Saturday, September 29, 2007

Maldives facing the ugly beast of terrorism

This is a sad day for Maldivians. The ugly beast of terror has appeared here, in our own country, which we like to label as peaceful and tranquil.

Idhikeeli condemns the act of terrorism that occurred in Sultan Park on September 29. Our sympathies are with the injured tourists and their families. We wish the injured guests a speedy recovery.

It is a sad day and words fail us. However, it is not easy to analyse what happened without hundreds of words. It is important to go back to a November night in 1978 when a pistol-carrying band of terrorists came to power in the Maldives, and how their ridiculous policies have created violence, hatred and extremism in our community.

It is easy to point fingers and blame. It is easy to say that those who have been urging a boycott of tourism should be responsible for what happened in addition to the perpetrators of this crime. Let there be a distinction made that those who were promoting a boycott were not advocating an entire boycott of tourism but a selective boycott. They were advocating for a boycott of selective resorts belonging to the cronies of the regime. Those who were promoting this boycott had highly debatable standards and procedures when it came to selecting the resorts and removing the resorts from the boycott list. But let us not forget that it was a selective boycott.

We don't see any link between the boycott and what happened on September 29. But we see too many links between what happened on that November night in 1978 and what happened on Saturday.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Wear red today to show support for Burma's peaceful protests

The biggest threat to the military junta in Burma has come when thousands of monks and other people supporting freedom started marching peacefully against the military rule. Today (Friday, September 28) people are wearing red shirts or red dresses worldwide to show their support for the peaceful protests in Burma. The event is organized through a Facebook group.

Like Maldivians the people of Burma are also suffering under a brutal dictatorship. Show that Maldivians care about the people of Burma by wearing red today. We are promoting this event through our Facebook group Idhikeeli Maldives.

Join a worldwide campaign to show support for the cause of freedom in Burma. Wear red today and upload a picture of yourself to the Red Shirt for Burma Picture Group to show your support.

You can also upload photos to the Red Shirt for Burma Flickr pool.
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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Vigil held to remember torture victim and stand up against torture

A vigil to remember torture victim Eavan Naseem and raise voices against torture was held in the night of September 19 in Male'. The event was initiated by Idhikeeli and supported by people against torture.

In the night of September 19, 2003, at the young age of 19, Eavan Naseem, an inmate of Maafushi Jail in the Maldives, was brutally beaten to death by prison guards of NSS. His death caused riots in prison next day and NSS shot prisoners killing and wounding inmates. On September 20, Male' went into a riot and brought the birth of a pro-democracy movement.

The event was primarily promoted through Facebook. We created an event at Facebook on September 14. Within just six days the event was one of the most popular in the Maldives network of Facebook. When the event began at 9.00 pm 87 people had confirmed to attend, and 72 people indicated that they might attend. The number of people not attending the event remained at 360 and 660 people had not replied. More than 1,100 people were invited within six days with the support of Facebook users and admins of Facebook groups. When the event was created there were close to 5,000 members in the Maldives network in Facebook. The number of people not attending and the number of people who were invited included those not in the country.

Because of the repressive nature of police, the number of people who indicated they were not attending and those who did not respond in either way do not truly reflect the support for such an event.

However, relatively few people turned up for the vigil. This has been criticised by one Facebook user who says the people are indifferent to torture prevailing in the country.

We did not give a specific location for the event but requested the people to sit on the seawall around Male' at any location they wanted. Most people turned up at the southeast corner of Male' which is a popular gathering point for reformists. The time of the event was from 9.00 pm to midnight.

Several pro-democracy activists participated including Aishath Aniya and Jennifer Latheef. Eavan's mother Mariyam Manike participated in the vigil to remember her son.

We requested bloggers to cover this event and photographers to upload photos to Flickr. One Flickr user has uploaded two photos of the event including one of Mariyam Manike sitting on the seawall.

The event went peacefully. There were police vans circling around and at one point they inquired what was going on. However, there were no confrontations. A heavy downpour later could have affected some of the activities planned. We had encouraged groups of participants to come up with their own creative ideas for the event which we called an "open source event."

This event is a success and we plan to have the same event next year with more people and new activities to mark 9/19.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Vigil to be held in Male' to remember torture victim Eavan Naseem

In the night of September 19, 2003, at the young age of 19, Eavan Naseem, an inmate of Maafushi Jail in the Maldives, was brutally beaten to death by prison guards of NSS. His death caused riots in prison next day and NSS shot prisoners killing and wounding inmates. On September 20, Male' went into a riot and brought the birth of a pro-democracy movement.

