Comment: Honeymoon over for Maldivians in paradise

The only time I’ve seen my father light up like the Diwali Festival was the day Mohamed Nasheed (Anni) got elected as the first ever democratically elected president in Maldivian history, after replacing the long term autocratic President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

I was in the 8th grade and didn’t know much about politics, but understood enough to know that we somehow restored hope in our hearts. I got the feeling that everything was going to be all right… the tears of happiness  rolling down my father’s face were a testament to that.

After that, everything  changed. The police brutality, arbitrary arrests of politicians and democracy activists, disruption to media and freedom of expression, everything that we thought was so wrong, that we had to get out on the streets to change, became our past – things that we only joked about in our living rooms and coffee shops.

The conversation usually went like: “Hey, remember how Golhaa Force would drag Anni out on the streets of Male’ like he was some kind of dead animal?”

Only we didn’t know that it would happen again.We had no idea; we were so naive.

Anyway, the days went by and for some reason Maumoon was running around doing his own thing, not necessarily bothering anybody – yet – and Nasheed’s administration was busy cleaning up the mess left by Maumoon.

But given that Nasheed was in charge, as suspected he didn’t let the mess distract him, and instead he went on to revolutionise the Maldives. Health care, state transport, social security, infrastructure improvements made headlines every single day. He had built so many flats that the opposition started to call him ‘Flat Dhombe’ – a name he adopted and wore proudly. Such was life in paradise.

And then the honeymoon period ended. President Nasheed had to make some tough yet important decisions in his presidency, in order to head towards a more prosperous economy in the long run.

This meant the bank accounts of the rich and the elite of our community were going to take our hit. The government had asked for the parliament’s assistance to move forward with the bills, but half of the rich and the elite were already in the parliament. A lot went downhill after that.

The religious conservatives saw an opportunity at that point and jumped in, making the situation even more ridiculous. Gayyoom started to show up every now and then, making political statements and what not. And then we saw the opposition parties coming together, having set their differences aside.

These were some very extreme far-right minded politicians coming together with a group of Islamic radicals, which was the only thing that made sense from their partnership. Religion was the main issue of their political movement. As we understand now, that may have very well have been the turning point.

The opposition parties in the name of ’23 December Ih’thihaadhu’ – the 23 December Coalition – came out on the streets, protesting and calling for Nasheed’s resignation. Their parliament members would openly disrupt any government or MDP-sponsored bills on the parliament floor. The protesters would vandalise public property every night, and for some weird reason they targeted areca palm trees planted by Male City Council.

They would pluck the palm trees out and toss them out on the streets every night. One of those photographed destroying the trees is now the Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

After 21 days and nights of protesting and vandalising, the opposition succeeded in removing the elected president from office, by force, with the help of a rogue police mutineers.

The next day the Maldivian Democratic Party took to the streets condemning the coup d’état and everyone that took part in it.

I was there myself, with a friend of mine, a fellow activist, only to witness the horrible turmoil and the wrath of the Special Operations police brutes. They were anything but officers of law. A lot of peaceful protesters were brutally attacked by the savages. We were surrounded by chaos, and blood and tear gas canisters.

That moment I knew we had lost our country. That it was far from over, and the real struggle for democracy was yet to come.

Since then the coup government have been busy destroying everything Nasheed has built. They’ve put an end to state transport system…the universal healthcare, and everything else. They’ve set us back 100 years in our relationship with India.

Maybe they aren’t well-versed in foreign policy, but how could they possibly think that they can afford to be in bed with China after they’ve screwed over India in the matters of GMR airport and everything else that came afterwards? It would be hard for India not to take that personally.

I may not be an expert in foreign policy, but even I know that when you screw over your neighbor, it’s going to get awkward and complicated. Much like an office romance which ends badly.

Removal of President Nasheed from office wasn’t enough for the coup leaders, so they decided to prosecute him on charges of “kidnapping a judge”, to void his candidacy for the comping up presidential election.

They’ve already once dragged him to the kangaroo Hulhumale court which legally does not exist, while he was down south on the Journey of Pledges campaign in Faresmathoda.

