Former President Mohamed Nasheed yesterday spoke at the United State Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington DC.
Nasheed spoke on the current political situation in the Maldives as well as the importance of non-violent protest, before taking questions from the audience.
“People loyal to me in the military are talking to me about a counter-coup – I say, ‘Don’t be silly’. We must have early elections soon,” Nasheed said.
When asked about how, if elected, he would avoid problems similar to those that led to his resignation, Nasheed replied: “I will be naive again and will continue to be naive. A purge of police and military may bring some satisfaction but that won’t help us build a better society.”
In an interview given by Nasheed to Time magazine in April, Nasheed explained his commitment to national reconciliation following his 2008 election victory.
“We didn’t want to go on a witch hunt. We didn’t want to purge the military, we didn’t want to purge the police,” he said.
“The lesson is we didn’t deal with Gayoom. That’s the obvious lesson. And my romantic ideas of how to deal with a dictator were wrong. I will agree with that,” he continued, before arguing that the answer was greater international assistance in reforming vital state institutions.
He drew comparisons between former President Gayoom and former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, saying that the pair schooled together and shared the same Baathist ideology.
The USIP is an independent conflict management centre created by the US Congress to study non-violent approaches to conflict resolution.
Before his speech, Nasheed was introduced by the USIP President Dr Richard Soloman, former member of the US National Security Council and former Ambassador to the Phillipines.
Dr Soloman revealed that, whilst in the US, Nasheed would be receiving a James Lawson Award for Nonviolent Achievement at the Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict.
The annual event, organised by the International Centre on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), will be hosted by Tufts University in Massachusetts.
The James Lawson Award is named after a leading activist in the American civil rights movement who is best known for devising the Nashville lunch-counter sit ins of the 1960s.
The MDP today released further details of Nasheed’s US visit which has included a briefing given to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a follow up meeting with the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia Committee on Foreign Affairs after it sent a team to the Maldives earlier in the year.
Nasheed is also said to have met with State Department Assistant Secretary Robert Blake as well as briefing the International Republic Institute on the political situation in the Maldives.
Nasheed’s speech, given after a short clip of The Island President film was shown, recounted his country’s path to democracy, his torture under the former president, and his efforts to convince Maldivians of the importance of basic freedoms as a way to a better life.
The documentary culminated in Nasheed’s negotiations at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit – negotiations which Nasheed felt were telling in the international community’s response to the new government.
“All those who did not like us in Copenhagen have recognised the regime in Male’. Those who liked us in Copenhagen have not. That’s a fact,” said Nasheed.
The summit resulted in an accord providing $30 billion in short term loans for climate change adaptation, ten percent of which was earmarked for small island and developing nations.
Six countries, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Tuvalu opposed the accord.
He spoke of early elections, expressing his bewilderment at the suggestions by certain governments that the Maldives is not ready for fresh presidential elections.
“It doesn’t matter who wins. We don’t want to topple a government, we want an election,” said Nasheed.
“Give us an election and let’s see who wins,” he continued.
Nasheed spoke about the danger of religious extremism under restrictive governments.
“When societies are suppressed, underground movements become far more common. Religious extremists are far more effective at organising themselves underground. The Quran is their manifesto so they are much stronger in suppressed societies,” he said.
Nasheed was also asked about the current President Waheed’s announcement that the Maldives was to become the world’s largest marine reserve.
““I was advised that a reserve would not be a good idea. But we don’t fish for sharks, we don’t purse seine – Maldives is a marine reserve anyway,” he replied.
Nasheed finished his speech with a resolute tone.
“We will give a good fight and hopefully we will win it again. The story is not over. This is a process and it will never end.”
36 thoughts on ““Military counter-coup would be silly,” Nasheed tells US Institute of Peace”
Gayoom should have been dealt with, yes.
Nasheed government made several mistakes. Leaving the Police and Army full of Gayoom's men was only one of them.
His main problem was lack of experience in government.
Some of his closest advisers were not upto the mark. They misled him.
He got too close to Israel, and the international Jewry.
Power went into his head and clouded some of his judgements.
He was too much of a Westerner and not enough of a Maldivian.
