Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just My View: The Maldivian Political Crisis

I have been the quiet eyes in all of the madness that has been going on. I have listened to the activist, the protector and the unbiased. And to come to a conclusion after hearing the countless echoes of wailings and warnings and wishful thinking was quite a task. Further more, I did not want to be misinformed so I decided to do a little digging up myself; even so I hope that you will accept my apology if I may not be able to provide you with a magical solution from this. Truth is, there is rarely a situation in real life where everything is written in black and white and the solution could be a glass slipper fitted in just right. Sometimes, the glass is tainted and the slipper fits them all.

In the case of our current situation, it seems Nasheed’s glass slipper has been stolen before the clock struck midnight. Whether or not it was a coup d’etat is not the question that I’d like to probe. Given the world’s history of coups, it is no surprise that the international community isn’t rushing to our rescue in their shining armor. Most successful coup d’etats that have occurred in the world have been brought as an uprising towards remedying grievances and to implement ‘correct’ orders with a small group of politicians or military generals under the whole operation. Also, it is not uncommon to seize power over the radio and television services and proclaim themselves in power.  Sound familiar?

I truly believe that the police mutinied against the government on the 7th and hence brought about the resignation and change in government. This could be established by a simple test of causation. If not for the police mutiny would the former president have resigned? Of course, the causation should not be stopped there. If not for the illegal orders that were brought on to the police, would they have committed the mutiny. Now causation would only be a valid point if the action had been the necessary and right course that should have been taken by a reasonable person. In the situation of illegal orders, the police had clear procedures to deal with such situations included in the Police Act of 2008 in which it states that illegal orders need not be adhered to, and they can be ignored without repercussion. The fact that they used this situation to call out for the resignation of the president by using state resources against the government shows that their reaction to the situation cannot be justified.

As for nasheed’s resignation, I do not believe that a president or any other citizen should have to fear the defence and security forces of the country. In fact, up until he resigned I hoped that he had some other means of amending the situation. Even so, he did resign and later on announced that he had been forced to do so at ‘gunpoint’. Now, there could be two ways to go about this; If he was held at ‘gunpoint’ or coerced and intimidated into doing so with no other means, this would be justifiable causation for him to resign. If not, and if he did have other means of controlling the situation at hand….simply put, he must have been out of his mind to give up the presidency that he had worked so hard for. I know that it is not very scholarly of me to say that, but I see no logical scenario in which a person who has suffered and been tortured in his strife to be where he was, just simply give it up when he had any other way. Even so, I would like to address this unlikely situation as well, and in such a case, he would have done so without duress and ultimately be seen as just a president resigning from his post and the vice president taking over it under a presidential succession. Even in this scenario, the mutinous police and mndf cannot be justified.

So, where does this leave us? I don’t see how the international community will be able to help us out of this mess when we are not willing to do so ourselves. Shows and publicity stunts will get us so far. The Inquiry Commission, enacted by Dr. Waheed is currently undertaking the responsibility of determining whether this was a coup d’etat or not. In the somewhat unlikely situation where they work completely unbiased and draw out the conclusion that it indeed was a coup d’etat, what would happen then? Would there be another election? I suppose the answer is yes. Even so, when we are probing into the question, the Inquiry Commission should not stop just there.

They should also be probing into the context of the coup and whether or not it could be justifiable. Even though, there can be no justification for the brutality by either side as well as the security forces, there have been numerous occasions in th history of the world where coups have been accepted as a sort of 'necessary evil' in order to get rid of dictatorships and such. Also, after the inquiry there must be harsh penalties for whoever was responsible for the crimes that had been committed, Maumoon, Anni, MNDF, Police or otherwise. Even though we do not have a law that governs mutiny, we do have terrorism laws that could help to ensure that none of these crimes go unpunished. It is a dangerous thing to allow what happened to be set as precedence for it may lead to the kind of situation that plagues other countries like Pakistan in which the military acts as a ‘savior’ of the nation everytime there is a political turmoil. The people elect their president, the people should be the ones taking the responsibility to ensure that the president and the elected members work in their best interest. And if it is not so, they must be the ones who rally and protest and if need arises, force their resignation. Not the security forces who are under oath to protect and serve us and our leaders alike. Who should be serving the public in general, not just the ‘90%’ or whatever the percentage may be.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How to deal with the Men In Blue

It’s not that the police are the bad guys. It’s just that they piss us off sometimes with their bullshit. Most of the time, they are just trying to do their job. But sometimes doing their job does require them to bend some rules; and they can do this because we are so unaware of their bullshit and either scared shitless or furious at them and hence, easy to aggravate. Even though our rights are protected under the constitution, what few people understand, but police know all too well, is that your constitutional rights only apply if you understand and assert them.

The Maldivian Constitution states under Section 48 that everyone has the right on arrest or detention:

(a) to be informed immediately of the reasons therefore, and in writing within at least twenty four hours;

(b) to retain and instruct legal counsel without delay and to be informed of this right, and to have access to legal counsel facilitated until the conclusion of the matter for which he is under arrest or detention;

(c) to remain silent, except to establish identity, and to be informed of this right;

(d) to be brought within twenty four hours before a Judge, who has power to determine the validity of the detention, to release the person with or without conditions, or to order the continued detention of the accused.

