Tagged: Maldives environment

Maldives: Ecocide as Achievement

Humay Abdulghafoor

On 15 March 2023, fireworks and led lights lit up a site of state sponsored ecocide in the southernmost tip of Gaaf Dhaal atoll in the Maldives, as President Solih celebrated another destructive airport project.

Holding pole position on the victim-list of global climate change, Maldives pleads shamelessly for global climate funds.  It also expects to blamelessly destroy finite natural ecosystems and climate change defences for short-term political expediency, and claim from the international taxpayer to ‘mitigate’ willful ecocide. The government of Maldives is well aware of the imminent and unknowable impacts of global climate heating to its natural foundations, which constitute the seventh largest coral system in the world. The country’s finite ecosystems including coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, wetlands and the rich and yet to be studied biodiversity within, sustains the nation’s economic lifelines – its tourism and fishing industries. The Maldives State of the Environment Report 2016 says that 98% of the country’s exports and 71% of its employment are directly linked to its biodiversity sector. This is unsurprising in a nation constituting 99% ocean and 1% land. This land which lies mostly below the one meter mark above mean sea level, is entirely dependent on the stability of its surrounding marine environment.

However, the government of Maldives’ development approach undermines the stability of the balance of nature in the country. It entertains a policy of domestic aviation and airport infrastructure that is grossly and disproportionately overblown in the context, capacity and need, at the expense of multiple ecosystems. The policy to have a domestic airport at every 20-30 minute travel distance attempts to justify expansion that is financially and environmentally debilitating to the country.

The multitude of questionable and destructive ecocide projects like Faresmaathodaa Airport are not environmentally accounted. The extreme loss and damage inflicted on ecosystems, the loss of services they provide to communities and existing businesses dependent on them are not valued, as a matter of practice. These projects are conducted as if these natural systems have no inherent value as the natural defences of the country. It is a well established fact that the country’s reef ecosystem foundations were instrumental in defending these small, low-lying islands in the middle of the Indian ocean. The 2004 Asian Tsunami travelling at a speed of 500 mph was slowed down by these reef defences that took the brunt of the hit. To destroy and bury these defences willfully during a self-proclaimed ‘climate emergency’ is akin to digging its own grave. The government of Maldives is invested in free riding on the narrative that it faces an existential crisis due to global climate heating, and take no responsibility to cease widespread and irresponsible ecocide nationally.

Faresmaathodaa Airport Ecocide

The political fanfare and fireworks surrounding the Faresmaathodaa ecocide is a superficial show covering up extreme environmental loss and damage, the value of which is entirely dismissed and ignored. The airport was built by destroying 5 uninhabited islets south of the inhabited island of Faresmaathodaa. The reclamation component of the project is nearly MVR 80 million (~USD 5.3 million). According to the State broadcaster PSM, the airport project cost an estimated USD 10 million.

The environmental damage and destruction the project will cause is outlined in the project environmental assessment (EIA) of July 2018. The project was estimated to remove 14,000 to 16,000 trees from the impact area, although the environmental or social cost was not accounted. The EIA further said that

coastal construction activities will involve significant adverse impacts on the marine water quality and marine life. The most significant will be the turbidity impacts from the dredging, reclamation and shore protection activities. Biota associated with the seabed within these footprints will be lost, either due to physical removal during dredging or burial during reclamation works.” (project EIA, pg.xvii – italics added).

The report further described the project’s proposed and anticipated future impacts, saying that,

“There are potentially severe impacts predicted due to hydrodynamic changes. The reclamation across five islands and funneling effect created between Faresmaathodaa and the airport may cause severe erosion on the eastern shoreline of Fares and western shoreline of Kan’dehdhudhuvaa. There is also strong likelihood of flooding on the airport due to the elevation and shore protection designs proposed, and given the fact that Faremaathodaa [sic] has a known history of coastal flooding.” (project EIA, pg.xvii – italics added).

The decision to ignore the environmental and ecological consequences of ecocide to build short-term, ecologically high-impact and loss-making infrastructure for political gain undermines every legal and governance requirement to develop Maldives sustainably. This approach to infrastructure development imposes a crippling environmental and financial burden on the country, incurring loss upon loss.

