Given the happenings of the past few months, I cry for the state of our nation! Being an islander myself (not a Male born) I feel the grief of many who seem shunted out of this process called democracy and its fancy underpinnings we have inherited from those who created this process far away from our shores, and yet seem to have espoused even before we could even articulate the word “democracy” as it should.
Sadly, given our level of understanding, for the island voter who has not been involved in the nefarious world of politics, the direction of his vote will be to the one who will not jeopardize his state of presently enjoyed status of life. For him it is the availability of his daily food rations, the sale of his fish for a good rate and the availability of fuel for his fishing dhoani. Perhaps now it is also the access to schooling for his kids and the hospital for getting treated for his health ailments; now we can also throw in the mobile phone and the flat TV.
Beyond this, the murky world of politics that engages with the exchange of lucrative deals in expensive mega contracts, corruption in the dispensation of jobs and promotions and attendant financial and related benefits and how lofty political positions are used to maintain power and authority lie the serene world of the other islands. Social nattering on these deals in the past were no more than hushed conversation pieces to pep up an otherwise balmy existence. Even now in the new bustling era of democracy, hyped up rhetoric and social unrest has not made the issues any more owned by us in the islands. Still these seem of no immediate concern to them because they are firstly unaware of this nefarious world and also disengaged from the understanding of the consequences of such actions and behaviours that for them lies far away from their everyday lives. They (most of them) are still too innocent to fathom the depth of such intricacies. In this absence of awareness, the political game is being played and winners and losers decided based on base compromises and arm twists. The island voter is given what he wants to fuel his everyday needs without exhorting one bit to his need to nurture the compassionate society of tomorrow that his children and grandchildren will have to inhabit.
So how can the ordinary man on the island’s joalifathi be the steward of this profound concept called democracy? Given that there is no overt public education on democracy in Maldives, our beloved country either before or after the 2008 democratic transition says a lot about the effete nature of our system and the independent commissions that are mandated for this job. Neither are the Parties doing any responsible role in doing this but rather squabbling in the politics of this game with only occasional morsels thrown out to pacify the crying needs around, or the peddling of dreams that the polity seems to swallow in their political innocence. How long do we want to keep the polity in this ignorance and expect this moral decadence that our society is slipping into to be stalled? All well-meaning citizens of Maldives must take up the challenge; democracy will be made or broken only us – We the People.