Monday, 25 May 2009

Living Amidst The Rivalry of Colours

Yellow and blue often considered by some to be the colours of hope and serenity, have come to play a lasting role on the quality of life of Maldivians.

The rivalry between the colours is influencing the serenity so desired by a country which had witnessed profound political change over a short span of time. Yet, all this have created an abyss of confusion on the hopes for a peaceful existence.

A husband declares his faith to the colour blue. The spouse decides in her wisdom to remain silent and show her support to the colour yellow. The bond of trust which is the foundation of this relationship is stretched as one attempts to influence the opinions on the other, either overtly or covertly.

Another man fights at the dinner table convincing the rest of the family why blue may be a better colour than yellow. But not everyone agrees, arguements persist, voices are raised, some decide to leave in silence while others just keep their opinions to themselves instead of getting into conflict with the head of the family who may unintentionally crush their desire for free thinking.

It is unfortunate that the underlying beauty behind these lovely colours are getting lost in the face of chaos created by people who place personal agenda's over and above those of family harmony; maintaining the beauty of long standing friendships; values of being good neighbours;
and the simple joys related to peaceful every day human interactions.

A friend has chosen the colour blue over your preference of yellow. Then is this going to be the end of that friendship? Would one have to take guard over every sentence that is uttered of fear because what you say can stain your prefered colour? Or would it be possible to extricate the conflict of colours from your relationships by agreeing to disagree on the choice of colour you and your dear ones have made . But it demands maturity to not get sucked into the propaganda , chaos and conflict created deliberately by those who stand to benefit from it.

A rainbow united many hearts of a nation. While blue represented future serenity, for others yellow beckoned limitless hope.

But the colours can become subdued , change shades, or take unknown and confusing forms. It can sing songs which are melodious or ring bells of impending danger.

Yet, the human mind is able to make the choice to live in harmony amidst colourful flowers and protect oneself from its own thorns.
It is possible to make a deliberate decision to accept and respect the beauty of various hues around you. Thereby make a personal vow never to participate in violence or be a victim of destruction caused by strong weathers which may blow across this beautiful garden of ours as we enter this new phase of democracy.
These winds will pass; the weeds and trees together will survive and bask in the joys of serene bonds which has endured the tests of time.
Oneday....let us hope!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Crackdown on Drugs in Maldives;Time to Support Drug Addicts Choose Recovery

It has been recently reported that the ongoing crackdowns on illegal drugs have created a shortage of heroin in the country.
This has led addicts to resort to the use of "vaanuva' which is an adulterated brown sugar further adulterated with powdered human bones; powdered detergents; benzopdiazepines etc..
Over the past years when ever there was a shortage of brown sugar, the sellers adulterated whatever stock they had by mixing it with things like saw dust, spices and other material as mentioned above.

However, when the adulterated versions run out, the chiefly heroin abusing society may very likely resort to the use of other substitutes like alcohol, eude-cologne, cough syrups and sedatives which can be bought over the counter (RSA, 2003) .
Sometimes they have resorted to the use of other locally grown intoxicating things like oshani or even moved towards solvent abuse. However, when crackdowns are not continous, fresh shipments soon find a way back into the society.

Therefore, I think, the community need to be made aware that there may be an increased demand for these substitutes. It is necessary that we discourage the sale of these commodities to people who may come to buy it solely for the purposes of maintaining their addiction.

One must also be made aware that addicts who may be suffering symptoms of heroin withdrawal in their desperation may use violence to get access to these toxic mind altering materials.

I guess there is a need therefore, that concernced authorities and NGO'S working in the field provide sufficient awareness and tips to handle this situation to family members , shopkeepers and pharmacists , so that they would be able to handle this situation in a responsible fashion.

Further, I think parents and community members must be made to realise that these young people who are going through withdrawal symptoms probably need medical help and this may be a good time to offer them support by facilitating the opportunity for voluntary rehabilitation.

Perhaps, you can succeed in making them understand that drugs like 'vaanuva' may be fatal and are silent killers.
Offer your help to these people and instead of abandoning them, convince them once again that a better choice would be to hold your hand of support and move towards treatment and rehabilitation instead.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

The faces of Maldivian paedophiles

These are the faces of the men who have apparently been abusing a young girl of 10 years for the past 5 years in the Maldives.
These men , raped, molested a girl of 5 years and continued to do so for 5 years.