He under-estimated the power of Gayoom to hit back and come back.
The Vice President should have been from the MDP, even if it had to be a woman.
Some of the behaviour of his supporters towards Gayoom and his family were not correct. Not advisable.
Senior politicians and any member of the judiciary should not have been arrested. They were immediately released without any chance of a conviction.
By losing his power, he lost the advantage of being in office. Now he will have to start all over again. His enemies have already done a lot of damage to his cause.
In democracy, you cannot foretell the future. He may not win next time. Even if he wins, he might repeat his mistakes all over again.
Resigning was more silly.
After 30 years of Gayoom exploiting wealth and resources of this nation to personal gains of his family, wive's family, their relatives, their friends and close allies...
President Nasheed and MDP did do the following (despite the mistakes your pointed out):
(1) bring freedom of speech and expression you yourself are able to exercise in your comment on this website.
(2) initiated nationwide transportation network, laid foundation for housing projects, harbor, utilities, infrastructure development and universal healthcare within just 3 short years. I bet Maumoon n his loyalist couldnt even fathom and believe such a development could take place if he came to power again.
- Nasheed tried to revive investment in the Maldives by opening market for new entrepreneurial blood in tourism sector during a global economic meltdown. This strategy was hindered greatly due to politically motivated lending through local banks (BML) to a handful of gayoom's loyalists (Thasmeen) and their non-performing loans exposing banks to high risk to lend any further.
- by abolishing bed rents, Nasheed reversed Gayoom's failed policy and strategy to let highest bidder to win resorts. Gayooms failed resort bids since 2004 is one of the main reasons why cost of developing ultra luxury resorts skyrocketed beyond feasibility of projects - furthermore destroying tourism development.
- both points above combined, Gayooms actions effectively destroyed opportunity for a middle class to enjoy a better distribution of wealth the country has to offer its people. And Nasheed did his best to create a middleclass by even making them part of his senior government.
- Despite intense criticism and malicious propaganda to create confusion and chaos amongst the public through Gayoom loyal media (DhiTv, VTV and Haveeru), Nasheed attempted to promote cause of democracy and importance of divulging power to the people through decentralization.
dear Fahmy, you may be a critique of Nasheed's capacity and capabilities, but for sure u must believe democracy does not come easy, perhaps it came too easy the first round and that is why we have an earlier than expected rebound.
but i think this fight we are in today is one we should have fought, it is necessary and essential for the people to truly value democracy.
after all this chaos, fear, frustration, it would truly be a damn shame to go back to that mindless, silent and dumb state of mind to worship another Gayoom for another 30 years. I would rather keep fighting and shouting.
This time Gayoom - and some more - WILL be dealt with.
He had no choice but to resign to avoid bloodshed. If he rfused to resign they would have tortured him and made him incapacitated. The Defense Minister and the Police Commissioner were with him loaded with guns. THe opposition is breaking apart and the only lesson Nasheed should learn is to make MDP stronger to avoid coalition with political prostitutes, who will change their minds when they offered money from any source. We must work hard to make MDP 50.1% even if it means another few more years.
This dictator thinks the whole Maldives is behind him and he had been fooled by then thugs around him.
This guy had thought that he can do anything whilst siting in his office and Maldivian are dumb idiots and they won't know anything and will be afraid of him when start to challenge the constitution.
Man you are gone and you idiot will never be able to get the smell of President office again. With the blessing of all mighty allah, we will never vote this guy to stink us in the second time.
it is wrong to wish someone dead. \but this nation will be better off if someone like Gayyoom is no more.
This time also the same thing will happen. Maumoon and his cronies will be reclining on soft sofas and laughing at us. Because Anni is more interested in awards. We will never be safe from clutches of Maumoon and his family.
“People loyal to me in the military are talking to me about a counter-coup'
If some officers talked about a coup and Nasheed knows about it, he could be liable for withholding essential information and name of enemies of state.
While on the topic of Nasheeds achievements, lets reflect on the catastrophic things that Nasheed did in his presidency that blew up in his face and left the Maldivian people thinking.... does this guy really know what he is thinking ? In the choice between a mouse, Qayyoom and Nasheed shouldnt we have elected the Mouse rather than this guy ?
