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An alternative view point: Whose opportunity is this anyway?
By Fathimath Rasheedha, Wednesday 11th August 2004
Current events here in Male' are creating an environment of unease and insecurity for all residents in this tiny island. Many may find jubilations in what they view as a simple recreational event to enjoy their evenings, but the hidden political agenda of the few who must have initiated it is becoming very obvious.
Before I comment on the mass gathering of people near the Tetra pod Monument let me applaud the unique and innovativeness of this idea. I doubt any of the government advisors may have foreseen such a deliberate and clever interpretation of the president's July 19th message. For me this was a very Dhivehi act. After all a significant number of residents and visitors to Male' visit Lonuziyaaraith Kolhu at least once or twice every single day. So many ordinary people who may otherwise not attend such a mass gathering may just happen to travel in that area at that time! And they may have to stop and wait or perhaps talk to others to find out why the road is blocked! Or why there are so many people here! For me, this was the best part of the idea.
Having said that let me express my unequivocal condemnation of any effort of any kind on the part of any person who intends to disrupt our way of life and the security that we enjoy on the streets of Male'.
I believe mass gatherings should have a clear objective which is known to all who take part. Clear indicators should be set on what is acceptable and what is not in these meetings. Otherwise there could be chaos which may lead to fights, lootings and ultimately civil disobedience and, god forbid a war. The above needs to be done to safe guard the integrity of the reformers. It would be very easy for a government backed mob to infiltrate such gatherings and change an atmosphere of laughter, debate and serious discussion into a bloody fight which may have far worse consequences than anyone could foresee. It would be in anti reformers advantage to disrupt a peaceful gathering in such a manner.
So it is justifiable to argue that the reformers are walking a very fine line. I only hope that the masses will have the patience to listen to the reform activists when emotions run high. The government should do their constitutional duty to ensure such gatherings could be peacefully held and dismissed. If riots break out that would most certainly be the end of life in Male' as we know it. Lonuziyaaraith kolhu will no longer be the get away for brisk walks and exercises, or to indulge a kurumba or chew a bilehgadu, or to simply sit down and watch the peaceful waves gently hitting the tetra pod walls.
History tells us that such mass gatherings often lead to cruel, inhumane and very sorry endings. Surely the reformers would not want history to draw parallels between them and the Havaru that beat up our first president to death. On the same token, the president would most certainly not want to be labelled by world media as using the same old cruel and hard tactics that the former regime used on the infamous Bodu and Kuda Buraasfathi days.
It is in the interest of all the stake holders that a peaceful ending be resolved for the current political crisis. The general public would most probably excuse the reformers if their emotions over come their wisdom given the fact that they have been subjected to economic hardship and dictatorship for over a quarter of a century. However, the government is always expected to do what is right and just no matter what the situation is. That is the norm of politics. And so I cannot wonder but identify the current crisis as yet another opportunity for the president to do what is right and just for his people. Only time will tell who made better use of this crisis and why!
© Dhivehi Observer 2004