Father, Abdulla Naeem AbduhRahmaan, 45 years ( Hdh. Naivadhu, kofeege) ; Uncle, Abdul Hakeem Mohamed, 52 years (Hdh. Naivadhu, Chambeyleege); Abdulla Ali , 73 years (Hdh. Naivadhu, thimarafusheege); Abdulla Shareef , 36 years (Tha. Thimarafushi, ahmedhee abad); Ahmed Mukhthar , 19 years (Hdh. Naivadhu, bahaaruge) and Ismail Mohamed , 52 years ( M. Baadhiya)

The old and the young, the father and the uncle .........what led these men to do this to a young and helpless child? What was this father thinking when he abused his own flesh and blood??
Did no one on the island know of what was happening to this young victim? Was she the only girl who fell victim to these vultures? Or are there more???

Did they think they could get away with such a crime??..Why were the islanders silent???

How many girls are being abused in the society like this??? Will we ever get to hear their voices?
How many mothers have advised their daughters to "remain silent because reporting it could damage the family reputation'?
That reporting sexual abuse 'could imprison the only breadwinner of the family leaving the rest of the family destitute'!!!
There fore....'turn a blind eye; close your eyes and withstand it until you can grow up and go away after you get married.......;' it has stopped just don't make a big deal of it now....." are apparently some of the advice some parents have given their abused daughters
( source for the above quotes; personal letters sent to the author by victims of sexual abuse who read this blog)

What a shame!!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Sexual abuse, drugs , knife crime and murder !

Every day there is a news headline in the Maldivian newspapers which screams of atrocities related to sexual abuse , drugs, knife crime or murder.

I wonder what people feel when they read articles like the one which appeared on news yesterday ( ;
How is it possible that we have fallen this low? How is it possible that we have allowed our neighbours to commit such crimes on our own daughters and we dare to remain silent?
How could a father , uncle and other so called sane men, continuosly engage in such crime against an innocent child for so many years? A 10 year old being sexually abused for 5 years!!! A 3 year old being sexually abused by the expatriate their own homes? Why ? Where was the mother? Father???? Grandparents???? Were they all out to earn an income to bring up this child?????
I am concerned about the devastating effect this could have on the child and her parents. I hope they get the courage and support to withstand this difficult time.

In all this is a message for the rest of us too. For all of us who need to protect our sons and daughters from these vultures of our society.

It seems to me we no longer live in a safe society. Neither our homes, nor the beach front or the inside of a restaurant is safe for us. The society is in a chaotic state and to protect our children, we have to stand up for our selves and see what could be done to protect and safegaurd our children.

Inspect children at all times, please do not hand them over to the maid servant or relatives and go to the office and spend hours away without monitoring whats going on; specially if strangers or even relatives are visiting your homes.

Talk to the children and let them know you will always be there for them that you will not hold them responsible even if something untoward happen to them or even if somebody did something to them...let them know you as the parent will not hold them reponsible or call them bad.

If your child has been victimised, make sure you and they recieve adequate and good aftercare. Do not assume someone else will do everything for you. Question the authorities who are offering the support. Question the authority for the quality of care your child is receiving and do not hand over the aftercare to people who are not adequately trained in case they become further victimised.

Do not just report the incident to the authorities and remain silent. Follow up the case, become a voice against these atrocities such that no other parent will have to endure what you went through.

Demand justice for yourself, for your child and fight to ensure that appropriate legislations and policies are put in place.
Names, photographs and related details about paedophiles and others who engage in sexual abuse, rape and related sexual crimes should be entered into a sex offenders register(life time) and this should remain visible to the general public. The public should be aware if such a person has been released to the community and their movement has to be monitored by the concerned authorities.

Rehabilitation of these people should also be attempted while they serve their sentences.

Equally important is the need to educate and make the public aware about what could be done to prevent the victimisation of their children and also to prevent their child from entering this destructive cycle of violence.

Only proactive action can save our children from being victimised by sexual abuse, drugs , knife crime and murder.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Who are the drug kingpins of Maldives?