- 40 higher inflation and increased prices. (He advocated bringing prices down to the common mans reach in his campaigns speeches, and in his presidency did the exact opposite, he reduced the Maldivian value of Currency to US Dollar, imposed several new taxes on the people (GST) while trying to deceive the people. The result - spectacular inflation.
- Almost 1/3 of the Population were jobless when he left office in Feb 7 2012.
- Around 30 Resorts were given in his Presidency to his party (Maldivian Democratic Party activists and prominent and vocal supporters of him) without Public bidding process. This was given in the farce of community development when in reality the whole move was to satisfy his party activists who rallied behind him and shouted most.
- Heavy Load Company belonging to his party's Chairman Reeko Moosa Manik, was given hugely favourable contracts (instead of to Govt companies such as MTCC who were more capable) and corrupt measures were employed by Govt Ministries to favour Heavy Load such as granting the company advances on money.
- He initiated programs to enroll his party's activists who were illerate and without any qualifications, into government jobs and companies.
- During his presidency he advocated for increasing housing for Maldivian people. He was famous for visiting remote islands, pledging to build flats, laying foundation stones for building construction and then leaving the next day. Islanders were left pondering the next years - will this building grow beyond this single brick that Nasheed has laid for us ?
- During his tenure, State Institutions and buildings in remote islands were left run down, and he cut down on the budgets of maintenance.
- To provide utility services such as electricity and water, he created utility companies. However, he appointed corrupt MDP party activists without any qualifications to these utility companies boards resulting in level of electricity service provision plummetting during his presidency. The end result was that most islanders were left in the dark.
Of course, to bypass these things his partys supporters would probably say "Hey he brought us democracy, and gave us the chance to open our mouths". What i wonder is the point of democracy without economic prosperity ?
I'm sorry, Mr. President. We reject any terms of peace with the imperialist occupation forces, these murderers, child abusers, drug-peddling mujahids and political worms that have invaded us.
We will continue to fight until one side is completely eliminated. A future free of tyranny is our vision.
You abhor bloodshed, we understand that. But as you can see, the price of kindness to them is something we cannot pay. The blood, sweat and tears of the Maldivian people have been shed because of your abhorrence to bloodshed.
Our hand has been forced - Maldives is in a state of illegal occupation, slowly being drained of life. We are at war, and in war, one side must perish. In war, the brutal atrocities of the enemy must be responded with even more calculated sanguinary.
The safety of our children, our families and our comrades is paramount - and the enemy must be taught a blood-besotted lesson; that to raise their weapons of oppression against one Maldivian is to suffer the vengeance of all Maldivians.
That, is war.
PS: Saudi Arabia should get their oil wells nuked.
democracy came for the good but my dear ali waheed, the sad part is that it came with silly nasheed, who did not know how to handle a democracy. former idiot nasheed is now telling that a counter-coup is silly;he is expressing this as no member of our military or police supports him and is crazy enough to go after such a liar who himself does not know what he is speaking about.what about all the chaos he brought after he resigned on 8th february and the days that followed that. all he and his members were talking about was how to bring this government down. that did not happen. and why is he talking about gayoom when he himself acted the same way when he got power. and what about all the corruption cases of the 3 years. ali waheed is blind i guess.
silly nasheed resigned on 7th feb, my mistake. now this is also a case to solve before he said he resigned at gun point but now this statement does not even exist, hahaha how silly could anybody be. thats our former birdbrained president for you!
I dont agree with many of Nasheed'd policies, especially that of economics and foreign policies. But I do admire his success in introducing a tax system which the rich elite was hell-bent on trying to fail and stop. Many of his changes would have been good in the future. The level of corruption and challenges against state institutions are unacceptable. Whoever pointed out something that needed to be corrected were labeled as a Gayyoom loyalist, instead of dealing with the real issues. Many uninhabited islands and government contracts were awarded without a transparent bidding process. Government posts were given to unqualified individuals... and corruption was rampant.
In any case I do not believe that the current government has any democratic mandate and there should be an election to have a government which represents the people.
Perhaps as a young propagandist you are truly unaware of the full details behind what you have been led to sum up in numbered lists.
