Comment: Our future is bleak

This article is by Sighpad Mohamed, who writes the the blog

Vote a government in. Give them a year of two. Take to the streets. Mount pressure, topple the elected leader and change the government. Rinse and repeat as needed. Maldivians seem to have taken to this formula like a duck to water. This has to stop.

When former president Mohamed Nasheed was ousted in a coup d’état on February 7, 2012, he warned of more unlawful changes of the government in the Maldives’ future. Take in to account the events of May Day’s mass antigovernment protest #EkehFaheh15.

President Abdulla Yameen denied he was under any pressure, but the record number of press conferences he appeared in and tweets by officials indicate otherwise. The government was indeed jittery. But president Yameen’s disregard for the people was blatant when he appointed his tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb as his representative for negotiations, when the opposition had accused Adeeb of corruption and had called for his resignation.

Despite intimidation and harassment, tens of thousands of people took to the streets on May Day in the largest antigovernment protest in a decade. Protesters hoped president Yameen would relent. But the police cracked down brutally and hundreds were arrested and injured. It was clear the police were targeting vocal social media critics with the arrest of Yameen Rasheed, Waddey and Hamid Shafeeu. But unlike February 7, 2012, the government remained unchanged, and the ruling party held fireworks the next day to celebrate its “victory.”

Maldivian history is rife with examples of coup d’états, and they will continue unless the elected governments listen to its citizens’ concerns, and work for their development, not for the benefit of a handful of loyalists.

I do not support coups, but when the commonwealth backed commission that investigated president Nasheed’s ouster in 2008 ruled the transfer of power legal, despite a police and military mutiny, it has opened the doors for citizens to once again resort to the same means to topple a government. But deep in our hearts, we know this is not right. The power lies with the people who cast their votes to elect a leader for five years, not one, two or even four, but five. Let us not forget that. But the elected government must not forget they are elected to do right by the people. Not to fulfill their own agenda by pocketing the taxpayer’s money. And if the government does not rectify its mistakes, there will be more coup d’états.

Prior to 2008, Maldives weathered through 30 tough years of torture and fear, where individuals who simply expressed the desire to see a different president were jailed and tortured. They came out from jail only as a shell of the person they had been. I weep over the many accounts of torture that remain untold to this day, of the various ways former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s regime ruined the lives of many families by rendering their loved ones incapable of taking care of their personal needs after being “reprogrammed” at the infamous Dhoonidhoo jail.

But Maldivians rose up and they embarked on a nonviolent struggle. It was not easy, but we persevered.

Little now remains of the democratic changes we fought so hard for. The government is out to silence all dissent. With all the leaders of the opposition now behind bars, the Maldives is on the verge of becoming the next Egypt, where a revolution was undermined and a former general continues to consolidate his power by massacring his people and jailing all of his opponents.

The fear and intimidation we thought were a thing of the past is now back. Ruling party MP Ahmed Nihan has threatened to dismiss opposition supporters from civil service jobs, and urged the government to cancel the licenses of the scores of boats that had carried thousands of islanders to Malé for the protest. I for one, have a foreboding feeling that we are once again headed towards the era where Maldivians huddled in fear at every second of every day.

The Maldivian government is adamant that its foreign policy reflects its domestic tyranny, and that’s exactly what’s being conveyed through the diplomatic channels. But the single flickering light at the end of this dark tunnel is the international community and its sanctions.

President Nasheed calls for perseverance from his jail cell, where he is to spend the next 13 years of his life, all because he fought for dignity and equality for the people of the Maldives. My wish for the Maldives and my people is simple, one that aligns with the vision that president Nasheed has for this country. That we be a prosperous nation, a just and able society, one in which the government serves all of its people, regardless of their political ideology, and one where the government listens to our concerns without declaring war on us when we oppose the government.

Our future is bleak. The people continue to struggle, they continue to raise their voices, despite the fact the government celebrates the brutalizing and jailing of hundreds with fireworks. But if this tyranny continues, a civil war is not far off. The scars of the 2012 coup may have scabbed over, but the wounds are deep, festering with hatred, resentment and a deep disillusionment with a justice system that continues to fail us. Only time alone can tell if those of us, who are fighting for human rights, justice and democracy will emerge victorious, or whether we will be browbeaten to embrace a culture of corruption, nepotism, injustice and brutality for years to come.