Kulhudhuffushi Airport Ecocide

Politically driven ecocide projects continue to plague the Maldivian people and their aspirations for meaningful change to improve their lives through sustainable development activities. Sustainability, viability, economic and financial feasibility are of little to no concern for politician-driven ecocide projects. In October 2017, the government of Maldives went ahead with the destruction of Kulhudhuffushi mangroves and wetland to build an airport in the middle of one of the largest wetland ecosystems in the country, amid public protests. State owned company MTCC Plc with no experience in airport development was assigned the project, using its first ever dredging vessel built by Netherlands company ICH Holland in China. In a press statement, the President’s Office said that the vessel, named “Mahaa Jarraafu is capable of conducting land reclamation activities without causing damage to the environment.” (italics added)

The project’s immediate negative consequences were widespread, including the displacement and dispossession of local livelihood resources and economies affecting over 400 families. Other impacts to the community showed when Kulhudhuffushi began to experience increased flooding which had significant direct impacts on people’s homes and property. Efforts by the #SaveMaldives Campaign and concerned stakeholders to protect the remaining part of the wetlands have been ignored by the current government.

In 2023, Kulhudhuffushi airport requires extensive shore-protection works as erosion threatens it. The national budget has thus far allocated over MVR 20 million (~USD 1.4 million) to address the continuing impacts of the destruction caused by the airport project. Today, nearly 6 years after the project began, Kulhudhuffushi Airport is still not fully operational. Notably, President Yameen Abdul Gayoom was impatient to inaugurate the airport project, and did so before the airport terminal could be completed, as part of his failed re-election campaign in 2018. The airport continues to suffer from significant critical infrastructure deficits which limit flight movements.  Its operational functions were initially hindered by the absence of key operational components such as fire and rescue and ground handling services. To date, the airport has yet to install runway lights.

Hoarafushi Airport Ecocide

The ecocide case of Haa Alif Atoll Hoarafushi Airport which was a political project initiated in 2019 showed yet again the catastrophic consequences of willful ecosystem destruction by the government of Maldives and its political decision-makers. The airport was constructed in record time by the Maldives State owned company MTCC Plc (once again), and opened with the usual fanfare by President Solih in November 2019. Initial reports suggested the airport construction cost MVR 198 million (~USD 13.2 million) while another said it cost MVR 211 million (~USD 14 million).  The government project portal shows that between 2019 and 2021, over MVR 233 million (~USD 15.5 million) had been spent on this project.

The project EIA’s First Addendum of March 2019, on the strength of which the project was approved, reached the following conclusion :

“The study found that through the implementation of the proposed practical and cost effective mitigation measures in this addendum report in conjunction with the EIA all significant impacts can be brought to an acceptable level.” (pg. 158) 

This pivotal project EIA document provides no valuation or accounting for environmental or ecological loss and damage the project would cause. At this point, it might interest the reader to know that the producer of the Hoarafushi Airport EIA is the incumbent People’s Majlis (Maldives parliament) MP for Hoarafushi, Ahmed Saleem who ran for his parliamentary seat for this constituency in April 2019, with a pledge to develop this airport. MP Saleem is also the Chairperson of the permanent parliamentary committee known as the Environment and Climate Change Committee. In this capacity, he is also known for having submitted an application in December 2019 to the International Criminal Court on behalf of the Maldives, to make ecocide an international crime. The situation could hardly be more ironic, duplicitous or dishonorable.

Just five months after its November 2019 inauguration, Hoarafushi Airport was inundated due to high winds and tidal surges during the monsoon in May 2020, causing significant losses raising key questions about the project’s planning, construction and management. In April 2021, reports emerged that the causeway linking Hoarafushi island to the airport would be removed, confirming the serious gaps in the project’s planning, approval and implementation.  A scientific study on coastal flooding in the Maldives published in 2021 observed that Hoarafushi island experiences the “highest incoming waves in the archipelago”. The fact that the Hoarafushi Airport EIA addendum was produced by a technical practitioner who either missed or deliberately ignored this basic scientific fact is astounding. This leaves room to suggest that the evident personal conflict of interest in this case trumped the public interest. The fact that the Maldives Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also failed to act on this fundamental fact by approving the airport EIA is indicative of monumental regulatory failures. These failures highlight the political realities that make unchecked ecocide actively endorsed and normative in the Maldives. The complete absence of accountability and professional due diligence undermines the ecological and human security, and therefore, the present and future stability of the country.

