Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012: Two books shy of what I aimed for.

I walked into 2012 with a very achievable, and very simple, resolution. I decided to read at least twelve books before the year ended.

Now I can feel the end of the year pushing at me, and I'm only somewhere near the middle of my eleventh book, not considering the handful of reports on local affairs I've read, of course.

I feel disappointed that I let reality step in the way and stop me from doing this very simple thing which has to do with the very thing I most love doing.

I kept note of titles of what I've read this year, and the dates I finished them. It's funny how I read four books in just over a month, between the first of January and the sixth of February.

February sixth. The beginning of the coup d'etat. And that was it. I was so messed up about the events that occurred that I completely gave up on everything. It was only in June that I could pick up a book again, and slowly went back to enjoying the comforts reading allowed.

Of the books read this year, one of my favourites was Kafka's The Trial. Then another, though I didn't necessarily agree with all said in it, was Ishmael.

On a different note, near the end of the year, I've been watching a surprising number of movies. I've realized it's a whole different world of magic that I have left unexplored for most of my 27 years.

2013 is already knocking at our doors. I've decided to hold on to the same aim again. Here's hoping I curl up with and get to live in at least 12 books this coming year.

May the Reading Gods bless me, and all readers.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


To have thought that it's little I ask for
Riches and lavish gifts being immediate turn-offs
Ugly truths are more welcome than smooth lies
To face a fear easier than to be stabbed from behind
Honesty, my love, is all I ask for.

Time and experience have taught me otherwise
Ruining my idealistic approach to sharing lives
Ultimately, if truth be told,
To ask for pure honesty is to ask for too much
Half-truths are the most a guilty conscience allows.

Unavoidable Pain

Such an inevitable end
Such an oft-felt pain
Rips many young hearts
To see one life end as another just starts

Pushes you forward and on
Makes you witness all that's wrong
Gives you love, then leaves you to mourn
And with no choice but to move on along

A song, a story, a memory,
An emptiness that won't cease.
A longing, a wish, a prayer
That where ever he is, he is in peace.

I miss you, Bappa.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Perhaps I must.

All smiles, jokes and nonsensical talk.
Opinionated, fiery and outspoken.
But for what?
I’m dead inside, 
try as I might to deny it.

There’s always this nagging question in my head.


Why am I so concerned about tomorrow?
About a coup d’etat and a country sinking into the past?
About rising crime and a corrupt police force?
About a judiciary from which we expect no good
and a parliament that does shit all about it?
About a nation beyond repair
and an idea that’s hard to make real?


Why am I sleepless about a man who couldn’t care less?
About friends I’d rather not keep
and a love that’s as fleeting as a thought?
About a son I hardly see
and a mother I’m bad at being?
About a family I cannot accept
and a life I do not care for?

it is because
I must.

In this world, we all live a farce.
We all breathe and eat and pretend.
We all shit and shower and lie.
We all work and toil and cry.
We all smile and frown and at the end of the day
We go to bed and in the confines of our room
We whisper to the world ‘Fuck you’.

Monday, October 08, 2012


Travelling through the streets of Memory,
Breaking a bridge, Building a wall,
Walking on till there's an ache in your soul.

Lost and shattered in the hills of Nostalgia,
A heart-ache, A teardrop,
A feeling that won't stop.

Finding your way in the woods of Regrets,
Lump in your throat, Hand on your heart,
Hiding your love is a strange kind of art.

Wading through the streams of Love,
Joy and sorrow, Anger and lust,
All held together with a little bit of trust.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Does the law allow police to frisk and harass us on the streets?

I’ve written here a small account of an experience I had at a police checkpoint tonight, followed by what I could gather my rights are, with reference to the laws which are meant to govern our country.

I was out for a ride tonight with Naatte’, just after midnight. We were waved down, as is usual after the February 7 coup, at a police checkpoint, this time in front of Traders Hotel.

Like the law-abiding citizens we are, we stopped and got off the motorbike. Naatte’ showed the police officer his license, the sticker proving he’d paid his annual fee, answered all queries until the officer asked for his phone number. I was getting very frustrated by this point. Here we were, with all the papers in order, and yet the officer kept asking for more information.

