Thursday, November 03, 2005

GAOM GE REETHI NAN ( Reputation Abroad)

President Gayoom would like all Maldivians to believe that there was no Maldives before him. That he was the man who introduced the Maldives to the world. However this can only be wishful thinking. The Romans knew of the Maldives. The ancient Chinese and the Mauriya Dynasty traded with these little islands.
Gayoom considers the perception of Maldives abroad so important that laws have been passed to prosecute and punish those who blemish the beautiful name of the country abroad. But things are not going so well. Gayoom himself is the the guilty party today. All around the world the Gayoom regime is in the spotlight.
The Asian Centre for Human Rights has described the trial of the leader of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, Mr Mohamed Nasheed as a
“Kangaroo trial”. The South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre has noted arbitrary arrests, torture and custodial deaths in the country and submitted a written report on the suppression of human rights in the country to the UN Secretary-General describing the situation in the Republic of Maldives under the leadership of President Abdul Gayoom as an affront to the spirit of democracy. Reporters without Borders are condemning the arbitrary arrest of journalists and Maldives is now ranked an appalling 148 out of 167 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ (Reporters sans Frontières, RSF) Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index. The United Nations Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) wants necessary revisions of the Human Rights Commission Act of the Maldives. Every week the British High Commissioner and the American Ambassador are calling the Presidents Office to find out what is happening with the reform agenda and the detainees. The British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Kim Howells, has told the UK Parliament that the British government is “actively considering further action” to take against President Gayoom. Amnesty International's Maldives online documentation archive is growing at an alarming rate.
Gayoom has put the Maldives on the map. He should now be tried, among other things, for besmirching and spoiling the nations good name abroad.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Gayoom - Arms Merchant and Gunrunner too?





Gayoom appears to have peddled trouble and pain not only to his own people, but to other parts of the world as well. Allegations are being made about gunrunning operations using the national airline Air Maldives. When Gayoom and gang came to power, they operated the national airline as a joint venture with terrorist/politician Yasser Arafat of the PLO. The two planes that flew internationally were manned by palestinian pilots and staff. The PLO also had a resort island where according to local sources there were not that many european tourists.
And during this period the Nabila yacht belonging to the shady Saudi billionaire arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi was anchored in Male' harbour. During this period, coincidently, the armed struggle of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam gathered strength.

Gayoom who spent his formative years in Africa ( Egypt and Nigeria) is no stranger to terrorism or corruption. With friends like Arafat, Gaddaffi and Saddam Hussein ( read "Man for all islands" by Royston Ellis) it is no surprise that these allegations are being made. After coming to power Gayoom himself has confessed openly of having illegally imported guns during his swearing in as President. But will the new investigative journalism of the maldivian democratic movement reveal more than just allegations?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Grooming a successor?

When Gayoom went to the United Nations General Assembly this year he took his youngest child Ghassan and his wife. This has started rumors that Ghassan is the chosen successor. Getting rid of those who want to dethrone him has been easy. Just throw them in jail on trumped up charges. Since Gayyoom came to power, everyone who has opposed him has been accused of outrageous crimes with most of them serving years in prison. His opponents are labelled as criminals, terrorists and Christian missionaries in the government controlled local media andto the outside world they are usually depicted as Islamic fundamentalists.
Fending off those family members who wish to succed him has required more cunning and manouvering. Infighting, nepotism and corruption among the elite has always been the cause of instability and suffering for the Maldive people. Holding over 15 cabinet posts in the government, Gayyoom and his family head most of the portfolios. This pattern continues down to distant cousins. Although not all have put in their bids to be President, most are aspiring to higher positions constantly. And Gayoom rewards and relies on them to keep the government bureaucracy in control. His younger brother Hameed has manipulated the Parliament and the people of the atolls until about an year ago, content to be a President by default if Gayoom should fall ill. According to insiders Gayoom has inimated to his nephews Hamdhoon and Midhath that they are Prime Ministerial candidates when he creates that position. Both of them hold ministers portfolios. Recently Midhath has been appointed as Ambassodor to Malaysia to spy on the large number of students there.
Although there are quite a few in the family who hope to succed him, the first to try to takeover was Illyas, his brother-in-law. After Gayoom took the oath, Ilyas was in charge of STO/Ministry of Defense/Police and various other powerful positions. He bought off senior government and military officials, and in 1993 Mr. Ilyas challenged Gayyoom in the Presidential election, which resulted in Gayyoom charging Ilyas with corruption and even of plotting to assassinate the President by Black Magic. Ilyas was sentenced in absentia, as he 'conveniently' fled the country straight after the 1993 election when Gayoom used the STO/FPID corruption case to scare him off. However, to the amazement of all Maldivians, Ilyas was pardoned after performing some vague and unheard of prayers among other things and came straight back into the cabinet in 1998 .
With his brother-in-law firmly under control, it appeared that his daughter Dunya was being groomed to take over. He made a big thing about emancipating women, appointing women as island chiefs and generally giving Dunya and women a high profile on the media.
However soon his younger brother Yameen was pushing to be president. Gayoom also needed Yameen and his gang of thugs to confront the emerging MDP. So it appeared for a while that Yameen was Gayooms chosen one. However this new move appears to point in the direction that Gayoom is grooming Ghassan the younger son as the word is that the elder son Faarish is a bit of a wierdo.
But maldivian politics are strange and even in the days of the sultanate, it was more often the case that the children did not succed their father.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

