First they came for Sun Travel Siyam

First they came for Sun Travel Siyam. They arrested him while he was in Kudafari, his native island, on a campaign visit. The trial was swift. They dug a pit in front of the mosque Siyam had built on the island. The orange-coloured mosque. As the setting sun’s rays fell on the minaret of the mosque, the inhabitants of Kudafari threw a thousand small stones at Siyam, who was already half-buried in the pit. As blood oozed from his head, the last sounds Siyam heard were the muezzin’s call for prayer, echoing from the minaret of the mosque he had built. As he was buried in a shower of stones, Siyam’s last thoughts were how he had empowered them, through his media outlets, through his newspaper, SunFM Radio and his TV channel.

Then they came for Champa Afeef. He was arrested at the airport, while trying to flee on a private jet to Norway. The trial was swift. He was tied to a steel pole at the airport. As the knife’s blade fell on his head, the last sound he heard was a TMA seaplane taking off. His last thoughts were how DhiTV and DhiFM had empowered them.

Then they came for Crown Nazeer. He was arrested while trying to board a dhoni to Eydhafushi, disguised as a farmer. The trial was swift. They tied him to the mast of the big flag in Jumhooree Maidhan. After the Friday prayers thousands gathered to watch as an MNDF Sergeant leveled an AK-47 to Nazeer’s head. The last sounds he heard were thousands of people chanting “Kill, Kill!” as a flock of birds escaped the square in terror.

Then they came for Waheed Deen. He was arrested at Bandos while trying to board a speedboat to Kuda Bandos, disguised as an Indian trader. The trial was swift. The former Vice President’s body was buried in Bandos Island Resort in a similar manner the first President of the Republic, Mohamed Amin Didi, was buried in Vihamanafushi, present-day Kurumuba Village. The ceremony was discrete, and not a single staff of Bandos was allowed to be present.

Then they came for Qasim. He was arrested at Paradise Island. The trial was swift. He sobbed as he recalled the millions he had spent to empower them. He told the judge about the fishing boat he gave to Sheikh I and his contribution to the studies of Sheikh S in Malaysia. The judge listened sympathetically but passed the sentence as he had been instructed. The judge wanted a different kind of paradise than the resort island he was at that moment. Qasim’s last thoughts were that he would never be able to take the young girl from Goma Group as his fourth wife.

The next week, President of the Republic, Sheikh S, appeared on National Television and made some important announcements. Sun Travel Siyam’s media conglomerate was to be nationalized. Liquor was banned from all tourist resorts in Maldives. “We are moving towards the final frontier of implementing Sharia in Maldives,” Sheikh S announced triumphantly, as thousands of Maldivians watched him on HD TV sets.

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Conditions for a Coup

An excerpt from The Anti-Coup by Gene Sharp and Bruce Jenkins

When are coups likely to occur?

In some countries an internal coup is unthinkable, as in Norway and Switzerland, for example. Some conditions tend to impede coups. Where democratic constitutional procedures exist, are respected, and provide for peaceful institutionalized means to resolve internal conflicts, to change governments, and to hold government officials accountable, a coup d’état will be less likely. If the groups capable of conducting a coup—as the army—believe in democratic processes and respect the limits that have been placed on their authority, they are unlikely to attempt a coup. They may instead exert self-restraint, believing that it would be wrong to stage a coup.

The social structure of the society is also influential in determining whether a coup d’état is likely to happen. Where the civil, non-state, institutions of the society are strong and democratically controlled, and military institutions and anti-democratic political parties are in comparison weaker, a coup is not likely to occur.

Where the society works together in relative harmony a coup is not likely. That situation, however, is rare and is not required to prevent a coup. If the internal problems are at least of limited severity and can be dealt with by institutionalized and other peaceful procedures, a coup is less likely. Or, if acute conflicts are present but are conducted nonviolently instead of by internal violence, the stage will not be set for a coup by a group that promises to end internal violence and to restore law and order. Where politicians seek to serve the society and avoid corruption, one “justification” for a coup will be removed.

On the other hand, when those conditions are not present, the society may be vulnerable to coups. The roots of democratic political systems may be shallow or eroded. The government may be seen as illegitimate, and there may be widespread dissatisfaction with its performance. Perhaps it may be charged with incompetence, corruption, or indecisiveness in times of crisis. Confidence in the capacity of democratic procedures to remedy the situation may be widely lacking, and in some cases there may be no agreed procedures for succession of governments.

The civil non-state institutions of the society—voluntary institutions of many types, political parties, independent educational institutions, religious bodies, trade unions, and many other types— may be weak or nearly non-existent. Also, the general population may lack significant participation in the political system. Consequently, there would be no groups and institutions capable of opposing a seizure of the state apparatus.