(1) Rights and fundamental freedoms are never granted from on high. They are truly realized when they are understood and demanded by the people. Several people engaged in a struggle against Qayyoom to defend their right to criticize his rule. The efforts of these people and Qayyoom's decision to back down to their demands led to greater freedom for criticism of the government and establishment of private media outlets. However we are nowhere near claiming that freedom of expression is fully realized like in some romantic story. Ironically it was our "first democratically elected government" headed by Nasheed which reversed the gains in freedom of expression by announcing that they would arrest and prosecute those who "slander the government" under a law drawn up in the 60s.
(2) Qayyoom could claim to have headed the government while an even longer list of infrastructure projects were initiated and completed by virtue of his having served longer. However we the people must start realizing that infrastructure projects and government services are our right and not gifts granted by a specific President. It doesn't matter who is in power. The state machinery must always continue to provide us with everything that you've listed.
(3) Nasheed's decision to fast-track a change in the status quo by creating wealth for his close allies is not cause for the average Maldivian to celebrate. No matter how much you candy-coat Nasheed was the same as Qayyoom in this regard. It was just the list of cronies that differed.
(4) Please defined middle class. Also, please provide us with your enlightened view of exactly how much cost is entailed in developing a resort. Additionally, do you really believe that Nasheed's decision to grant land for resort development without a tender process is progress?
(5) Criticism and malicious propaganda is everyday business in a competitive multiparty system of governance with a vibrant opposition. As long as the media you have named above do not spread outright lies they are just doing what any opposition-leaning media would do in any country.
Nasheed failed a self coup on the 6th of February when the Police force refused to execute his unlawful order to shut down the media coverage at artificial beach area in capital Male’. Police officers say Nasheed has planed a blood shed between his supporters and opposition protesters who were protesting the unlawful arrest of the Criminal Court Judge. They say Nasheed wished he could use the violent blood shed to declare state of emergency which will give him absolute power. Once a state of emergency is declared it is now evident that Nasheed was to abolish the legal system, and a week after that to dissolve the Parliament.
Had he succeeded in his grand plan Maldives would have seen the darkest days of brutality by the mob of Nasheed’s MDP. I call upon the good people of Maldives to think before you decide. History can not be distorted today since its on camera this time. What you saw on the 7th and 8th is the fall back of such brutal plan
Noble, modest and never more popular. Nasheed is born to bring democracy back!
ELECTION NOW TO SAVE OUR COUNTRY!!!
Totally agree with Hussain Amir.
Believe me or not, Nasheedh is a best president we have ever seen. Our democratic nonviolance father, we respect him. We want Nasheedh to be our president. Ppl who don't support him are crazy uneducated and unethical dogs.
Freedom:Perhaps you are too young as well to remember what Gayoom did to those who criticized his rule. Kolige Hassan Manik, Shafeeq ge Shafeeq, Mohamed Nasheed etc. etc. the list can go on. Gayoom backed down on media because he had no choice but to, in order to remain in power. It wasn't out of a sudden conscience for the greater good of his people. Gayoom is quoted saying "Maldives is not ready for a democracy" on national TV during his last days in power. that i think was the original romantic dream, what happened for real was the people rose up against his presidency, reformed the parliament, judiciary and unseated him from the executive.
Development projects: true, Gayoom did initiate projects in the Maldives, a man would get bored if he didn't as president for 30 years. tourism is perhaps the single most important industry that made a difference to the country compared to the odd mosques and harbors here and there. Now look at the history of tourism development objectively, all gayoom's government did was maintain an open / no intervention policy and the credit of all the development that we see today is due to the few favored private sector entrepreneurs who took advantage of a government who did not know any better. Only at the later stages of gayooms waning government did he choose to create MTDC and share wealth with his beloved people. Education: did take leaps and schools opened across all inhabited island, but was it enough? at the end of Gayooms 30 years, the capital city had only 1 institution with a capacity of approximately 800 students to teach A levels while the capacity of primary schools were close to 8000. This massive bottle neck saw young people failing at secondary level/worse not being able to continue their higher education after secondary. the result of this strategic and catastrophic oversight in education policy created our drug addicts and violent teenagers on the streets.
