Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Bigger Stage, Smaller Crowd - MDPs London Circus an Embarrassing Failure

It was the event of the month on Go Go's calendar! A number of the Party (easily mistaken by many with Partey) bigwigs took the long flight to Europe to join Sappe' and there was no lack of Pounds pumped into this adventure either! This masterstroke was the brainchild of Honourable Ibra himself. The "pro-democracy protest" of 12 th and 13 th August in Jumhooree Maidhaan would be replayed on a much bigger stage - central London. It was sanctioned by Sikka and the financiers as an "absolute winner". After all Londoners with their love affair with downtrodden democracy activists and ill-treated campaigners would flock in their hundreds of thousands to view this spectacle. It was also conveniently supposed to turn a few international heads, with a number of embassies and consulates in the vicinity.

Alas! MDPs "protest" outside the Maldivian High Commission on Nottingham Place, London, was surely the biggest embarrassment in MDPs stop-start political life. Unlike its now infamous cousin the Stab Friday in Male', this one went by with no enthusiasm, no punch, and certainly no people! What would surely be characterized by Dhivehi Observer as a "MASSIVE PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTEST IN LONDON" with "thousands of activists battling the cold for hours to call for freedom in the Maldives" was in fact less than a dozen people of little or no significance standing outside the High Commission front door with a few banners and placards that no one gave a hoot about.

Leading the pack was a Mr. Cunningham - a grad student doing research on political repression in the Maldives. He has of late frequented the Maldives and is the leading activist of Friends of the Maldives. Then there was that retard Bondhu Naseer, Le Cute' Mausoom, Abujee's daughter (who is supposedly in boarding school in the UK), Mr. Corruption Lhoheege' Mahir's daughter, Mr. Cunningham's girlfriend and a few oldĀ­age pensioners that he picked up from his local pub on his way to Central London!

They came at around lunchtime, armed with more placards and banners than bodies and of course a few bottles of Budweisser and Avian mineral water (after all it was quite humid even in the London autumn and who gives a shit even if its Ramadan). Well, after standing there like a few stoned parteys (except Mr. Cunningham who was in full song) for a couple of hours, the bunch dispersed - some to the nearest pub of a refreshment and the others to distribute leaflets to potential British tourists bound for the Maldives. The Metropolitan Police was apparently alerted by a couple of concerned clients staying at the posh bed and breakfast opposite the High Commission, after they spotted Naseer piss on the sidewalk. Lucky for him, he cleared out before the Met handed him a hefty fine.

So, where did the no-shows go? Where was Sappe' and his apparent "strong and growing" support in Tony Blair's backyard? Where was the Patron Saint O' Shear? Even Anni's self-proclaimed buddies from the House of Commons did not show up. Well, Sappe' was naturally too hung over after the previous nights action. Reports have also come in that resides in Switzerland) promised to join them that morning. He did manage to reach London on Eurostar, but got totally confused on the London Underground and could not figure out which line to take to get to Baker Street (if only he had the intuition of Sherlock Holmes)! The expected 980 other demonstrators were supposed to be onlookers, who were unfortunately not there! The think tank of course forgot that this was not the Jumhooree Maidhaan where curious passersby would poke their heads into other people's affairs. Plus, there were no parteys roaming all over in the hope that they may get the opportunity to pick someone's pocket or meet a new dealer! Anyway, the MDP's date in London was a damp squib! There were more people admiring the bronze bust of Sherlock outside the tube station than there were in front of the High Commission. For once even Sappe' and his backroom photo doctors cannot make this one look like anything other than what it really was. Even the Japanese tourists roaming in the area to try and get into Madame Tussaudes' did not want to waste their precious film on this sorry lot!

So let's analyze this political blunder! Why the disgraceful turnout? What went horribly wrong? Well, for starters this was not the initiative of the Colombo hierarchy anyway. Ibra was apparently "hopping" mad when he heard that his plans had been tinkered with. This comedy is a vivid example of the growing influence of Friends of the Maldives. At this rate, they may overshadow the MDP themselves and gain more of a voice. It looks as if the MDP has created a monster and they are no longer able to control it. Reliable sources indicate that the date of Satirical Monday was hastily pushed forward. Why? Mr. Cunningham's wish once again. He was night in which he spoke on behalf of the majority of the country's citizens and noted that the Maldives wished to remain an Islamic nation. Friends of the Maldives and their religious liberals were of course totally pissed off - no missionary work even with June 9th.

The banners and placards that the group carried had things like "We want democracy NOW" and "Free My Father - Lhoheege Mahir". Well, the Maldives is a democratic country and with the current reform package, we

are bound to see even more democratization. The problem is that the Maldives is no longer a British protectorate and we don't need some elderly Brits telling us what we do and don't need - we can take care of ourselves! As for the heartwarming appeal for her parent - Ms Mahir should note that whether it is Lhoheege or Dharubaaruge, the law applies the same. Sorry lass! Your dad is a criminal and in the Maldives he has to face the music!

This "demo" will of course not be the last we hear from Cunningham and his geriatric stooges. They will no doubt make an appearance outside (or maybe inside) the London Excel during the World Travel Market fair later this month. Their leaflet of yesterday too had the proud title " Maldives - Islands of Paradise and Hell". Once again, the true motives of Friends of the Maldives have surfaced. Is it not time that we woke up to realize that people like Le Cute Mausoom (in whose business establishments we spend lavishly) only for him to use the money to hold the country's tourism dollar at ransom, is nothing but a traitor to the land and its people! Any red blooded Maldivian patriot will think twice before giving our money to this lot! Do Le Cute Mausoom, Le Cute Majid, Sunland Nazeer and Rado Zahir not get enough money from us; why are they hell-bent on destroying the nation? In the case of some people there might be some personal grievance somewhere along their family trees that prompts them to become these creatures of betrayal, deceit and dissent, but in the case of such people on the top tiers of the business food chain, their intent and motive is less clear. Is it hunger for power or money laundering? Or maybe they are just being loyal subjects to the shark of the business pond himself, that well-educated, stylish, eloquent, tycoon now in house arrest!


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