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9 thoughts on “Comment: Our future is bleak”

  1. This is eloquently written and very true. However, the fact is that history is littered with examples of failed democracies. The biggest illusion about politics and democracy is that the support of the people is sufficient for a leader to stay in power. President Yameen had experience of how a dictator held power for 30 years, and also how he lost power by believing in that democracy. To stay in power is relatively simple - you need (in order of importance) the support of those with money, those with the arms, those who control the law, and finally those who preach religion. Nasheed won power in 2008 by winning 25% of the public, and his good works won him the support of another 24% of the people in the next 2-3 short years. But in winning the people, he went and lost the support of the other groups. They were Yameen's for the taking.

    Nasheed's biggest mistake was to believe that the ordinary people mattered more than these groups. He is a democrat, a dreamer, a do-gooder, in a world of demons and d**ckheads. And for that he now sadly sits in jail.

    1. @sinadh
      Situation of Maldives very well read and can't state any better. Regarding Nasheed he dependent too much on Indian and PM of UK advice because of his lack of any form of administrative experience. To compensate for this shortcoming he took up acting to con everyone with climate change agenda and distractions like cabinet resignations, huge devaluation of local currency, inviting GMR by telling the public to tame this bird who would lay for us golden eggs..........etc..... I hope Minivan News will publish this comment

      1. My son, while you may not be aware of this (maybe you are), but climate change is real, and it is not you who spend your days in Thailand that will suffer for it; but us commoners stuck in the so-called 'rashutherey'.

        Second, do you know why the devaluation of the MRF took place? Because of Kaminee clan's excessive spending for the campaign - to the point that the whole nation was in debt. GMR was a last-ditch effort to clean up the nation's debt; but that didn't go well with those using the airport as a heroin import point.

        Instead of reading PPM-approved propaganda, you should come live in Maldives for a while. Perhaps that'll open your eyes.

  2. Corrupt judiciary is the mother of all evils. Democracy died the day judiciary started to influence free and fair elections.

  3. Well said I too feel this Country is going towards a civil war, people won't stay silent for long and that can only be put to right by President Yameen by having dialogue with the Opposition. Not to look at them as enemies since they are not going to fall into the level of the people who brought the coup on 7/2/2012 unfortunately same people ruling today and topple this Government. They should learn a lesson from what they did that day.

  4. Hold your breath!
    It will be the Chinese who will be upholding our Police and instructing them how to control people, seemingly the way it is done in China!
    Rolling tanks and bulldozers over people if they ever protest!
    And it is exactly what we are seeing here now!
    To show the world that this is a Democracy, protesting is allowed only on the pavements where scores of Police are instructing people what to do!

  5. Well written and fair assessment of the current state of affairs and the sign of things to come. Sobering but inevitable. What goes round does come round. History tells us this is the case. History also reminds us that we are all mere pinpricks on the way. This is something the inflated egos on show do not seem to want to realize. Well, life will show them that they are mistaken. If not now, then when they draw their last breath. That last breath is also inevitable. They are certainly no exception.

  6. Agree... bitterly bleak future. You can't deliver the nation as a whole from this... curse... - but you can be free from it within yourself.

  7. I agree that your future is indeed bleak. All I read on this news portal is about the many hysterical marches that take place in Male everyday to either save democracy or save Islam.
    Your past history doesn't help. You had a family run dictatorship for thirty years and now the only democratically elected politician with a brain languishes in prison on trumped up terrorism charges.
    Then there is the toxic growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the country and the dumb belief that there is something unique about sunni muslims and that wahabi Islam is the greatest gift to mankind in the history of the universe. Oh dear!
    Best to enjoy your your dumb beliefs, hash oil, crystal meth and the various powders you snort, inhale and inject, before the sea levels rise.
    I've often wondered what will finish off you low IQ islanders first, radical Islam or global warming?


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