Tender Process: two syllables "Ha" and "Ha", u seem to be oblivious of the past and i now have to believe that only love is blind if you fancy gayoom this much. Where was this righetous tender process when gayoom leased resorts for development? why didn't he tender the resorts in the 1990s after government declared all islands would be owned by the state. All the developments at the time were strategic partnerships that gave universal, champ, fathhulla jameel, blah and blah undue advantage to monopolize tourism Kaafu Atoll. Today, these resorts are more family inheritance than state owned. however, having said above, i am actually in favor of strategic partnerships over an elaborate tender processes that award huge projects through a marking sheet like one would do a multiple test exam in school.
Middleclass: between 28-35, finished higher education, married, both parents working, with children below 10 years, wants to earn enough to rent an apartment and a maid, with aspirations to be rich and an idea to get their somehow, but unable to get there if gayoom and cronies step back into the power seat, this dream is only reserved for those whom he decides is privileged enough. not for those who are willing to work hard or earn based on their own merit.
Media: i think we have gotten used to propaganda by now. every little lie was sensational sometime back. but now it does not have the same effect. but don't you think media owners is taking it too far when they try to stream their private channel feed through national TV? that tsk tsk is opposition media gone mad
Resort development: the cost per key for a properly managed resort construction project in Maldives should not go beyond US$ 250-300,000/- per key. What usually happens is when resort developers associate themselves with a brand, you end up paying huge sums for consultancy fees (ID, lighting etc etc.), buy overpriced door knobs and phillip stark table lamps and the key cost of such projects gone as high as $1million per key in some projects. This flamboyancy was forced upon resort developers directly as a result of the bidding process during gayooms presidency because there was no way to justify the cost without raising the room rate artificially high.
Post 2008 economic crisis, banks in Maldives believed the $1m per key story blindly and went along with inflated BOQs and no real equity to fund projects while the loans got disbursed and G-crony-resort owners used resort debt finance to fund their political party. As a result, when banks tightened and squeezed their disbursements after global crisis , the actual value of the resort to which they lent money was not really there. some random guy in an inhabited island had already opened a corner store with that money given to him as the bribe money in exchange for a vote.
This is the exact game which gasim, thasmeen and all the resort owner friends of gayoom who are having trouble with banks today did.
@ Hussain Amir
You must be on drugs. Utter lies and nonsense. Mind you, you are in the habit of punishing people or crimes they have not committed!!!
The brutal corrupt greedy dictatorship is back.
@Ali Waheed : "...this dream is only reserved for those whom he decides is privileged enough. not for those who are willing to work hard or earn based on their own merit."
THAT was an extremely excellent, a crucial point! Thankyou!
@TSK TSK: "...Rights and fundamental freedoms are never granted from on high."
Ameen to THAT one as well.
Even though you guys disagree, you both have some crucial and powerful insights, which is why it is so important that no matter who is in power, the voice of the oppsition must be heard, as both sides have some much needed wisdom.
This is one example of why it is so important that the Maldives is successful in realizing a peaceful and just Democratic system of Governance.
Ideally speaking, the Majlis should work to guarentee that the Legislation process delivers a brilliant synthesis of the best ideas. Hegelian logic, though it is technically illogical, is the truly Divine logic - Thesis plus antithesis equals a beautiful Synthesis.
Yes, this ideal is not realized as beautifully as I imagine it anywhere. That is of course due to the fact that ultimately, human beings are driven by darker forces than reason.
I have allways believed the Dhivehin to be on average, unrivalled in mental brilliance. Perhaps only the Jews as a people could rival the Dhivehin in this regard.
For example, Maumoon was the only non-Arab to receive the highest award for high level Arabic at Al-Azhar, out of millions of Arabs who had been through, did you know that? Academics and Scholars of Islam here in Australia recognize Abdullah Saeed to be the most brilliant Islamic mind we have, and we have Alim's from all over the world.
Every year, young Maldivians win awards for being the best at Qur'an recital all over the Muslim world!
Read the creativity of the Maldivian bloggers, the power of the commenters here! Show me an example of any other place which contains so much brain power on average as Maldives!
