What we talk about when we talk about Independence

 

by Shahindha Ismail

This July marks 50 years of independence for Maldives. It is truly fitting, in this sense, to light up the nation and celebrate the occasion with music, fireworks and fanfare. The government has spent millions to make it the most colourful and celebrated event in our small country.

Then why does it seem that all this is being rained upon? In sentiment as well as, alas, by Mother Nature? There has been so much resistance towards preparations for celebrations in the run up to the Independence Day. Is it not worthy of our leaders to stop and think for a moment? For our people are a freedom loving lot, a people who will sacrifice life and livelihood for it and, therefore, will undeniably celebrate it with fest and fervour.

However, contradictory sentiments have been expressed in abundance. Those of us who speak out have stood at public podiums and joined rallies. They have objected to this celebration of independence on TV, radio and print media. Others, especially the youth, have made their views crystal clear on social media. Parents have refused to let their children participate in school performances for the big event. The lights that have been spread across the city do not reach the homes of the people.

Why do we not rejoice in our fiftieth year of independence? Why is the air thick with negativity?

True, the Maldives was a British Protectorate for decades before they let us have our independence. Independence, as defined in the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, freedom from political control by other countries. Yes we have achieved it. Or, even if we fought no battles for it, we have it nevertheless.

What, then, are we so unhappy about? What do we – those with the heavy hearts – talk about when we talk about independence? Do we have freedom from political control of our country?

Our beloved, unique language calls independence minivankan. It also means freedom in our language. Free from shackles, free from undue authority, free in thought, act and conscience. This minivankan is something we are yet to have.

The biggest freedom that I have seen us celebrate is the Constitution of 2008. We fought for it, sacrificed for it and we earned it. It came with such hope and enthusiasm! It made our hearts soar in flight and the whole nation, regardless of political alignment reverberated in joyous celebration. It brought with it the Chapter of Rights, the first ever in the history of Maldives. Written into the Chapter are all the freedoms our people have. To live, to earn, to raise our children, to speak our minds and to belong, to be part of this society that we call home, free from fear or persecution.

What has happened to it since that glorious 8th of August in 2008? The chapter has lain there, gathering dust. Of the 53 provisions guaranteeing fundamental rights in the Constitution, there is only one which the Supreme Court and Parliament have shown an interest in–and used at every opportunity: Article 16 – the provision that allows limitations on the rights provided in the Constitution.

The people have been completely removed from the political processes. They have become a mere ballot paper, nothing more, nothing less. The people are no more worthy of consultation in the direction that our nation should take. Let the people live in freedom and enjoy fully the fruits of this independence that we celebrate. Let there be inclusion, tolerance and respect. Let the people be part of this freedom.

Today would have been so different if the nation put our people forward. If we had let their say guide us, avoid blunders, speak from experience. How far behind they are. It feels as though sometimes ‘we’ refer to ‘some’. Why are all the lights and celebrations in the capital city? Where are the rest of the people? The keepers of the white beaches and blue waters? The nation expects us all to join the fireworks. Take a boat ride, pay for a bed and food and celebrate with ‘us’. This is not what the people want. They wish to be part of it, not an audience to it.

This nation can barely feed the people or care for them. People speculate on the expenditure on the lights and fountains alone. Why, when the average family can no longer bear the electricity bills as it is? Why spend the millions on festivities when the orphanage can hardly manage to feed the children there? The people do not agree with prioritising jubilee over necessity.

Our people live in a caged nation where simply expressing a wish to break free from it could have them imprisoned, or get destroyed or even be killed for trying it. This nation has lost too many lives, shed too much blood and tears with no recourse, no reconciliation and no accountability. Open the cages, and there shall be freedom. Have the courage to listen to the people. Their frustrations, their opinions and their two-cents-worth do matter, and they should not be punished for it. An equal say in our lives does not belittle anyone - why must it invoke such hatred? No! It is just an opinion, a freedom! Everyone is free to say it and to listen to it. We all should revel in what good can come out of it. The rest can be discarded.

This is just one view of what we talk about when we talk about independence. Or minivankan. What do the rest of our people feel? Has anyone tried to understand it?

Everything that we preach for must begin at home. No less for freedom and independence. Just because someone occupied our home for some years and then left it does not make it a free home if we are shackled inside of it.