To remember the death of Eavan Naseem, we are organising a vigil for the night of September 19 this year. People can sit on the seawall around Male' (thoshigandu) in Boduthakurufaanu Magu from 9 pm to 12 am. There is no specific point. You can sit on the seawall at a location close to your home or any area you prefer. This is a peaceful vigil. You can bring candles if you want. You can wear t-shirts bearing messages if you want. You don't have to continue the vigil from 9 pm to 12 am. It is okay even if you join anytime in between and leave before 12 pm.

We need the help of photographers to take photos and upload to your Flickr accounts. You can also take video clips and upload to YouTube. This is not a political event. This is an event organised because we are against torture. Standing up against torture means you are supporting humanity.

This event has been primarily promoted through Facebook. Visit this event's page at Facebook and join, and invite all your Facebook friends.

This is an "open source event". Like open source software to which you can add plugins and extensions and modify the source code to make it better. Those attending can add new flavours to the event such as banners and t-shirts. You can get an old t-shirt and write on it using a permanent marker. This is cheaper but effective. Be creative with what you write. You can also go there in your evening dresses and shirts/-t-shirts. What is important is to sit on seawall to show that you are against torture. You don't have to spend a dime for the event if you don't want to do it.

This event is a non-violent and peaceful action. We will follow internationally accepted guidelines for non-violent action. Participants can read a guideline (in Dhivehi language) from the website of Gaumataka Movement.

We request all bloggers to promote this event in their blogs. Give a link to the Facebook event page from your blogs. Write a blog post about the event both before and after the event.

Start sending SMS to your friends about the event. Something like "Sit on seawall (thoshigandu) around Male' in Boduthakurufaanu Magu in the night of 19 September, between 9 pm and 12 am, and join a vigil to mark the 4th anniversary of killing of Eavan Naseem. Raise your voice against torture".

We have been asked why we are holding a vigil to mark the killing of Eavan Naseem. We have been asked why he is so special. Here are our replies.

Eavan was not special. He was just one among many of our youth lured into drugs by the regime, and ended up in prison. He was one among many who were tortured. What made his name a household name was the fact that the Maldivian public saw bruises and injuries on his body. They realised that torture is not just another allegation and that it was the dark reality. We are not trying to elevate Eavan to a cult hero status. We are marking the day he was killed, to say loudly that we do not support torture. Eavan was a victim of circumstances like so many of us. He may not have lived an exemplary life. But he was a torture victim. And he was a human being.

Eavan was not special. He was just another ordinary young boy from an ordinary family. His neighbourhood (Red Line City) has seen many of their youth end up in prison. Two other young people from that neighbourhood (Aishath Sudha and Ali Shahir) were also tortured and killed in prison. Eavan need not be special. The bruises on his body caused a collective conscience to say "It is enough!". When we sit on the seawall we will be showing solidarity with families of all torture victims. Eavan's photos are symbols of all of them. Eavan's story is their story.

Eavan was not the only one who was tortured in Maldives. Visit the website of Association for Prevention of Torture and Ill-Treatment in the Maldives to find out more about torture in the Maldives.
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Friday, September 14, 2007

British PR consultant continues to be an apologist for Gayoom

Minivan News has published our Letter to Editor expressing our thoughts on the outrageous comments made by British PR consultant Mr Nic Careem about the affairs of Maldives. Mr Careem has replied and his defensive letter once again shows he is an apologist for Gayoom, who he calls Dr Gayoom.

Chronology of events:

September 5, 2007: Minivan News publishes a news saying British company Blue Sky Network (founded by Mr Careem) denied running PR campaign for Gayoom.

September 9, 2007: A person with the pseudonym IM sends a Letter to Editor to Minivan News, saying Mr Careem gave undue credit to former foreign minister Dr Shaheed during Friends of Live Earth Concert held in Maldives in July.

September 10, 2007: Mr Nic Careem sends a Letter to Editor to Minivan News, defending promoting Dr Shaheed. He also said "The truth is the Maldives is, compared to many countries in the region, relatively well off with one of the highest GDP's in the region, with literacy levels on par with more developed countries and a healthcare and penal system as good as anything in the western world."

September 11, 2007: Idhikeeli sends a Letter to Editor to Minivan News in which we gave counter arguments for Mr Nic Careem's outrageous remarks.

Torture victim Abdullah Mahir, who has received political asylum in UK, responds to Mr Nic Careem, in an open letter to Mr Careem published in Minivan News. Mahir criticizes Mr Careem for comparing the healthcare system in the Maldives to that of NHS.

September 12, 2007: Mr Nic Careem replies in a Letter to Editor to Minivan News in which he continues to be an apologist for Gayoom. His response shows either his utter ignorance about the affairs of the Maldives or his willingness to intentionally ignore what is happening in the Maldives.

