Comment: Yesterday, on the sunny side of life

This article first appeared on Dhivehisitee. Republished with permission.

Before the morning sun warmed up for the day, a white-truck with two big megaphones sticking out from the back began driving round and round the island. A woman’s voice, shrill, almost hysterical, called out to ‘all ye citizens’ and ‘the entire Maldivian Ummah’ to attend a Jumhoree Party rally at 9:00 in the evening. Her voice forced its way into my mind like a buruma [drill], resistance was futile. Jumhoree Party (JP) is contesting the election results, as everyone in Male’ knows by now; whether they want to or not.

Just in case the drill had missed a few heads, JP organised a press conference around noon. Ibrahim Khaleel, JP spokesperson and Ilham Ahmed, PPM MP for Gemanafushi constituency, led the affair. According to Khaleel, JP has a whole army of experts, ‘even foreign experts!’, scrutinising the results ‘on behalf of the people’. They have allegedly found 20,000 more votes than there are eligible voters. Over five hundred of them were dead. The rest may have been foreigners or aliens, or perhaps jinnis or even cursed coconuts.

Khaleel, a former TV presenter Qasim has bought for an undisclosed amount of money, was outraged on behalf of his Master. ‘Even my name, my name, already had a tick against it when I got to the polling booth’, he said. For a millisecond I thought his name was on the ballot paper itself. But, no, it was on the voter registry, audaciously and fraudulently ticked by some devious Elections Commission secret agent before Khaleel cast his vote. Didn’t these people know who Khaleel is? Perhaps they aren’t on Facebook, some users of which are reportedly rather intimately acquainted with Khaleel.

PPM’s Ilham couldn’t wait to jump in with his own anecdotes of voting woes. He personally knew two foreigners, ‘two of them(!)’ who voted on Saturday. They were now under lock and key, their fingers bearing the ‘I voted’ indelible ink on their left index fingers most likely put away in separate glass boxes, waiting for the right time to be revealed to the public. In contrast to the foreign digits under JP’s protective custody, Ilham’s right index finger was fancy free. It kept jabbing the air, probably making Qasim Ibrahim—who thinks the gesture is terribly, terribly uncouth—cringe with every poke. It made me notice the gleaming gold watch on Ilham’s wrist, which is probably the intended effect.  It completed the chav look Ilham seems to aspire to.

Ilham called for the resignation of the Elections Commission. ‘They must resign now! For the sake of the baby growing inside me, resign now!’ My eyes stopped following his finger and focused on his face, gleaming with a sheen of sweat mixed with the gel that holds his carefully constructed fringe in place. This was big news. MP Ilham is pregnant. Well, anything is possible in Male’ these days. If a sitting president can still sit after a five percent vote; if a Supreme Court judge can still remain on the bench after being caught on camera fornicating with three prostitutes; if a member of the Civil Service Commission can still turn up to office after being removed from the position multiple times for sexually harassing a civil servant…a pregnant man appears almost mundane. None of the journalists present took note. Perhaps this is the reason why Ilham launched into a tirade against their lack of professionalism shortly after.

‘I was a journalist myself for years! Years!,’ he said. Oh? He proceeded to share everything he knew—all of five minutes worth—about journalism. Apparently, journalists can’t ask questions. Their role is to take notes. Reporters are glorified stenographers, really, according to Ilham. It was just past noon, and I felt thoroughly educated.

As the sun set, the shrill mega-phone lady was still going round and round the island. Hush-a-hush-a, or I’ll fall down, I thought. No such relief. The only thing left to do was to attend the rally—if you can’t beat them, join them. But JP’s was not the only major gig on, PPM was also hosting a rally at the same time, on the opposite side of the island at Alimas Carnival.

MNBC One news had reported Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, the world’s most unpopular sitting president, was to make an appearance. I was spoilt for choice — should I go to JP’s hate-festival or to the President’s post-First Round debut. I decided the latter line-up was the one not to be missed. Adhaalath’s rent-a-sheikhs have an endless supply of hate, there would be more tonight and every night after that until 28 September.

