Comment: Stop the charade, this is no longer a democracy

Stop this nonsense, you can only push propaganda so far.

The people confronting the police on the streets of Male’ everyday are not ‘thugs’. They are people from all over Maldives, they are young they are old. They are rich, they are poor. They are pious, they are indifferent. They are liberal, they are conservative. They are educated, they are fishermen. They are students, they are teachers, husbands, wives. They all believe in one thing: their right to elect their leader as citizens of a democracy.

These are the people who are out on the streets, fighting with the police and kicking up a riot. Because their right to be governed democratically has been taken away from them.

Stop this nonsense about ‘what of the poor police’? There is a fundamental flaw in the argument that ‘they [police] are just ordinary people, too.’ Vast differences exist between a civilian and a policeman on duty. Police are trained to control their impulses, to withstand anger, to repel provocation, to use weapons. Ordinary people are not. The public pays the police not to hurt them but to protect them.

Within twenty four hours of the new regime’s assumption of power, people were being brutally beaten by the police. The force of their violence has been a constant presence since 8 February. It is a threat that hovers in the air, unspoken. Always present.

With every mass protest on the streets of Male’, the police have come down harder, their violence more ruthless. Using pepper-spray and tear-gas has become the norm. The police charge at people with all their might, and without warning shoot tear-gas canisters into the people. They have put one woman’s burugaa on fire, smashed the head open of another and choked plenty.

Stop this nonsense about using ‘minimum force’, there is nothing minimal about the force with which the police come at you. You only have to feel their batons pointed at you and hear the filth they shout at you to know the level of violent force aimed at you by these men in uniform. They come in hordes, they pepper-spray at random, often pausing to take people’s sun-glasses off before spraying them straight in the eye. They crack open skulls without hesitation.

There is wanton cruelty, gratuitous violence. And there is a feeling of ferocious rage emanating from them as they hunt people down. These are not police running after an out-of–control people, these are police charging into people with the intention of intimidating, hitting, hurting, violating. The police are seeking to break them in, make them docile and prime them to be subjects of a dictatorship.

Like in all situations of conflict, women have been heavily victimised and subjected to gender-based violence. Police have partially undressed women on the streets, revealing their flesh in ways that compromise their privacy and mock the Islamic modesty her buruga is meant to convey.

There have been reports of women’s breasts being violently molested, or specifically targeted for physical assault. Unarmed women have been handcuffed and dragged to the island of Dhoonidhoo and detained without charge. ‘Unity Government’ MPs, like Red Wave Saleem, pontificate on television equating the women protesting with ‘women working in brothels.’

Stop the nonsense about this being a democracy, it cannot be one with an authoritarian government in power.

There can be no democracy where senior officials are being purged from government because they belong to a particular political party. There cannot be a democracy where the president is publicly campaigning, using state funds, for a parliament contender that is not even a member of his own party. There is no democracy where the president uses military force to pave his path to the parliament; where the president can only travel within the country by clearing off all streets everyone except his supporters.

Most importantly, there cannot be a democracy where questions remain unanswered about how the first democratically elected government of the country came to an end.

Stop this nonsense about colour, about ‘MDP people’, about whether it is unladylike for women to shout on the streets. The choice Maldivians face today is much bigger, stark. Democracy or autocracy. If early elections are held, it may put the transition back on track back on track, but if we let this government continue in its campaign to legitimise itself until 2013, by hook or by crook, there would be no going back. It will be too late for democracy.

At the rate the new government is reversing all policies that released people from the system of patronage built over a thirty-year dictatorship, people will soon be caught yet again in the same shackles of abject dependency on the Dear Leader that kept us subservient for those three decades.

If people don’t want this to happen, we must join the struggle to ensure this robbery of our fundamental right to govern ourselves is not covered up through false legitimisation. We shouldn’t let political colour blind us to the truth: democracy is in danger in the Maldives. If we believe in it, we must fight for it.

If dictatorship is what you want, don’t do anything. If not, do something.

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39 thoughts on “Comment: Stop the charade, this is no longer a democracy”

  1. We want democracy. Like other countries we cant fight with present police and Military force with bare hands(who are ruling the country) as we normal citizen don't have any thing to fight with them other than our bodies. So we want justice and we want election and we want to stop Military government. Even we have a rouge President for the name sake for to the world to see to justify Maldives is not Military ruling. We have NO choice other than get beaten when ever police wanted. We will not stop our struggle till we can elect an President through Election. Allah always will be with the people who are with truth.

  2. Well done Azra, righteous anger. The moment is crystal clear: democracy restored or oligarchy enforced.

  3. How stupid can you be?

    Anni has been thrown out! Period!

    Get it through you thick skull!

