We are truly living in interesting times now. Currently we are going through a phase of contradictions and it will be interesting to see where we emerge after this. Lets enumerate some current realities.
We have a divisive president superseded by a low key one.
A government which doesn’t have anyone to represent them in parliament.
We have extremely polarized media who don’t even pretend to be neutral.
We also have a courageous position by the incumbent president who publicly stated that he will stand down and handover the presidency to the former president if the ‘coup’ is established as fact.
We have an unplacated opposition (MDP) who haven’t given a thought to play within the system.
We also have a call to boycott all the good things in life… Like Lavazza, RedBull, Marlboro etc. All in the name of pressuring the current government.
We also have a dysfunctional parliament which is wasting millions of public money to continue with the farce.
And then of course we have the FRIENDS OF MALDIVES, who are again calling for boycott of our resorts. (With such good friends like that, who needs enemies? J)
All these positions are maintained by half truths, lies and blatant propaganda. This is about justifying the ends not the means to achieve the objectives. In this struggle of self interests, all is fair and right. But should that be the case? Can’t somebody advocate outright honesty?
Somali pirates have again struck close to our shores, this time netting an Iranian cargo ship and demanding millions in ransom. We already have a group of 40 Somali pirates who are refusing to go home despite their own country’s willingness to take them back. Of course they have not admitted to being pirates when they were rescued by local fishermen and armed forces. They said they are poor fishermen who just lost their bearings and drifted. Nobody believes their story but what if it is known they are lying? Why would a fisherman refused to go to his home country when everything is arranged on their behalf. Fishing is not like politics and people normally do not have scores to settle against fishermen.
What they are exploiting is the roundabout way the world is dealing with them and their crime and there seems to be no solution in sight to their problem. Over the years, possibly with the evolution of human thought, on the progress of the society, people have come to rationalize their criminal behavior with fashionable excuses. The drug addicts blame their ‘addiction’ on mental health or social conditions they live. The murderers and serial killers blame their action on split-personality disorder. Whole host of other crimes are associated with poverty, like the popular idea about Somali piracy. But are these pirates really poor? No one really believes this is the case. This may have been the case with the first or second boat they captured and demanded ransom for. After that they had serious money and a wicked idea to laugh all the way to bank! Although the Somali pirates have a small problem of a state, it’s acknowledged that they are the only ones who would benefit from their country without the state.
All this is common knowledge and yet there is no common answer. So where is the common answer? Pragmatism could be part of that. Responsibility would be another. We could start with defining the crime of piracy in our local statues and decide on the reciprocal to the crime. It shall not be about rewarding the crime of piracy itself. After that we shall implement the law and give the pirates good reason to fear their crime. Somali piracy is about taking people’s life and property unlawfully and most mercilessly at sea. The people who loose their life in private yachts, passenger liners, and cargo ships are all people who have equal right to life and safety. Hunger and poverty is not a good reason to kill people and take their property.
After an average high season of tourists in November to February, occupancy rates in resorts are dropping across the board with an alarming urgency. Our friends in many resorts say the situation is desperate in many resorts as the continuing political struggle in Male’ is taking a heavy toll on the tourism industry.
And there is no end in sight for the problem 😦
The parties to the struggle are firmly locked in immutable positions and there is very little room for either party to maneuver.
For the vanquished MDP, it has to maintain the story of being wronged and unlawfully ousted narrative to gain lost ground to some of politically unpopular policies it pursued while in power.
For the victors (DRP, PPM, Adhaalath and the coalition), they have not yet finished distributing the political chairs amongst themselves and have only a few months to face the election. So they will also try their best to retain the temporary advantage they have and make a good impression on the voters.
Both sides of the conflict are using media to spin their version of story and are being increasingly graphic in their story telling. Sometimes it seems as if the only real reason for the continuing protests is in Male’ to take good pictures to put in the media. Above pic is a good example of that.
Taking all these into context one wonders, why are we fighting? What is the real price of this in-fighting? Is this an affordable fight? Already we have been able to inflict 200 million ruffiyaas worth of damage in a few hours to police buildings and equipments. What more do we need? Loss to tourism income might not be as visible as burnt and torched buildings, but once the resorts revenues gets below to a certain threshold, they will start laying off workers and closing for ‘renovations’. But who cares?