"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and the freedom to communicate opinions and expressions in a manner that is not contrary to any tenet of Islam" - Article 27 - Constitution of the Republic of Maldives … [THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS BLOG ARE MY OWN] … 'Kratos Demos' ...
Showing posts with label MALDIVES. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MALDIVES. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The old man sitting on Majeedhee Magu and the unattended generation.

Last evening as I was walking down Majeedhee Magu with a group of friends, I caught my eyes on this old man sitting on the pavement near 80 no. Fihaara, as we passed by one of my friends gave him some money... the poor man gave a smile that tells a story...

This is not the first time, and probably not the last time I will be seeing this man sitting at that same spot on Majeedhee Magu, hoping for someone to lend him a coin or two for a cup of tea and maybe one or two short eats from a nearby sai-hotta.
Well I am not trying to get your sympathy to this one man on Majeedhee Magu, cause its not only him that is left out and unattended to in the Maldives. For maybe a few seconds try to step out from the bubble we live in and reflect on our situation, ask yourself; How many senior citizens are out there without a warm bed and a decent meal? How many of them even have a place to call home? Where are their families? Whats the concerned Government authorities doing about it? Who is responsible?
I strongly believe, we in the Maldives are not poor. Cannot be! But yes, our people if they are indeed poor, its sadly because of the system we live in. Its either because of careless institutions or irresponsible families. We are not poverty struck and if we really observe the condition in most of the countries around the world, we need to be grateful for our situation. If we are poor, we are poor in our understanding of the concepts of family, and the understanding of social responsibility and societal ethics.

When the government started to give 2000 Rufiya to all those above 65 years of age, it was perhaps a sign of realization of the government responsibility over its senior citizenry. But with ever emerging high inflation and fluctuating economy, is this a solution? On top of this, there are cases where money sent is not properly delivered to the person its intended to. This is sometimes due to family intervention over the money or because someone at the end of that transaction spends that 2000 Ruffiya on something else.

We are at this stage where we need to build old-age shelters and senior citizen retirement homes for the homeless and unattended. With shattered family morals, and tainted societal values, we are at this junction where everyone has a hectic lifestyle and has not much time to spare for the parents who raised them, spending all their lives and effort to make 'people' out of their children.

Modern lifestyle and way of living contradicts the conservative culture of the older generation, which makes living with grandparents, and sometimes mothers and fathers difficult to the modern Maldivian family today.

At one stage we agree that we have issues and problems concerning treatment of the older generation and when governments do not spend much on welfare of the Senior Citizenry its becomes a debate of politics, but how many of us are willing to accept and realise our role and individual responsibility in ensuring the well being and welfare of our own parents?

These are important things we need to talk about and its imperative that we find solutions to these issues. Me, I don't want to be that old man sitting on Majeedhee Magu, say in the next 40-50 years ...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Save a Mother - Save a Child , Ambulance Launch -1; can it really save lives?

So last night I was fortunate to get a glimpse of 'Ambulance Launch - 1', the mobile sea ambulance which appears to have been either donated or supported by UNICEF, and seems to belong to the Ministry of health and family.

Ones eye will get caught on to a touching quote inscribed on the launch as you pass by it, says "save a mother, save a child". So true, so meaningful and in a way explains the importance of the mobile Ambulance, then again, have a look at it, ask yourself the question; can 'Ambulance Launch - 1' really save a mother? 

This picture tells a lot about how well the first response services are in the Maldives. It becomes more outrageous when you come to know where this was left at! Not far into the many islands of the Maldives, but at Vilingili (Vilimale'), which is considered administratively as part of Male' City, takes about 7 mins (max) on a ferry from the island of Male'. 

I came to understand from the locals, that it has been on that jetty for so very long and no one actually  has bothered about it. Just by looking at it, I can be sure that it is in no condition for use, at least not until thousands of dollars be spent on repair. 

Its important to reflect on some of these questions, Is it really effective for donor agencies and financial supporters to invest in the Maldives? Is this what they were hoping for? Is this what the people in Maldives expect from their government, which ever it be? Who is responsible? What are the consequences? Who is to be at lose here? How many more Ambulance Launches are out there on how many jetties in how many Islands?

Before we go about calling "Gaumah takaa, Dheenah Takaa" there are much more serious issues we need to attend to. Call for a "one nation", a more responsible one, that is corruption free and one that is more considerate towards its people.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Awkward Male’ – 10Rf please… actually 20Rf

So it was a random evening, neither late into the night nor that early into the evening. I found myself in one of those many pharmacies right in front of ADK Hospital on Sosun Magu. As I approached the counter, I received the typical foreign pharmacist grin, the mustache wink (you know what I mean), I am not sure whether he is Indian or Bangladeshi, I asked him for a particular tablet, and then someone tapped me on the back.