  4. I never thought Azra would go on to to write such nonsense! Even "people" have no right to go and attack police and army on duty. They are all humans with feelings and all have people who love them too. I bet if Azra's husband was in police the view would have been different. My point is, even if it was a police mutiny that topples the government, attacking individual policemen should not be encouraged like this. . Those that attack others from the police and the "people" must be brought to justice! Knife attacks are not the solution. Violence is not the solution.

  5. @Ali Bassam: Exactly the point! Anni - the first democratically elected president of the country has been "thrown-out" through a coup de'tat. We've been able to pass it through our skull, and hence our response. Need further reiteration?

  6. MDP protestors are acting out the will of the people, and police should not do anything against the will of the people.

    If the will of the people is to raze state buildings to the ground, then so be it, police should not interfere.. If the will of the people is to rain a hail of bricks on VTV, police should not interfere, because they have no right. If the will of the people is to ride around Male chanting "Hang Waheed, Death to waheed, crucify him", police should not interfere because MDP are acting in the interests of the people.

    If the will of the people is to stab Maldivian police, set peoples property and Shops on fire, destroy state vehicles and property then Police should not interfere, because MDP is acting out the will of the people.

    It doesnt matter how many people's lives are lost, how much hurt and damage is caused to peoples wealth and property, how many millions of rf in damage is sustained by the state, how many peoples livelihoods and means of income are destroyed by MDP activists committing arson, everything is justified by MDP because it is committed in the name of the will of the people. The will of the people can be used to justify any violent and criminal act that MDP does.

    It doesnt matter if an MDP supporter throws a hundred bricks at a policemen, the policeman should smile, show RESTRAINT and just stand by while he is being physically assaulted. It doesnt matter how many times the policeman gets hit by the bricks being thrown, how many times the policeman gets bruised and is bleeding from the blunt force of a torrent of bricks raining down on him, the policeman should show RESTRAINT and PROFESSIONALISM and not even lift a finger against the MDP supporter throwing the bricks because MDP is acting out the will of the people and police should not do anything against MDP's will of the people.

    If the Policeman loses his cool and picks up one of the bricks being thrown at him and throws it back at the MDP supporter in rage then it would make the headlines in Minivan News - "POLICE THROW BRICK AT UNARMED AND PEACEFUL MDP SUPPORTER, WHO WAS STANDING IDLY BY OBSERVING THE SITUATION".

    The article that day in Minivan News will not mention about the reasons why the Policeman threw the brick at the MDP supporter, it will not mention how much peril his life was in, how much physical pain he endured when bricks were raining down on his arms, his head. It will not mention about the hundreds of bricks that were thrown before the policeman retaliated, it will only tell about the one brick that the policeman threw. It will ignore the physical pain and the injuries that the policeman endured due to a hundred bricks being thrown at him, no, it will only speak of the one brick that was thrown at the MDP supporter.

    It doesnt matter if the Policeman did or did not participate in the actions of 7th February coup, he was wearing the blue uniform, the uniform of the coup participants and that will justify him being treated this way. Because he is not a human being, he has no RIGHTS, no EMOTIONS. He cannot feel PAIN. He is a traitor to the Maldives, and by wearing the uniform of Police he is JUST ASKING FOR IT.

  7. MDP = Struggled on the street to come to power
    MDP = Struggled on the street while in power
    MDP = Struggling again to come to power

    ....and it will continue as long as MDP is not saved from corrupt crazy anni who is been forced to listen the likes of maria, reeko, zaki, etc..

  8. Why are some people saying that this was a military coup? Only people who are ignorant of the fact say that.

    It becomes a military coup when the military overthrows a legally elected government, suspends the constitution and rules under martial law.

    This is nothing of that sort. Anni resigned. Period. Yes he may have resigned under duress from the public and the Police. But they have no military means to do anything. Just because Nasim or Umar Naseer gives him an ultimatum to resign, it does not mean that he has to resign.

    Now he cannot even remember where he signed the letter or much of what happened during that period.

    Why is MDP so reluctant to investigate the happenings of that particular day? Is it because they do not have a leg to stand on legally? You bet it it is because they know that legally there was no military coup and Anni lost his head and resigned.

    That is why all this Charade about a military coup and all this nonsense. Even at the Majlis, they have not raised the issue of the investigation of this coup. They could have gone to the Supreme Court for a judgement. They had all these legal means yet they are refusing to do this because most of the know the Jig is up and there was no military coup.

  9. Talk of democracy in Maldives is nothing but charade. All parties have agreed to live under the same constitution. Nobody is talking about bringing the constitution in line with rest of the civilized democratic world. Current civil war is well deserved.

  10. It may well be a coup. But isn't that good old politics. When coups happen in Africa, they don't shut the country down. They take it, the world understand it and life goes on. No big deal there.

    Azra, If you take the analogy of soccer, some times there are hand goals, professional fowls. Do you think the 'hand of God' goal scored by Maradana again England in Mexico 1996 is fair. But you have to understand the nature of the game.

