lawyers started reaching out to the international communities such as UN, International Criminal Court (ICC), UN Human Rights Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID), for the immediate release of the Chief Judge. (Azima Shakoor, Maumoon Hameed (younger brother of Shaaheen Hameed), Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim and Dheena Hussein also represented Gassan Maumoon (son of Maumoon) on charges of throwing a plank of wood at the protestors causing serious injuries to a passer-by).

    Funny thing is, people who now claim that the international communities such as Commonwealth, EU and UN cannot interfere in our internal matters were the first people who ran to get their assistance in the said issue.

    Was there an ulterior motive of those lawyers and business tycoons and political prostitutes to fight so aggressively over the immediate release of a judge so corrupt? If those who fought for his rights are merely justice-lovers and neutral lawyers debating on a legal basis, why have we not seen them protecting and fighting for the rights of those beaten inhumanly on 7th and 8th of Feb 2012 and so on. Why have not they written or appealed to the international communities trying to bring justice to the nation? Why haven’t we seen them questioning the legality of the transfer of power on 7th of Feb 2012 and the legality of the position of Police Commissioner Abdullah Riyaz, Defence Mnister Mohamed Nazim and President of the Coup Government Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik?! The true colors of these hypocrites lie in their blood!

    It is true what the Author has said, that the three years of freedom from police brutality and terror has prompted a paradigm shift in the psyche of the entire nation as evident from the combined voices of the women and the youth; traditionally considered as the weakest sector of the society.

    President Nasheed taught us that human dignity is an inherent right. He taught us the quality of being worthy of esteem and respect. As the Author has analyzed in her article, may be the continuous exposure to violence and abuse for 30 years of autocracy had us desensitized. We had forgotten our worth, self-respect and dignity. Having a right or a say in the governance was beyond our imagination.

    However, today after having tasted the fruits of democracy we are aware that the right to freedom of assembly, the right to freedom of expression and the right to vote are unalienable rights. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. After three wonderful years of freedom, equality and respect, we have realized that we - the ordinary citizens, are not so ordinary after all!

    Thanks to the Author. Looking forward to reading more articles from you.

  15. this writer really knows maldives. the way she writes reminds me exactly of how things were during the maumoon days. people tend to discount the psychological effects of a dictatorship. justice is just a word, we've never known it to take place. keep writing latheefa, i really like reading your writing on here. my only wish is that the comments allowed discussion and not rhetoric.

  16. @Ritu;

    I fear a lot of us have been thrown into a category that we ourselves did not volunteer to join. However even the lengthiest and most nonsensical of tirades must be indulged albeit to the extent that it makes sense. So forgive me if I offend.

    (1) Taking the law into your own hands in the interest of justice would be great if Nasheed was Batman and this was Gotham City.

    (2)You have carefully outlined all accusations made against the MPs that the Nasheed-regime arrested outside the law. None of them were proved in court. The arrest was declared unconstitutional and the taxpayer was punished for the government's political immaturity. I think, and this applies to all your justifications, you must re-read our constitution and brush up on democratic processes guaranteed by international norms and treaties.

    (3) I think everyone here uses the word "kidnap" in a metaphorical sense and in the interests of ease of reference. The Judge was indeed arrested and detained unconstitutionally as confirmed by the Maldivian Supreme Court, Prosecutor General, Human Rights Commission and the international community (UNHRC and ICJ). Of course if once more Nasheed was Batman and Abdulla painted his face and ran around throwing around laughing gas and witty wisecracks then it would be a whole other matter altogether.

    (4) I think there is already an international arrest warrant issued for a suspect in connection with a 11-million Rufiyaa fraud case involving several lead activists from the MDP. Corruption is a systemic issue facing the Maldives. Those who deny that it takes place in regimes supported by them are just willfully ignoring the facts.

    (5, 6, 7 & 8) The MDP reached its current membership shortly after securing the Presidency suggesting a link between the two incidents. On another note you really raise an important point. The numbers shown in the Elections Commission's website is the number of forms submitted by political parties themselves. The purported members are never really proactively contacted for verification. However there is an online portal, albeit poorly marketed and inaccessible to the old, infirm and financially disadvantaged where individuals can verify their status with regards to political party membership. Also current attitudes show that Maldivians have a habit of subscribing to something and never bothering to unsubscribe following the act of joining. In short the numbers claimed by political parties is just a claim. The reality is their strength at the polls. The fast drop in the number of MDP MPs and its successive losses in by-elections indicates that the party has indeed suffered a drop in its numbers.