About the author: Shahindha Ismail is the Executive Director at Maldivian Democracy Network. Shahindha has been working in fields related to human rights for ten years, and is the co-author of the MDN publication: Asaasee Haqquthakaai Minivankan [Fundamental Rights and Freedoms]. She has also contributed several articles and reports to human rights journals. She is a keen runner, and is married with one daughter. 

Photo: Among thousands of fairy-light decorations put up to mark Independence Day

    Happy Independence Day

    by Azra Naseem

    The United Kingdom, which always wanted to colonise Maldives with the co-operation of the Athireege family, finally came to Malé in the form of the HMS Britain, on 22 Feb 1887. The captain of this ship was Rodney M Lloyd. As a representative of the Governor of Ceylon came Rear Admiral Fredrick W M Richard. Accompanying them were Athireege Annabeel Ahmed Didi, and Abdul Kareem Mudhuliar.

    This delegation went upstairs in the Palace and asked Sultan Mohamed Mueenudheen III, the Prime Minister Sumuvvul Amir Mohamed Rannabandeyri Kilegefaan, and the Chief Justice Naibu Thuthu to write an agreement between the English and Maldivian governments which would provide ‘protection’ to the Maldives. According to this agreement Maldives would become a colony of the English.

    The whole of Maldives opposed this. This proposal to become the protected servant of anyone other than the Great Allah was rejected by the Sultan, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice Naibu Thuthu, the military, and the people. About six days later the ship returned to Colombo.

    There, in Ceylon, the British and their Maldivian friends arranged for Abdul Rahman Alim Sahib to write a letter of agreement in Arabic in which Maldives would become a full colony, or at the very least, a country which came under colonial authority. It was written in such a way that the Sultan seemingly requested British protection on his own initiative, and made the annual tribute ceremony the formal recognition of this new relationship. In the document, the Sultan was given a voice of abject humility, admitting weakness and an inability to stabilise the country.

    The delegation, this time with the addition of Abdul Rahman Alim Sahib, then returned to Malé in two large warships. The British delegation went upstairs again to Mathige. This time the document, which the Chief Justice had refused to write, had already been written and only the signing remained. The Sultan, the Prime Minister, the military, and the people… all refused.

    The delegation returned to their warships and the guns were aimed at Malé, and the people ran to the edge of the reef. The British and their friends came ashore once again and said if the agreement went unsigned, then Malé would be smashed to pieces. The Sultan and the prominent people agreed to sign the agreement to escape from death. The Chief Justice Naibu Thuthu said that Maldivians ‘should prefer to be martyred rather than accept that thing.’ – Abdul Hakeem Hussein Manik

    It was 78 years later, on 26 July 1965, that Maldives finally freed itself from the agreement signed, regardless of what the people wanted, on that day in February 1887. 26 July has since been marked as ‘Independence Day’. Sunday will be the 50th anniversary of the occasion. Much has changed since. At this moment in time, it is difficult to see a scenario in which, faced with a situation where parts [or whole] of the country is to be owned by a foreign party, ‘the president, the vice president, the military and the people…all refuse’.

    Newly appointed Vice President Ahmed Adeeb

    On Tuesday night, PPM submitted a motion to the Majlis: add a clause to the Constitution to allow the sale of Maldivian territory to foreign parties. The proposal was accepted and passed within 24 hours, with minimal debate, with the consent of 70 MPs. President Abdulla Yameen ratified the amendment the very next day. Public consultation was never part of the momentous decision, which has the potential to change the very identity and culture of the Maldives.

    Broadly speaking, there is nothing wrong with non-nationals owning land – it happens in most countries in the world. Where the Maldives is concerned, the problems are many: only two percent of its territory is land, the rest is sea; roughly 99 percent of Maldivians cannot afford to buy off the public land registered in their names; there is no independent judiciary or legal expertise to handle cases of such complexity; rule of law is emphatically absent; the corruption among government officials is unprecedented; and there is little room to expect any benefit from such sales to trickle down to the ordinary person.

