Thursday, December 15, 2011

100% muslim, only by constitutional demand

How strong can your faith be when you never consciously chose it, but rather were born into it? Ponder that.

Maldives is a 100% Muslim country, or so the authorities say. It is common knowledge, however, that understandably, there are people among us of various faiths and some who harbour no faith at all. And what else can you expect? Is it reasonable to expect all 394,999 (July 2011 est.) of our citizens to think in the exact same manner, to have the same values and to believe the same thing? No. We are all human and we all have our reasons to believe or not believe certain things.

What is worrying, though, is the imminent danger presented by certain political games. The hatred being spread among one religious group towards the rest of us. And sadly, it seems to have very little to do with the religion itself in any case.

A large part of the 300,000 or so Maldivan citizens share the political ideologies of about 3 major political parties and 11 comparatively smaller parties. There is, of course, a fraction who does not follow any particular political party. With this much difference between political ideologies, it hardly surprises me that religious beliefs also differ from person to person.

Since the new president, Mohamed Nasheed (Anni), was sworn in with promises of a progressive democracy on November 11th, 2008, this country has been slowly descending into a dark pit of religious, and perhaps even cultural, intolerance. Adhaalath Party, a religion-focused political party unhealthily bent towards more fundamental/radical Islam, backed Anni during the presidential elections. This led to Anni granting them an Islamic Ministry, which gave them a louder voice and more credibility than ever before. In my view, things moved alarmingly downhill from then. Today, the country is caught in a web of intolerance and rage against our own people. Who is to take responsibility for the sorry state of our state? Adhaalath? Anni? Foreign influence? Or us citizens, and for whatever reason, our civic lethargy?

In November 2011, Ms. Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, visited the Maldives and voiced out her concerns about the Maldives. Of all that was said by her, the religious conservatives reacted most strongly to her statements about the how she feels that the practice of flogging still being carried out in the Maldives is 'inhumane and degrading violence against women'. I agree wholeheartedly with the said statement. Of course, being stout believers of a religion and its doctrine, I can see how these people might be offended by Pillay's statement. But the reaction. The reaction that came, and is still unfortunately coming, is appalling.

Maldives, especially the little capital city Male', erupted in anger and protests and intolerance. The religious fanatic groups set to the streets in a series of protests, holding placards insulting Pillay in the worst possible ways and some even calling to kill her. They were outraged. Here was a 'western' 'kafir' coming into 'their' land and questioning 'their religion'. To add insult to injury, this was a woman. Those feeble objects created out of a mere rib to serve men and please men. Such a submissive creature was here criticizing their way of doing things. Thus the outrage. But these protests were, to my knowledge, attended by at the most a hundred or so people. But these were angry people who were bound by similar faith. People who could be easily manipulated into further acts of rage which can easily be justified as 'protecting the religion'. This was when the politicians decided to step in.

The new opposition party PPM, led by our former president, joined forces with Adhaalath and moved in on the action. Other parties vying for power decided that religion was probably the most powerful weapon to use against the current government, and joined in with PPM and Adhaalath. A huge protest, 100,000 strong they say, is now being planned for the 23rd of December. A claim to gather 100,000 protestors for a religious stand in a relatively moderate Male', with about as much people in it, seems rather far-fetched. However, this is now political. We now see people who obviously don't have a religious bone in their body supporting the protest, loudly proclaiming their love for a religion they aren't seen to practice. Of course they are muslims, we all are, by constitution. But how can a law put down on paper dictate the beliefs of a person? And yet, more and more moderate muslims and perhaps even non-muslims are claiming to join this protest to 'protect Islam', for the sake of following the political leaders that they idolize.

So here's what we have now. Party-blinded members and religious fanatics planning to protest to 'protect Islam' in a constitutionally 100% muslim country.  The protest's official website portrayed the dangerousness of these people blinded by their obsession with religion. They openly called out for protestors to kill 'unbelievers and all those who supported them'.

To make matters worse, our President, a proper sensationalist with a flair for dramatizing everything, has made equally ridiculous statements with regard to this protest. On December 12th, at an MDP rally, he made a seemingly bold statement that anyone who tried to kill another Maldivian would need to kill the President himself first. Very brave and heroic of him (not considering the fact that we average citizens walk around alone while he has his horde of bodyguards around him all the time). However, I feel this is the time for debate and discussion, not dramatic statements that would further enrage the protest participants. Instead, the ruling party has announced it's intention to come out against the opposition protestors on the same day. And guess what, their objective is identically to 'protect Islam'.

What exactly is Islam being protected from? Islam has been here for centuries, and so far we have 'protected' it rather well. We constantly have tourists visiting (tourism being a major economic industry), we have access to the internet and cable TV services, our households are often filled with TVs blasting hindi or western programmes and even our youngest seem to know well the Hindu religion and many of its practices. And yet no one has miraculously lost their belief owing to these influences.
I refuse to believe that the faith of a truly religious being will be so weak as to be shaken with such outside influences. So why all the alarmism now?? Politics, nothing else.

If you are still of the belief that these protests are of religious nature and feel it's justified, please reflect on these words from the Quran itself.

"Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion," [Quran, 109:6]

"Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve," [Quran, 18:29]

"There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is distinct from error," [Quran, 2:256]

Islam in the Maldives will stay as the major religion of the country for decades, probably centuries to come.  However, it would be healthy for all concerned if the state would stop refusing to acknowledge the existence of non-muslim citizens.

I call for tolerance. I call for dialogue and discussion. I call for equality. I call for the application of common sense and humanity. I call for the acceptance of individuals of any or no faith.

Lakum deenakum waliya deen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fuck You, and You too.

I don't remember ever feeling this fucking fed up of the world, and that's saying a lot considering just how frigging pessimistic I am by nature.

It's almost like there's simply no way out of all this shit. I cannot stay alone and I cannot stay with someone.  I'm stuck in a world full of people incompatible with me either as a friend or as a partner. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong with the world itself. Let's just stop at saying I'm quite the impossible person.

I'm here to rave and if you don't want to read on now would be a good time to leave as there's going to be a lot more frustrations being poured out here.

For the judgmental retards who think of me as a failure as this would be my third divorce: Guess what? I don't give a rat's arse about what you think. I'm darn glad I got out of all three. The first one, I'm glad I got out without too many physically broken bones. The second one, I'm glad I got out with nothing more than my faith, my spirit and my heart broken. The third, well, there's no fucking way this is going to work out and since it's bound to be doomed, I'm glad it's sooner rather than later. And those of you hoping for more details of the failures, get a fucking life. Don't you have anything better to do than seek pleasure out of someone else's pain?

For the lowlifes who think that me being a single mother makes me an easy lay: Well, frankly, go shove it up your arse. I might be alone, but that does not necessarily mean I am so sexually frustrated that I'd jump into bed with the first dickhead that comes my way. I'll find my pleasure my own way, in my own time. This also goes for all you well-wishers looking to matchmake already.

For the self-righteous bitches who judge me about my parenting: You try being a single parent who also has dreams of her own, quite disconnected from motherly duties. It's true I work my arse off for my pleasure, but it is also for my sanity. My tolerance level is at its limits now and I'm really damn surprised I haven't yet just killed myself. The main reason I've been able to hold back is, frankly because I haven't given myself the time to do it! I've made sure I'm busy with work or my son all of the fucking time and although it adds to the stress, it sure as hell keeps me occupied. Also, mind telling me just how the fuck I'm supposed to take care of a little toddler without working? It's no cheap feat and especially more so when you cannot expect the father to hold out as much as dime to help.

For the enlightened souls who tell me this is my fate for being ohsoblasphemous: Seriously, shut your traps. The holier-than-thou attitudes you wear might work on some, but let me remind you I know full well the levels of hypocrisy underneath your convenient masks. For me, I live an ethical, and value-based life and it's really more than enough for me. So please, keep your advice to yourselves and just let me fucking be.

For the doubters and suspicious people who continuously think I'm up to no good: For starters, so what if I am? I really do not see anyway that this might concern you. Also, as a principle, I avoid lying. So if you matter enough, I myself will tell you when and if I'm seeing someone. Also, if you really knew me, you'd know very well that I would never ever compromise my values and cross a line I myself laid out for me. I have neither the patience, nor the time, to try convincing you.

That ought to be enough for now.

And for anyone else who's reading: Apologies if I've offended you. But it sure felt damn good to rant and rave.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


 ‎"Court thakah aigadha koh...amuruthakah kiyaman nuvaa..beyruge idhaaraathakah gonjahaa amihla nan molhukoh vaahaka dhahkaa adhi raiyyithun naa gulhumeh nethi... jamihyaa thakaai madhanaee mujuthamau hifahahtaa hunna veriyakee Dictatarakey"-Anni 2008

Talk about double standards.

I voted for/and campaigned for MDP. In both rounds of the presidential elections. Wholeheartedly.
I voted for/ and campaigned for MDP. In the parliamentary elections. Wholeheartedly.
I voted for MDP. In the local council elections. Just on the basis that the other options I had were worse.

Will I vote for them again? No. I will not vote for a man/party who has given up his values in greed of power. It was the values and promises I voted for, not the man himself.

Looking at Anni, I used to see the promise of a fresh start for the country.
Now I see a little man, corrupted beyond repair, rolling around blinded in the depths of suddenly-gained power.

Do not be mistaken, I'm not judging him compared to previous presidents of the country.
I compare him to the promises that rolled off his tongue which has since forked into two.
Shame on you, Anni, shame on you.

Darling, why do you look so pleased with yourself?
Do you not realize that the crown on your head
Is fashioned from my pain and
Bejewelled with my tears?

Sunday, April 03, 2011


Maldives. Thirty years in a dictatorship. Two and a half years of what is known as a budding democracy.

The majority of the Maldivian population is struggling to create a democratic nation; progressive, liberal, just and free of corruption.

Success rate? Minimal.

Who’s to blame? The ineptness of the state. The collective inertia of the citizen. 


Core reason: Leaders working in self-interest rather than in the interest of the people.