    Similar think happened in Feb 7th. What ever has happened has happened. The 90 minutes are up and the referee has blown the whistle. When they are beaten football teams do not go protesting (except in some hooligan cultures) . They prepare for the next time.

  11. @manik

    You cannot deny this simple fact: significant numbers of Police and some members of the armed forces refused to stand down until President Nasheed resigned on the spot. The implied threat to him was that they could not guarantee his "safety" unless he resigned.

    That is the undeniable fact of 7th February 2012. Whether you choose to call that a coup or not is another matter. We also cannot deny the political movement that lead to the Police and the military making their demand. Those political figures were not afraid to be seen on the day and since and have publicly announced their role in what happened.

    What's left to debate?

  12. Very well said Azra. Professional journalism ! Up to the international standard! Unlike...most narrowminded, ignorant comments to it..!

  13. I regret that Azra, a young Maldivian whom I respected for her masterful command of prose during her early academic years has begun using her skills to justify violence, anarchy and terror-tactics.

    Nasheed resigned after the rank and file of the police force rebelled against his command. The rebellious police invoked the Constitutional protection afforded to them to disobey unlawful orders from State officials. Nasheed was at the time continuing the widely condemned and clearly unlawful detention of a Judge. This is the extent of public knowledge on what took place in the early months of this year.

    What followed is the fulfillment of a Constitutional mechanism whereby Nasheed's Deputy takes over his duties as President until the end of the term for which they were both elected.

    Dear Ahmed, however much we believe one way or the other, we cannot make any further conclusions until and unless an constitutionally empowered investigating body completes its investigation. So we must wait and continue to support an investigation of events that took place between January 16th and February 7th.

    However, I agree that the current Commission of National Inquiry should be strengthened to ensure maximum cross-party confidence in its work. Such strengthening should be supported by all parties without setting conditions on immediate elections. The current government is legitimate unless the courts deem otherwise.

  14. @tsk tsk

    One doesn't have to be a constitutional lawyer to know that constitutional protection against unlawful orders does not accord the police the right to mutiny and take political matters into their hands.

    Some of the coup instigators have themselves been stupid enough to admit, what we all saw.

    You can spin this any way you want, by all means please do so within your own head. Cognitive dissonance can be a bitch. Clearly you are smart enough to realize that you are a bandit in our society, one amongst the elite, who shamelessly benefits from exploiting the naive and vulnerable among us. Go on convince yourself. Keep washing that bit of imaginary blood from your hands.

    But when you preach to us on a forum like Minivan, repeating what the voices say, you are not just insulting our intelligence. You are making a fool of yourself.

    "The current government is legitimate unless the courts deem otherwise."

    Oh please have some self respect.

  15. Excellently luminous, Azra. You are far too right. Its not the colour,its the choice: national interest or self interest: Democracy or autocracy. Its not a question of MDP or not anymore - there are many people who were not MDP members who are out there simply because their conscience will not permit them to look away while their fellow countrymen and women are being abused and attacked. Our country has not seen this level of violence in its long history. Violence breeds more violence and without doubt the blame for this rests on this rogue regime. These women are out there because they have seen what happens to their husbands, brothers and children if they don't fit in with an autocratic system of patronage. So many lives were ruined under the 30 year old dictatorship, all of us will know of at least one, some of us may not want to admit it. Yes, the police are human, but unlike the average person, they swore an oath to protect their people - so like a parent with a child, its up to them to show restraint and win back their trust.Otherwise they should leave the police. And the people will not be able to trust the police under this regime which is corrupting them by the day.Once the people who are supposed to protect you abuse you there can be no trust. And without trust there can be no peace. Every Maldivian needs to align themselves with their conscience: national interest or self interest? Your choice: then live with it.What goes round comes round, that is the way it is.

  16. Police are using excessive force on unarmed civillians. They are creating obstacles and initimidating people and framing people. If they are working to protect a certain people and terrorising others they are abrogating their sworn duty to protect and serve people.If their commissioner can plainly call on cyberspace to punish people using cyber space to resist the coup then he is being partial. We cant have a police commissioner who is partial and supporting some people while terrrising and framing the other fellow Maldvians. We condemn POlice brutality and we are as humane as Police officers who were unable to control anger.When all criminals and druglords are letlooseon streets and POlice become vicitms of the thugs, it cannot be used to name and shame and demonise people resisiting the coup!

  17. Can anyone confirm whether a foreigner is eligible to be the president of Maldives according to the constitution?
    David aka ''Dr waheed'' is apparently a US citizen; he also holds a maldivian passport. God bless America

  18. Stop the charade. This is no longer a democracy.
    A charade is a situation in which people pretend that something is true when it clearly is not.
    Mohamed Nasheed (MDP) was forced to resign at gun-point.
    Mohamed Waheed (of Trojan Horse-fame) is not a legitimate president.He has skeletons in his cupboard.
    I agree. This is no democracy. But Waheed says it is.