    The natural beauty of the islands has been to Maldives what diamonds were to Sierra Leone: a disaster for the ordinary men and women; an impediment to democracy; an obstacle to human development; and a pathway to massive corruption. Most owners of tourist resorts in the Maldives are rich beyond the ordinary person’s wildest dreams; many pour their money into the dirty pit of Maldivian politics to ensure the people elected are puppets whose strings they pull in whichever direction is more lucrative for them; they help block the opening up of the tourism industry in ways that would allow more even wealth distribution; all the money they earn from tourism are squirrelled away in foreign banks, little of it allowed to go through Maldivian economic system; and, in more recent times—as a way of appeasing their ‘Muslim guilt’ for benefitting from trading in services and goods considered haram—they have been funding extremist individuals and organisations that encourage people to hate ‘the infidel’, successfully ensuring the ordinary person would not want a share of the tourism wealth.

    Who cares if large numbers of people are joining radical organisations like ISIS and dying in dozens? As long as they are not a threat to the tourism magnates’ personal wealth, it’s not a problem.

    And now, it’s not sufficient that islands can be leased as tourist resorts for 99 years that are developed with all imaginable modern luxuries while locals live on islands often with no drinking water, waste disposal systems, electricity or proper sewerage systems. It is no longer enough to have Special Economic Zones where rich foreign investors will not be subject to any Maldivian laws, the proceeds of whatever they do on these islands of no benefit to Maldivians. Now lagoons and reefs are to be sold off to any billionaire with a dredger. They will own ‘for perpetuity’ 70 percent of the land they reclaim and, as freeholds, Maldives will have little or no control over whatever happens on this new land—dug up from the bottom of the sea destroying for the sake of its existence the life that thrives underwater, the life that sustains Maldives and Maldivians.

    Life as Maldivians have known it for centuries is coming to an end.

    Running parallel to the plan to sell the lagoons and its life to the highest bidders is the plan for forced migration of the people. 60-70 percent of Maldivians are to be moved from the 200 odd islands they occupy to around two or three islands in what is to be called ‘The Greater Male’ Area’. They are all to be housed on high-rise flats built on these designated islands, families crammed into tiny little spaces like hens in a battery farm. This is what has happened in Male’ already – once an idyllic island, now one of the most crowded—and often the dirtiest—cities in the world. Traditional ways of life are not just going to change as everything inevitably does; they will be forced to disappear. There have been no studies or analyses done of what the social and environmental impacts of such a migration of people will be. Such considerations are for wimps, not ‘a government with guts’, as this one describes itself to be.

    The consequences will be dire, but work has already begun to seduce people into thinking it is a good idea, with computer generated 3D images of a city with sky scrapers and swimming pools, vast roads and theme parks. An urban artificial ‘utopia’ a-la Singapore or Dubai. Few are asking why, when we have 1200 islands, can we not find a solution that allows the Maldivian people to live on those islands, why there are no efforts being made to provide the services they need on the islands they have existed on for centuries. No one is asking why such damage is being done to our fragile environment by dredging holes in the reef, by moving sand from the bottom of the sea from here to there, when we already have enough islands for just 400,000 people to live comfortably on. In the 21st century, where eco-friendly solutions are being invented to accommodate living life with the environment, when sustainable development is trending, where innovative scientific minds are finding ways for man to adapt to their own environments rather than the other way around — Maldives is being forced to turn around and walk doggedly in the opposite direction.

    Independence Day celebrations this year ring hollow. From the plastic palm trees that line the main street of Male’ (the capital island of a country where the coconut palm is the national tree!); the fairy lights tastelessly thrown onto every available surface of the city; the Majlis’ removal of the Vice President in a political deal reeking of vengeance and personal glory disguised as a democratic ‘impeachment’; the Majlis ‘debate’ on the same night to float the idea of selling off Maldivian territory; the earlier ‘Adeeb Amendment’ to the Constitution to allow a specific person to become Vice President — it all smells of oppression, not independence.

    Where once state and people together resisted until left with no choice to sign agreements that would infringe on Maldivian sovereignty and identity, today only lone voices are raised even in the face of serious national security breaches—such as foreign submarines making incursions into our territorial waters for no apparent reason. Instead of guarding borders and boundaries, the Maldives National Defence is deployed to repair broken generators and, at all times, protect the president and his government. Individual freedoms have been taken away, the Maldives Police Service dispatched 24/7 to ensure the people cannot—at any time—freely exercise their rights to freedom of assembly or expression.