1. The State

          i. The Executive
President Nasheed was elected on 28th October 2008. As the executive came into being, people's hopes soared. Here was a particularly frank, honest, daring, progressive activist being sworn in as president! Here was a man with promises of an improved, corruption-free democracy for the people. Here was a leader from amongst us, who swore to not forget his roots.
Two plus years into his presidency, the opposition seem to have a better memory of his pre-election vows than he does. 
Personally, one of the biggest let-downs for me was when he jeopardized our moderate Islamic lifestyle by empowering radical Islamists simply for the sake of political gain. The establishment of a separate ministry provided them with the platform from which to spread their doctrine and to lash out against those who disagreed. This one act has cost us at least one life, and that's no small thing.
Furthermore, it does not seem wrong to point out that many, if not all, of the President's cabinet, have little expertise in their assigned fields, not to mention little interest. The idea of holding a high-ranking Government office seems to be more appealing to most than the responsibilities and duties that come with it.
With an executive like this, our best hope is to have a responsible legislative and independent judiciary. But, sadly, that hope is in vain.

          ii. The Legislative
The Gold-Diggers may seem a more appropriate label at the moment. In any case, as per the Majlis Administration and the Speaker, this parliament has achieved far more comparatively with regard to the passing of bills, and I applaud them for that.
However, as I stated earlier, the core problem lies when self-interest is the highest priority.
Our Legislative branch of the State is the epitome of ego-centric actions.
While important bills like the Evidence Bill and Right to Information Bill and others await the attention of MPs, they are far too busy trying to prove why the Privileges Bill should be ratified. An alarming number of MPs are concentrating on legalizing a framework through which they can claim more of the peoples' money. 
One amusing point is that, this particular bill is a rare, if not the only, instance where the various political parties are actually working together!
Having been to the Majlis a number of times within the last month as a public observer, it saddens me to point out the low attendance level, the frequency of meetings being stopped due to not having the minimum quorum of MPs present..
Unless the MPs can work in the public interest responsibly, the Legislative will be undoubtedly more of a hindrance to the nation than a help.

          iii.The Judiciary
Do we have a judiciary? Do we have a court in which we have the confidence that, as per the constitution, any citizen will have a free and fair trial?
I doubt many of us would feel so. 
When the Judiciary itself is acting in violation of the law, what better can we expect from their judgements?

2. The Media
After many years of being under government control and censorship, the media has recently gained the necessary freedoms to work in the field of responsible journalism.
However, contrary to popular belief, the new-found freedoms did not make the media more objective. Rather, it contributed to the formation of a number of mediums via which propaganda and gossip, as opposed to real news, reached the public on a daily basis. 
Although there is, in name, a Maldives Media Council, a Maldives Journalists' Association and others, I am reluctant to say that these bodies are fulfilling their duties at all.

Disclaimer: I am neither an expert on state, governance or politics (as you could very well tell from my post :P) nor apt at expressing myself in writing. The above is simply an opinion piece from a fellow citizen.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Attack On Velezinee.

Third of January, Two Thousand and Eleven.Ten Sixteen a.m.

Woke up to an unexpected phone call from the bearer of extremely shocking and upsetting news. The worst of it wasn't that the President's Appointed Member at Judicial Services Commission had been stabbed (though this was terrible enough news). What I found the most appalling was that this country had come down to such a sorry state.

Let alone the shameful act of stabbing a woman (and not just any woman, but rather someone who is renowned for her courageous and persevering acts to free the judiciary from corruption) from behind and wounding her with repeated attacks, has anyone bothered to wonder how and why she, who had been stabbed near Fariva/Chandhanee Magu, was helped into a police car near the Maaveyo/Majeedhee Magu junction? We're talking about the bustling main streets of Male' at the busy tenth hour of a weekday. I can assure you that it wouldn't have been one potential saviour who opted instead to be a bemused/bewildered/indifferent on-looker. Where is our sense of humanity? Has the recurring violence in the country created a generation deaf and blind to its acts and consequences? Are we dead of conscience and devoid of guilt? What made those present be able to look and leave? That force is what scares me. In a country so empty of human, naturally impulsive acts of empathy anything can happen

Today's stabbing was not a mere warning or cautionary notice. Judging from the nature and the place of the wounds (even with my limited knowledge), I feel it wouldn't be far-fetched to say it was aimed to kill. And what motive would a person have to kill Velezinee? The most obvious reason that springs to mind would be 'to silence Velezinee'. And there's no need to do so unless you have at least one dirty truth to hide, right?

Is it still not time for you to spare a couple of minutes to hear her out? Please do so. There must be truth in what she says for any person to feel so threatened by her. Hear her out. Demand for a public enquiry into the parliament/the JSC. Let us not let her courage be in vain.

It is a blessing that Velezinee got away without fatal wounds, but that doesn't diminish the seriousness of the incident. It isn't enough to condemn the act. This is not a one-off random attack. It will happen again, and again, and yet again.

Third of January, Two Thousand and Eleven. Indeed, a sad day.

Please find the human within. Join the campaign to acquire a fair judiciary.

Visit Velezinee's site or Article 285 on Facebook for information regarding Velezinee's work.