Which basically means that whether the police officer is a friggin gorilla with a huge caveman bat, he still can’t touch you…unless you give him a good enough reason to. Good reason meaning something that is illegal under the Maldivian and Shariah Law. And they should have ‘reasonable’ proof that you did something like that to search or arrest you (Section 47.a). They CANNOT ask you anything more than your identity, which basically is your name, ID card number and your address. IF they do, all you need to ask is whether you are under arrest. If you are, ask why and then you can remain silent under section 48. (c) until you get a legal counsel. If you aren’t, than you can just push them over a cliff to die…kidding...i meant walk away. :D (but don’t be such a bitch about it and mock them while doing so…that’s just asking for trouble.. -_-)

One of the easiest ways to get in deep trouble is during residential searches. And most of the time, police officers don’t have valid reason for the search, but they can enter because YOU LET THEM. Under Section 47 b), Residential property shall be inviolable, and shall not be entered without the consent of the resident, except to prevent immediate and serious harm to life or property, or under the express authorization of an order of the Court. This means, they can come in to arrest a person (given they have an arrest warrant or ‘reasonable’ grounds to make the arrest, but they can’t search unless they have a search warrant or your consent. And during personal searches, the search has to be done by an officer of the same sex (and in private for through checking).Of course, if you have done something fucked up like kill someone or something, you are pretty much doomed because they will not require a warrant (and I’d rather not help you either… >.>)

And most importantly, if you do get arrested without any reason, there is Section 57 which states….*drum roll*… everyone who has been arrested or detained without legal authority or justification has the right to be compensated. Wohoo!! :D

P.s – WHAT is up with the whole ‘reasonable’ crap anyways??? O_o I couldn’t find any legal documents which dictate what is exactly ‘reasonable’ under the Maldivian constitution…. But according to the UK law it basically means there must be some basis for the officer to believe that you committed/are about to commit/are commiting a crime, (this must be a personal assumption, not a general one!) which can be considered and evaluated by an objective third person. Mere suspicion based on hunch or instinct might justify observation but cannot justify a search. So unless you start acting weird and twitchy, they can look but they can’t touch!

-Photo by A.G Photographe, Flickr.-

Saturday, December 18, 2010


A small boy is handed grenades in Iraq, while a girl barely reaching puberty is forced out of her clothes in Calcutta. A baby is secretly sold and a boy forced to dance in women’s clothing for money in Afghanistan. A girl is lost in Mexico and found the next day with a cut in her abdomen; a kidney missing. Do you still want me to continue?

I could show you statistics.

Death toll world wide of children killed in armed conflict within the decade: 2,000,000

Children injured or disabled in armed conflict at the same time period: 6,000,000

Do they deserve to suffer in your battles?

Children subjected to child abuse each year: 40,000,000

Third leading cause of death in adolescents around the world: Suicide

Society has brought mockery towards children to such an extent that the childhood of most is lost before it could even begin. Child rape, harassment, bullying, trafficking, labor, torture…the list is terrifying and the length of it is shocking.

How sick does your mind have to want to break a child’s innocence? How sick do you have to be to turn away from it and pretend it does not concern you? Is there really much of a difference when both the actions result in the same end result; the death of a childhood? Do you really want to be that person who looks at the abused but does not see their pain? Hears their cries but doesn’t listen to the agony?

You could blame it on anger issues. You could say it’s the way it is; the way it has always been done. You could justify it by saying that it was well-deserved. You could scream that it was not their responsibility. But you would all be wrong. Yes it has been that way for centuries… In ancient Rome, fathers had the authority to sell, kill, maim, sacrifice or otherwise do with a child as he saw fit. Sexual abuse within the family has always existed, in spite of a universal taboo. From Biblical literature, to the Inca, to the Egyptians, virtually all types of incest are described. And in England and the Americas, during industrialization, children were placed in apprenticeships, workhouses, orphanages, placement mills, factories, farms, and mines. In England, 5-year-olds worked 16-hour days in factories while shackled in chains. They were often whipped to get them to work harder. But just because it has been that way, doesn't mean it’s the right way.

It’s time to mend our ways. To defend the defenseless. To create a safe haven for our future generation. Perhaps the situation is not as drastic in Maldives. But the way we are heading…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know we are in for a lot of trouble. Take a look at Male’ and you’ll see my point in a second. Girls of 12 in dresses that cover nothing, giving it all away in a cheap hotel. Little boys acting like thugs and shoving knifes into each other…just for fun. We could say it’s just the way they are…if it was just one child loosing their way. But when you see the same thing happening with every adolescent that walks the streets of Male’, you have to question. Who is it that needs to be blamed? The parents that never had the time to teach their children proper etiquette and manners because they were too busy making enough money to barely survive? The authorities that show no mercy to the kids that roam the streets and thus create hatred in kids’ hearts towards the ones that are supposed to be protecting them? Or the government for the lack of facilities and laws that provide haven for them?

You still think you are doing the right thing? You still think it’s the way it should be? Are your actions really justified?