    The People’s Majlis has been turned into a place to fast-track documents loosely called ‘legislation’ that allow rulers to act with impunity, but under the legitimising veil of ‘democracy’. On Tuesday, the Majlis changed its procedural rules to say it is no longer necessary to discuss, analyse or debate a Bill before putting it to vote. As long as the ruling party has a majority, it can make anything law, without the people having a clue about what the legislation is for or what the rationale behind it is.

    There is no judiciary to right any wrong, to provide justice where it is required. In its place is a state apparatus designed and implemented to control society the way rulers want. All substantial opposition have been robbed of their liberty, incarcerated in jail, put into solitary confinement, or held under house arrest. Their freedom is nothing but a bargaining tool of those in control.

    The Maldivian Democratic Party is at its weakest since inception: it voted for the Constitutional amendment that allowed Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb to become Vice President, and citing its position as a ‘centre right party’—a position which it has not relied on to justify much of anything to its members before—chose not to issue a three-line whip in the vote to amend the Constitution allowing sale of Maldivian property. Only a handful of MDP MPs voted against the amendment rushed through the parliament with such haste and absolutely no public consultation.

    MDP’s weakness is the majority’s weakness. The party has led the Maldivian democracy movement for the last decade; for a majority of its supporters, the meaning of democracy itself is ‘MDP’s vision’. And when MDP’s vision is clouded—by force or not—followers are lost in the fog, directionless, unable to see the road ahead with any clarity.

    As Maldives marks its 50th Independence Day, the Constitution, and the people, are both hostage to the whims and desires of the rulers. People are but mere spectators in games played among and between the rich, the elite, and the powerful. The future holds the prospects of foreign military bases on Maldivian territorial waters; becoming embroiled in Indian Ocean security issues and potential naval warfare; forced internal migration; living in slum cities; absolute loss of way of life and identity; and total subjugation to a ruthless dictatorship that will always put money before people.

    We need to revive the spirit of collectively saying we’ll do anything but ‘accept that thing.’

    Happy Independence Day.

      48: 24 In and Out of Prison

      Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 10.34.30

      by Azra Naseem

      It was May 1991. On the small island of Dhoonidhoo, by the beach, stood a windowless corrugated iron shed 4ft wide, 6ft long, and 6ft high. During the day, the hot tropical sun beamed its rays directly onto the tin roof, making the air inside as hot as the inside of an oven on full blast. Under the moon, damp air from the sea wrapped itself around the shed, chilling the atmosphere within. Entrapped inside, in solitary confinement since November 1990, was a young man of 23 years. On 17 May 1991, exactly 24 years ago today, he turned 24.

      Mohamed Nasheed, from G. Kenereege, Male’, had spent the previous year and a half inside the confines of the small shed. For 18 months his existence had been strictly controlled and designed to cause maximum pain and humiliation. He was allowed one shower a week. Everything he did had to be done inside the confines of the shed. His water was rationed – one litre every 24 hours for all his needs: drinking; cleaning; and ablutions.

      The only ‘break’ from the relentless routine came when he was taken out for ‘interrogations’. Prior to each, he was allowed a bath and given a clean shirt to wear. All the sessions were videotaped. Instead of being asked questions, however, he was provided with a list of offences to which he was to ‘confess’: attempts to overthrow the government; inciting violence through distribution of subversive literature; concealing information on alleged anti-government terror plots; immorality; and un-Islamic behaviour.

      His refusal to ‘confess’ resulted in a litany of punishments: his food was laced – sometimes with crushed glass, sometimes with laxatives, sometimes both at once. The laxatives caused diarrhoea; the glass cut him from within. It was a bloody combination, intended to cause optimum harm. At other times he was kept chained inside the shed; his water rations cut from one litre to half a litre every 24 hours. Once he was chained to a chair outside for 12 consecutive days, exposed to the elements; be it the merciless tropical sun or the ceaseless monsoon rains. He spent 14 days tied to a loud, throbbing electric generator, breathing in its fumes. For an entire week, he was subjected to sleep deprivation; allowed only 10-15 minutes’ sleep a night.

      After 18 months of such inhumane treatment, on 8 April 1992, about a month before his 25th birthday, Nasheed was brought before a summary court and sentenced to three years and six months in prison. This time he was held captive on the island of Gaamaadhoo. Due to external pressure—mainly from the British government and Amnesty International—and changes in the domestic political landscape, Nasheed was released in June 1993, two years and four months before the end of his sentence.