  19. Well written and factually correct, Azra Naseem! For me too the argument weather it is a coup and who incites violence is over. Waheed's administration was installed through a Coup d'e'tat. It is an illegal Government. MDP holds peaceful protests. There is a group of people who arrive at every protest and confront the Police in a violent manner. Strangely the Police do not retaliate against these people but use force on the peaceful protectors. I saw objects being thrown at protectors from the VTV building.
    Please do not bother about the negative comments here and continue informing us with your writing. You have at least one fan!

  20. well written Azra. "Stop the charade" exactly. Our votes has been violated. If the present Government is sincere the least they could do is listen to the people. At least hold a referendum to find out whther the majority of the people believes that it is a legitimate government or not. "show some leadership" yes Mr. President show some leadership and set a date for a referendum. That is all that is required and work towards it. You cannot be this cruel. As president you cannot just ignore the voices of so many people. At least you have a responsibilty to find out what this nation wants.

  21. What is this monotonous rhetoric " early election"? Instead, why not call for an independent investigation committee,which should consist of EU, Arab League, SARC,Iran, China, Japan, Toliban and of course Reps from local political parties. If this body concludes that the incident in which former President Nasheed chose to resign from his post for the betterment of the nation is due to an organized coup, he should be justly reinstated to the post. No need of voting.

  22. Western style democracy is not required here! It has long been a failed one even in America. It only paves ways to devour tax payers' money to fill the coffers of the greedy globalists. Be warned of the psychological warfare aimed at deceiving all of us. Woo to the so called " democracy ".

  23. Brilliant article! Reinstatement after investigation or early election (as I need no more convincing that it was in fact a coup) is fine. I feel that pre 2008 fear! It permeates every part of our lives like a ticking bomb. POWER TO THE PEOPLE! No democracy doesn't give power to globalists and that is precisely why the US and UN have been so incriminatingly absent from this entire coup dialogue, a puppet dictator is much more convenient for them to play their neoliberal capitalist game!

  24. Finally, a call for action! An intelligent analysis of the situation and a logical response!!!

    Makes sense and supported!

  25. Bin Addu, sorry I know what exactly happened and it not even close to what you are saying. Sure there is no denying the fact at the end of the day, there were The Police and about 30 unarmed MNDF with the motley crowd of opposition members, who were screaming for Anni to resign.
    Yet this dot make it a military coup. At no stage did the MNDF ever ask Anni to resign and never did any of the officers ever say yes to him when he asked them if he should resign.

    I agree that the opposition made hay while the sun was shining and at one stage it looked like this was a coup planned by Umar Naeseer but now we all know that is untrue.

    The current government is of course incompetent and too much of Gayoom's influence is in this government for anyone who loves democracy.
    The main reason why this question is being dragging is because of the incompetence. The first thing they should have done is to appoint a respected Supreme court Judge to head an inquiry with competent people from all parties in the Board.
    It is now the 25th of March and no one knows what is happening to this inquiry at all.

    What is not required is an election now but an immediate and open inquiry and if it is proven to be a military coup then Anni MUST be re instated and if it also proven that Waheed knew about this then he should be prosecuted.
    This is the way of democracy and not street fights and rioting and anarchy in country.

  26. M. Mohamed! Look at the global democracy and transparency! Israel attacked the nuclear facilities of Syria in 2006, bombed nuclear reactor of Iraq in 1981. Israel has repeatedly refused to allow IAEA to inspect its suspected nuclear facilities. But the world's famous democracy upholders, America and Britain have failed to pressure Israel on these serious issues. One would wonder how fair a system democracy is to the general public regardless of where you belong to.Don't these historical facts show who is a threat to the Middle East peace? Is it Iran, Syria or Libya the threat lurking at the corner???? Bye bye to this sort of democracy and transparency.

  27. This is a coup d'e'tat - meaning coup of the Forces. There is no need to debate over this!
    There is no legality in the takeover by Waheed.
    He is an unworthy hypocrite! Hypocrites will not take him in to their midst because he is better at it than them.

    I am sure those who did this to the country will have to answer someday!
    The learned, the rich and the powerful cannot have his say on this day!
    Their learning, their money and their power will not have any use in the court of our creator. Their limbs will speak for it's self. No witness will be needed.
    Umar Naseer will have his tongue telling who and who were planning and how and what he was asked to do and by who!
    Sheikhs will have their tongue telling who funded them, how much was being given what was done with it!
    Leaders of opposition parties will have their tongue telling what motivated them to act in the most unjust manner to rebel against His Will!
    Personnel of the Police and Defence Force will have their tongue telling who did what and who ordered him/her. How much was given as dues! And hell will await these creatures with impatience.
    I am sure I could make a movie out of this reality!



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