Alimas Carnival stage did not disappoint. All sorts of clever lighting made the area look a bit like Glastonbury at night. Except the festival goers could not have been more different. Most were over fifty, at least. Except one or two, every woman wore a headscarf. Not the trending burugaas that make a large share of today’s modern Maldivian women look like they have a beehive sitting on top of their heads, but the more ‘truly religious’ big black ones.

All in all, there were about a thousand people, sitting on plastic deck chairs or milling about on foot or sitting on motorbikes. Three large screens stood adjacent to each other, taking up most of the large stage. When I got there two of the three screens had a picture of Mohamed Nasheed with a black band covering his eyes, and the one in the middle screamed in bold red letters, ‘No!’ For some reason, medieval church-type music played on the speakers, alternated with ‘patriotic’ songs glorifying the coup of 7 February 2012.

PPM’s rally was not about PPM and what it plans to do for the people should Yameen Abdul G-g-g-ayoom win the Second Round but about saying ‘No to Nasheed.’ Excuse me, Kenereegey Mohamed Nasheed, as PPM lurves to call him. As if that would make him any less a former President.

MP Ahmed Nihan, a man who derives energy from an endless supply of hate contained within, bounded onto the stage, much to the delight of the ladies. It was like a Tom Jones concert where old(er) women are known to throw their panties at their ageing sex God. At any moment now, I thought, they’d be taking off their burugaas and throwing them at Nihan.

‘Laa Dheenee, Laa Dheenee, Laa Dheenee! Laa Dheene Nasheeeeeeeeed!’, he screamed. Hitler had less veins standing out in his neck during his rallies. The buruga clad women forgot about hell’s fires burning if they so much as giggled, and screamed hysterically, applauding the hate like it was free love.

Speaking of Hitler, Nihan launched straight into anti-Semitism. Israeli newspaper Times of Israel had publisheda report online ‘on 8 September, at 2:33pm(!!!)’ with the headline ‘Ousted Israel-Friendly Leader…’. O.Em.Gee. ‘We all know what friend means, even those of us with the most rudimentary English’, Nihan said, excluding himself from this bracket, of course. ‘A friend of Israel (!!!), we cannot allow such a man to become our leader. Not under any circumstances! Say NOOO to Kenereegey Mohamed Nasheeed!’

And so it continued in this vein, speaker after speaker. Former President Gayoom, who as usual, spoke before the actual PPM candidate Yameen; Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, Yameen’s running mate; Maldives Development Alliance’s MP Siam; and so on. They all had the same message: do not vote for Nasheed.

There were only a couple of deviations from the subject. Nihan made a coy pronouncement that ‘some things have not gone according to announcements in the media.’ President Waheed did not make an appearance. Celebrities, as you know, don’t always turn up when you expect them to, Nihan explained. Another significant declaration issued was by Jameel:

We will not allow Mohamed Nasheed to return to power even if he wins the election.

The grand finale was an anti-Nasheed propaganda video that would give North Koreans a run for their money.

Today is another day, packed with the same sort of ‘campaigning’, no doubt.

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]

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19 thoughts on “Comment: Yesterday, on the sunny side of life”

  1. "We will not allow Mohamed Nasheed to return to power even if he wins the election"

    Very well then, why bother with one? Just crown Yameen Junior Pharaoh already.

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  2. That was hilarious! There's a little mistake at the end of paragraph 10. It should be February, not September.

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  3. Dr Azra: of course you will say 'anti-Nasheed' propaganda because you are for MDP. Now le's talk about pro-Nasheed propagandas.

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  4. I don't know what these Maldivians can achieve by spreading hatred towards each other. What a s*** country!

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  5. Yameen's coalition has said they will not allow MDP Nasheed to come to power even IF you the Maldivian people elect Nasheed. THAT is the true face of Yameen. He does not care about your will, he would repress your will to serve his own will to power.

    Gasim claims to represent the will of the Islanders and Muslims whose hopes and dreams Yameen will CRUSH to serve his own need for power! So Gasim, get a hold of yourself! We understand you are wounded. But can't you see that you are being manipulated by dark forces THROUGH your wound.