Since my exposure to the drug addiction scenario of the Maldives in 2000, I do not think a day have passed without me asking myself this question.
Who are these people who have ruined a generation of our people, by initially distributing drugs for free and systematically initiating young and vulnerable sons and daughters of our community to this social malice which now afflicts nearly every home of our society?

I have received names, without evidence to prove so from several sources . And I am sure most Maldivians whom we meet are able to count their fingers and name a few , but are we sure that they are the real people? Do we have enough evidence to prove that these people are really the drug kingpins?
So far, people have only gossiped and whispered the names in secrecy but no one has ever come out with proof to say so and so are really the drug kingpins. I have always assumed that if any one of us had sufficient evidence to prove this, noone will be able to contain the information and delay bringing these people to task.

People play politics and people play the blame game in politics. I am shocked with what our President have said...that he is aware of the 6 drug kingpins of our country....but what I cannot fathom is any justification on why the arrest of these people have to be delayed.

If the president knows who they are beyond doubt they must be brought to justice immediately. However, some may argue that this may not be a politically correct move as arresting them now may jeorpadise them from being convicted, specially if these people are politically affiliated and have links with the opposition, arresting them now can give the opportunity for them to link it to politics thereby confusing the public response to these arrests.

However, what I find difficult to comprehend is the logic behind uttering these words to the public when he was not planning to arrest them! By giving away this information he has given these individuals time and opportunity to prepare and defend themselves and also attack those who may destabilise their business using cunning and tested criminal strategies.

What we have to realise is that the drug industry is the most powerful industry in our country today, it has a great demand and the supply is constant and continous.
Heroin is not locally grown , but it is imported to our nation through connections via the drug mafia of the world, with deliberate interactions with the drug lords of the region.
It will neither be simple, nor easy to dismantle this industry, which in most probability is connected to other social evils such as the gangs of Maldives, the booming sex industry which is slowly emerging from underground to shock us again and again. All these evils could be interlinked, all these crimes may be well organised by affluent and powerful people who have benefitted from this monetarily for years and they may now be ready to challenge us in ways beyond the comprehension of ordinary minds.

The heirarchy of drug related crime is a complex one. What we see at the top, the drug kingpins, control the inflow of drugs to the nation through their network of drug traffickers. These people are often affluent people whom many may find difficult to even link to something as horrendous as the sale of drugs. But they are dangerous people who expand their business by contacting the drug lords of the country, frequently they are the small time businessmen who also carry a facade of decency which many will find difficult to challenge.

These drug lords then sell the drugs to the drug dealers(whole salers) who subsequently sell to the drug pushers( act as retailers and may be users) or drug peddlers( similar to drug pushers) who sell it to the drug users who are the victims in this heirarchy of drug crime, being at the lowest position in this network are the easiest to get arrested and imprisoned; the scapegoats of this industry.

Definitely, it is time we reversed the order of the drug related arrests. The number of drug kingpins may be few , perhaps just a handful as stated by our president, but the drug traffickers; drug lords; drug dealers; drug pushers and drug peddlers also need to be arrested if we are to "finish this problem".

The confession of our president that he knows the 6 drug kingpins of Maldives had the power to captivate media attention and anger the public triggering a war of words between parties, as this confession was made at a time when different parties are campaining heavily for the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Unfortunately while this verbal onslaught is ongoing precious time is lost in nabbing the people who are responsible to systematically destroying a generation of Maldivians.

Can we really then afford to wait for a right time to arrest these people? Would there ever be a right time to arrest these figures? Would our politicians have the guts to rise above party politics and unite to 'finish the problem?'

Every mother , and father who have born the burden of their child being victimised at the hands of these people have a right to know who these people are. Every Maldivian wants to see these drug kingpins brought to task, immediately.

Let us hope we can trust our leaders to give us unfailing justice by arresting these 6 drug kingpins and thereby dismantling the booming drug industry which is destroying our beloved nation.

The time to arrest the drug kingpins is now. Not tomorrow or any other day when things are safe for any particular political party...!! Let us hope responsible action follows.
If our president had the audacity to utter that he knows who the 6 drugkingpins of our nation are we have to see whether he has the courage and determination to prevent another single Maldivian from falling into the claws of these people.