Category Archives: My Concerns

One more human rights day is gone

Day before yesterday was the Human Rights Day. It was celebrated with much fan and fervor. Being in a self imposed isolation away from the hustle and bustle of human rights and the rest of the cruelties of society, I wondered what impact this celebration will have on the lives of the victims of human rights abuses and violence, and those who are vulnerable to such abuse.

A close friend of many who have suffered as child victims of various forms of violence, and those who continue to suffer neglect and abuse by the State and society who give a free hand to perpetrators of violence – I can’t help wonder what we are celebrating.

Now that the celebration is over, can someone please tell me what John (not his real name) who is sleeping in abandoned open space because he is thrown out of his home by his grandmother and family because of his mental illness from his substance abuse a few years ago, will get out of this celebration?

Please tell me what Peter (not his real name) who has not seen daylight out in the open from his room, can expect from this celebration. Not a single soul has visited him and his mother who have braved the isolation for over 29 years while his father works hard to make ends meet.

Tell me what the mother of Jane (not her real name) can expect from family, friends and the community; for she is now not in a physical condition to carry her 29 year old daughter who has been bedridden since birth to the toilet or to shower.

Tell me what Jack (not his real name) can expect from a neighborhood whose entertainment it is to find joy in their bullying of him.

These are the people we celebrated day before yesterday. Nothing has changed in their life on any December 10th and is not likely to change on the next December 10th.

But this celebration is good for so many people who dress up for the occasion.

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Posted by on December 12, 2019 in Human Rights


Nothing about us without us

The “National Conference on Revitalizing Public Health: Working together for a Healthier Nation” – an event which will happen over the next three days in Paradise Island Resort. Perhaps, a sound public health system should lead to paradise style life.

1. I am not sure who the participants of this conference are. It was not mentioned in the news articles I had read.

2. Public health should definitely lead to healthy individuals who live in a happy place, without the need for sophisticated medical facilities.

3. I wondered if the recipients of the public health system were a part of the conference. I am referring to the elderly, victims of abuse, children and other recipients of abuse.

4. Mental health is a public health issue that is crippling this nation right now. And the principle “nothing about us without us” was introduced and mandated for 2030 SDGs by the CRPD.

5. I am not sure if those who funded and organized the conference are ignorant of the principle, or just didn’t care about it. They must have attended numerous conferences where the principle was in practice.

6. It is one thing to talk about principles of inclusivity and so on. Yet another to have it in the bottom of your heart and mind.

I believe that Shifaza from B. Goidhoo and other victims of the public health crisis should have been in the conference, and it should have revolved around them.

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Posted by on November 4, 2019 in Civil Society, Health and wellness, My Argument, My Concerns, Opinion


Toxic work environments

We need to teach our children and young people how to survive toxic environments. It is one of the many skills that are needed for the money-based society that we have swiveled ourselves into in the Maldives.
Respect to human dignity, tolerance of those who are less fortunate, and values that promote inclusivity and kindness toward others seems to be alien to us in our ongoing rush toward the highs street.
A friend talking about toxic work environments said in a Viber group, “I once worked in a very toxic environment whereby it questioned me my worth and dignity. I was treated with such disrespect and was outcasted. I ended up with losing myself and my value in my eyes.”
Another stated, “I myself have worked in a couple of toxic work places. It’s more common to end up in a toxic work place in Maldives rather than a healthy one.
In civil service, people are trying to get ahead by stepping on others. People are just afraid of other people getting ahead if noticed. Even in private sector the toxicity is so habitual. Favoritism, lack of mentorship along with harsh criticism usually puts down a lot of people.
Toxic work environments do affect people physically and emotionally. But in Male’ most of us don’t have the privilege to quit and take some time off when we have reached our limits of tolerating such behaviors.”
“We don’t have a choice, for most of the people working in the toxic environments have no choice but to stay in the place. If they leave the job, it will be difficult to get another better than last. The problems have been increasing. And less support.”
These are young people talking. I sincerely hope that our leaders, policy makers, and influential people give this a serious thought. The consequences of toxic environments will get to them and cost them too.
No one will be spared.


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Posted by on October 17, 2019 in Health and wellness, My Concerns


From my lived experience

It has been one of those days: reflecting and giving a thought to those suffering in silence, invisible to the world around us. It is a heart breaking experience. Especially for those who have taken the journey of anxiety and depression.

Nothing can teach a person about mental disability than lived experiences. Yet, they are hard to talk about. For good reasons.

Celebrating the mental health day is a difficult event to me, for personal reasons. Yet, it was made worse today, because I came to know of a close person who has suicidal thoughts. They have no way to find help. I know you will give me a list of service providers.

