This Week in Maldives: January 1

Filed in This Week In Maldives by on January 2, 2017 7 Comments

Because it is a New Year, including for those who aren’t celebrating (Thank you, Saudi Arabia), this week I look at a renamed airport, police raids on (victims of-) things, and YAG saving Islam in the Maldives yet again.

These are short takes on the headlines of the week gone by.

Ibrahim Nasir International Airport renamed ‘Velana International Airport’

In the 1960’s, President Nasir built an airport on the island of Hulhulé, and simply named it Hulhulé Airport.

Then, in the early 80’s, his successor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom renamed it to Malé International Airport, which also made sense if you think about it.

In 2010, President Nasheed renamed it yet again to Ibrahim Nasir International Airport – to honour the visionary president who built it.

Image source: MACL

And now YAG has renamed it to ‘Velana International Airport’.

Why?

Well, according to a regime spokesperson, it has something to do with “focusing on the transformation of the airport in line with the administration’s economic vision”

Which is another way of saying “fuck if I know”

Carnival cafés closed after raid for undocumented workers

Police and immigration conducted raids and arrested up to 50 “undocumented” expatriate workers, forcing eateries at the Carnival area in Malé to shut down.

I have multiple problems with this news story.

First of all – these workers are almost certainly not “undocumented”. They didn’t scale a border wall, or swim here all the way from Bangladesh. Almost certainly all of them entered the country perfectly legally with valid travel documents.

In reality, many of these workers are poverty-stricken, unskilled workers who are exploited by malicious “agents” who promise them high wages and good jobs abroad in a high end tourist destination. Many of them sell their properties or otherwise go into debt, to seize this “opportunity” for a better income.

Then they land in Hulhulé Airport  Malé International Airport Ibrahim Nasir International Airport Velana International Airport, and pass through immigration, only to find out that they’ve been conned.

They end up getting much shittier jobs and pay than they were promised, and find themselves trapped. They can’t return either because they’re too deep in debt, or don’t have the means. Most employers confiscate their passports, put them up in cramped, tiny sties unfit for humans – and force them into what is essentially bonded labour.

Image source: Transparency Maldives

This is not by accident.

A 2011 report found that human trafficking is the second most lucrative industry in the country after tourism. There is no evidence of a serious effort by the Maldives regime to combat this shameful industry. (There has only ever been one conviction in a human trafficking case)

It is easy to see why. A range of businesses – from the construction industry to cafés – readily employs this cheap, exploitative slave labour. A lot of people make a huge profit off this modern slavery.

Heck, in 2014, the Immigration Department stepped in to assist this system of slavery by requiring labourers to present proof of permission from their owners before being allowed to exit the country.

It is a bit disingenuous for police and Immigration to harass “undocumented workers” – the victims in this massive crime – while ignoring the perpetrators, and also proactively aiding the human trafficking industry.

Hundreds searched in police drug operation

Another photo-op for the boys to show off their pretty uniforms. All the images I saw of this “operation” had canine teams searching run-down, dilapidated houses with peeling paint and graffiti scrawled on the walls.

Will there ever come a day when these sniffer dogs have access to wealthy “businessmen”s luxury apartments, or fancy residences belonging to certain presidents?

Because until that day, the drug trade will continue to flourish unhindered in the Maldives (these photo ops not withstanding)

Image source: Maldives Independent

Government to sell $200m worth of sovereign bonds

Another week with no sign of the promised ‘huge foreign investors’ – and we continue to dive deeper and deeper into massive debt.

The regime can’t even get a loan from any decent source. Thanks to YAG, entire new generations of Maldivians will be born already neck deep in debt to odious regimes like the Saudis and the Chinese.

Oh well, at least our dheen is intact.

Speaking of which…

We will not allow freedom of religion regardless of external pressure, says YAG

Strange. The actual question asked was ‘How are we supposed to repay the billions in foreign loans that your regime is borrowing for massive, unsustainable projects…?’

Thankfully, the bogeyman of ‘other religions’ always comes to the rescue of any Maldivian despot in need.

FILE PHOTO: Nasheed introducing “other religions” to the Maldives.

 

I will say it again: ‘dheen’ in the Maldives is the preferred date-rape drug (as well as a handy lubricant) for every tyrant who wants to sodomize the public.

But yeah, don’t listen to me, Maldivians. I’m the laadheenee scumbag.

Meanwhile, pious defender of the faith, President YAG has protected your dheen from scary, evil monsters yet again! Yay, you! Yay, him! #DHEEN #WIN #YahoodheeFail

Maldives prepares to sell lands acquired in Veshi Fahi flat program

The tiny plots of land acquired in Malé in exchange for flats by the Nasheed government was meant to de-congest the capital, and increase available public space in this concrete slum.

Thus, seeing a headline about the regime’s intentions to once again sell the recovered land sounded outrageous. But then I read the article. In theory, at least, it is better than it sounds.

According to the guidelines, only plots of land that cannot be used as a green area or parking space (or similar) will be sold. Even in those cases, the preference will be for neighboring plot owners.

This seems logical to me. It would certainly allow some cramped properties to expand a bit.

But then, one can’t help but assume that the cash-strapped regime will simply sell off everything to the highest bidder, ignoring their own guidelines, thus defeating the entire purpose of the Veshi Fahi program.

Maldives pres inaugurates nation’s first religious TV channel

Munnaaru TV, launched by the (public funded-) regime propaganda station PSM, asserts that it is the ‘first Islamic TV channel’ in the Maldives.

This doesn’t mean it will be the first station to broadcast “religious” content, of course. In practice, there are Saudi trained clerics spreading Saudi-Wahhabi propaganda “True Islamic knowledge” on every TV and radio station and mosque sound system in the country.

Also, I am vaguely aware of the existence of something called an MVTV that has been around a few years, that also claims to be the ‘only Islamic TV’ station in the country.

Go figure.

Maldives’ main hospital bans energy drinks

As did the Ministry of Education in all schools this week. Good on both of them.

The Maldives is a diabetes bomb waiting to explode.

I have seen five year olds on the streets sipping Red Bull. Young people drink endless cans of the stuff in every cafe in town. “Energy drinks” are freely advertised on TVs and billboards and school windows, targeting everyone from school students to pregnant women and horny men.

Incidentally, it was an energy drink company that produced my favourite Maldivian ad of all time. Please cancel everything on your schedule, and watch this gem of an ad.

Fenaka employs 100 people with disabilities

Excellent, excellent stuff. I immediately scanned the article looking for a mention of Minister Zeneesha, and bingo. She was there.

I still don’t know much about this fresh-faced Minister, but this is the second time (ever) that the regime has done something thoughtful, with no obvious monetary benefit to someone – and once again, she happened to be in the room.

Speaking at the event, she said “being inclusive of the disabled in various industries is imperative to national development and progress”

Damn right.

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Comments (7)

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  1. masmirus says:

    You should consider tucking back in your hard on for Minister Zeneesha. If I’m not mistaken, her NGO ‘ARC’ got a government contract to operate some museum shortly after (or before?) she assumed her ministerial duties. I’m not sure whether she’s innocent of the web of corruption in which the government is entangled.

  2. Faalu says:

    Refreshing

  3. Taha Senturk says:

    Why does that picture have our first president’s picture up in the sky? Can anyone please explain it to me? Since it says ”Nasheed introducing “other religions” to the Maldives.”

    • Yameen Rasheed says:

      That’s an image created by a local Islamist political party who were accusing President Nasheed of being a secularist and unveiling ‘an idol of worship’

      The image of Ataturk in the sky was perhaps to reinforce this image. 🙂

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