The periodic environmental damages of the physical nature are not the only concerns plaguing our nation; perhaps more daunting are those lurking in our social environment threatening to become chronic.
Such was what I read in the Asia Foundation sponsored and MIPSTAR carried out situational assessment of gangs in Male, and was regretfully saddened by the status described; as many as thirty street gangs taking charge of strategic locations in Male as they ply their trade of drugs, violence and fear. This obviously reflects a dire consequence of something phenomenally unsatisfactory happening on our one square mile called Male; an unequivocal breakdown of governance in our city. The verbatims that jump out of the text bring remorse -- of the fact that families and leaders don't seem to care for the plight of these children who grow up with neglect and in the ambience of violence and drugs that is the order of their day. Fifteen year olds pushing drugs and others not much older perpetrating crimes that even seasoned criminals would wince to perform. Of course such heinous actions can only come from young people under the influence of drugs. The report talks about other influences too.
I am aware that Journey is doing its diligent part to rehabilitate some of these youth through their counseling and guidance and assisting several users to go on methadone. However this effort seems just a drop in the bucket so to say in comparison with the issue at hand. While commending such NGO effort to invest their little bit, what we do at the moment is merely ‘giving an aspirin for the headache’ which is just a symptom of a much bigger underlying time-bomb of an issue. And the real issue is just left to fester. Of course it’s a win-win for those who use and for those who push. But the real loser is the Maldivian nation. I say nation because if we are to move as a community of people with a common vision, we lose that opportunity as other competing interests -- majority of these being financial, makes for a nation that cannot have a common agenda. Our nation is blissfully struggling in a multiparty democracy, the essence of the word perhaps 90 percent of our population does not still fathom, and the knowledge of this no one seems to want to impart to the polity either.
Our parties, and political leadership, the ‘gangs in Male’ survey says, are in fact abetting the perpetuation of these gangs. Therefore, asking the question whether our leaders are for or against the people is a valid one. In this God given opportunity to build a more compassionate and inclusive society in our country we seem to be seeing just the opposite. A plutocracy that is keeping the people in the yoke of material subservience and demonstrating abundantly that it is not a moral guiding philosophy that moves the party agenda, but that the cement that keeps the party together is greed, and fear. And the gang allegiance makes the latter easily possible.