A Maldivian Mess
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  • “Nasheed, once popular for his grassroots activism and once admired for his commitment to democracy (he served six years in prison during Gayoom’s reign), beloved by the Western liberal press as his country’s first democratic leader and as a champion of environmentalists, is widely seen now as dishonest, corrupt, unable to govern, and obsessed by the nefarious activities of his rivals.”

    Considering the tenderness of the retribution his rivals meted out not only to Nasheed and members of his government, but also (if I’m reading correctly) to ordinary street protesters, I’m almost moved to wonder if he didn’t have good reason to be obsessed. I realize Nasheed may have been so far from perfect as to verge on the grossly imperfect. And just we in the US don’t tolerate imperfection in our political or business leaders, why should the Maldivians? At the same time I’m impressed with the high, exacting, even unsatisfiable standards of governance displayed by the perennially disgruntled electorates in some of these countries. Disgruntled, that is, until those glorious beacons of anti-corruption, the radical(ly intolerant) Islamists take over. After which nobody’s allowed to have standards of any kind, much less disgruntlement (and seriously, folks, how can anyone in good conscience be disgruntled with God? And if not with God, how much less should anyone dare to offend his chosen representatives – which is about as close to him as you swinish lukewarm believers and infidels are ever going to get anyway?)

    You gotta hand it to his former VP Waheed too. I mean, just being a former VP of Nasheem’s burnishes his democratic credentials somewhat; plus he knows how to switch sides which helps him cover all the bases of popular opinion in rapidly changing times; PLUS he’s not only brave enough to beat his ex-colleagues into submission, but craven enough both to appease AND inflame the ever-righteous Islamists. How’s that for a serious 21st-century populist? Best of all, he’s proven he knows how to delay elections indefinitely. Or at least long enough to ensure that, if and when they’re finally held, his thugs – er, followers – will be strong enough to “carry” the results. (Gee, is there any way we get this guy to train up a NEW generation of puppet-dictators for certain key Middle Eastern countries?)

    Say what you want in favor of today’s cutting-edge “hot” religion. My own feeling is this: Until it learns how to take its own basic ethical precepts (love thy neighbor, etc) as seriously as it presently takes certain abstruse doctrinal and “political clout” concerns, I don’t see how it’s fit to appear unchaperoned in polite society.

    Let me be the last to suggest it’s an easy business maneuvering and adjusting policy for difficult regions like these. But all the more reason, don’t you think? to keep our ears as close to the local ground as possible. And to keep our local options open.

    Just one more thing: When you consider all the NGOs and Lord knows what other organizations may be jockeying for influence in this region, is it too snarky of me to ask who – or more importantly WHAT

  • Sorry – don’t know how to post a comment to save my life these days. Last sentence shd read: … Is it too snarky of me to ask who – or more importantly WHAT – may be backing Waheed?

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