The Problem with Conflict of Interest

mmprc

MMPRC; the face of state enabled corruption involving billions of MVR – Source: Haveeru Daily

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.”

In the current political environment of the country, it is interesting to note just how many people who can actually make a difference, sit back & watch all because, yes, all because of ‘conflict of interest’.

While these groups of people are busy protecting whatever interests that they see fit, the government of the day is protecting their interests as well. The interests that brings in tons of money – all illegal of course, that would fatten up their coffers, leaving us hanging dry.

The aspect that scares me the most is the lawlessness that prevails and finds its footing in a society that refuses to see it for what it is. The educated and the intellects sitting back to watch the dirt unfold all because they refuse to get their hands contaminated by wading into the muck is one of the many reasons why Maldives has taken such a dangerous turn today.

The recent murder in Hithadhoo is one that should be fresh on our minds. But I wonder whether it is. Becoming desensitized enough to say, ‘oh, murder!’ and move on is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. At the time of writing this article, police has arrested a suspect in connection to this heinous murder of a father, a beloved man in a community where men are scarce and few, having to abandon their homes, families, wives and children to go seek employment elsewhere in the luxury resorts that are scattered all across the country.

Our institutions that should safeguard the people remain indebted to those in power. Bound by the laws of corruption which most are guilty of. The fact that the public at large actually believe that everyone is corrupt to an extent, that it is an accepted norm in society scares the perhaps idealistic soul in me. The 2015 survey that was conducted by Transparency Maldives on the matter of public perception of government institutions speaks volumes.

Why can’t we see wrong for wrong and condemn it? Why can’t we denounce the politicians who see it fit to benefit off of the tons of money that comes into the country year in and year out and question whatever scraps they throw our way, perhaps an air conditioning unit or two or a  paved road that would not see the light of maintenance for years to come, or the money that changes hands from the First Lady to that of a public who are struggling to make ends meet?

Look at countries like Mexico, the crime hub of Central America or North as some put it, a country famous for its lawlessness, mob infused life, drug cartels reigning over entire territories. Do you really think that Maldives can afford to walk along the same lines? Because believe it or not, we are traveling in that very direction and are already seeing the emergence of elements that attests to this fact. The indomitable United States of America is faced with the fact that their borders haven’t prevented the escalating levels of crime from spilling over onto their side.

Disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan is such a case that indicates the dangerous path the country is traversing upon. 575 days it has been, filled with negligence from the authorities, the parliament turning away from the matter altogether, and law enforcement agencies blatantly confronting the family and friends who have been seeking answers since then.

Mexico didn’t happen overnight. It took years of negligence, looking the other way, deep rooted corruption & not to mention, the intellects refusing to stand up for fear of meddling with affairs of ‘conflict of interest’ that led them to where they are today. From the public that is caught in the middle, those who can afford to leave, flee. The rest, they have no choice but to deal with the hand that they have been dealt with, adjust to the life of crime or join the foray into which they have been born into.

Not everyone is cut out for activism. No. Neither will everyone be equally passionate about putting the country to rights. Most just live for the day. As long as their lives are on track, as long as they can watch the English Premier League on weekends in the comfort of their homes & watch their family thrive in a cocoon filled with a false sense of security, that is all that matters.

But a scandal like the one that Maldives is currently facing, a money laundering scheme on top of large sums of state funds being siphoned off by higher ups in the government; these are the instances that defines a nation’s future. These are the big game changers, effects of which will last for generations. Refusing or unwilling to stand up and do your bit today to put things to right is ensuring that the regime of the day wins in whatever plans they have in store for themselves. And mark my words. They are NOT looking out for the interests of the people they’ve been ‘elected’ to govern. Never have they been.

The scandal that the national tourism office of Maldives, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) is involved in, corruption amounting in the billions; the fact that the entire judiciary has been hijacked, the bitter truth that the parliament belongs to the regime and the undeniable reality that free media is barely thriving under the stifling control that the regime is slowly exerting on it speaks volumes of the future Maldivians are going to be living in. It is more than high time that the educated intellectuals and the colorless of the society thought about these things and acted upon them. Time that the color prejudices be left behind. Yellow, pink, red or green – all this eventually falls back on us. Because this is the moment that is irrevocably defining our collective future.

worstilliterate

Source: Pinterest.com

The educated might think that they can always migrate and move elsewhere. That the education they have will always take them places. One question I have for them is whether they really think that with the current refugee and migration crisis that has come to the forefront in the world is going to make it easy for countries to accept more foreigners onto their soil? With the anti-immigrant rhetoric that is echoing loudly across the world, the entire face of the global world is changing – and changing fast. It is up to us to make our home a habitable one, a bearable one, one that future generations; our children can live in without falling into the pitfall in the making today.

A prime example of what I am talking about unfolded recently in the United States itself; the toxic water disaster and scandal that befell on the Michigan city of Flint, having led President Barack Obama to declare a federal emergency over the crisis. Many saw what was happening. Few spoke up. End result has been lead poisoning that could cause debilitating health conditions, stunted growth in children and eventually untimely deaths – all which could have been avoided had the people been more proactive.

Today, those who can leave have upped and left to other parts of the country. Those who cannot afford to do so, have been left behind to make do with whatever it is they are left with. The institution of public trust over the state government has been lost. A couple of millions of dollars in compensation doesn’t help in the longer scheme of things.

So, do your bit. Help out. Even in the littlest things. It can make a huge difference along the way. None of this is going to be easy. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be proactive. Try. Speak of the truth – it would make a difference. If you are in a “sensitive” position in terms of the government, enlist help of people who can get the truth out there. Don’t become a tool that parrots the lies and half truths of a government that is beyond all rational hope.