    Gasim, these EVIL monsters will rub s*** in your wound to feed your rage against MDP until your wound becomes so deep, you DIE! They will literally bleed you to death, they HATE you Gasim!

    I know it for a fact, that although some in MDP laugh at you, deep down, they love you for your big dreamy eyes and eternal optimism! They laugh because they are jealous, and they don't agree with your policies. But, they love you for what you represent, Gasim, the hopes of the non-Male Islanders of the Maldives who have been brutally repressed by arrogant, Male'centric racist Be'fulhun for centuries!

    GASIM, You owe it to the cause of the Islanders whose cause you represent, to support the party who at least respects their WILL!

    I am aware Nasheed did the wrong thing by throwing you in prison, Gasim. But Anni was reacting not out of deep seated hatred for you, or out of some Male'-centric racist thing Male' people have towards Islanders, he was reacting out of extreme frustration!

    When Yameen arrests you, it will be HELL for you Gasim, as he will unleash all his pent up racism and prejudice towards you, and, towards those who take Islam seriously, and do grave harm to you.

    Please do not destroy the future of the will of a Maldives free from fear and tyranny to feed your own immediate need for revenge, Gasim.

    I admit, MDP Nasheed can be a pathetic, tantrum throwing, hostile little, pompous little arrogant spoilt brat! But deep in your heart you know, that he would never resort to completely crushing the lives out of you and the Muslims, the Islanders whose hopes and dreams you represent.

    When you were thrown in jail by Nasheed, you did not endure the type of hell Yameen will put you through.

    Do what is right, Gasim, you don't have to respect Nasheed. But respect the will of the people by making sure one who comes into power does respect the will of the people.

    If you think Yameen cares about Islam, or Maldivians, you do not know him AT ALL! He is incapable of being sorry, he is incapable of having empathy, he WILL destroy you completely Gasim.

    You know what Yameen said when Maumoon did not keep you in prison. He said, Maumoon is TOO soft, too compassionate. It means, he, Yameen would have thrown you away for years!

    Yameen is a VERY different man to Maumoon. Yamin is a racist, savage, violent gangster and he will use you, abuse you, and leave you WOUNDED!

    It is hideously deceitful to present Yameen as having the same Islamic values and beliefs as Maumoon, the whole country is being deceived to serve a very dark agenda!

    Yameen's ONLY policy is his own NEED TO BE FEARED! He’ll destroy anybody, every value, every heart, to achieve that objective.

    When Yameen says PEACE, he means it in the same sense Hobbes meant it. That is to say that when he says PEACE, he really means FEAR through violent subjugation.

    Fear can give the external impression of PEACE, but it is an illusion of peace only, not true peace.

    Sadly, THAT is the only so called “PEACE” the greedy care about, the security of their capital and resources at the expense of the brutal trauma of the people.

    Within the minds of the “peaceful masses” meanwhile, there is anything BUT peace. The masses will be traumatised within by terror, agonised by anxiety. Yameen's so called PEACE is the ENEMY of true PEACE!

    FEAR is not PEACE Yameen.

    There is NO TRUE PEACE without SOCIAL JUSTICE.

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  6. I loved this! Let them waste their time and energy yelling and abusing people. They deperately need to make themselves feel better!

    The real character of a person is most obvious when things are not going his way. What does this behaviour say about the leaders of PPM and JP? Not much!

    Meanwhile MDP should just focus on the task of winning the election.

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  7. @ Ben plewright, so you are Maldivian MDP supporter from that revealing comment. But why such desperation and hatread from that zen like peaceful mind of urs.

    Too desperate?

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  8. @Desperate huh..

    If one is not stirred to anger by injustice and oppression, one does not have LOVE at all, one does not even have a HEART if the suffering of the oppressed does not hurt them!

    COMPASSION IS A FIRE! IF your heart does not burn for the sick and oppressed you do not love. TRUE LOVE is an INTENSITY of feeling for the oppressed, the sick, NOT a ZEN like peace all of the time!