Turned around in a reflex, stood a young gentleman of average height, mid 20s wouldn’t say 30, bearded but not “Bearded” in you know what fashion. On sight one would observe two distinct features of this gentleman, 1- He seemed in a hurry as if he has to run a marathon, and 2- He was under the influence of some sort of intoxicate.

“Sir, can you please give me 10Rf? I need to get a medicine” he said in a trembling voice.

The foreign pharmacist gave me a serious look and then shook his head in a motion which I am to take as “don’t give”.

“Sir please I only need a 10Rf to get the medicine, please help” he continued.

“I have only got a 100Rf note, I don’t have a separate 10Rf” I told him.

“Why don’t you get change from the pharmacist?” he asked.

Well, frankly I didn’t know what to do. Avoiding this gentleman may be wrong in two possible ways. 1- He might be actually missing a 10Rf to buy the medicine or 2- He might be associated with some sort of gang and/or might as well have a sharp object ready to strike.

Not wanting to take any risks, I asked the pharmacist for a change of 100Rf, I got the change in one 50RF, two 20Rfs and one 10RF, I gave the gentleman the note of 10Rf, and then he says,

“Actually its 20Rf, can you please give me a 20 also?”

“This is all I have, sorry” I walked out as fast as I can.

I spent three years in India and I have met many beggars, I have actually seen the different varieties and classes of beggars India has to offer. Never did I meet someone in the state I found the gentleman in and never did I feel threatened by one.


Friday, March 23, 2012

We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence!

Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and civil rights hero, Martin Luther King, Jr., on that August 1963, at Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. delivered one of the worlds most admirable speeches of all time. 

A speech that echoed across freedom movements in every corner of the world. 

"I have a dream" he said. Yet he cautioned;

"...In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy out thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high planes of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force..."

An advice worth remembering at this difficult time for Maldives as a Nation. 

I strongly condemn violence taking place in the Maldives. 
Whether it be Police Brutality, isolated and/or organised attacks on Policemen. Whether it be by activists of Political divisions in the County. Or by random thugs taking advantage of the current political instability in the Country. I am Against any form of Violence !!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Yes we need an Election!!!

Victory for the People - Flickr Photo: enwiie
"Kratos Demos - Power to the People " ... Simple and unambiguous. 

Joseph A. Schumpeter, the famous Austrian-Hungarian-American economist and political scientist, describes in short the Classical Doctrine of Democracy in his book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy as:
"The Democratic method is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions which realizes the common good by making the people itself decide issues through the election of individuals who are assembled in order to carry out its will."
Democracy is in theory simple and justifiable, let the people choose and let the people decide. 

In the Maldives we are very new to this concept. In fact we can come to a conclusion to say that we are an infant nation when it comes to democracy, social, civil and human rights; pillars necessary for a people State. 

We came up with  a new constitution to support a democratic nation. We got rid of a long serving President, who dictated a nation for 30 long years. We, for the first time had the freedom to establish and participate in Political Parties. We struggled and we achieved the right of Freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful Assembly. We held the very first Multi-Party Elections in the country. Yes we did that all.

Unlike other countries, who struggled for generations and shed blood for their cause we were lucky to embrace democracy the easy way and yes it was a miracle. But with the new freedoms and gift of democracy did we have the necessary felicitous institutions, organizations and people ?? Have we made the right choices?? Is the Nation progressing or heading further back down in the drain??

As of now we are still struggling. Struggling to get back on our feet as a nation. And what we seriously need now is an overhaul in the system. Especially the Judiciary!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Coup d'état in the Maldives ??

President Nasheed writes his resignation letter

Maldives observed a change of government on 7th February 2012. Continuous protests brought  Nasheed's Presidency to a brink, and the 7th February Mutiny became the end for the first democratically elected President of the country. With Mohamed Nasheed's resignation, Vice President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Maniku, took oath of office as the President. Of course as per the Constitution

The following day Maldives woke up to hear allegations and conspiracy of a Coup d'état. "By all definitions it was a Coup" Nasheed spoke out. 

By definition, a Coup d'état is a strike against the State. It is a sudden and decisive change of government illegally or by force. Question is: 'was this the indubitable setting in Maldives on that February Tuesday'? 

The Events - End of a Presidency

Events that led to his resignation was bloody to some extent. After the continuous series of protests against the 'enforced disappearance' of Criminal court Judge Abdulla Mohamed, by Anti-Government protesters, factions of the Maldives Police Service mutinied over what they called 'being given unlawful orders' and demanded Commissioner of Police Ahemd Faseeh to meet them and assure them that they will not be given unlawful orders anymore. 

Article 64 of the Constitution: Non-compliance with unlawful orders state that "No employee of the State shall impose any orders on a person except under authority of a law. Everyone has the right not to obey an unlawful order". The mutinying Police were requesting that this Article be honored.