Imagine a hungry person who is almost starving, who does not have the strength or the will power to walk into one of those shining five star restaurants that dot the high street, cos you are worth nothing, don’t have a dime, don’t know how you will be treated or rather shunned out. Would you blame the person for starving?

My friend has a family who cannot comprehend what they are going through. The available help are bureaucracies with rules and regulations and high offices. They don’t reach out to you, they expect you to reach out to them, but you have no strength, because you are worthless.

I was lucky three years ago on this day, when I finally realized that I was not functioning, and sought professional help. I was lucky to have a loving family, friends and colleagues, who became an invisible cushion that I could fall down to. As I took the journey to recovery, I had an employer who was patient for over two years to bear with me.

I also had a family who loved me and cared for me unconditionally for what I am – Villijoali, a family and a home that I went back to every Friday. That was a great part of my healing process. That is why I believe that it is community that helps you to regain your well being.

My friend has none of the above, and they don’t know no better than to just shut themselves out. They are suffering quietly without help to reach out to. They need a helpline to anonymously find their way to peace and well being.

People with mental disability need help to let them find a way out of the pain. A witness cannot comprehend an ounce of the pain.

I am so upset that my friend is feeling so helpless on this mental health day. Because they are not in a house on fire. If they were we will all rush to help. And have resources and trained people to attend.

I pray that we find a way to build a community in which my friend can seek treatment without shutting themselves out.

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Posted by on October 11, 2019 in Health and wellness, My Argument, My Concerns


Mental Health Day thoughts

The country is celebrating Mental Health Day today. Walking, talking, running, posting, boasting, and what not. The person who is suicidal is there in the crowd and watching.

Given up on life, without any hope or meaningful purpose. The only hope for them is the deafeningly loud noise telling them that you are no good, useless, worthless, and constantly reminding of their failures and the ill fate awaiting the next moment, the next day, the next week, the next year, and so on.

The challenge is to act, better than the most renowned artist, to show the rest of humanity what a happy person you are, have been and will be. That life is beautiful inside and out. Knowing well what a lie it is.

It is funny that people around are so eager to help, but they want you to expose yourself first. Then they want to play the pity card.

Life goes on – it is just another day of wearing tshirts, walking, talking, posting, boasting and what not. All that needs to be done is a drop in center and a helpline in population centers.

But they will not do it. It will not be a photo op as grand as the above. Happy Mental Health Day to all suffering.


Supreme Court Justice: accused

Justice Ali Hameed of the Supreme Court here in the Maldives has been accused of sexual misconduct involving prostitutes in a hotel room in a foreign country. The Judicial Services Commission set up an inquiry and so far has not responded calls to suspend Justice Ali Hameed from the supreme court bench. Former Attorney General Husnu Suood has called for the judge to be suspended immediately. Presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim has defended Justice Ali Hameed saying that the video is a fake. Police say that they are investigating the case.

Social media is full of links to the videos allegedly of Justice Ali Hameed in foreplay and having sex with prostitutes on the 24th of January 2013. Local medial headlined the news today without further details than that available through social media.

Political parties and parliament seem to have taken a no-fuss stand on the accusations. Several politicians and top government officials were implicated in a cyber sex scandal several months ago and nothing substantial has come of it.

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Posted by on July 21, 2013 in My Concerns


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Violation of Article 30

Article 30 of the Maldives Constitution (Freedom to form political parties, associations and societies) states,

(a) Every citizen has the right to establish and to particpate in the activities of political parties.

(b) Eveyone has the freedom to form associations and societies including the following:

1. the right to establish and participate in any association or society for economic, social, educational or cultural purposes;

2. the right to form trade unions, to participate or not to participate in their activities. END QOUTE

However, in the current debate on the Political Parties Bill in the Maldives parliament, major political parties seem to have assumed a double standard for section (a) and section (b) of the article.

In the extensions of law to article 30 section (b) the parliament did not interpret that it was necessary or within the greater interest of the nation to limit the possible number of trader unions, associations or societies in respect to the population of the country or other factors of national interest. However in the interpretation of the phrase “right to establish and to participate”, in relation to section (a) of the same – article 30, the parliament seems to be taking a stand to limit the right to freedom of thought and association in political parties, to those powerful enough to create cult followings, from my understanding of what has been reported in the media today.

The day this bill is enacted into law which limits the right to association in political parties to blocks of 5000 or whatever-thousand of poplulation, in gross violation of the Constitution will be a dark day in the history of the struggle for democracy and good governance in the Maldives. Icons of political reform in the country would perhaps keep quiet on this violation, as it is in their favor.

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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in My Concerns, Politics


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The Art of being Pleasant

The need to train our young people in the art of pleasantness struck me the other day when I had reason to visit the infamous IGMH – Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Male’.