The society may have very serious internal problems associated with violence. Serious social unrest, acute economic problems, sharp political conflicts, or internal violence and assassinations may make the major parts of the society willing to accept a new strong government which promises to act to “restore order” and to end the crisis.

Unfavorable economic conditions, interacting with political factors, may make a society vulnerable to coups, and it has been argued that lack of diversification in exports and excessive dependency on a variable international market for exports can create conditions in which a coup is likely.5

At times, individuals, powerful groups, a dictatorial party, or a military clique may simply lust for power and domination—with or without the guise of noble objectives.6

Such conditions do not necessarily produce a coup, however. Even when conditions for a coup may be favorable and the potential putschists lack self-restraint, they may not make the attempt because it would likely fail. This propensity to failure may derive from several sources. Important sections of the military personnel, the police, and the civil servants, as well as lower levels of government, may be viewed as unsupportive of a coup and likely to resist the attempt. The independent institutions of the society may be inclined to oppose the coup and are strong enough to act powerfully against it.

The ability of these possible opponents of a coup to act powerfully against a coup attempt can significantly influence the decision of potential coup-makers about whether to make the attempt or not. If a society is likely to resist firmly an attempted takeover, a coup is less likely to occur.

Those who attempt a coup must be able to assume that once they have seized power they will encounter minimal resistance from the bureaucracy and the populace. In societies where the masses are politically mobilized, involved, and powerful, this assumption cannot be made.7

Support for coups

The basic prerequisite of a coup is that the putschists’ organizational and repressive forces are believed to be more powerful than the other institutions and forces of the society. In short, civil society is weaker than the military forces. Indeed, in many countries, the military forces have been in recent decades expanded to be by far the strongest institution of the whole society. These military forces have often been turned against the very society and population on which their existence has depended and which they were supposed to defend. Such a military coup is more likely if the soldiers are more loyal to their officers than they are to the democratic government.

If the coup is instead an executive usurpation (sometimes called a “self-coup”8), it is necessary that the combined governmental civil bodies and military forces assisting the takeover are more powerful than the civil institutions of the society. Instead, the coup may be one conducted by a disciplined political party with its own paramilitary forces. The party’s supporters may also at times operate from key ministries in a coalition government or with support from significant sections of the military and police. To succeed, that party must be more able to act than are other sections of the society which might oppose the takeover. In some situations, agents of a foreign government may assist internal political or military groups in carrying out a coup.

In past coups, supporters of political freedom have often been silent and have passively submitted. This does not mean that when a coup attempt succeeds that the general population favored it. In many cases the population may be actually opposed, but does not know what to do. A civil war against the military forces and their allies—a war which democrats would certainly lose—has understandably inspired few. Believers in constitutional procedures and social justice have usually not known how else a coup backed by the military forces could be defeated.

Without serious preparations for an anti-coup defense, a lasting democratic system is very doubtful in many countries, especially in those with a history of coups. Even in countries that have achieved a relatively democratic political situation, anti-coup measures are important despite public statements of innocent intentions by those individuals and groups that are capable of conducting a coup.


5 See O’Kane, The Likelihood of Coups, and for a contrasting view Jenkins and Kposowa, “The Political Origins of African Military Coups.”
6 For a discussion of six types of military coups in third world countries, classified according to motivations and effects, see Steven R. David, Third World Coups d’Etat and International Security (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), pp. 13-16.
7 David, Defending Third World Regimes from Coups d’Etat, pp. 4-5.
8 From the Spanish autogolpe, used to describe cases in Latin America in the early 1990s.

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We are the 99%

We are the 99%. We will no longer remain silent.

More posters

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Reclaim the Parliament

Isn’t it funny how the MPs we elected are trying to give us the finger? When concerned citizens rise up and paste posters on the walls, the MPs are trying to retaliate by making that a criminal offense. The public deserves to know the phone numbers of the MPs. The people can criticize the MPs. No Privileges Bill should make the MPs immune to the criticism of the people. We will not stay idle and watch them pass resolutions and bills against us, the people. We will not tolerate their circus of a majlis chamber. We will reclaim the parliament.

photo: dyingregime

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The Parliament belongs to the people

Citizens are expressing outrage over the ridiculous bill passed recently by the parliament to increase their benefits and allowances.

Please join the facebook group which is the main forum for organising the protests. As citizens of this country you deserve a better life and a better future. Don’t let the parliamentarians hijack your future.

More information on this issue:

Maldives Voices

Majlis Laundry



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Is this the change we voted for?