Next to us, there were two young men who had been stopped right after us. The driver confessed to never having even applied for a driver’s licence, while the passenger, who kept showing a sprained wrist as an excuse, claimed his license was back home. It’s interesting to note that these men were referring to the officers on first-name basis, and vice versa. They were asked to go on, with a half-hearted, “This is a one time chance. Just go to the hospital to show that wrist and no further,’ being murmured by one officer as the happy duo sped away, allowed by the law-keepers to continue breaking the law.

Back to the officer questioning us. Naatte’ informed him that he felt it unnecessary, by law, to provide his cell phone number and that he was unwilling to do so. Three or four policemen felt the need to settle this matter, insisting that the number be given. I asked them for justification, and one of them replied that it was because we were out on the streets at this late hour. I asked again if there was a curfew effective in this island, and why they needed additional information when everything was in order. After a few more words to and fro, they let us go without having gotten the number.

This made me look up the relevant laws and here’s what I came across. You might find this useful were you asked for information like phone numbers, email addresses, etc, or if you were subjected to frisking, as the police are known to do of late.

I state a disclaimer here that I am neither a lawyer nor a legal expert, but a curious soul who likes to learn about the laws I have to abide by as an unfortunate citizen of this coup-ridden state. If I have made an error, I would appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction.

Before I start, let me share Article 7 (a) ii. of the Police Act:

Now let’s begin with the issue of being randomly stopped on streets and getting frisked.

Article 47 (a) of our constitution states “No person shall be subject to search or seizure unless there is reasonable cause.” There, that alone should suffice. If you are a simple person who’s given the police no cause for alarm or suspicion, they are required, by law, to NOT touch you.

If that isn’t enough, here’s a supporting clause from the Police Act (Article 8 (b))

It says here ‘to search the accused person’. Therefore, I think it makes perfect sense to ask from the police officers exactly what offense you are being accused of having committed before letting them frisk you.

As per the Police Act and the constitution, police officers cannot go around frisking every man or woman they’d like to get their hands on, unless this person has been accused of a crime and they have reasonable cause to conduct a search.

Now to take a look at what the law has to say about the issue of police asking for everything practically from your license to the size of your waist.

Article 48 of the law governing land transport says:

That’s it. The traffic police can ask for your licence and papers concerning the registration of the vehicle you are driving. Not everything from your marriage certificate to a reference letter from your last employer :/

To support this, here is Article 9 of the Police Act:

According to this article, police officers have the authority to ask for identification from persons on the premises or vicinity where an unlawful act takes place, and even in such cases presentation of the National Identity Card, or any other official document with identification is considered sufficient.

And you people riding around on motorbikes, you’re not even in or near a crime scene most of the time. Therefore, logic says that the presentation of your licence card, vehicle registration and if need be, your id card must be enough.

If you are still not quite sure, Article 74 (a) of the Police Act says “Any order or part of an order that is contrary to this Act or ensuing regulations shall be void, or void to the extent of the inconsistency”. Part (b) of this article goes on to say that it is an offense for officers to make void orders.

Not to mention this article from our constitution:

Therefore, unless there are other regulations we are unaware of, you are not required by law to provide personal details other than those stated on your Identity Card.

Hope this is somehow useful ;)

If you want to read the full Acts or constitution, the links to the dhivehi documents are below:
Police Act
Land Transport Act
2008 Constitution

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Invisible Tears and Silent Screams

What does one do when a heart aches so
When memories, thoughts and reflecting on self
Just won’t let you smile anymore?

When invisible tears do rack you
And silent screams tear up your mind
All while your heart remains so blue?

When you know not what’s gotten you down
And yet your chest’s all weighed down
With troubles unknown in which you drown?

You cannot forget
But you can move on.

Friday, August 03, 2012

To Resist: Time and Again.

It is a feeling of empowerment and solidarity that sweeps over me everytime I join the masses protesting against the coup d’etat of 7th February. It isn’t the delusion that as one single protester I might instill compassion for the people or acceptance of the citizens’ voice in the hearts of the current leaders. That is an impossible, and far too idealistic, view of the situation. Had these people had any respect for the people, they wouldn’t have brought about a coup d’etat in the first place! It isn’t even that I have overcome the fear I have when standing firm among the protesters, in defiance to the security forces facing us in full riot gear with weapons in their hands. Rather, it is the strength in people, the perseverance I observe, and perhaps contribute to, every time I join the protesting masses.