At this point Police did not call for the President's resignation, very clearly their only demand was an assurance by their Commissioner. This never happened. Instead what we witnessed in the Maldives were confrontations with Pro-Government supporters and mutinying police, followed by clashes with the Maldivian National Defense Force (MNDF) who were trying to take control of the situation.

As morning broke, President Nasheed came to the scene, must say a brave attempt, faced the mutinying Police and tried to address them, he was responded by "Sir, No Sir". With that failed attempt he was moved into the Maldivian National Defense Headquarters (adjacent to the Republic square)

Frankly, it is unsure when and how the demands to meet the Commissioner of Police changed to the call for Nasheed's resignation.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Maniku, a legitimate President?

Dr. Waheed takes oath of office as President
The third President of the second Republic of the Maldives, Mr. Mohamed Nasheed was forced to step down, after what appeared to be a historic Mutiny of the Maldivian Police Service. Nasheed resigned in his office, in front of media and on television, people of the island nation witnessed Nasheed as he humbly said those words,

 "I resign because I am not a person who wished to rule with the use of power ... I believe that if the government were to remain in power it would require the use of force which would harm many citizens"

Second in command that day in Maldives was Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Maniku. 

Elected Vice President

2008 was perhaps the most important year in modern Maldivian history. The first ever Multi Party democratic elections were held in the country, after a 30 year long autocratic rule by then President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. A nation stood divided, Pro-Gayoom supporter on one side and Anti-Gayoom elements on the other. 

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the first registered political Party in the country, the beginning of the modern democratic movement in the country, nominated Nasheed after a party primary.

Dr. Waheed was then (and still remains) leader of the minority political faction, Gaumee Ittihaad, that emerged out of MDP. He himself  also had declared his intentions to run for the Presidency. 

Nasheed making the friendly gesture to his old colleague, invited Dr. Waheed as a running mate. After the first rounds of election, it was a battle between Gayoom and Nasheed. Naturally all political organisation other than that of Gayoom's Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) and his younger brother Yameen's Peoples Alliance, joined hand in hand and allied behind Nasheed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The 07th February Mutiny - End of Mohamed Nasheed Presidency

The Third President of the Second Republic of Maldives, Mr. Mohamed Nasheed (G.Kenereege) has been forced to step down, after what appeared to be a historic 07th February Mutiny by the Security Services and Civil disobedience. 

Once again I call all authorities, forces, services and all people in general, do not harm President Nasheed in any way. He is an elected President of the Republic of Maldives. Uphold the dignity.

Remember that there is an elected Vice President in the Country. Hand over him the responsibilities of the President as soon as possible. Give way to a smooth change. He should take up the oath of office immediately.

We shifted from a Dictatorship to a democracy in 2008 and we showed an example to the world then. I call the Security forces to show that example again. 

Breaking News: Presidency at its brink - Mohamed Nasheed

Reports confirm the Maldivian Defense Force has indeed surrendered to the Maldivian Police Services and the Anti-Government Protesters. President Nasheed is inside Bandaara Koshi the MNDF Headquarters. 

However, unconfirmed reports say that MNDF Soldiers inside the HQ may involve in more confrontations, however, it is believed that most of the Soldiers have joined the Police. 

After what appeared to be bloody confrontations between the Pro-Government protesters and Maldivian Police Service who joined the Anti-Government protests earlier last night, refusing to obey unlawful orders issued to them by superiors, President Nasheed did try to get the situation under control as he addressed the Police. He was responded by "Sir, No Sir". And after being called to resign by the Police Service, Nasheed with MNDF security, entered Bandaara Koshi, the MNDF HQ. 

Maldives witnessed weeks long Anti-Government protests in the capital over the "enforced disappearance" of Judge Abdullah Mohamed by the MNDF on orders of Nasheed. Also since December 23rd, opposition protests have been ongoing over the Governments vague Islamic Policies, and over GMR International Airport. 

While both major hospitals in the capital are on alert and HIGH EMERGENCY, and it has been reported that victims of the confrontation are indeed brought it. No reported deaths. 

This may indeed be the end of the Third President of the Second Republic, Maldives. 


If Nasheed is no longer in power, by Law the Vice President of the County Dr. Waheed should take over. 

Find updates on my twitter : https://twitter.com/#!/maeed

Friday, January 13, 2012

Check out Mysha Didi on YouTube !!!