President Nasheed was summoned to court for the second time, and the illegitimate ‘Hulhumale’ court ordered the police to make sure that he attended. But instead Nasheed has taken refuge in the Indian High Commission, taking the upper-hand in the current political situation in the Maldives, perhaps for the first time since the coup.

We are yet to find a solution and I personally don’t think that we would find one through political dialogue among the parties. It hasn’t worked before, I doubt it would work now. The only way we can move forward is to let Nasheed take part in a free and fair election this September. I think that’s reasonable.

Like many fellow Maldivians, I wish to hold that flag of red, green and white and feel proud again. But I’m afraid today is not that day.

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13 thoughts on “Comment: Honeymoon over for Maldivians in paradise”

  1. well written Maiz. So wonderful to see a young writer' view and experience. Hope many more youngsters would express their heart out.It is indeed very sad to see a democracy lost in such a short span of time. The future for young Maldivians look really bleak.

  2. Good article Maiz. The only thing is Gayoom wasn't going about his business he was doing his utmost to whip up hatred against Nasheed everyday since the day he was elected. We have a dictator who will not let this country be who thinks Maldives is his own possession to do as he pleases and unfortunately we had this idiotic and brutal vice president Waheed who sided with him. The biggest traitor to this country is Waheed and Gayoom, who would've thought Waheed would lick the ass of the dictator who brutalized his own family.

  3. want to correct Muaz on the religious conservative narrative. What happened was under Anni's rule the secular and athiest camp made the religious conservatives life hard and cornered them to despair. They saw no benefit from Anni's patronage with die hard athiest on each side of Anni's camp. They tried many times to get some space, breathing space, but the atheist camp did not let them. Then they broke out and made agreement with the devil (PPM). So it was for them "better the devil you know than the saint they did not". in the case of secuarists, the conservatives did not see what next they will suffer under the secular camp.

    Anyways that's my take.
    Salaams to all

  4. I think its all over, that Maldives became Maldivistan, that those sheikhs, fasicsts and capitalists rule the ciuntry.
    We will not get rud of those scumbag, we will not get rid of those retarded religious people, if we conti ue just to protest.
    Look to - one example only - Bangladesh today. Where they execute those kind and ban the extremists.
    We must fight, we dont gave any perspectives in life if we dont do.

  5. what 'human being' doesn't know is that under Anni's leadership, the religious imams who were tortured with chilli sauce were allowed freedom of expression. Just ask Fareed.

    Then the big money sheikhs wanted to deny others the rights granted to them.

    Then again, 'human being' does not know/tries to lie about a lot of things. Such is life for a tool of the enemy regime. Lie to get paid.

  6. I have to agree with Omar Hassan. Freedom of expression was used and abused as a tool by the Islamic Radicals such as Sheik Imran and Shaheem only to deny and disrupt the rights of others.

    Human rights activists like Hilath was targeted and threatened every day.

  7. u missed why the 23 rd December alliance started protesting, because Nasheed ordered arrest of sitting judge. He was never brought before court.(u know a killer need to be brought before a judge within 24 hours of arrest) than u will say he is corrupt bla bla, in a democracy the majority controls and that's a fact.

    There was a due process to be completed and Nasheed was so eager and he acted like Maumoon, same arbitrary arrest, politician like Yameen and Gasim been taken by Military to give protection.

    Dam, i think we Maldivians are some how following some figure. this need to be changed we need to believe the facts.

    Nasheed had changed the political dimension same as Gayoom has. Nasheed showed housing, health care etc. but we paid a huge price.

    If you can see or had read any report by Auditor General, its same alike the autocratic time. so corrupt.

    people we are not a followers of Nasheed or Gayoom or waheed.

    About those Conservative Adaalath, then they were good, when they came against Gayoom. now as a fact they went against Nasheed. they are terrorist. this mental game is now know to most of Maldivians.