In toppling the first democratically elected government of the Maldives, it is our rights that these persons have undermined and violated more than even those of the elected leaders then in power. This is why I personally feel that despite one’s political affiliation, and regardless of what Nasheed or MDP might organize, it is a personal duty of each of us citizens to stand in resistance of the coup.

Since February 7th, we saw unprecedented numbers of people coming out onto the streets in protest of the coup. It has been over five months from then, and within this duration, the Maldivian people have been subjected to previously unseen levels of brutality and unlawful detention at the hands of a rogue police institution. It is, to say the least, amazing to see that people still continue to stand up with a lot of courage even with such insurmountable pressures being brought down on them by the coup state.

The three powers which should be separate as per the books, seem now to be working hand in hand to strip us of our rights. As the legislative debates on topics from leaving the commonwealth to drafting legislation limiting freedom of assembly, the judiciary is meting out sentences in obvious contrast to the constitution itself and all this time the executive sits cozy, giving a blind eye to all the gross injustices while adding insult to injury by conducting direct defamation of protestors in addition to the disgusting misuse of public funds and resources.

These people have come to power through high treason, and continue to stay there through brute force.

How is it possible to go about one’s day with a sense of normalcy and ignore all the wrongs being done unto you? At the end of the day, the one person who can and who will stand up to protect your rights is you, yourself. This is why I make time for the protests, regardless of having a full time job and a toddler to take care of alone. This is why I actively resist the illegitimate government on every possible medium, be it on the streets, on social media or through the line of work. This is why I resist, and will continue to do so, until the instigators of the coup d’etat are brought to justice, and the flag of democracy and freedom waves over our heads again.

Friday, March 23, 2012

For Hassan Saeed. With love, a citizen.

Taking in my daily dose of news, I came across an opinion piece on Haveeru written by Dr. Hassan Saeed. Reading through it, I was struck by how badly these people were trying to justify their actions, and at the same time, incriminate anyone who dared to speak against them. Not to mention the desperate attempt to appear to the international community as a 'government' which were the saviour of the Maldivian people, and not instigators of previously unseen levels of brutality from the security forces among other alarming things.

Hassan Saeed kept on selectively sweeping matters under the rug, and I decided to try sweeping them right out into the open again.

The text in red is quoted from the said article written by Dr. Hassan Saeed.

"The birth pangs of democracy in the Maldives have been more painful than perhaps any of us anticipated. That is one reason that we welcome help and advice from our many friends in the international community whether the United Nations, India or the Commonwealth amongst others."
Reading the first sentence alone, I have a feeling that this article is meant mostly to try and undo the utter damage MP Riyaz caused in his heated, uninformed and thoughtless flow of words about the Commonwealth, the UK and the Queen herself. What Saeed needs to understand is, after his own conversation with the students in UK, about how Waheed is politically the weakest man in the country, got leaked, his credibility has gone down another couple of notches. Also throw into the equation the fact that he has served with presidents Maumoon,  Nasheed and Waheed and on both previous occassions, switched sides more often than a snake sheds its skin.
On the issue of 'help from international friends' being so welcome, I have to point out that statements from other members of what they call the national unity government shows otherwise, including  Abbas Adil Riza, spokesperson for Dr. Waheed.
"However it is vital that any conclusions that these friends draw and subsequent statements that they make are firmly based on firsthand experience and objective analysis of what is actually happening on the ground in the Maldives. Their credibility here and elsewhere in the future depends on it.

The new National Unity Government in the Maldives is already fostering good international relations with a range of partners. We are very confident of our legitimacy and integrity as a government.

We are also happy to be judged by our actions since former President Nasheed’s resignation on the 7th February and also in the months to come. But these same criteria should also be applied to Mr. Nasheed and his supporters in his political party the MDP."

I hope this means that the reports issued by organizations like Amnesty International will be seriously considered.

It is, however, deliberately misleading to talk as if this whole issue began with the resignation on 7th February. I would like to point out that regardless of Hassan Saeed's statement that they are 'happy to be judged' by their actions since the resignation, it is of utmost importance that any investigations bring into account the events leading up to the resignation. In my opinion, the problems extend far beyond the police mutiny, or even the arrest of the criminal court's chief judge, who until his arrest, had been an insignificant fellow unknown but to a few. 
Speaking about the judge, although he might have been unconstitutionally arrested, I find it alarming that he has been reinstated, and later moved to the Family Court while there are such serious cases against him at the Judicial Services Commission. Having seen Dr.Waheed's statement of 22nd January 2012, I would have thought he would have acted more in public interest in this case.
Furthermore, it is the sad truth that the only persons in the Maldives so far confident of the legitimacy of this government are the government itself, some among their political supporters and the non-existent 90% that Dr. Waheed keeps referring to. 