So lately I have been YouTubing, you know checking out the latest music and stuff. ( Cough ... Mostly friends; Shuhana, Fazy and Sum sends me the links, and I just play them :P ). Anyway one YouTube Channel I came across was Dhivehi's Channel. Now this channel belongs to a certain Mysah Didi, yes a Maldivian, who I must say is not only this lovely High School gal but also this gal with an amazing voice. She's got four cover songs on her channel so far with the first upload some 2 months back, by now she's got some 354 subscribers and over 150,000 + video views, not bad eh?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Random thoughts: Politics in Maldives heading nowhere

For any democracy to function one will always assume that there has to be a ruling party and a opposition party. In the case on Maldives, a country that so happens to be a transitioned democracy, we have some 13 different registered political parties, of course divided into two main fronts. These political parties have already formed alliances and alleged to work hand in hand on these fronts.

Then again when one comes to think about the history of most of these parties, one will find that they come from similar origins, born out of personal conflicts, power hunger or difference in opinion. Same old faces from day one, shuffling through the "Party System" of a struggling country.

The country happens to be a Presidential system of government however, with too many elements of a parliamentary system of governance. 

Members of the Parliament (MPs) are elected after a General election where constituencies get to elect their candidates whether it be an independent candidate or a party candidate. When a candidate comes  out with a party ticket, the public goes along with their favored political party and makes sure that the party gets the seat. On rare instances in some constituencies where people do not favor any of the party choices they have, get themselves an independent candidate on their seat. Now these members are elected either cause of their party background or simply cause their political stance go along with the majority. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chaos: MDP version of Free Judiciary, if innocent #FreeGhassanNow and the 17-year-old

Ghassan Maumoon, son of Gayoom the long time serving former Dictator/President and current interim President of Progressive Party Maldives (PPM), was detained early this morning by the Maldivian Police Service after he was summoned to the Police Headquarters 'for further questioning', concerning the disturbance that took place around his residence on Thursday.

The mob that gathered around the former Presidents residence were mostly seen as Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), senior figure heads and activists.

What began as an MDP nationwide protest against the Judiciary, which ironically "coincided" with the verdict delivery scheduled in a case filed against their MP Mohamed Musthafaa, requesting his candidacy be invalidated, took a different turn when the mob headed towards the residence of the Former President, Alivaage and Enderimaage. Protest turned from a “Free Judiciary” campaign to a “Bring Gayoom to Justice” protest. Protesters were seen to have verbally harass Gayoom, disrupt peace, damaged property and "terrorize" the neighborhood. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

National Service could solve Social problems in Maldives... My thoughts ...

Come to think of it !! Every Maldivian, to be more precise every Young Maldivian, after completing his/her basic education (lets assume that's A'Levels or O'Levels), 'joins' National Service in the country for a period of maybe one to two years. Whether it be the Maldivian National Defense Force - MNDF (Army, Fire and Rescue, Coast Guard etc ... ), Police Services or similar National Service institutions. Don't you think we will have a better youth generation? 

(Hopefully we will have a Civil Fire Fighting force soon and a Civil Paramedic service which could be an  addition to the National Service Institutions)

I am not talking about the "forced conscription" that was strictly enforced by the government after the very unfortunate November 3rd failed coup attempt. I am talking about a more 'option' based mechanism, one which will attract the young Maldivian crowd out there. Something that gives youth an opportunity to get them physically fit, a program that can teach important life skills and train them to play a productive roll in the society. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Have we have elected "Blood suckers" in the name of our people?

They raised their salaries from MRF 4500/- to MRF 18,000/- ... Not enough they say ... They decide that they needed to be paid MRF 42,500/- with an additional bonus of MRF 20,000/- as allowance etc , a total of MRF 62,500/-, to serve the people of Maldives. 

later in December 2010, they come to agree MRF 62,500/- is not just enough a salary for them to make laws in a country that barely has a population of 400000, so they agreed among themselves "lets get an extra MRF 20,000/- ... ummm and we shall call it Committee Allowance".

"Scumbags", "Blood suckers","Opportunists" ... One will call them ... Its indeed Daylight robbery !!! 

With the pressing economic crisis in the country with its people going bankrupt every day, the Parliamentarians we elected are finding themselves enjoying life in Maldives the 'lofty style'. Opening more coffee shops and more businesses with what they seem to call money of welfare funds for their constituencies.

Apparently one very amusing fact here is that they say these earnings they get are earnings of their constituencies (of which they spend on the people) ... wonder how many out of the 77 constituencies in Maldives have been blessed with such 'glee'.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009




26 Geographical Atolls with over 1190 Islands, Maldives is situated in the in Indian Ocean, at the heart of the Equator. These islands famous for its tourism are indeed in peril. Vulnerable to the huge waves, the low lying states are barely above mean sea level facing threatening consequences for its very existence. These islands face grave danger of beach erosion and land loss.

The country with its ever increasing population of over 300,000, distributes itself into 198 inhabited islands. Over 100 islands are used as tourist resort and the remaining are uninhabited. Some of these islands are used as Airports and for agricultural purpose.

The geographical setups of these islands make them unique and dynamic. Every island has its own unique beach. The size and shape of this current pattern in accordance to the seasonal conditions the islands have directional shifts within the shoreline.