September 13, 2007: Ali Sameeu sends a Letter to Editor to Minivan News in which he questions why Mr Nic Careem was addressing Maldives president as Dr Gayoom.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

ވޯޓު އޮޅުވާލީމާ ޖެހޭނީ މުޒާހިރާ ކުރަން

އޮގަސްޓް 18 ވަނަ ދުވަހު ރާއްޖޭގައި ނެގި އާންމު ފެންނަ ނުފެންނަ ވޯޓުގައި ސަރުކާރުން މަކަރު ހަދައި އޮޅުވާލާފައިވާ ކަމަށް ގަބޫލުކުރެވޭ ކިތަންމެ ސަބަބެއް އެބަހުއްޓެވެ. އިދިކީލި ގްރޫޕްގެ ފަރާތުން މަސައްކަތް ކުރަމުން އައީ ރާއްޖެއަށް ތިންބާރު ވަކިވެފައިވާ ރިޔާސީ ނިޒާމެއް ގެނައުމަށެވެ. ނަމަވެސް އެމަގުސަދު ހާސިލުކުރަން ބޭނުންވީ އޮޅުވާލާފައިވާ ވޯޓަކުންނެއް ނޫނެވެ. ވޯޓު އޮޅުވާލުމަކީ ވަރަށް ބޮޑު ކުށެކެވެ. އެކަމުގައި ބައިވެރިވި ހުރިހާ ފަރާތްތައް އަދުލު އިންސާފުގެ ކުރިމައްޗަށް ގެންނަން ޖެހޭނެއެވެ. އަދި ވޯޓު އޮޅުވާލުމާއި ދެކޮޅަށް އެމްޑީޕީ އިން ކުރި މުޒާހިރާއަށް ތަރުހީބު ދެމެވެ. އަދި އިތުރު މުޒާހިރާ ވެސް ކުރާނެ ކަމަށް އުއްމީދު ކުރަމެވެ. އެމްޑީޕީ އިން އޮގަސްޓް 18 ވަނަ ދުވަހުގެ ކުރިން ކެމްޕޭން ކުރަމުން އައީ ވަރަށް ވެސް ހަޑި މުޑުދާރު ގޮތަކަށެވެ. އެއީ ރައްޔިތުންނަށް އޮޅުވާލާފައި ރިޔާސީ ނިޒާމާއި ބަރުލަމާނީ ނިޒާމު ކިޔާދެމުން ދިޔައީއެވެ. މިފަދަ އޮޅުވާލުންތައް އެހެން ބައެއް ސިޔާސީ ޕާޓީތަކުން ވެސް ބޭނުންކުރިއެވެ. އިދިކީލި އަކީ އެއްވެސް ސިޔާސީ ޕާޓީއެއްގެ މައުތު ޕީސް އެއް ނޫނެވެ. ސިޔާސީ ޕާޓީތަކުގެ ހަޑިމުޑުދާރު ކަންތައް ހާމަކުރަމުން ގެންދާނަމެވެ. އަދި ވަކިން ހާއްސަކޮށް ރައްޔިތުންނަށް އިސްލާހު ގެނެސްދިނުމުގެ ނަމުގައި އޮޅުވާލާ އޮޅުވާލުންތައް ހާމަކުރާނަމެވެ. އަހަރެމެންގެ ކުރިމަތީގައި ދެން އޮތީ ރިޔާސީ ނިޒާމެއްގެ އަސާސީ ސިފަތައް ގާނޫނު އަސާސީގައި ބަޔާންކުރޭތޯ ޔަގީން ކުރުމެވެ. ރާއްޖެއަށް ތިންބާރު ވަކިވެފައިވާ ނިޒާމެއް ގެނައުމުގެ މަސައްކަތް ނިމުނު ވޯޓާއި ހަމައިން ނިމުނީއަކީ ނޫނެވެ. އެމަސައްކަތް އަދި ކިރިޔާ ފެށުނީއެވެ. ރިޔާސީ ނިޒާމެއްގައި ރާއްޖޭގައި އޮންނަން ޖެހޭނެ ކަމަށް ފެންނަ އަސާސީ ސިފަތައް ވަރަށް އަވަހަށް ހާމަކުރާނަމެވެ. މިސިފަތައް ގާނޫނު އަސާސީގައި ބަޔާންކުރުވުމަށް ރައްޔިތުންގެ ހާއްސަ މަޖިލީހުގެ މެންބަރުންނަށް ޕްރެޝަރ ކުރުމުގައި ތިޔަ ފަރާތްތަކުގެ އެއްބާރުލުން ލިބޭނެ ކަމަށް އުއްމީދު ކުރަމެވެ.

ވޯޓު އޮޅުވާލާފައިވާ ކަމަށް އެމްޑީޕީ އިން ދައްކާ ހެކިތައް

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