The point I am making is, the problems, the fear, does not seem to be due to a lack of intelligence.
With such brilliant minds, imagine the Maldives that could be created if only the vengeance, the hatred, the fear, the greed of the privileged could be reigned in on both sides even a little!
The economic and intellectual elite need to spend a few months living on one of the poorer Islands with no access to their wealth, working with them, struggling with them, so as to be reminded of the beautiful essence of Islam, The Oneness of The Creator which should inspire the Oneness of Humanity... Tau
Very well said Mr. President.
A counter coup would have really been silly.
And you would have been the looser.
The very people who brought about the coup would be howling that you were crazy for power.
The battle is yours now. You are a winner.
An election will decide who the people want.
Let us have an election soon.
we Maldivians never knew the meaning of democracy. Easy as that.
@ Ali Waheed:
I will agree to disagree with you regarding the awarding of high-value government assets.
Also with regards to Qayyoom's poor performance in certain sectors, we have the benefit of hindsight to look at some of what he did wrong in closer detail and form our informed opinions. This is a prerogative we can exercise once details of Nasheed's actions whether good and bad become clearer as well.
As for your definition of middle class I strongly disagree. A married couple who are both working while caring for dependents in the highly expensive area of Male City would certainly fall within the definition of "working class" in my opinion. Also I strongly believe that such individuals unless possessing a 10,000 square foot piece of land at the face of Male' between them, would be unable to raise the capital to even get started on developing a guesthouse let alone a luxury resort. Just my two cents. Hope you will explain how you justify your categorization.
the Quran is not his manifesto?
guns down & my hat to u on middle class categorization. being only 22 allow me that mistake o wise wizard. i admit the term should have been working class when instead i used middle class in my comment.
I am just one of those 70s hippy type all u need is love john lennon heal the world michael jackson type of person who believe Gayoom had absolute power to do what he willed and what he pleased for 30 years, but yet Nasheed government's policy and strategy were closer to the heart of the average Maldivian and that govt. proposed a strategic and moral vision than any other past govt ever had done for this country.
controversial and silly as that may sound to u. it seems a lot of people believe like i do. i am guessing close to 35% of voting population.
so, naturally, i have a foul distaste for those who rocked the boat when it needed to be steady, i despise those who threw their own crew over board and mutinied, just because the old captain wanted to be behind the steering wheel.
so, lets say i too agree to disagree with u too.
hussein amir SPEAKS THE TRUTH. we havn't forgotton november 3rd 1988.TRUTH ALONE PREVAILS.
@tsk tsk; what about all the torture and human rights abuses in long regime of dictator gayoom? the over 100 people who were killed in jails. Ahmed SHafeeg, historian has documented this and that's his diary was stolen by Maumoon and Abdula Hameed and even today they are so scared of Shafeeg they are harassing him trying to drag him to court.
Shafeeq is a coward. If he told the truth, then he should have the courage to goto court. He fears a criminal sentence had he lied or told lies, thats why hes afraid to goto court.
I could write a book about you too tsi Dati, writing allegations and tall tales and rumours about you and publish it. Publishing it doesnt make it the truth.
@ tsi dati:
I don't like look at local politics through the lens of the Nasheed-Qayyoom dichotomy promoted in the popular media. Both of them had their faults and Qayyoom was an autocrat who was not subject to the same value system we have in place today. We should celebrate change and try to strengthen democracy rather than using Qayyoom's style of governing to justify everything wrong we do.
I think these lines from a Norah Jones song is the most apt for out situation since 2008.
In a boat that's built of sticks and hay,
We drifted from the shore.
With a captain who's too proud to say,
That he dropped the oar.
A tiny hole has sprung a leak,
In this cheap pontoon.
Now the hull has started growing weak,
And we're gonna be sinkin' soon.
Applies to the MDP especially *wink*
The Quran is their manifesto so they are much stronger in suppressed societies,” he said. Good grief, thank god this stupid man has resigned.
i have never seen a guy like Anni who is managing telling the lies and making those lies to get believe by some thugs.
During his three years in power, he is only the president who require a translator to translate his word " from Dhivehi to Dhivehi" and guy is a big crook.
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