Beaches are areas of continuous change, where natural forces of wind and water interact with land. Beach is the area between the low tide level and that reached by the high tide levels and storm waves. It is made up of deposited material which usually builds up on the wave cut plate form where the sea is shallow. All of the Maldivian islands are made up of coral reef and coral sand. The islands are entirely built and sustained by the continuous ecological and physical process in the coral reef ecosystem of which the existence of islands depends lately upon the wave action on the shore its beaches islands found in the Maldives vary in shape from small sand banks with sparse vegetation in the centers to elongated strips and also to relatively circular islands with a large cover of vegetation

It is therefore completely natural for beaches to change. Yet again it is the force of nature at its work. These natural forces include wind waves current, tides and also extreme events such as storms and tsunamis.

One the other hand, Maldivian beaches change as a result of its different monsoons. It is during the south west monsoon the waves come from the west and south west, thus the sand are moved so that in many cases it is built up on the eastern side of the islands. During then north east monsoon the reverse happens with the waves and the current coming from the north east and the sand build up on the western side of the island.

However, it is definitely not only the natural forces that change beaches, its shape and sizes. Humans as we call ourselves are another threat for the beaches, human activities such as sand and coral miming, trampling on the coral reef, building harbors and jetties and dredging and reclamation influences the beach.

How does beach erode?

To understand beach erosion, it is necessary for us to understand ‘waves’. Waves are the vital energy input of the coastal system. Waves are largely caused by the wind. Their size and strength are directly conditioned by certain characteristics. Namely; wind speed, wind persistence. The length of time, wind of particular strength and direction has prevailed, the fetch, the distance of open water over which the wind has blown. The longer the fetch - the greater wave size and strength.

There are two types of waves: free waves; starts somewhere in the middle of the ocean and move forward under their own momentum forced waves which are driven on shore by the wind. They have shorter wave lengths. A large amplitude and break with greater frequencies as waves break on to the beach the broken wave’s rushes up the beach. This is known as swash. Whereas the return flow running back down the beach under the influence of gravity is called the backwash.

Again there are two types of forced waves. Constructive waves, they have longer periodicity between wave arrival, and they tend to be flatter in wave form and emphasize the swash action. For this reason, they tend to lead a net transport of sediments up the beach. Destructive waves – frequently of steeper form, they arrive at much closer intervals (a period of three to six seconds) and destruct the backwash action of the previous wave. This results in a turbulence ‘coming –down’ beach material – that is an overall erosive effect.

Beach erosion takes place when the beach and the land behind the beach are worn away by the reactions of the waves and a new coastline is established further inland.

Why beach erosion in Maldives.

People in Maldives used to build their homes from the coral stones. These coral stones are easily available for them in the surrounding seas. Sand had been taken for building and construction. All of these leading to the trampling on our coral reef. Our reefs play a very vital role as a defense against the strong waves that break into the beaches. The reef slows down its force therefore the swash is not as destructive as it would have been.

Human activities that influenced the beach include building harbors and jetties also dredging and reclamation, unplanned construction of jetties and reclamation without proper environment impact assessment leads to devastating results.
Cleaning vegetation on the beachside and construction of building near the beach leads the soil to become loose. This again leads to beach erosion.

In the Maldives, only a few islands remain protected from beach erosion. Most islands in the country face extreme beach erosion. In some islands the destructive waves break in to resident houses near the beach.

What can be done to reduce beach erosion?

There are several actions that we can make to reduce beach erosion. To cope with beach erosion it is very important that we stop trampling our coral reefs. Our natural defense, we need to stop coral mining. It is important that proper environment impact assessment reports are to be made before the construction of harbor and jetties dredging or reclamation.

Leaving a wide band of vegetation between buildings and the beach is an effective way of coping with beach erosion. New buildings should be built a ‘safe’ distance from the dynamic beach zone this not only helps to conserve the beach but also the building. Relocating buildings in danger of collapsing to new locations further in land can be an effective way to cope with beach erosion. Building sea wall can reduce the force of waves. Sea walls are massive structures made of steel. Rock or concrete designed to protect land or buildings from the impact of waves. In Maldives we find sea walls often build in a vertical seaward face. When the wall gets hit by the waves sometimes it reflects back into the next wave, causing more turbulence. It should be noted that sea walls strengthen the edge of the lands and hold it in place for a few years.

Male’ was protected by a sea wall in 1992 at a cost of $48 million. The wall was made of dolos (open inter locking form). Water mixture is then pumped via a floating pipe line ion to the beach. However dredging causes a great deal of turbidity and siltation. This can damage coral reefs and sea grass beds. It’s important to take special measures to protect these important ecosystems.