It was a few days before the second round of voting in the presidential election of 2008. It was precisely the night of 24 October 2008. The air was filled with apprehension, expectation and excitement. The youth of Villingili (ViliMale) held an anti-regime music show. This was the second music show held against the dictatorial regime of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom; the first show was held in Male on 6 October 2008, just before the first round of voting and organised by our friends Lable Red. We covered these two events on this blog. The youth of Maldives were saying no to the dictator through music.

Organising a music show against the dictatorship was a watershed in the pro-democracy movement. It was just another barrier to be crossed, just like Minivan Bahus (the freedom debates), raising a banner against the dictatorship in Ghiyasudheen School, holding a mass protest on August 12-13. There was the element of fear because there was no guarantee as to how the regime would react to such events.

We can clearly remember that several musicians declined to participate in the two music shows. It was not because they were sympathetic to the regime but because of fear of arrest and torture. The few bands and musicians who participated in those events risked torture and stood up for freedom. Traphic Jamm and its vocalist Kayano rocked the crowd in the show held in Male as well as in Villingili. The show in Villingili is to be remembered especially for the participation of the reggae artist Haisham. His rendition of Bob Marley songs strengthened the revolutionary spirit among the young activists present at the show.

Today Haisham is a prisoner. He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for possessing less than one gram of cannabis. The objective of this blog post is not to debate whether it was a crime or not. It may be illegal to possess cannabis under Maldivian law and the law may prescribe a punishment of 10 years in jail. However, it is up to the people to question whether such laws are fair or not.

Today when we reflect on the increase in crime on our streets and the high percentage of young people involved in the drug trade and crime, we have to blame the laws of the past regime. The laws that put a teenager in prison for riding a bicycle at night without a bicycle lamp. The teenager then faces the harsh life in prison, mingles with hardened adult criminals and becomes a hardened criminal. The laws that put young drug users in prison and transformed them into the worst criminals.

The same laws are still in place and the government of President Mohamed Nasheed is so content with the land reclamation projects going on in Kulhudhuffushi, Thulhaadhoo and Velidhoo. The same laws are still in place and the parliament is run like a circus and their infighting makes even toddlers recoil in shame. The same archaic laws are in place, our judiciary is corrupt to the core and several judges are accepting bribes and letting hardened criminals free.

Today the street gangs in the Male are protected by politicians from MDP. The biggest drug kingpins are released and their drug money is given back to them by the judges. Male Municipality President Sarangu Adam Manik’s son can be brought back from Sri Lanka while he was in jail for a drug offense. However, ordinary citizens who don’t have any political connections are punished.

Is this the change we voted for? We did not vote for one elite to be replaced by another elite. We did not vote for the same system to oppress the young people of this country while only the faces in the Cabinet and the President’s Office are different. We did not vote for corrupt politicians to take the helm of our government and to be in the most influential positions of MDP. If we have to take to the streets again to bring a meaningful change we will not hesitate to do so.

“Don’t let them fool you
Or even try to school you, Oh! No
We’ve got a mind of our own
So go to hell if what you’re thinkin’ isn’t right
Love would never leave us alone
In the darkness there must come out to light

Don’t let them change you
Or even rearrange you, Oh! No
We’ve got a life to live
They say only, only
Only the fittest of the fittest shall survive
Stay alive.”
– Bob Marley, Could You Be Loved?

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Clean Up the Judiciary

This man’s name is Mujthaz Fahmy. His mobile phone number is 7778111. We want you to call him. Why? He is the Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) which has a mandate under the constitution to appoint and scrutinize judges. As the Chairman of JSC, Mujthaz is keeping important documents to himself without sharing it with other JSC members. He is trying to appoint corrupt judges who have criminal records. The JSC is trying to make those judges permanent, meaning they will remain in their positions till they retire at 70 years of age.

This is an important alert to members and supporters of 919 Movement. In 2008, we worked day and night to bring democracy to the Maldives. We organised campaigns, we put coffins on streets of the capital and we distributed hundreds of fliers. Our friends from Lable Red and the youth of Villingili held music shows protesting the dictatorship. Badhalakah Emmen held a march down the central street of Male and organised music shows. However, the struggle is not over yet. Without a good judiciary our democracy will be like a melody without music.

So please make that phone call to Mujthaz Fahmy and tell him you don’t want criminals as judges. We want you to send him SMS saying you want only judges with clean records in the judiciary. Keep checking this blog for more updates and actions.

For background info on JSC and what is happening now:
Article 285:
Velezinee’s Blog:
Idhikeeli FB page:
Idhikeeli Blog:

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