I went to the hospital to make an appointment for endoscopy. We had to have two laboratory examinations on the same day, so we did the first one and went to get the endoscopy appointment later. When I went to make the appointment I told the staff at the desk, that I would like to have the endoscopy done at the earliest as the doctor had asked to do it this week.

She told me that the appointment can be done only after ten days as the appointments were full. I requested from her to speak to a senior person as it was necessary that the endoscopy is done this week. She then called another young person hanging around, and this person came and asked what it was. The staff at the desk told that I was requesting for the endoscopy to be done urgently.

The senior person took the doctor’s examination request and took a look at it and said that the doctor had not written urgent on it, and that he would have if there was any need. I couldn’t believe my ears. She was talking to the piece of paper she was holding in her hand, and this was supposed to be a place of caring.

I realized that I was at the mercy of this SENIOR person who did not have the interest no the capacity to even listen to someone in need. So, I humbly sat and asked the person at the desk to do the appointment for the date that was possible.

When it was done and I was to leave, I told the staff at the appointment desk that everyone may not make up stories and lie. I left.

I thought, how nice it would have been if there was someone who was capable of listening to those in need and even when something cannot be done is able to communicate the same with an ounce of respect.

We have a long way to go, IGMH.

Previous posts about IGMH:
Intensive Care Unit: IGMH

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Posted by on September 30, 2012 in My Concerns


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Dhiraagu Dhivehi League: Deprives one of the basic human right to drinking water if you wish to watch a match in the stadium

Yesterday I went to the National Stadium (known to me as Galolhu Grounds) for the match between New Radiant and Maziya in the first round of Dhiraagu Dhivehi League 2012. When the first half finished, I came out of the stadium to buy a soft drink and something to eat.

When I went in I had the bottle of water which I bought from the corner shop just beside the stadium, in my hand. When I handed the ticket to the guard at the entrance he told me that I could not take the bottle of water into the stadium. It was not allowed.

There are spectators who will be in the stadium for almost two hours; those who do not come out during half time. I just realized how much one has to sacrifice to watch a a football match in Maldives.

It is also an indication of how the decision makers in the country think. It is a culture that I have experienced on various occasions when I have been compelled to avail of public or government service. A culture of complete arrogance and a lack of empathy by authorities. It does not surprise me because the tradition of authority in the country descends from a monarchy intolerant of its subjects for anything but pleasing the Sultan or the Queen.

I was only appalled by the association of Dhiraagu with an event with such low and sub-human practices. It is a more socially responsible corporate citizen in the country and to find that they would have overlooked such a simple basic human right. The right to drinking water.

And I wondered what a 500ml bottle of drinking water packed in a PET bottle could do. The guard did not worry that I may have had a knife under my belt or a patrol bomb in a pocket of my trousers.

My experience yesterday is not unique. It is a typical mentality of people who get into positions of power in the Maldives. They have a control-mindset, and a fear of ordinary people. They will do anything and everything to keep the people at a distance and strip the ordinary people of everything that they fear. And they fear the tiniest possibility to respond.

I am sure there will be a day in the Maldives, when people will be charged a fee for watching Dhivehi League matches at home, and no one will be allowed into the stadium for fear of attacking the players in the game. That of course will be our fate when we allow ourselves to be ruled and led by people full of fear.

However frustrated I was, I finished the bottle of water and went in to see the match, which New Radiant won, of course.

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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in My Concerns, Values


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Prison Break: Who will resign?

I was watching the two o’clock news on TV Maldives on Friday, and was shocked to hear that, the Minister of State for Home Affairs Ahmed Shafeeg has said that “about four prisoners” who fled Maafushi prison last night have been apprehended by the authorities in a nearby island. Haveeru has reported that the prisoners escaped by the threatening the prison guards with the assistance of a gang who had come from Male’ armed with iron bars.

I wondered to myself who would be asked to take the blame for the loophole in state security and the terror that ordinary law-abiding citizens have been subjected to. A week or so ago, The Minister responsible for Maldives National Defense and also Home Affairs, and the Police Commissioner seemed to put the responsibility for the mayhem in our streets on the Prosecutor General’s inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

The question on my mind is “Who will resign?”

We have seen numerous demonstrations on the streets of Male’ calling for resignations of government officials in the recent years. Former Minister of Home Affairs Gasim Ibrahim resigned after demonstrations calling for his resignation and pressure from political and civil society pressure groups.

When are we going to see government agencies made accountable for things they are charged with? Or will this prison break also be blamed on former regime sympathisers in the civil service?

The previous government had put the responsibility for all evil in society on the people. They would say that no one had reported the evils to them. And the Home Minister of the regime believed that gang related street murders can only be stopped by the gangs and they wanted it.

I just can’t help wondering who will be asked to resign.

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