  8. Maiz ..Good to see you writing! Good Article..but soon you will learn MDP has its core team who are heavy boozers and commited to major crimes which is illegal under the constitution like many other parties like PPM and DRP. Also its sad they are using young people like you who pray regularly. Do spend few months with these bunch and tell them secretly you are ready for "drinks" and same sex, they will open the political doors for you like some young core figures both in MDP and PPM! If you like "it"..then I hope you can sleep I know you are a man of integrity and values! I wish you all the best.

  9. The writer left out some of the key reasons why the Nasheed regime ran aground. Nasheed surrounded himself with ill advice. Some of his closest aids made elementary mistakes in policy and in their dealings with the then opposition.

    The opposition gained the upper hand with each mistake made by Nasheed's regime, until it spiralled out of control. In short, Nasheed tried to push his agenda far too quickly, with a lot of obstacles standing in his path.

  10. Nasheed's mistake was too much too soon. He attempted in taking too big a chunk than he could swallow. These radical Islamists do not realize that their well-sported beards were forcefully raked-off with chilly sauce by Gayoom's militia in Maafushi dungeon!! These hair-brained Islamist radicals have abused the freedom of speech to the core.

    I wonder why this Reverend Imran bigot, who had apparently come down from Heaven to rescue Maldives, cannot mount on the back of the Winged-Horse (Buraaq)and fly into the Indian High Commission in Male' and nab President Nasheed and take him to "Sidrathul Munthaha" (apparently, God's throne)for trial in front of God!! And at least allow President Nasheed to have the taste of Paradise by offering him some fresh water from rivers Euphrates (Furaathu koaru) and Tigris that flows from either side of Sidhrathul Munthaha!!

    These religious idiots have gotten into so much rote learning, their rational thinking is suspended. President Nasheed was the person who allowed these religious bigots to freely express their skewed beliefs to the Maldivians. Bed time stories such as, the sojourn of the faithful on a Winged-Horse to the Heavens, reaching "Sidhrathul Munthahaa", a place that was out of bounds for even Archangel Gabriel!! Little do these idiots realize that this winged-horse is the Greek goddess Pegasus (those of who doubt, please google Pegasus)who was a prominent mythical figure in the Greek culture hundreds of years before the advent of this religion called Islam. The desert dwelling Bedouins of the day had never heard of this and had gulped down this story of Astral travel on a Winged-Horse. Bahira, the Nestorian Christian monk knew all about it and had given a thorough grounding to the founder of the religion called Islam. (BTW, Bahira never embraced Islam). The likes of Imran, Shaheem and Ilyas are trying to instill fear into the weak minds of our fellow Maldivians and use their naivete to achieve their wicked ends.

  11. the problem with these kaafir unbelievers is this. They just know too much! They know everything and nothing escaped their knowledge. Basking in the arrogance of their self acclaimed knowledge they are. and everyone else is a fool and an idiot. How can somebody argue with ppl of this mentality?
    For the dumb person who calls himself ahura mazda, greek mythology is not fact, its just mythology, word of mouth passed from person to person. the winged horse is also one such depiction that came from human interaction. nobody knows and will never know the origin of flying horse. for all that is known it could have been an indian story copied by a persian traveller, gone to chinese etc.. these folk stories takes complex routes and get their twists and turn because of human interaction. And for your info Muslims never claimed the Nightly journey was on a winged horse1. it was a delusional story of the ahlul bidaath. And where did you get the thorugh grounding story from? From the kaafir dhajjal no doubt? But do you think they would be truthful about the religion they so detest? Why am I even asking these quetions knowing so well that an avowed kaafir will not be sympathetic to the truth of islam?

  12. A well written arcticle, i have been following news of disturbance in Maldives. Good to see people of Maldives are sensitive and aware of their rights.
    as an Indian we would love to see a Democratically Stable maldives, where all the systems of healthcare, transport, judicairy, finance industry are well settled, and Such a nice paradise island should not be destroyed at the hands of so called facists. India has been an Shining example, that any land shall florish to proseprity only with democracy and not with any Totaltarian Regimes.
    having read many articles, my heart goes for President Nasheed, May God give him strength to come back and work to build a Stable, beautiful Maldives.


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