Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Maldivian

The Maldivian: "Message from FOM
Note. Following is a message recieved from FOM.
FirstName: Kezia, Admin in Charge , Friends of Maldives, U.K
Comments: Oh, the reason why we are not that many is because one of us had to take pictures. So you can add one more person to the protesters in the picture. Yeah mainly from our immediate and extended family but the whole point is we did it. We organized a demonstration in London n front of Maldives embassy. You guys should be proud of David for helping you poor people out of this hell hole. He deserves a status of a Maldivian hero. One day we will help you get a better life - the life we enjoy in London and other cities in Europe. Better health, better food, better entertainment, better pubs, most importantly freedom... freedom from the claws of protective parents you guys still have in Maldives, freedom to choose who is your first date, freedom to choose whom to marry instead of the arranged marriages you have to go through in Maldives.

p.s: if you want to donate some money, please contact us at: Friends of Maldives, 64 Milford Street, Salisbury, SP1 2BP, U.K Tel: 01722 504 330 E-mail: admin@friendsofmaldives.co.uk

Thank you for your support and generous contributions.

Best regards,
Kezia Hardingham "

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 old­age 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!



Monday, November 08, 2004

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: GO GO LATHEEF

In recent months, Maldivian internet magazines have been overflowing with political analysis, areas that require reform, and of course, tasteless articles on who is homosexual and what they do in their bedrooms. The Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) firmly believes that they are the “chosen ones” to introduce “democracy” to the Maldives . Their mouthpiece, the Dhivehi Observer (DO) revels in dissecting the lives of public figures and judging whether they are capable persons for their respective jobs. At times, DO tends to get a bit carried away (which is probably an understatement) and fabricates “biographies” as they go along. The author feels that there are not many articles that study the lives of the main members of MDP, and judge whether they themselves are capable for the job. For the sceptics who may jump to the conclusion that this author cannot wait to “smear” the reputation of the beloved MDP members, all the information set below are accurate. It is ultimately for the readers to judge whether some of the members are capable or not.


One of the most prominent members of the MDP is their spokesperson, Go Go Latheef. Despite rumours that the name Go Go was derived from some automobile, Go Go was actually the name of a dance that was very popular during the late 60s and early 70s. Latheef was called Go Go because he was one of the pioneers to bring the dance to the Maldives . At the time, the socially isolated Maldives was 100% dependent on the foreign culture brought by the students who used to study in Sri Lanka . There were very few Maldivian students in India , and hardly anyone in Europe . Go Go Latheef was a student at Trinity College , Kandy . His father and grand father were wealthy autocrats from South Huvadu Atoll. They were at the time the wealthiest people in the region. They were also well known for their influence and power over the people in that region. It cannot be said that Go Go Latheef's father and grandfather were great leaders. They only practised “money law”. A wealthy person may see “justice” but not the poor! The citizens of South Huvadu Atoll had to live for a number of years under rampant terrorism by Go Go Latheef's father and grandfather. These powerful corrupt men abused the rights of innocent citizens of Huvadu Atoll. Nobody could contest against them for their misdeeds, as his grand father was the atoll chief and his father was the island chief. How about that for a corrupt ruling family??


At a very tender age Latheef was brought to Male' in order to send him to Sri Lanka for studies. After completing the SSC exams in Sri Lanka , which was the equivalent of O' Levels during those days, he came back to Male'. He got a scholarship to go to Beirut while he was working in Male'. Latheef's problem was waking up early and going for work. He had missed appointments many a times, and lived an irresponsible life. On countless number of times he had gone to work just flashing some water on his face, looking rotten. He certainly did not portray the face of a budding politician who would lead the nation to democracy.


When Latheef went to Beirut to do his degree, his companion was Thumbulhi Hameed, who is now in a mental asylum in Sweden (perhaps to be accompanied by Sandhaanu Luthfee soon?). When they were in Beirut , they joined a group called the "Al - Fathah Movement" – the movement for the national liberation of Palestine. Hameed was a respected activist who visited foreign countries on their behalf to raise funds. As it was not in Latheef's nature to take anything seriously, half way through, he gave up his association with "Al - Fathah". He also gave up his studies and returned to Maldives . In Maldives he started working for a well known businessman who was also a renowned smuggler. Those days smuggling was considered as socially acceptable in the Maldives . Maldivians were so poor that whatever goods they got from abroad were shipped to Colombo to sell at the black market. At the time the Sri Lankan government prohibited import of foreign goods to the country. So there was a big demand for such goods. This was just the beginning of Go Go Latheef's wealth.