DAVID vs GOLHAABO

Golhaabo is a classical Maldivian maldivian nickname. In translation it means something like "s*#%head". Golhaabo is one of many used by some detractors and foes of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. He is the President of a small Indian Ocean island nation. He rules with absolute power over 300,000 people . His 27 year old rule has been condemned internationally for human rights abuses. Many consider Gayoom who grew up in Cairo and was educated in Islamic Studies at the Al-Azhar in Cairo to be a throwback to the old Baathist Arab dictatorships from the 1950's.
And who is David? He is a modern self-empowered person who has decided that he will be a friend to the Maldives. He heads a human rights organization, the Salisbury based Friends of Maldives. When the Tsunami hit the islands, he set up Maldives Aid, a Tsunami relief and reconstruction charity. David Hardingham and the Friends of Maldives has been accused by the Gayoom regime of working to spread Christianity in the Maldives and of working in cahoots Islamic fundamentalists.
Hardingham and his Friends of Maldives waylaid President Gayoom while he was in Geneva to give a speech to the World Health Organization. They confronted him as he got out of his car and hurled accusations of human rights abuses. Now they have done it again. David has faced Gayoom again outside the Maldivian High Commission in London and staged a protest calling for him to free detainees including Mohamed Nasheed (Anni) Chairperson of the Maldivian Democratic Party of terrorism and treason, charges which he categorically denies and for which no evidence has been supplied.
The regime supporters here in Male' are claiming that Hardingham is being detained by Scotland Yard and may even be tried on terrorism charges in the UK. Apparently the dictator was so terrorized he did not want to get out of his limousine.
David, who has been blacklisted from entering the Maldives by the government, has vowed to make every European visit for President Gayoom a nightmare - “We will follow him across every inch of Europe. Every time he steps foot in the continent, we’ll be waiting”

Monday, September 19, 2005

There is no greater love


On the 19th September 2003, in Maafushi Jail, Maldives, members of President Gayoom's National Security Service took 19 year old Evan Naseem out of his cell. They tied Evan's hands above his head and his legs to the floor in an 'X' position. Then, they took it in turns to beat Evan to death with iron rods, batons and chair legs.
In Male', hundreds of people went on a rampage , torching police stations and vehicles sending Male' was in a state of absolute chaos and mayhem. There was a riot in the jail and that the Police opened fire and killed many unarmed inmates. Some were shot in the back as they tried to flee.
The Honorable Minister of Defense Ismail Shafeeg addressing the Parliament recently admitted that it was common knowledge that people were tortured and mudered while in detention and incarceration. Not only now. It was always this way, he said.
People are tortured, murdered around the world by brutal governments. Many disappear and are never heard of again. No one knows what happened to these people. A knock onthe door inthe middle of the night.They answer the door. and they disappear forever. In Maldives we hear the announcement on the Voice of Maldives Radio and Television Maldives about people who who have escaped from detention. Do we hear about them being found? Has anyone made the count? Has anyone disappeared? Are there any buried bodies in Gaamaadhoo, Girifushi and Maafushi?

