| Main | News | Dhivehi | Editorials | Opinions | Open Forum |About Maldives |Downloads |About us | Links | 09 December 2005 07:48
Paris Principles made sacrificial lamb
By firstname.lastname@example.org 09/03/04
Over the years, Gayyoom has exhibited an uncanny ability and a cynical willingness to use religion to thwart democracy and freedom in the Maldives and get his own way in the affairs of the nation, be it to jail the religious rightists, to assume judicial powers, to stifle public discussion of the corruption of his family and friends, to kill rumors of his son’s peccadilloes, to tailor-make the constitution, or to prosecute his opponents on trumped up charges of drinking alcohol; but with the recent circus organized in the name of a human rights workshop, inviting UN agencies and eminent guest speakers, he has surpassed even himself, and has much reason to be smug. Two birds with one stone, he must have thought: pulling wool over the eyes of the UN agencies, lulling them into believing he is doing something genuine, while all the time really creating hatred among his Muslim citizens against human rights and the Paris Principles. How did he pull this double coup?
After MDP press releases and newsletters have made the human rights document a household word among the Maldivian intelligentsia, the Paris Principles must have been Gayyoom's public enemy number one, giving him nightmares in his sleep and haunting his waking hours. He must have really taken time to think and plan a good strategy. As it turned out, this public circus organized in the form of a ‘Workshop on Human Rights and the Paris Principles’, held with the ostensible objective of informing and educating officials and senior functionaries in the private sector on human rights issues and principles, was the perfect setting he carefully chose for smothering all hopes of human rights in the near future. Gayyoom even went to the extent of inviting Professor Brian Burdekin, one of the authors of the original document and giving publicity to the fact. The unsuspecting Professor had no idea that he was the sacrificial lamb.
The game plan was simple, terse and deadly. Gayyoom's fully briefed hardcore supporters were there in numbers to divert the discussion to controversial areas and exploit the basic fear that he knows (actually Gayyoom had nurtured these fears over the years) some uneducated people have about Human Rights being a Christian idea designed to subvert Islam. Deliberate questions were raised about opening churches and conversion, sexual rights and Shari'a law, all designed to enrage the unsuspecting audience and creating a rift between human rights and Islam. The agents provocateurs made full use of the tea breaks to start whisper campaigns with sarcastic remarks such as, “It appears everything will be OK if we build a church,” or “Be happy, soon you can marry same sex and have orgies in Majeedee Magu.” These remarks had the planned effect on the elderly ladies and senior citizens.
However, most educated Maldivians were not fooled by the drama. They are very aware that human rights are not about Christianity or conversion. They are aware that human rights are the keystone of true peace and stability for the country, based on freedom from political harassment and arbitrary arrests and torture, while having the choice to elect honest leaders.
end................send your comments to email@example.com
© Dhivehi Observer 2004