"That is why we were disappointed with the somewhat muted condemnation by the international community, of the violence on the part of MDP MPs that prevented the opening of our Parliament on the 1st March.

And on 19th March we have witnessed unprecedented scenes of violence, vandalism and arson in our capital Male. This is not legitimate political protest- this is criminality pure and simple."

Why is Waheed so adamant on giving the presidential address when the huge numbers protesting against it show that so many of the people he is supposed to be president of obviously does not accept him? Why can't he do the honourable thing and pave way for a democratic election without so obstinately insisting that he is and will stay the Maldivian president? In any case, this is a political suicide on his part and he can start packing to make another quick exit following the next elections.

"Demonstrators led by the MDP, attacked the local TV station VTV studio, with rocks and iron bars causing damage amounting to approximately 1.5 million Rufiyaa to the building and equipment.

Sympathizers of the MDP also torched the Auction Shop area in Male, with an area about 5000 sq ft. razed to the ground.

Eight law enforcement officers were injured. One officer has such severe head injuries that he is being evacuated to Sri Lanka for urgent treatment. Mr. Nasheed is yet to condemn any of these actions."

If we are to talk about violence, I agree wholeheartedly that violence, no matter who commits it, is wrong and should not be encouraged. However, seeing a man like Hassan Saeed speak with such feeling about the violence he accuses persons from the MDP to have committed, and yet not even mention the atrocities the security forces committed against the general public and peaceful protesters is appalling. Photo and video evidence of police brutality are to be found on numerous sites and social media, one source could be

And to think that this educated fellow is writing in conventional media that the above attacks were made by MDP and/or its supporters!  Are the investigations complete? Is there unquestionable evidence?

Additionally, it is doubtless a sad thing that 8 law enforcement officers were injured. However, it is equally, if not more, sad that hundreds of civilians were injured through attacks by the law enforcement officers who often resorted to measures far more violent than the situations called for.

As per, there are, to date, 376 verified reports of police detainees after the mutiny.

"President Waheed refused to be intimidated and would not allow these so called ‘champions of democracy’ to prevent him, for the second time, from  carrying out his constitutional duty in delivering his opening address to the Peoples Majilis thus allowing it to operate."
Refusing to listen to the very people who he is President for, namely the citizens of the country, is not, by any means a commendable act of bravery. It is a sign of cowardice and egocentric self-interest. Of wanting power, but not the responsibilities that come with it.

And unless the legitimacy of his presidency is first established, what constitutional duty of delivering an address is he referring to?

"Mr Nasheed is clearly an energetic networker. Many in the West know him – and laud him - for his pronouncements on climate change. His record at home was very different. The international agencies were aware of this. We told them. Concerns around his disregard of basic human rights and our constitution were raised continuously from when he came to power."

Hassan has written that the international agencies were aware of Nasheed being less-accepted at home. In his words, "We told them". That is laughable.
There must be some level of shame when these people insist that Nasheed has no local support. The international community is not so blind as to not notice the unprecedented numbers coming out to protest against what is believed to be an unconstitutional government that is led by Waheed.

"Moreover, it is now six weeks since Mr. Nasheed’s resignation. It is simply unhelpful to see statements that make continuing unfounded insinuations as to the safety of Mr. Nasheed which can only be based on an impression he has worked assiduously to create."

Police spokesperson Abdul Mannan Yusuf has previously said that they have an arrest warrant for Nasheed and even went so far as to say that they will 'arrest him when [we] feel the need for it'. This made me wonder if arrest warrants could be issued with such arbitrary conditions that it could be used when and how the police felt the urge to use it.
With issues like this coming to light, one can hardly blame Nasheed or his supporters for being concerned for their safety.

"Note: Dr Hassan Saeed is the Special Advisor to President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik"

Note: I am a citizen concerned about the situation in my country, and unwilling to support what I believe is an illegitimate government. I call for a completely independent investigation into the issue (not one carried out by a committee appointed by, and reporting to the accused). I believe the way forward is through a free and fair elections.