Comment: This is not a dictatorship

This article was first published on Dhivehi Sitee. Republished with permission.

Since the 7 February 2012 coup that was not a coup, a disconcerting dissonance between what people witness with their own eyes and what they are officially told they see has become a regular part of life.

Last week, thousands of voting Maldivians watched the X-Rated video of Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed having sex with three prostitutes at a high-end hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was not just his clothes that Hameed shed in front of the people but also his dignity along with the ethical and legal right to sit on the bench. Ethical, because he so carelessly flouted the values of his profession, and legal because the Maldives defines unmarried sex between consenting adults as the crime of fornication.

Yet the official reaction has been like a ticker-tape running across the entire length of Hameed’s sexual marathon saying, ‘This is not sex. This is not zinah. This is not Hameed.’

Gasim Ibrahim, the presidential candidate for Jumhoree Party, has been one of the most vocal defenders of the judge. He asks us to ponder the infinite possibilities of why it was not Hameed in the video: “Anyone can dye their hair red.”

No one can argue with that – not in these days of L’Oréal.

Adhaalath, the self-appointed ‘religious leaders ’ – and the last Maldivian political institution one would expect to favour an informed decision over an ignorant one – has announced it cannot say “Hameed is fornicating” or “Hameed is not fornicating” unless the Judicial Service Commission says “This is Hameed” or “This is not Hameed”.

Until then Adhaalath — or any other government entity — will not see what it sees, nor must we believe our own eyes.

In November last year, 38 MPs in the Majlis agreed that President of the Civil Service Commission, Mohamed Fahmy, was more likely than not to have sexually harassed a female servant as she alleged. They voted to have him removed from the CSC.

Fahmy, though, is still there in the CSC, accompanied by a subliminal government-issue caption designed to appear under every image of Fahmy we come across: “This is not a sexual harasser” or “Sexual harassment is not a crime.”

Back in April this year, pictures emerged of Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb hob-nobbing with the Artur Brothers – Armenian gangsters who were chased out of Kenya in 2006 for heroin trafficking and involvement in the country’s troubled political scene.

Initially the official line was to say it was neither Nazim nor Adeeb hanging with the gangsters. Then came a very Gasim-esque defence: “It is possible that the Ministers and the Brothers were in the same place at the same time. That doesn’t mean they were together as in together together.”

Soon after, pictures emerged of the Brothers at the gala event organised by Nazim and Adheeb to re-open Olympus theatre. This was followed by evidence that one of them was staying in Farukolhufushi, a resort under direct control of Adheeb at the time. Still, the official line was: “This is not happening.”

It was the same with the leaked draft Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States. Nazim and others denied they saw the leaked version on ‘social media’, but were able to confirm “this is not the SOFA”.

So it was not.

A similar story with the PISCES system gifted by the United States: “This is a border control system” said both governments, and so it is; even though controlling borders is the least of PISCES’ concerns.

Then there were reports of the forged ‘extension’ of the agreement to extend the lease of Farukolhufushi resort, a copy of which was shown on Raajje TV. The authorities have stuck the “This did not happen” label on the incident, so it hasn’t.

Latest in these series of events occurred yesterday, the day marked on the calendar as ‘The Independence Day’. Two events were held to confirm this: one at the museum and one at the Republic Square.

The event at the museum was a reception hosted by Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik and his wife Ilham Hussein for local and foreign dignitaries. It was held in the hall usually reserved for the most precious of national heritage artifacts. Their storage requires specific conditions, their care and handling needs highly trained hands. This is the expert opinion.

The official line, however, is different. In direct contradiction of results of years of study, the President’s Office put out a statement saying: having the party at the museum, or having untrained labourers move the priceless artifacts would not damage them. So it won’t.

Male’ watched as Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was given the highest national award of respect. For 30 years, Gayoom ruled the Maldives without respect for either human freedoms, dignity or the rule of law. It was a dictatorship that stalled economic, social, cultural and intellectual development for an entire generation.

But, the national honour, the shining thing around his neck, screams “This is not a dictator”. So he must not be.

This is a democracy.

Dr Azra Naseem has a PhD in international relations

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]


15 thoughts on “Comment: This is not a dictatorship”

  1. azra, read my lips ! that was not hameed. Someone impersonating the good judgem more like.

    Btw,Adheeb bringing in huge mega-projects into maldives. don't know about those artur brothers' though...

  2. The honor to Maumoon was also given by a PhD person (like you )

    The necklace surely did have all the glitter of a politics. The sad things is the Maldivains nation is being sacrificed by the positions.

    In their quest for short term power, nothing is spared. Even Islam, Maldives culture, history and traditions are all bargaing chips. Nothing so far has be left as sacred.

    Politicization of the national awards and honors is a gross abuse of the state and authority, which renders the whole process meaningless. Should our children's role models be those awarded fake medals for political expediency.

  3. Well done Azra. What I want to know is why Waheed is giving this award to the dictator Gayoom. I am yet to work out the reason behind this big show of respect. Was he forced to or was he bought?

  4. Dhivehistanis are born hypocrites. When every aspect of their lives is subject to control by unwritten Islamic rules, cognitive dissonance comes naturally to them. A fellow homosexual is completely against gay rights in the Maldives because that would be against Islam. But this same homosexual has no problem going on Planet Romeo and soliciting for sodomy. It is always fun to see the transformation - sometimes you see it when Dhivehistanis go to a resort or abroad, sometimes when they are drunk, sometimes when they are aroused and sometimes when they're online commenting on MinivanNews articles. At all other times, they behave like the good Muslims they are supposed to be.

  5. @Shafeea

    Minivan is probably the only web bulletin where readers grade and award marks for good writing.

    I too congratulate Azra for actually writing it. I give you a B+

  6. Don't worry about border-control systems.
    Leave that to the FBI. In 10 years the borders that exist will be only in our
    Ask Mustafa Lutfi. He knows about globalisation.

  7. @Angagatha Mithuru,

    That was Waheed's Get Out of Jail Free pass. After his "waited all my life and I am Mr. President" stint is over.

    Gayoom's Courts, Gayoom's Civil Service, Gayoom's bro as a possible President elect...

    Much like "respecting" the Mafia Don


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