Letter on Maumoon

Dear Maldives,

“It was not done by him alone. It was a whole system that did it. It was Dhivehi tradition that did it. It was Dhivehi culture that did it…”

-President Nasheed from Minivan News article “If you want to sue Shafeeg, you’ll have to sue me,” relating to torture allegations.

Thank you Anni. This insight is a tremendous gift to your people.

I am not a Maldivian, but I have been personally hurt by and afraid of Abdulla Yameen (Gayoom’s brother) unjustly, so I have tasted this aspect of Dhivehi culture that Anni refers to. I have tasted the dehumanising crush of the fear which your nation has been shattered by, and the bitter hatred and anger which it becomes, and I don’t even have to live there.

For you guys, who have to live there and cannot escape it, I admire and revere your ability to push on with life under such heavy oppression. You guys are really my heroes just for being able to do that.

The political system of the Maldives is a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle of fear and aggression which manifests as narcisistic power hunger.

Leaders come into power with the greatest knowledge and the noblest sentiments, yet end up being made pawns of this cycle. In a desperate bid to restore order and civility in times of chaos, pressing corruption and violence, the noblest souls become tyrants even against their own will.

Small corruption is used to fight big corruption when it seems nothing else will work, but this small corruption in turn becomes big corruption when those who use it become addicted to it and enslaved by its power.

A strong hand and an extravagant display of might (the former palace of Theemuge’) is used to crush the will of potential anarchy, but it crushes the soul of the masses in the process. It too becomes addictive.

I saw Maumoon go through all this. Maumoon was a great and profound Islamic scholar and humanist who came to power with the most liberal of intentions. Transparency, democracy, he believed he could give it all. He wanted to, but the ‘system’ got the better of him.

I still have the greatest respect and admiration for Maumoon the scholar and great liberal thinker, but Maumoon the President became the face of that vicious culture Anni is referring to, even against the will of Maumoon himself.

It is obvious that even Anni has faced an inner conflict between his grand, beautiful desire to forgive and the apparent need to resort to tyrannical measures when nothing else works to control corruption and violence.

For true justice to be done for those 111 people mentioned in the cited article, it is not only the perpetrators who must face justice, but the system itself which perpetuates this injustice must be smashed to pieces through genuine acts of sincere tauba (repentance) and sincere forgiveness.

The real enemy is not Maumoon, or his cronies, or the gangsters, no, these are only pawns of the enemy, slaves of the enemy. The real enemy is fear and hatred itself and its system. Only forgiveness can bring true justice, because only forgiveness can destroy hatred and the cycle of fear and hatred it perpetuates.

The cultural cycle has to be ended by someone forgiving, and giving love in return for hatred, as hard as that is. You can’t elevate yourself above a culture run by hatred into the realm of a culture of peace and justice, unless one makes that self-sacrifice of one’s own right to take vengeance, and show mercy, even though vengeance (justice) is your right.

This is not to say that justice must not be pursued. Yet it must be pursued in a rightful manner, even if that drags out for years. The offer of forgiveness must always be extended to those who offer to repay stolen money or make amends for their wrong doings whilst justice is being pursued. Reconciliation must be pursued at the same time justice is pursued. The quick fix tyrannical solutions to eradicating injustice, though they seem like the only way forward when a whole nation is frustrated by corruption and violence, will only perpetuate the cycle of hatred and fear.

Of course, one must be prevented from perpetrating violence by force and by protecting the public from their evil through putting them somewhere (in Aarah), but even there the focus must be on rehabilitating them and helping them heal them so they can be kind, honest people. Even if they can never be released, because they can never be safe, they must be able to find human dignity through creative expression in jail (religion, art, exercise etc…) as the whole culture must change to uplift the essential dignity and sanctity of life.

Maumoon himself has been so intoxicated over the years by this vision of himself as a benevolent and compassionate leader, that he has still not been able to actually accept that he has hurt people. To do so, to accept this, Maumoon would realize that his vision of himself is a delusion, and everything he had ever lived for would seem like a failure. However, unless Maumoon does realize this, and does feel genuine sorrow for his victims, there will never be any real healing for the victims, and the hunger for vengeance which fuels Maldivian politics will burn on.

I wish I could offer this to Maumoon.

Maumoon, you are a great soul, but please realize the truth of what your position had forced you to become. Please don’t despair Maumoon, you can still be great, by asking for forgiveness from those you have hurt. If you don’t do this, you will die a failure. If you do this, you will be the great man you had been created to be as your contribution to the healing of your nation will be greater than anybody’s.

