Profile of A.S.I. Moosa, DO Editor in Chief
The future is in our hands and things can only get better
A.S.I.Moosa, Editor in Chief, Dhivehi Observer, 01 July 2007
For hundreds of years, Maldivians have been living in absolute fear. It has always been the custom and the tradition to fear the leader and high ranking government officials. They have always been 'above the law'.
The incumbent Dictator of the Maldives came to power in 1978 and many had high hopes for him, because he was an Islamic scholar, a graduate from the 'revered' Azhar University of Egypt. Little did the Maldivians knew, this was not any old man, this was a thoroughbred dictator, whose only aim is to remain in power and live like and Arab kings.
For 25 years, until the murder of late Evan Naseem and his friends by Maldives Dictator's private militia, previously known as 'National Security Service', the general public was far too scared to rise up against the tyrant, fearing persecution and imprisonment and sometimes even death.
For 25 years, Gayyoom had total control of the media and no one dared to challenge him but much has changed over the past 3 ˝ years and although some may not fully agree, the future is looking bright for us Maldivians.
The sustained campaign launched by reformists and the founding of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), along with internet media services yielded significant results. The general public are now well informed and willing to fight for their rights and rise up to the challenge of introducing multiparty democracy to the nation. The international community are also well versed with the dictatorship of Gayyoom and are playing a pivotal role in ensuring that democracy takes root in the Maldives.
Yes, it is taking time but compared to other similar campaigns, we could be in for a world record here. Bringing down a dictator like Gayyoom is not an easy task. Rampant corruption and allegiance of the business elites, makes it even harder. Nevertheless, despite the odds, our aspirations for a better and brighter future will come true soon.
Gayyoom is hell bent on securing another term in office and it is looking increasingly obvious that he will not hold the next presidential election under a new democratic constitution but will opt for the good old style referendum, which he thinks can put him in office for another term. However, with all major populated areas firmly in support of proper democratic reform, it is almost impossible for him to secure a win in any future referendum, unless of course, he rigs the vote, as he has done in many occasions earlier.
So, the question is, how can we ensure that the vote will be free and fair? Can we muster enough international support to get them to send monitors from the European Union?
Judging by the international cooperation and support we have had over the past few years, we can be certain that we will have international monitors on the ground in any upcoming election or referendum. But, that alone will not be enough to dissuade the dictator from cheating and rigging the ballots.
The general public is the ultimate power in any country. Hence, we must unite in this endeavour and defend our votes. We must be prepared to stand up against any injustice and get the job done with the power of our unity, when that becomes the last resort.
There's still a lot of work to do and if we remain united, things will definitely get better.
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© Dhivehi Observer 2004