      By then he had spent another birthday, the third in a row, in jail. He was suffering from severe back pain, the result of police beatings in custody. He was bleeding internally, the result of food laced with crushed glass he had been forced to eat. He had just turned 26.

      Journalism is a crime

      Nasheed’s crime had been journalism. In the dictatorship of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (1978-2008), where the State and its cronies tightly controlled all media output, Nasheed’s was the first voice that refused to be sweet-talked, bought, coerced, or threatened into silence.

      On 24 January 1990, at the age of 22, Nasheed published the first issue of, Sangu, the first magazine to be openly critical of the regime in 12 years. It was banned almost immediately. Nasheed responded by publishing the very article, which the government had objected to most, in Sri Lanka’s The Island newspaper. For this, Nasheed was put under house arrest, the first of many times in which he would be deprived of his freedom. He doggedly persisted on his chosen path as a public watchdog, willingly meeting with foreign reporters in his house, including correspondents from the BBC and ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) who, with Nasheed’s contributions, reported on the burgeoning political corruption and oppression in the Maldives. His 18 months of torture in Dhoonidhoo began the day after ABC broadcast its report.

      There was more journalism, more writing, more threats, and more jail time to come. The next prison term was in November 1994 when he spent two weeks in solitary confinement for having written about yet more political arrests and repression by Gayoom. In February 1995 he spent another two weeks in prison where it was made clear to him that unless he stopped writing, he would be back behind bars yet again. Faced with the stark choice, he relinquished political journalism, and concentrated on writing longer, historical works.

      In 1996 Nasheed published his first book, Dhagandu Dhahana, an account of the domestic affairs that culminated in Maldives becoming a British protectorate in 1887. Despite the book’s focus on history, he was ordered to have it removed from the shelves. He refused. Gayoom’s response was to charge him in relation to an article published two years previously, in November 1994. It was back to jail for another three months, then house arrest for a long period while his appeal was being considered, followed by another three months in jail. For the fourth time he was in captivity for his birthday. He had turned 29.

      Free again in 1997, he stayed home to look after his first-born and write. His wife, Laila Ali, was the breadwinner. Writing under a pseudonym, he published Hithaa Hithuge Gulhun (A Connection of Hearts), a non-political novel. It became a best-seller.

      Into politics

      Nasheed’s first foray into politics was not pre-planned but initiated by Gayoom’s archrival, Ilyas Ibrahim, in October 1999, ahead of scheduled parliamentary elections. Hearing about a meeting between the two men, Gayoom had Nasheed’s house raided. Police took his computer along with several unpublished manuscripts. They were never returned. By then Nasheed had made up his mind to run for one of two seats as a Male’ Member of Parliament. He was successful. Two years later, after many efforts at reform as an MP, he was back in jail.

      This time, the charge was theft. Among the documents police found when they raided his home in October 1999 was an old school notebook belonging to former President Ibrahim Nasir’s son. Nasheed picked it up from dumpster outside the Nasir residence which the government had emptied of all contents. Having been in school with the younger Nasir, the notebook, destined for the bin, was of sentimental value to Nasheed. Nevertheless, charged with theft—a Hadd crime in Shari’a—Nasheed was stripped of his parliament seat and sentenced to two years banishment to An’golhitheemu, an island with a population of just 30. After six months in virtual isolation on the island, he was transferred to house arrest. With pressure from Amnesty International, Reporters Sans Frontiers, the International Parliamentary Union (IPU), and other international bodies, he was free again after three months. By now it was August 2002, and Nasheed was 35.

      A year of relative calm and more writing followed. Nasheed published two more books, Enme Jaleel, a historical novel, and Dhan’dikoshi, a genealogy of leading families in Male’. In English, he wrote two more, A Historical Overview of Dhivehi Polity 1800-1900, and Maldives in Armour: Internal Feuding and Anglo-Dhivehi Relations 1800-1900.

      Trouble, and more jail time, was not far away. On 20 September 2003, the National Security Services (NSS), killed Evan Naseem, a young prisoner in Maafushi jail. Nasheed was instrumental in exposing Evan Naseem’s death for the murder that it was. He beseeched the examining doctor to deviate from what was then a standard procedure of signing prisoners’ death certificates without examining the body first. Naseem’s battered and bruised body, once examined by the doctor and seen by his family and the public, brought most of the public’s endurance of Gayoom’s regime to an end; and lit the fire of the Maldivian democracy movement that refuses to die to this day.