I ask everyone to contemplate these Ayat’s:

“… They should rather pardon and overlook. Would you not love Allah to forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 24: 22)

“The repayment of a bad action is one equivalent to it. But if someone pardons and puts things right, his reward is with Allah…” (Qur’an, 42:40)

“But if someone is steadfast and forgives, that is the most resolute course to follow.” (Qur’an, 42:43)

Believers are described in Qur’an as those who “control their rage and pardon other people.” (Qur’an, 3:134)

Kindest Regards,

Ben ‘Abdul-Rahman’ Plewright

All letters are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write a letter piece, please submit it to [email protected]


22 thoughts on “Letter on Maumoon”

  1. Your message is clear in this letter, and it reminded me of this movie which left a great impression on me "Amish Grace" which recounts a true story of forgiving.

  2. I remember Maumoon saying sorry on TV if he has hurt anyone. Maybe the right approach would be to individually call or meet people and say sorry. Just 5 letters very simple to read and write but lot harder to say it.To say sorry and ask for forgivenees is a noble thing to do. Only great people can do this. Lets hope we follow the path of forgiveness.

  3. There are so many to whom he owes sorry, so it really needs compacting. Maumoon will have to now learn the blue ray version of sorry!!

  4. Well, in one sense, this whole letter I wrote is merely a lot of utopian idealism. Forgiveness, etc... I don't think it is possible to liberate ones heart from hate for a person if one is still afraid of a person. To overcome the anxiety created by terror may take years and years of therapy to overcome, it may take divine intervention to overcome, it may never be overcome. Yet, though I DO NOT KNOW if all my ideals are achievable, I think, it is good to have something to aspire towards, an idea worth aspiring for even if it takes a million more years to get anywhere close...

  5. Ben, you sound very confused.

    It is achievable only when one understands forgiveness is the only path that releases pain and set you free. There needs to be forgiveness to oneself as well just as much as the other who got hurt.

    Forgiveness does not mean you will forget and it may still hurt. Nothing changes in your life when you:
    Forgive out of a sense of obligation
    Forgive out of a sense of righteousness
    Bestow forgiveness or pardon
    Pretend forgiveness
    Make excuses

    Real forgiveness begins in your heart. Real forgiveness transforms your life dramatically and it can happen in an instant. But the one who hangs onto pain, is at the risk of prolonging his healing.

    There many misconceptions about forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean kiss and forget. It means by forgiving, you walk free. You do not need to take someone back into your life. Many do not want to forgive thinking that the it means setting the other free of his guilty action. Even after you have forgiven, the guilty still have to work on himself to recover from his own harm he did to the other. That is human nature that brings no peace one until one owns up to one's mistakes

    When you ask forgiveness and the other refuses to forgive, in God's eyes you are forgiven. It is then not your issue any more...

  6. @Aminath, what you say is true and profound. As always.

    One can make the decision to forgive, one must, but for me, the process takes time.

    If one is not safe, if one is threatened by another, it is only natural that the flight or fight nervous system is stimulated so that one experiences either anger and agression or fear and submission. If one cannot eradicate oneself from the threat from that person, ones nervous sytem becomes exhausted and it becomes depression and anxiety.

    Of course, however, you have to make the decision to forgive, immediately, but the process of letting go of the fear may take time.

    But then, on the other hand, you may fight to save yourself from not being hurt by a person, you may save your family from being hurt by a person, the energy used to do this may be desribed as anger, which means you have not forgive, but at the same time you may not actually hate that person but see that they have a problem...

  7. Mr. Ben Plewright,

    This is utter nonsense. You are good at writing this kind of rubbish. Half the time you don't make any sense to me.

    You try too hard to get the sympathy of Dhivehin with your condescending rhetoric and too often the fools among us fall for this.

    Were you not the one who thinks the west is "twenty times worse" than us and yet continue to live in the hypocritical west admitting to its hypocrisy? You claim to be ashamed of the West and yet I feel you have no shame flaunting your own hypocrisy.

    Perhaps your intention is to expose the west's hypocrisy through your own.

    That I can understand.

    You write:

    "For you guys, who have to live there and cannot escape it, I admire and revere your ability to push on with life under such heavy oppression. You guys are really my heroes just for being able to do that."

    Let me ask you, how is being your heroes helping us? Are we to think that we are viewed by this self-loathing, condescending western hypocrit as heroes and get something out of it? Get out!

    "Leaders come into power with the greatest knowledge and the noblest sentiments...noblest souls become tyrants even against their own will.."

    What are you talking about??

    "Small corruption is used to fight big corruption when it seems nothing else will work, but this small corruption in turn becomes big corruption when those who use it become addicted to it and enslaved by its power."

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry. But that is quote worth noting.

    It doesn't stop there.

    The former palace was "used to crush the will of potential anarchy..."? But instead it "crushes the soul of the masses in the process".

    I mean, yeah, all this might make sense in some kind of wacky stage performance.

