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Maldives

To the outside world, the Maldives is synonymous with romantic beach tourism. But the calm azure waters of the Indian Ocean belie a conflict between tourist idyll and reality.

 

For me, it was a dream come true to be stationed in beautiful Maldives – with its small pearly islands enclosed by shining white beaches, and surrounded by waters in multiple shades of blue.  As the days went by, however, my first impression of this pristine paradise started to look murkier.

 

After losing the much delayed, nationwide local council elections to the opposition MDP-led combine, President Abdulla Yameen last out them for their ‘divided past’ and taunted them to return home to take up legal and political challenges. With this, obviously, he has also shut the doors once again on the purported peace moves aimed at an all-round ‘political solution’.

 

Former president Mohamed Nasheed's jailing in March 2015 came as a huge blow to the opposition. But like awakening sleeping giant, it sparked outrage, daily protests and international condemnation.

 

When you are from the Indian Ocean Region and you want to grab international headlines, all you have to say are a few magic words. 

 

I always get a phone call from my father reminding me of my curfew time. I am (almost) always home on time – he knows that. Yet, I get the call every night. I don’t mind the call – it’s reassuring. On the rare nights that he doesn’t call, I complain that he doesn’t too.

 

Saudi King Salman has postponed his trip to the Maldives indefinitely.

 

One of the most positive aspects of my Islamic upbringing in the Maldives was that I did not have to learn about the concept of Original Sin. From subsequent reading and exploring the fundamental parameters of the religion at more depth, I still continue to believe that evil and sin are portrayed as transient conditions in Islam. It is temporary and as such, it is more about what people do rather than what they are.

 

*Aishath Mohamed, a 25-year-old woman from the island of Kulhudhufushi in Haa Dhaal atoll, recalls her first visit to the capital. She was 12 years old, excited to compete in the national Quran recital competition. But on her first night in Malé, in a cramped room with four teenage boys and a girl, Aishath was woken up to the biggest shock of her young life.

 

“Pretending that we have to choose between the economy and the environment is as harmful as it is wrong” – Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister.

 


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