Monday, 2 February 2009

And hunger strikes at gaamaadhu! The prisoners know who rule the roost!

The news about Gaamadhu hunger strike has faded in comparison to the news making information about prisoners being offered mineral water 'life' for all purposes in the prison.

The public outcry at the end of the article (http://www.haveeru.com.mv/?page=details&id=79082 ), has made my heart feel immense pain and empathy to those who have stated so.

The common man , that is me and you in the general public, struggle to buy a bottle of mineral water, we bathe in salt water and take that half bucket of fresh water to clean off the salt stuck on our body. This is the reality of an average Maldivians life.

Till today , perhaps many people were unaware that prisoners or even those under rehabilitation are ( if not always...mostly) provided mineral water in this manner and that this has been ongoing for some years........and reading this bit of information has made something snap in our minds...in our hearts...

Yeah...I feel it too. What I can say is the food I have eaten for the past many years or is eaten by an average Maldivian will be less in quality and in nutrition than what is probably offered in these places for those undergoing rehabilitation or serving a prison sentence(perhaps???).

That is where a lot of money is spent...a good breakfast, sai after that , lunch with one or two curries, some satani, may be a dessert, tea with hedhika in the evening and dinner again. How many of us can get free meals like this???
And yet, the prisoners are rejecting the same food and going on hunger strike!!! Why?

Perhaps they want something better than food now, perhaps the hope is they can come back to Male' under the garb of meeting the family members and then get access to something better than good food and mineral water, OR perhaps they are actually voicing a truth about the poor quality of water and food they are really offered?? (read this link to understand the story of the inmates, http://minivannews.com/news_detail.php?id=5942 )Perhaps we will know the details once the human rights organisation and other such agencies make their statement?

But what ever may be the case, I have often wondered whether these prisoners may have secondary gains in going to the prison (specially the reoffenders).
They don't have to work, many times, they are with some friends atleast...and if it is a rehab, there may have access to leisure activities too, games, sports, gyms, meals on time, some classes or meetings as fun time......some thing here ...something there, a bit of counselling here...where you fake it to gain, and pass through the programme .....as any way 'pieces' are also available any way!!!! So when life can be better here....why not ....spend some more time ...'in' any way!!!
I dare not even think this!!! Can it be that in the absence of a meaningful life , a purposeful future our youth have adopted our prisons and rehab centres as their recreational clubs???
Whats gone wrong??????????????????????????

I refuse to beleive this. I refuse to beleive that we will allow the prisoners to rule the roost any further.

There are so many capable Maldivians whose collective thought and action is required to assist any one who is attempting to bring a better quality of life for the common man....the time to act is perhaps now!
And while doing so we have to realise .....what the average Maldivians outcry is.
Listen to the pain ....of the person who says; '
I struggle between jobs...to buy two decent meals for my undernourished children...., my electricity bills are not paid....I bathe in salt water everyday...I cannot dream of buying mineral water even for my baby....or elderly mother who has kidney stones.
AND ON THE OTHER SIDE, take into account what the prisoners are saying, that the water they are offered is salty, the quality of food is poor, the place is a rehab ...only in name....while the authoritities claim that the prisoners are offered free mineral water!!!
Who knows the truth?? Will the public get to know the details? Are these prison strikes going to happen on a daily basis?

2 comments:

Hilath said...

Naaz, I am totally surprised you have taken the Haveeru article at face value.

The true story is on MinivanNews.com. Here's the link:

http://minivannews.com/news_detail.php?id=5942

You might think I am biased because I am no longer at Haveeru but I have been to rehab and I know what the real place is like.

I myself have been to that Gaamaadhoo side and believe me there are no facilities there.

The DPRS should never have transferred the inmates there before properly installing all the facilities.

It seems that the new government in all haste is doing things too rashly and hastily. Why can't it take things one at a time?

Imagine if you don't have running water and everytime you want to piss or shit you need to take in only a bucket of water with you.

My sympathies in this case lie with the inmates.

They are not given special treatment. Anyone who is in a legal imprisonment should be given all the facilities because they are not free and do not have the freedom to enjoy the things we have in a normal free life.

We should be more sensitive when talking about inmates and not make rash judgments like our "mainstream Kasauti society" does (refer to all the bullshit comments received to that Haveeru article. Makes me wonder whether we Maldivians are HUMAN at all. It's beyond shocking, how we have lost our humanity. So people like you and I shouldn't join in and make the picture worse -- or worse make the real picture distorted like Haveeru have done.)

naaz said...

Thanks Hilath!
I agree with you, and hope I would receive more comments like this from people who have had the experience so that we can know about what the inmates are exactly going through...and why they are engaging in such strikes so repeatedly.