As Muslims, fearing anyone else more than Allah Almighty, whom you’d be answerable to on the Day of Judgement is foolhardy at best. That is exactly where we go wrong. That is exactly what needs to change if we want to transform our nation and make a good difference in anything in this godforsaken country of ours.

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Independent Enquiry, Elections & a CLEAN Judiciary Please!

So, I woke up today to the uproarious headlines on Sun newspaper that reports on a DJ which was held at Dharubaaruge which was  interrupted by the Maldives Police Service (maybe they should tweet about it once they are done). Of course this would be an activity sponsored and participated in by none other than the anti-Islamic elements in the society which somehow ONLY belong within the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), now wouldn’t it? As usual, people on Facebook who believe in the December 23rd Alliance were up and about, “screaming” their outrage on the top of their lungs, trying to get the attention they deserve, to try and drive home the point that they were right all along.

Being the sarcastic person that I am of course, I couldn’t help but voice my thoughts on the matter. It is not the first time in the Maldives that an event of this nature (a DJ) has taken place. Nor will it be the last unless of course the December 23rd Alliance comes into power and the Taliban law overrides the constitution of the country which I pray doesn’t happen. I still remember when I was in my teens, just how much of an effort most of my friends put into, to deceive their parents and go mingle in parties that would allow them to mix with the opposite sex and to dance the night away in the arms of the boy that they were currently crushing on. That was in the early 90’s, and I know the situation must have doubled ten times over by now.

We the Maldivians have been burying our heads in the sand for quite sometime, ignoring the rising elements within our society that have their own ideas when it comes to their beliefs or non-beliefs towards Islam. The generation that now makes up the youth of this society never had the opportunity to receive proper Islamic teachings during their Secondary and High School education which makes up for the most important time period during which a student needs to receive the right information in order to come to the right conclusion. I still remember the days when I was in Grade 10 in Aminiya School and the Islam teacher who is now an active member of the People’s Alliance party (PA) used to talk about the concepts of Tawheed on the basis that we never talk about it outside of the school. Ordering teachers not to talk about certain elements of the religion was how President Maumoon wanted students to receive information about Islam which today is the tool that is being used by the same bunch of cronies to divide us further.

Ever since the incidents that took place on February 7, 2012, something inside of me just refuses to back down. I have received well-meaning “messages” from friends who thinks I am going in the wrong direction, and I know that I am not very popular amongst most of my friends for expressing my belief that people SHOULD get the right to vote, the right to democracy and the right to a judiciary that is able, capable and not riddled with the elements of corruption.

It is indeed a lonely road that a man takes when he/she stands firm in something they believe in and I find at the moment that my true friends are few and far in between. I have taken to hanging out on Twitter, exchanging ideas with likeminded people of the belief that yes, what took place on February 7th was unconstitutional, and yes, we the people should get the right to choose our leader through ballots and not the force of bullets. And verdicts passed out by the Kangaroo Courts of the Maldives since then certainly drove home the point of the inept judiciary operating within this country.

So my criticism goes out to those who rally behind the “holy” December 23rd Alliance (which I have to add is backed and funded by the most corrupt and affluent businessmen of this country) who are so darn sure of the probability of beating Nasheed in an election that would test and prove to the Maldivians that the majority of the people are behind them and want what they are calling out for! If through a free and fair election they manage to do that, I of course would accept it without question.

I cannot fathom the reason as to what is keeping them from going on to prove their claims and back it up with solid proof of their popularity. Some of my theories on the matter includes their  inflated COMBINED ego perhaps? Or the simple fact that there might not be as many supporters behind them as they might think? Or the sheer number of people that rally behind President Nasheed, even when the rest of the political parties and ideologies in the country with the blessing of the “religious” scholars try to prove the ineptness of the ousted President? Or the fact that Maldivians are not as “dumb” as they might think, and that we ARE able to form our own opinions based on the facts presented to us from the various news papers & channels with the Gossip channels included?

In my opinion the fact that they are so reluctant to hold elections just goes to show how fickle a lot they really are. Hiding behind and promoting the slogan of “peace and togetherness in the country” when it was they themselves who in the first place created this insurmountable divide between Maldivians. Kudos to a job well done. Pat yourselves on the back because you truly have got what you wanted out of this mess in which we the citizens have to fight every inch of the way to drive home the point that “WE WANT ELECTIONS”. And if that makes us anti-Islamic, if that makes us the ones who are deaf, dumb & blind, so be it!

I for one will continue to stand by my decision of wanting an independent enquiry, of wanting free and fair elections and wanting a CLEAN judiciary to serve our needs for all time to time.

To Whomever It May Concern

Somebody, please find out which university our current Home Minister got his PHD/Masters/Bachelors Degree from and send them a request to teach their students better ENGLISH to save us and themselves from further humiliation.

It is such an embarrassment to people who have their own thinking caps on, who knows the language & knows what it means when a string of words are put together to form sentences, which then form paragraphs which in turn forms the statement.

Furthermore, I urge Jameel to get a good dictionary and spend a couple of minutes everyday to learn a new word so that he may never misguide those who do not know what is actually happening.

Or Ms. Azima herself can take up the task of tutoring Jameel which would at least give us the “hope” that Jameel would be able to understand and translate an English document to Dhivehi better than what he did last night.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Someone from Maldives who loves the English language

Shock Waves..

In the realm of the waves that keep rocking our boat to n fro..
I sit back seemingly unaffected..
Yet I ponder.. as to where this may all lead..
Knowing that doesn’t help at all..
Yet unable to do more..