A.S.I. Moosa (Sappe’), Editor-in-Chief, Dhivehi Observer, 1 April 2007
In recent weeks, Maldives Foreign Minister Dr. Shaheed has been babbling away just a little bit too much as part of the ongoing propaganda to salvage an ailing dictatorship in the country.
A British MP once told me, “this new breed of politicians in the Maldives comes across as decent people will liberal thinking”, a sentiment expressed by other politicians even locally. However, over the past two years, these camouflaged politicians have failed to impress and deliver the promises they make. Coming up with common terminology is one thing, such as ‘sweeping reforms’, ‘road map’ and ‘new dawn.’ The important thing is to translate those commitments into action and transforming the country into a fully fledged democracy but that is not happening.
The Truth : ‘Gayyoom is a tyrant’
(Please be warned that these images are disturbing)
Pictures from the Maafushi Jail Shooting incident Maldives – September 2003
The terror continues …..
Last week, Dr. Shaheed said that lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 would be ‘like’ an act of treason. At points he was less specific in stating that rather opted to liken it to act of treason or undermining the constitution. Of course, the current constitution states that the voting age is 21 but what he fails to recognise is that it is the constitutional assembly that is going to lower the voting age to 18, and once decided by a vote in the assembly, it would constitute a statute, it would become an amendment to the existing clause. The aim of his argument is to confuse the general public and drag this whole process. His Master, the Dictator wants to hold Presidential Referendum in 2008 (Mugabe anyone?) under the current constitution and does not want the age group 18-21 to have a say in it because he knows very well that the vast majority in this group will not endorse him ever again.
Followed by the above comments, he also said that Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) wants power with the bullet and not with a ballot but the fact of the matter is that it is his Master who came to power in 1978 with the power of the bullet by his own admission. Furthermore, over the last nearly 3 decades he has clung onto power with the use of that bullet and continues to do so without any regard for the rule of law. On the contrary, since the inception in 2003 as a movement for human rights and democracy, MDP has advocated nothing but non-violent action. Our aim has been to educate, inform and empower people. The MDP has never raised US$ 5000 to buy a pistol in Colombo to kill the Dictator; rather the party raised that money to pay for a 30 hours of shortwave broadcasting. Despite grave threats to themselves and their families, MDP members have demonstrated a commitment to stick to the non-violent approach advocated by the party. The same cannot be said about the regime however.
Unlike before, Maldivians are no longer fearful of this regime and aren’t intimidated by them either. Direct action is common nowadays and people have been able to stand up and demand their rights. In remote islands, people have protested demanding better public services and more infrastructure developments for their community, such as harbours, power houses and schools. And, in some cases, people from remote islands have united in calling for corrupt officials to be removed from power. People from islands have protested to condemn on going human rights abuses and gathered to celebrate their achievements. In all of these incidents, the record will show that the regime of Dictator Gayoom used extreme and brutal force to counter their demands and crush them.
So, the truth of the matter is that, it is Dictator Gayoom who came to power with the bullet and clings on to power only with it. All ballots have been rigged in every single election held in the past 3 decades and the continued use of brute force against the people of the Maldives by this murderous regime is testament to this fact. It is this regime that had beaten people to death. It is this regime that had killed people by the bullet. And it is this regime that is now killing our youth (including those in the age range 18-21) with ‘bullets’ of heroin that mysteriously washes ashore on our small islands.