On Maafushi, the island that pioneered guesthouse tourism, business is booming. But today, guesthouse owners worry severe beach erosion may drive tourists away.
“Why do we not rejoice in our fiftieth year of independence? Why is the air thick with negativity?” asks Shahindha Ismail
“A relationship founded on an agreement of protected independence in the past has developed into a relationship today that is wide-ranging and contemporary,” writes James Dauris, the British High Commissioner to the Maldives.
The people of Addu say their development took a U-turn since the British left in 1976. Successive governments have neglected Addu, turning it into a provincial backwater.
In Addu, on the eve of the Golden Jubilee of independence, stories of the short-lived United Suvadive Republic are told and retold and the longing for self rule lingers on.
“Abdul Sattar Moosa Didi, who led the independence negotiations, remembers talks with the British, laments President Ibrahim Nasir’s buried legacy, and reflects on where Maldives has arrived at as we celebrate 50 years of independence.”
“The future holds the prospects of foreign military bases on Maldivian territorial waters; becoming embroiled in Indian Ocean security issues and potential naval warfare; forced internal migration; living in slum cities; absolute loss of way of life and identity; and total subjugation to a ruthless dictatorship that will always put money before people,” writes Dr Azra Naseem.
Laws like on anti-terror are legitimised under the pretext that “special circumstances require special procedures” but are often an excuse to let the inefficiencies of the state continue at the expense of civil liberties, writes Devyani Srivastava.
“Today is July 16, 2015, a momentous day in the history of the Maldives’ criminal justice system. The penal code of 1968 expired at 11:59pm on July 15. In this historic moment, 12am on July 16, 2015, a brand new penal code comes into force in the Maldives,” writes Hussein Shameem, the former deputy Prosecutor General.
The anti-terror bill metes out up to 20 years in jail for Maldivians who join foreign wars. But how effective can harsh penalties be when the government is yet to publicly acknowledge how wide spread extremism is in the Maldives? asks Mohamed Hameed, the former head of the police intelligence directorate.
In such a politically charged case, media reporting can take a sensationalist and selective approach, writes Toby Cadman. “As with all cases, there are two sides to any argument, but the government’s position has not been given any attention and the offence for which the former president was convicted has been unnecessarily trivialized.”
The sermons coming out of the Mosque almost always address matters relating to creed, never relating them to issues that are more directly connected to socio-economic problems, writes Aisha Hussein Rasheed.