Latheef was also not a very religious man. He was a happy-go-lucky person. However, his boss, the “businessman” was a very religious person. Latheef was forced to learn how to pray and what to recite in prayers. Bear in mind that we are talking about a fully grown Maldivian man who did not know how to pray!! One clear example of his disbelief in Islam at the time is the names he gave his children. His daughter is called Jennifer and the son is called Dennis. The much embarrassed Dennis, who apparently did not take after his father unlike the daughter, was so ashamed of being called Dennis, that he changed his name to “Ahmed”. Unfortunately, none of his children have any religious knowledge. From childhood they spoke in English at home and went to western countries to pursue their educations.


Later on in life, Latheef decided to contest for a seat in Parliament. He was elected to the South Huvadu Atoll seat, but could not survive the pressure of parliamentary politics. He was never known as a great democrat. He certainly never spoke about democracy! The man who could not hold responsibility as an MP, let alone handle the demands of the citizens of South Huvadu Atoll, is now pretending to be a great politician who wants to introduce democracy. It makes one wonder whether there is an ulterior motive. Of course, Go Go Latheef has always been an opportunist and has never thrown away the chance to earn some money. As long as he is getting paid by someone, he would be the kind of person to obey his paymaster.


Go Go Latheef's experiences do not exactly portray leadership qualities. If anything, it shows that he has always been a negligent, reckless and irresponsible person. He has always been bitter about the actions that the government of former President Nasir took against his grand father, father, uncle and the rest of the family. For those of you who may not be aware of this, Go Go Latheef's family created a rebel state in Huvadu Atoll.

They wanted to get separated from the government of the Maldives , and become an independent state. POWER! They wanted to become the ultimate RULERS themselves! As a result of this rebel state, the then Nasir government sent the military and brought them to Male'. Latheef's family were tried, sentenced and imprisoned. Many of them died in the process. Many of their family members never forgave Nasir for this act. Over 45 years later, Go Go Latheef is doing exactly the same thing. He has formed a government in exile. He is following the footsteps of his ancestors by creating fear amongst the Maldivians and the battle for power. He became a “democrat” when his daughter was taken to custody.

Do you call him a freedom fighter? Are his acts for the love of democracy or is it selfishness? How can someone become a “freedom fighter” over night? He was never particularly interested in democracy. For him, it was all about money. Things have not changed today. Latheef revels in the money that he gets from his paymaster – in Ahmed Shafeeq's (Sappe's) words, from “Bappa”. As it turned out “Bappa” has confessed to financially supporting his little puppets based overseas. Sappe' had even received direct instructions from “Bappa” not to pick on the beloved Illiyasbey and his dodgy dealings. The smear campaign may continue against everyone else including President Gayyoom and Madam Nasreena. Latheef never had any issues concerning democracy. He simply has a case of congenital greed for power.


Sunday, November 07, 2004

"A MISLEADING HRCM

The Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) by its actions seems as if its inception is for the protection of the prisoners' rights. While some 200 islands are populated in the Maldives , have they even once visited any of these islands, while they have been to some three to four times to the Dhoonidhooo and Maafushi jails and produced reports regarding prisoners' welfare? A question raised by one of its readers in a leading newspaper asks about the HRCM role �whether the Commission is protecting the rights of the prisoners or the general public�. The answer from the chairmanship is ridiculous and is of utter shame from a person of such caliber �question it from the HRCM, face to face�

Heard of a commission recently formed to scrutinize the acts of the people involved in the 12-13 August illegal crowd dispersal, something which no country has ever done and should not even happen. Things of such nature seek security and enhance encouragement to commit more crimes. The increasing number of robberies and drug dealings is undoubtedly the result of such bogus Commissions. Their acts, which protects the criminals, creates the hallucination that the police is not carrying out its duties.

Open violence was nonexistent here. But today nabbing, knife stabbing, drug dealings, gang fights are all common. In the past people will stand against such atrocities and stop such things from happening and do even report to the appropriate agencies. But now the trend is, even if the whole houses is robbed upside down nothing is done, for it is the house owner who will be pronounced guilty by the HRCM even if a scratch is made on the robber.

It is same issue that is going on with the agencies involved in the 12-13 August illegal crowd dispersal. As the gathering was illegal government plead several times to leave the c"