Beach erosion is a very serious issue for the Maldivian islands. The countries economy depends on the gain from the travel and tourism industry. The tourism industry brings all most all of the capital for the country. The islands depend on tourism as the main source of development .What attracts tourists to Maldives are the clear white sandy beaches, blue lagoons and it’s under water coral gardens.

Maldives need to protect its vulnerable and dynamic beaches for its own very existence. Today the government has implemented strict laws protecting its beaches. Measures taken include banning of coral mining and conducting regular awareness program explaining the vulnerability of the beaches. beaches has always played a vital role in the everyday lives of the local in the islands . Beaches are associated with moments and memories for local residents. It is therefore a responsibility of each island community to play its part in the protection of these dynamic beaches.

· ‘ Environment and people ‘ 1995 ISBN : 0948721207
· ‘Beach watch : managing our beaches – live and learn environmental education and MEEW 2009 ISBN 99915-95-07-5B
· First national communication of the rep of Maldives to the UNFCCC.MEEW 2001 ISBN 99915-828-3-5

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Saturday, July 11, 2009



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Democracy!! Are we following it?

-Maeed Mohamed Zahir-

Countless years of struggle has achieved new changes! New experiences! New Visions! New Hopes! A new picture!! Struggle has achieved a so-called democracy in the small island nation of Maldives, which we call home. We have achieved a so-called press freedom, the right to speak freely, the very right to express our opinions, the basic right of peaceful assembly, to exercise basic human rights. Definitely we have seen a change. Change is happening. Change is taking place. And change will take its rightful place in due time.

This brings us to a question! Is change itself a good thing or a bad thing? Has change brought democracy? Has change achieved democracy? Or rather the most appropriate question; whether we are following democracy?

Well the constitution says we are! The constitution clearly states that “the Maldives is a sovereign, independent, democratic Republic based on the principles of Islam and is a unitary State”. So are we?

Let’s begin by understanding what democracy really means! The simple pocket dictionary meaning for the term democracy is; ‘government by all people, through elected representatives’. In a democratic form of government, there should be a parliament consisting of representatives elected by the people and this parliament has an important say in the running of the state. In other words Democracy is a system of government in which the people are able to choose by election those who shall govern.

Last October the country held its very first historical Multi-Party Presidential Elections. The election was held with 208,252 eligible voters. Presidential Elections were held in the Maldives on October 8th and the second round on the 28th. Six candidates competed, out of which one was an independent candidate and the remaining five were from five different political parties. On October 8th, no candidate gained more than 50% of the vote; a runoff was held on October 28th between Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of the Dhivehi Raiyithunge Party (DRP) and Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). Nasheed won the election, unseating long time incumbent Gayoom.

The Maldivian parliament, the ‘Peoples Majlis’ has 77 seats. The number of seats have been determined according to; two members for the first five thousand residents registered for each administrative division or two members for administrative divisions with less than five thousand residents; and where the residents registered to an administrative division exceed five thousand residents, one additional member for each group of five thousand residents in excess of the first five thousand.

Just a few days ago, on 9th of May, with approximately 214,405 eligible voters, the first ever Multi-Party Parliamentary Elections was held. So far the provisional result of the parliamentary elections shows that the Dhivehi Raiyithunge Party (DRP) had won 28 seats while the People’s Alliance (PA), which is in a coalition with DRP, had won 7 seats, giving DRP-PA coalition 35 seats at the Majlis. The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) followed DRP closely with 26 seats, while the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (QDP) candidates had won 2 seats. The Jumhooree Party (JP) also had won 1 seat. Independent candidates won a total of 13 seats.

Well are we following democracy? It looks quite so…

As it is clearly understood that Democracy comes from the people and Democracy is the people, it’s also important that the members elected by the people again for the people should work with the people! Members of the Parliament (MPs) should always represent their constituencies, meaning they should figuratively be servants of the people who elected them to represent the people! It’s important that MPs being elected by the people should listen to the people. Elected MPs should always be available for the people. MPs should be reachable!

However, is this picture that we see today? Out of 77 seats in the parliament, 64 seats have gone to political parties clearly demonstrating that the Maldivians have ultimately turned to party politics.

Yet again a new question arises. Now are party politics democratic? Are the parties themselves democratic? Do the parties have a proper internal democracy? Now if democracy is the people and democracy comes from the people, then political parties in a democracy should also be democratic! How many parties had held national party congresses? Do they have strong internal elections for party leadership? Is the party leadership elected? Or are they self appointed?

We cannot call ourselves a democracy unless all political parties and factions in the country are democratically elected. If MPs make decisions in the parliament after being instructed by a politburo style party council, can we practice what we call democracy?

Let me leave the question open for all of you. Are we following Democracy?