    It is only LOVE for the people of Maldives, LOVE for their will and RIGHT to freedom to be angry toward Yameen for threatening to brutally repress the will of the people if Yameen does not win!

    Gasim supporters, Yameen supporters, Waheed supporters! You do not have to respect Nasheed, but please understand that if you support Yameen just to hurt Nasheed, you will hurt yourselves in the long run DEEPLY!

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  9. @Desperate: you're right. This so-called Ben Plewright is soooooooooooo fake!!!!!!!! Now it shows that MDP will do everything to brainwash people's minds. But sorry, this statement backfires on you: "but please understand that if you support Yameen just to hurt Nasheed, you will hurt yourselves in the long run DEEPLY!' How deep? Just to earn people's sympathy??? ROFL!!!

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  10. Now the yellow party wants Gasim. Such hypocrisy!!! I thought they are confident they will win? Why beg for Gasim's support now??? Oh, pity and shame!!!

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  11. I'm NOT MDP! These are my feelings not MDP's! I don't give a rats what you say, I genuinely felt for Gasim. I was really moved by his story, about his mother being blind and losing his Father at an early age, and his need to be brought up as a servant boy in order to make a life. You know, although I don't agree with Gasim's policies, I felt angry when I heard Yameen denigrate him as "Just an Islander Servant boy" or something like that! I hate that racist crap, and, I really hurt for anyone who is denigrated like that. I really felt for Gasim, even though I am angry by the violent, disruptive way he is behaving, I feel for him, it is real. I don't care what you say my feeling was real.

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  12. whoa!! you are a heartless monster, how dare you trash me as a fake because I care. You PPM people are obviously more vicious savages than I imagined! Maldives, FREE yourself from these VAMPIRES by voting NO to Yameen!

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  13. I’m NOT MDP! These are my feelings not MDP’s! I don’t give a rats what you say, I genuinely felt for Gasim. I was really moved by his story, about his mother being blind and losing his Mother at an early age, that really made me genuinely sad for him.

    My belief is, he is basically a good hearted man who deep down, has needed the cuddles of a Mother, and, has been pursuing power to try and get that feeling of security he never had. I hurt for him, when he feels he does not win, something very deep inside him is touched, and he loses his mind because he is a deeply wounded soul.

    The first night after the elections, I felt for him, my heart went out to him, I knew he was hurting, and I wished, a Mother could hold him, and love him, and allow him to open his heart and let the pain out with tears, so the love could come in.

    Gasim has needed to be loved his whole life, and people use him because of it, for his money.

    You know, although I don’t agree with Gasim’s policies, I felt angry when I heard Yameen denigrate him as “Just an Islander Servant boy” or something like that! I hate that racist crap, and, I really hurt for anyone who is denigrated like that. I really felt for Gasim, even though I am angry by the violent, disruptive way he is behaving, I feel for him, it is real. I don’t care what you say my feeling was real.

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  14. bin laadini
    bin laadini!

    on a serious note did you notice MAG in his speech framed their campaign battle "haqq vs baathil"(righteous and the doomed in hellfire). very clever of the old codger.MAG is our Kim Il Sun, our dear leader.

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  15. Reads like a chavi british tabloid piece, nevertheless fun for the light subtle denigration.

    I hope Mr. Burma all the best, at this point it is evident that people are using him and screwing him over. It time that you focus on ways to deal with the debt ridden company of yours in other ways Mr.Burma Gasim.

    This Male' / island thing people are bringing is funny, Yameen is half islander, Dr.Waheed is a Islander, who now identify as Male'. Gasim an islander owns more land in Male' and Male' area than both Waheed and Yameen. If people consider waheed and yameen to be Male', Mr. Burma gasim in that vein is as much a Male' resident. All this bullshit is just politics.

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  16. Minivan news, why do you publish Azra's diary logs on to this website? Every time she rants about something do you have to publish it here. What is the point of this comment by her, meaningless description after description. There is no analysis in this piece, and is written just to create more division and bulldoze her ideas. She acts all self-righteous as if the rest of the country is blind and dumb. I always hope that Minivan News has some standards when it comes to publishing comments and articles.

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