    (9)I have no response to this. It is a silly political statement much like several of your own.

    (10) Political instability is harmful to the country's economy and society. It does not matter who creates and encourages this instability. The protests held by the current ruling coalition while they were in the opposition is as harmful as the one's carried out by the MDP now. Without legislation regulating political parties and political street demonstrations we are still at risk from further instability both engineered and inherent.

    (11) The MDP must decide its own leadership. You are right. No one on the outside should comment on this issue.

    (12) Counter a personal attack with another one and add slander and insults to the mix. This is one of the issues preventing our country from engaging in productive dialogue.

    (13) I was unaware of that. Did this Masood Imad serve a sentence for this crime you claim he was convicted of? And how is this tied to India?

    (14) I think every political party has its supporters and sympathizers in this country. However there is also a far greater number of adult Maldivians who are not as invested in such goings-on. We must try to protect their interests by reaching as peaceful solution as possible to the dispute between competing interests.

    (15) I really wish we could all just let the Commission of National Inquiry handle this issue and agree to go by their report on the matter.

    (16) I think you must go easy on Qayyoom. Crime rates became a problem during his lengthy time in power however the factors contributing to the crime rate are systemic. It is we the Maldivian people who must take up arms (not literally please :P) to fight this battle on all fronts.

    (17) This is a valid point on the part of the person who criticized the above article although couched in somewhat insulting language. The current leadership of MDP must really learn to work with a large number of people in the State machinery rather than reacting in a confrontational manner to the slightest hint of insubordination. Also any good human resource manager knows one must try and feel the rhythm of things before imposing sudden and far-reaching changes to people and processes.

    (18) I think the leadership of the MDP and the leadership of parties in the ruling coalition must take responsibility for anyone harmed during protests that were engineered from the top. Most protests taking place in the Maldives are nowhere close to spontaneous. One sends text messages to their followers without any just reason calling them to gather at a specific spot and make a ruckus. There is nothing righteous in such a protest.

    (19) Once more, shall we let the Commission of National Inquiry handle this issue"?

    (20) Bile against bile. \

    (21) The above article was not written by a reporter but an individual submitting a comment piece. As I have pointed Minivan has a policy of publishing comment pieces that favor the MDP's political line. I guess its the norm these days with TV channels such as DhiTV, VTV, RaajjeTV and also other media institutions. Thank god for the older Haveeru which is considerably less biased and the recent freedom provided to TVM to tone down its propagandizing.

  17. I found this to be an excellent article. It is powerful, intelligent, masterfully constructed. The part about the spirit level, I found that most enlightening. I've not come across that particular study before, excellent to learn of it, most enlightening, thankyou.

    I would just like to say to a few of the critiques of this article, to those who disagree, yes of course we have the right to agree or disagree. But, we would be a lot more intelligent sounding if we could disagree without making nasty personal attacks.

  18. Would also like to point out the increase murder cases after the death of Evan Naseem.

  19. Excellent, well written article. Captures the essence of the present struggle in Maldives. Like the author points out, it is indeed a cynical mind-set to think Maldivians can be denied their vote through brute force, and that they are so simple and subservient to authority that they will not push back, and will simply forget all that they have fought for (not only in terms of politics, but basic advancements in human rights and civil liberties that go hand in hand with a functioning democracy). I do not see this piece as pushing for Nasheed to be re-elected, but simply stating the undeniable fact that if it were not for the efforts of the democratic movement (Nasheed and MDP included) in bringing democracy to Maldives, this country would have remained in the dark period of tyrany and abuses that we now find outselves returning to. It is shameful that the current regime continues to deny our democratic voice. It is not a matter of who is elected next, but that the elects are prompt, free, and fair, and that our votes count.

  20. Ismail, did u know how many croanies of gayyoom this might judge was harboring ? Yaamin, jagiyaa nazim, they riyaz who had drained the people's money? Whyvis electricity failing today in Male? Namira engineering and many of jagiyaas rea
    Estate business are proof to this. What was the judicial service commission with all dictator's croanies sitting there doing? Harboring these handpicked Juges of the old guard. You know nothing of Maldives politics or u are a supporter of this ruthless regime of mammon under cover of those mammon network.


Comments are closed.