    "For true justice to be done for those 111 people mentioned in the cited article, it is not only the perpetrators who must face justice, but the system itself which perpetuates this injustice must be smashed to pieces through genuine acts of sincere tauba (repentance) and sincere forgiveness."

    How do you smash a system "to pieces through genuine acts of sincere tauba and sincere forgiveness"?

    The rest of this comment piece was just not worth reading for me.

    I can imagine the world moving forward and looking back to see Mr. Ben Plewright beating about a bush somewhere in the distant horizon.

    Small corruption is used to fight big corruption.


  8. @Avatar: well, happy to give you a laugh if that is all I have done then thats ok with me...

    keep giggling... have a damn good chuckle, you need it, its therapauetic...

    we can do a comedy act together avatar, what do you think?

  9. @avatar: don't degrade yourself in front of me by saying i condescend you... please, have some self repect, everytime you take the victim mentality attitude, you will be kicked down to the level you put yourself in... if you keep jumping to the conclusion you are condescended, you will be will be looked down on...

    I have deepest respect for Maldivian poetry and spiritual thinking, I always revere Maldivians...

    but if you think i am going to just shut my mouth when I see, when I have witnessed such cruelty from some of your powerful, then man, you are the main act in my stage performance, the star... the real star...

    we can't be clowns all our lives man... as funny as we both evidently are...

  10. @avatar, a proper Maldivian, with cultural self respect, pride in your true culture has no reason to feel jealous of me the way you do... The answer to your victim mentality is to get immersed in your own culture and heritage, learn it, learn your folk stories, your beautiful past ideologies... and we can talk as equals

  11. oh what the hell, just leave anything i say up there if you want, does not worry me... we all say some good things and some stupid things, that is life

  12. I DID NOT TOURTUE anybody.

    I did’t order the police to hang Mohamed Nasheed on a generator set for days.

    I didn’t order police to arrest Mohamed Nasheed at all.

    All my buddies: Yamin, Tasmin, Nazim (Jangiyaa), Umar Naseer are the MOST NOBLE and TRUTHFUL people in the history of Maldives. They are not corrupt people. And they’re not the people who ordered the police to brutally arrest Maldivian people and tourture them. And Umar Naseer NEVER did break the backbone (spine) of a young boy called Mahir. And Mahir can walk on his two feet without anybody/thing’s help. So DO NOT talk of justice or these things.

    So, my good men and women of Maldives, please DO NOT listen to those who’re against us. PLEASE listen to US only. Then you will be REWARDED in the END when we come back to power again.

  13. I was just wondering about the purpose of these comments. As far as I am concerned, from a humanist perspective, with greater concerns for all human kind, my understanding is that one should have an aim, a goal in this kind of networking. Thoughts, knowledge and experiences shared should be the means to achieve a goal.

  14. dear ben plewright.

    is it not a well known fact that you were not hurt by yameen, but by his SON zeine???? please people. this man is suffering from attention deficiency. he was neglected by yameen, because of his annoying pestering idiotic and manical behaviour. this is what he meant by 'hurt'

    it is a great injustice and insult to maldivians who have suffered much greater opression by yameen, and even seems to trivialise their suffering by claiming that merely ignoring him translates to being hurt by yameen. ben plewright, just stay out of maldivian politics and issues if you are just going to insult us. you are ignorant and need to attent to your own life. do you get the point???

  15. @ wake up, know, you are deeply deeply wrong and I am correct, thats a fact. Yameen came here to perth for a week to see his son Zane. But you know what, I love Zane, he was, he was good company. So, get your facts straight before you go accussing me of this crap! As I said, it was Yameen who blamed me for Zane's failure, not Zane who blamed me. I was never hurt by Zane, and although I have no doubt that Zane hates me because I am against his father, well that is a sad consequence of his father's behaviour because as far as we are concerned, we love Zane and he was very nice to our kids and I for one am always greatful to him. So, I don't know where you get your stupid ideas from, but they are out of this world! You, @wake up, are a typical example of what is holding back decent, open hearted, open minded Maldivians from moving forward, so I am greatful that you had brought this to the attention of your people as an exhibit of the problem of the Maldives. You should be ashamed of yourself. First, your facts are all very, very, very wrong, second of all, you have exposed yourself as a lowlife to the open minded readers here.

  16. @wake up: when Maldivians like you stop interfering with and oppressing the lives of decent minded people, mainly other Maldivians who strive to move forward, then and only then will I stop insulting you, because perhaps, for you to learn the pain you have caused others, maybe you need to be insulted until YOU get the point! Got that!

  17. @Wake up, if you come to my house, i am sure we can find the text messages Yameen sent, and show them to you, would that be being IGNORED by Yameen?


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