      Much of what happened between then and now is well documented. The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) was declared as an entity in exile in Sri Lanka on 10 November 2003; Nasheed and several other close associates, in danger of losing their lives, sought asylum in the UK; and party leaders, members and activists continued their highly effective non-violent civil resistance actions in Male’. There were several heavy and brutal crackdowns, including the event now known as Black Friday on 12-13 August 2004 when the now infamous SO police brutally cracked down on thousands of protesters injuring hundreds and arresting 200.

      Nasheed returned to the Maldives not long after, on 30 April 2005. Within a month—during which time he turned 38—he was back in Dhoonidhoo jail with several other MDP members and activists. This turned out to be a brief overnight stay, but it was not long before he was back in jail, dragged into custody from the Republic Square on 12 August 2005 where he was leading a mass gathering to mark the first anniversary of Black Friday. He remained in prison for about a week, then brought to court to face a battery of charges from inciting hatred against government and ‘creating fear in people’s hearts.’

      Nasheed was back in jail—in solitary confinement—for the 80 days in which the ‘trial’ was held. It was followed by 324 days under house arrest. Mounting external pressure forced the government to withdraw the charges against Nasheed and release him on 21 September 2006. Another birthday had passed in captivity.

      The freedom was short lived. Six months later, the people of Male’ were confronted with another dead body—another prisoner last seen alive in police custody. The body of Hussein Solah, carrying marks of torture was seen in the sea, near the remand prison where the police had held him. Large crowds gathered near the cemetery to view Solah’s body. Police dispersed the crowd brutally. They singled Nasheed out, pushed, shoved and beat him up, then dragged him into jail for another night. Released the next day, he left abroad to seek treatment.

      Sweet but short

      In November 2008 Nasheed became the first democratically elected leader of the Maldives. Both he, and the Maldivian people, experienced true freedom from tyranny for the first time in decades. Freedom of expression and assembly flourished. It was safe to speak, to criticise, to write, to draw, to feel, to debate, to dissent.

      But, just like the many short-lived moments of liberty in Nasheed’s own history, this freedom for both him and the people was short lived. The beginning of its end came with the coup on 12 February 2012. In the year and nine months that followed, caretaker ‘President’ Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, genuflecting deeply, held the door open for the Gayoom family to return: to occupy the seats of power; shut the door on civil and political rights of the people; and to lock Nasheed away in prison. The new regime did not waste much time. Nasheed was back in Dhoonidhoo in October 2012, and again in March 2013. He was released on both occasions, pending a ‘trial’. On 13 March 2015, after what the entire world sees as a sham trial–charged and found guilty of ‘terrorism’ for the custody of a corrupt judge during his presidency–the regime threw Nasheed into jail yet again. This time to serve a 13-year sentence.

      Today Mohamed Nasheed turns 48. It is the fifth birthday he marks in jail, 24 long years since he marked his first, 24th, birthday in jail back in 1991. And just as his fortunes have changed, so has the country’s. Counting the days behind bars today are many dissidents, critics and writers. Protesters as old as 70, and children under 18, are being brutally assaulted, pepper sprayed, arrested and tortured. Opposition leaders are being detained solely for being opposition leaders.

      Once again, it is not safe to criticise the government; it is no longer allowed to freely assemble to peacefully protest without prior permission from the authorities; journalism is, once more, a crime. Journalist and writer Ahmed Rilwan was abducted in August 2014 and has been ‘disappeared’. Several prominent social media critics were dragged into jail, picked up from anti-governments protests like baitfish in a drag net. Dozens of Twitter users were detained for days and held in inhumane conditions. Some have been released, others like Shafeeu and blogger, Yameen Rasheed, remain in custody for no other reason except for their dissenting voices.

      The trajectory of Nasheed’s life and that of the Maldivian democracy movement are closely intertwined. Every birthday he marks in jail marks another year in which the country’s struggle for democracy remains under captivity. Without Nasheed’s freedom, there would be no freedom for the majority agitating for a government of the people by the people–they are bound together, like ‘a connection of hearts’.