Monday, May 11, 2009



Maeed M. Zahir

“When a fisherman in an outer island of the Maldives, ventures out in to the sea at dawn, and watches the sun rising out of a deep azure sea, and observes spellbound the magic of a resplendent morning in the tropics; and when our young boys joyously swim in our crystal clear lagoons, drinking in the invigorating sea breeze to there heart’s, content; and when our people, both young and old, enjoy strolling on a moonlit beach, savoring nature at its very best, it is hardly possible that any of them would ever imagine that the beauty which is theirs today could be lost to others like them to a date in the not too distant future. Nor would any of our fishermen ever think that the sea which is bountiful source of his livelihood could, in a mater of decades, become his eternal grave. But that is precisely the prospect that we have to face today.”

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom , Small states conference on sea level rise, Male’, 16th November 1989.

“Death of a nation” was a speech delivered by the President of Maldives, at the common wealth Heads of government meeting, Vancouver 15th October 1987. This was the first time that any leader of a low-lying nation spoke about his countries fate.

Today we keep on arguing about the political reform movement being slow. Here and there we see political activities. Political activists demonstrating over their rights calling for what they deserve.

Today we spend millions on development projects. Price level of daily products has risen to unreachable heights. If the country’s economy goes like this it may lead to massive inflation.

And yet the island nation has still become a paradise for tourists. Maldives, famous for its high class quality resorts, spas and services not to mention, the beautiful under water coral gardens,

Has been nominated as one of the best travel destinations in the world and the country’s resorts are being awarded with internationally recognized awards.

But………. Are we aware of our fate? Personally, I would say no.

In the late 1980s there happen to be growing evidence that the seas of the world were rising and that it will continue to rise in the years to come. Oceanologists believe that there would probably be a global sea-level rise of about 50 cm to 2 meters in the next 100 years.

Let me tell you the story. The human advancement that became known as the great industrial revolution caused massive changes in the global atmospheric chemistry. The industrialization, which we cannot live without had caused the emission of different harmful gases in to the atmosphere leading to what we call as the global warming. When the green house gases reach the atmosphere, it forms a harmful gaseous layer. Meanwhile, the sun sends its solar rays on to the earth from which the earth reflects back some amount of these rays and lets in some. Again as these rays enter the earth and touches on the earth surfaces it reflects back as infra-red radiation to the atmosphere, where it will release the rays back to the space. But due to the green house gas layer, some rays are retained and held back on the earth’s atmosphere.

Automatically the earth would start to get warmer, when these rays are not reflected out. And if this keeps continuing, the earth becomes like a microwave.

We humans who inhabit the earth today are not able to live without modern day technology. Today we are not able to live without cars, planes, boats and other means of transportations. Today it has become difficult for us to live without refrigerators or even without body spray etc…. Today the human need is very high; therefore the production of these supplies has expanded and had become more developed. More factories had come into existence. This development has increased the emission of harmful gases in to the atmosphere. This is not all, today the human population has increased rapidly and every human being needs a place of his own to live. More and more land is needed for human settlement and construction, this leads to the cutting down of trees. Deforestation had lead to the decrease of forest land on the earth. These trees help us to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. During the process of photosynthesis in green plants, light energy is captured and used to convert water, carbon dioxide and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compounds.

When global warming takes place it also leads to other major problems. As the earth gets heated the two poles; north and south consisting of large ice caps, and the tops of the mountains that have huge glacier start melting. These waters from the glaciers deposits to the seas making the sea-level rise. This is not all, due to global warming some areas experience desertification, which is due to high temperatures.

Measurements of carbon dioxide amounts from Mauna Loa observatory show that CO2 has increased from about 313 ppm (parts per million) in 1960 to about 375 ppm in 2005. The present atmospheric concentration of CO2 is about 383 parts per million (ppm) by volume. The IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios gives a wide range of future CO2 scenarios, ranging from 541 to 970 ppm by the year 2100. The Earth has warmed by approximately 0.75°C since pre-industrial times. Twelve of the warmest years in the past 126 years occurred since 1990, with 2005 the warmest on record. And it is been believed that this year 2007 is much warmer than 2005.

If this keeps continuing the low lying countries like Maldives that barely is 2-3 meter above sea-level would be disappear. The enlightened view among the scientists in the late 1980’s is that the seas are going to rise by the rate of about one centimeter by a year during 40 years, which means about 40 centimeters by the year 2030.

It would be the low-laying island nations that would suffer the consequences of what the developed industrial countries are responsible for. Scientists first raised this issue, in Stockholm in the United Nations conference on the human environment from 5th - 16th June 1972. In this conference people became aware of the growing scientific evidence of global warming and the effect it would cause to the low-laying island nations. This conference led to another major conference that became known as the famous Earth summit, or The United Nations conference on environment and development (UNCED), which was held in Rio-de-Janeiro, 3rd -14th June 1992. In this conference an international environmental treaty was coined; The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC). This led to the Kyoto protocol, The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an amendment to the international treaty on climate change, assigning mandatory emission limitations for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to the signatory nations. As of December 2006, a total of 169 countries and other governmental entities have ratified the agreement. Notable exceptions include the United States and Australia.