This is not the first time in Maldives that someone died at the hands of those who had sworn to protect them.What is not remarkable is that , according to witness statements suppressed by the government that the NSS officers said they were "playing a game" with Evan Naseem.
What is important is Mariyam Manike's love for her son. She refused to be silenced. Let us, on this day, pay homage to a mother's love for her murdered child. And bear witness with those mothers who have lost their children to despotic regimes around the world.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Saag paneer and the Budget Deficit: Maldivians go to the Maharajah with urgent request for help


They have a great dinner bargain but you are advised to stay away from the saag paneer. The "Sampler" for 12.95 +tax includes an appetizer, one meat dish, one vegetarian dish, nan, rice, papadum, AND even a small dessert. Waiters could be better though. But they take the corp amex. Thats what they say about the Maharaja restaurant in New York where tonight President Gayoom of the Maldives is hosting a dinner for Maldivians.
This is a kind of ritual with Gayoom. Where ever he goes he invites all maldivians living in that country so that he and his team can check them out. This time the word is that only Gayoom and his coterie are dining at the Maharaja.
Insiders say that Gayoom and his team believe that invitations would be refused by almost all Maldivians living in the Land of the free and the Home of the Brave and they do not want the humiliation of rejection. Meanwhile here in Male' people are shuddering in disgust and anger watching Gayoom like a Maharaja with his son Ghassan and daughter-in-law in the UN General Assembly meeting.
The Statesman, a respected indian newspaper is reporting that last week, two surprise guests from a neighbour in the Indian Ocean landed in Delhi with barely a days notice.They were Maldives foreign minister, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, and finance minister, Mr Qasim Ibrahim, with an urgent request - to ask for money to fix the Maldives’ budget deficit. Before they left on 8 September, India had agreed, in principle, to give Maldives a grant of about $2 million in aid.
Maybe the Indians who are now Gayoom handler's figured that $ 2 million was enough for now and refused to pick up the tab for a bigger dinner at the Maharaja Restaurant in New York.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gayoom and Kofi

Quote from: United in greed, divided it falls.
By Mark Steyn(Filed: 16/08/2005)
:
"Meanwhile, Alexander Yakovlev, a senior procurement officer for UN "peacekeeping" missions - and, if you're on a UN mission in Africa, no, he can't fix you up with a hot-looking eight-year-old from the local village; Mr Yakovlev apparently dealt with the non-child-sex aspects of UN procuring - anyway, Mr Yakovlev salted away just shy of a million bucks in kickbacks in his account in Antigua. He's just been arrested in New York and pleaded guilty to money laundering, wire fraud, etc.

Despite the current investigations into his brother, his son, his son's best friend, his former chief of staff, his procurement officer and the executive director of the UN's biggest ever programme, the Secretary-General insists he remains committed to staying on and tackling the important work of "reforming" the UN. "

From: The World’s Top Diplomat meets the Maldives’ Head Torturer.
By Fathimath Shimla, January 12, 2005
"the UN seems far happier clearing up the mess left by Gayoom’s mismanagement than changing the fundamentals of the country and pushing for democracy. UNFPA is even headed by one of Gayoom’s own children, Dunya Maumoon – what kind of signal is that to Maldivians who yearn for an end to their oppression?
Kofi Annan is the head of an organization that is supposed to represent the world. By hob-knobbing with the Maldives’ chief torturer and its corrupt politicians he has done the UN, the Maldives and democrats across the world a profound disservice "

Many Maldivians found it strange and baffling that the UN was late and lackluster in condemning the actions of President Gayoom against pro-democracy activists. After the Asian Centre for Human Rights urged the United Nations Secretary General to intervene and after many organizations like Amnesty International had condemned the actions of the Gayoom regime, Kofi did say something. But is anyone listening to Kofi?

Gayoom’s government consists of family and friends who appear to have no other obligation except to strengthen Gayoom’s position and line their own pockets. Gayoom’s family have such power that people in Maldives fear them and go out of their way to please them by any means.
Gayooms regime has banned any form of dissent, jailed pro-democracy activists and demonstrators, and his government has been accused by Amnesty International of “endemic torture and unfair trials”.
It is Gayyoom who stands in the way of reform and political pluralism from taking root in Maldives.
But Gayoom insists he remains committed to staying on and tackling the important work of "reforming" the Maldives.