Other countries, like India and China, which have ratified the protocol, are not required to reduce carbon emissions under the present agreement.

Desertification has affected a lot of people living in the through out the world.

Well, from all the evidences it is clear that the major industrial countries are not that concerned over the fact that we, the low-laying island nations like the Maldives, are to be destroyed and submerged under water.

Though some of the industrial nations do not bother much about this there are some organizations that do care. They are aware of the fact that the global warming is causing the ice to melt at a rapid rate and that this leads to the rise in sea level. Organizations like The UNEP have taken these issues globally. They have declared their theme for this year, 2007, as MELTING ICE – A HOT TOPIC?

5th June, World Environment Day, 2007. UNEP

There are a lot of low-lying island nations. That would be submerged under water due to this rising.

Tuvalu, for example, is a low-lying island nation that lies in the South Pacific.

Giant waves were overflowing the atolls of Tuvalu, in February 19th 2004 the tide caught up three meters in height, submerging houses, government offices and part of the airport and making the marine water emerge even in to the inner parts of the islands. The phenomenon appeared more and more frequently and with greater intensity in the recent years. By now it is written that within the end of this century the nation of Tuvalu, having a maximum height of 4-5 meters above sea level, is destined to disappear. Now just think about Maldives, which is just BARELY 1-2 meters above sea level.

“As for Maldives, we cannot even consider such a rise. On average, our islands are only three to six feet above the mean sea-level. The rise will be sufficient to submerge our whole entire country. It will be the death of a nation” - Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Common Wealth heads of government meeting Vancouver, 15 October 1987

It should be kept in mind that as the earth gets warmer the seas do get warmer too. As the global warming takes place one of its deadliest effects is the bleaching of corals. Previously in the year 1998 the Maldivian reefs were also affected, and in some parts almost all corals bleached leaving the reef dead for years. It had taken years for the corals to re-grow. And again there is the fear of another coral bleaching that may take place. These coral gardens had become one of the main reasons for the increased number of tourists that visit the country. It is also the white sandy beaches of the Maldives that the tourists attract that makes them come to spend their holidays in Maldives. As the sea level rise these beaches are not going to have a long life. Gradually these beaches would erode away. The beaches would be destroyed. Then the number of tourists who come to the country would reduce. Since the main occupation of the country is the tourism industry, which covers almost half of the entire population’s employment, this would lead to unemployment. It should be kept in mind that the main source of income to the country is from the tourism industry. If this is the case then we have to say “bye, bye” for our development and the major source of income.

The rapid rate of melting ice causes the great seas to rise, that would lead to our destruction. Not only ours, but all the other low-lying island nations as well. Our islands would be submerged under the water. We shall become home less. Our communities and island societies would be destroyed. We shall become refugees. We shall lose our identity as Maldivians. We would loose our home land to the seas. There would be no more an independent nation that goes by the name of Maldives. There would be no more a tourist travel destination called the Maldivian Islands. This piece of land would be nothing but a submerged island in the Indian Ocean. Being a Maldivian this is not what I want. Of course I don’t want to become a second-class citizen of a neighboring country or leave this country. Do you?

If the ice keeps on melting at this rate the seas would rise rapidly submerging the island nation of Maldives.

Well what can we do? Is this supposed to be our fate? It is not us, the Maldivians, who are responsible for this fate but it is the whole world. It’s the industrial super powers who are doing this to us.


Already the Maldivian Islands are witnessing these changes. The unusual storm surges locally called as ‘Udha’, which we are facing these days, are due to these changes. Already these waves had become nightmares for the inhabitants of the islands. People live in fear of the sea. Islanders are being psychologically affected.

Well this had been predicted 20 years ago.


Today there is nothing much to do for the inhabitants of the Maldives but call for help. Let the world know our fate. Make the world aware of the global warming and the climate change. I would call all the political parties of the Maldives for their assistance; I would call the citizens’ of this small nation to settle our disputes quickly, and let’s work together for our survival, for our existence, for our children and families for the future generations of our country, for our nation. Let us all join hands; together we can bring a change.

The only thing we can still do is to plant more trees and encourage others to do so. It should be kept in mind that the trees do help us by playing there part to save the earth. Let us all take part in the billion tree campaign of the UNEP and plant for the planet. Let’s plant more trees, and pray for our survival. It is time that we should hold our hands together to save our country as well as our planet.

Let’s take part in this event.

I would like to mention that this article has no political motive but to create more awareness among the people regarding the environment especially on the issue of sea-level rise.

*this article has been published on HAAMA DAILY a local news paper in Maldives

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