Ecocide as Achievement for Political Expedience

This brings me back to the case of Faresmaathodaa Airport. It is not lost to the Maldivian people that Faresmaathodaa is the home island of the incumbent Minister for National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure, Mohamed Aslam. Similar to Mr Saleem MP for Hoarafushi, he also has a professional history of producing EIAs. Prior to his current cabinet post, Mr Aslam, who holds a BSc in Geological Oceanography, held the position of director at the EIA consultancy company La Mer. There, he was personally involved in the production of the EIA to construct a causeway between the islands of Madaveli and Hoadedhdhoo in Gaaf Dhaal atoll, in 2016. This project was also commissioned to MTCC Plc, and have proved to be an ongoing, financially wasteful and catastrophic ecocide project since 2012. This history has relevance to the kind of decision-making we see by these politicians.

The Faresmaathodaa Airport project plans pre-date the current administration. The opportunity to prevent the loss of environmental stability of 6 islands and their surrounding natural defences and assets was available to this government. President Solih’s government and his cabinet in which Mr Aslam sits, chose not to do that. They chose to commit willful ecocide in this case, as in several others, continuing to gaslight the public and attempt to package these acts of destruction and irreversible losses as achievements.

As long as political decision-makers in influential positions are allowed to exploit public finances and environmental assets for personal political expedience, the Maldives vulnerability to climate disasters will continue to spiral. High level officials including the President, members of his Cabinet and their partners in the Peoples’ Majlis continue to celebrate ecocide as achievement in the Maldives. This stands in absolute and stark contrast to the narrative of vulnerability to climate change these same public officials attempt to sell, especially internationally. Their gross professional misconduct and failure to uphold legal and public duty should be understood as that.

This article, with its accompanying images, was first published on 19 March 2023 on SaveMaldives.net Click here to visit the original article and sign the petition #SaveAddu Biosphere Reserve. Re-posted here with author’s permission.

Image 1: Kulhudhuffushi before the Airport Ecocide 📷 Save Maldives campaign, Image 2: Faresmaathodaa (2011 – 2022) 📷 Google Earth, Image 3: Kulhudhuffushi (2006 – 2022) 📷 Google Earth, Image 4: Hoarafushi (2016 – 2022) 📷 Google Earth

Maldives : Climate Doublespeak and The Great Deformation

Humay Abdulghafoor

Maldives is sinking – a nation in peril!

Maldives is climate vulnerable – fighting for survival on the frontline of climate change!

Maldives faces climate disaster dangerously on the brink of an existential crisis!

Maldives has no higher ground to climb to save its people!

Maldives has declared a national climate emergency!

Maldives calls to make ecocide a crime at the international criminal court!

Maldives enacts a climate emergency law!

Maldives represents climate ambition at the Climate Vulnerability Forum!

Maldives pleads to be “saved” at the UN FCCC COP, vociferously and incessantly every year without fail, trying “to be heard” by the world.

Maldives is a leading voice of the at risk AOSIS and the sinking SIDS!!

Maldives continues to tell the world about its existential crisis, a situation not of its own making, but created by “developed” nations and the great carbon emitters of the world, declaring : “We are paying with our lives for the carbon someone else emitted.”[1]

Make no mistake, stated “climate champion” of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed: “If we do not act now we will lose our coral reefs, we will lose our beaches, and I’m sure tomorrow it will be you.”[2] 

One would imagine that the Maldives, this unique earthly paradise pleading to the world to be saved from climate disaster will join any effort to save itself. 

That would be the logical action of anyone teetering on the brink of an existential threat.

But not the Maldives.

Self-identifying as unique in every way, including its millennia long history, culture, identity and its centuries old 100% Muslimness and great sense of absolute piety, Maldives finds itself unable to tell the glaring truth about itself, to itself. Instead, the country indulges in climate doublespeak internationally while dredging itself into its own early grave.

The leadership of Maldives, starting with the country’s apparently immortal leader Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom, with his style of “development” of the country has always left a trail of irreparable damage to natural heritage and  ecosystems. His successors have followed him.  Each as destructive as the other, at the same time imploring the international community to take urgent action to save the Maldives.

Addressing the UN General Assembly in October 1987, a few months after a devastating wave surge caused significant damage to the Maldives in April that year, Gayyoom said, “we in the Maldives have seen and lived through grim experiences which could be the indicators of the dire consequences of global environmental change provoked and aggravated by man.[3]  In his wisdom, Gayyoom left a legacy of reclamation and destruction of pristine reefs and lagoons, destroying these natural defences as development solutions in his imperiled nation.  Seventeen years later, the December 2004 Asian Tsunami provided ample proof of the power of the Maldives reefs, mangroves and other natural coastal ecosystems to protect the country from climate events. These ecosystems effectively took the full force of the tsunami that blasted at its shores without warning at 500km/hour at “the speed of a jet plane” that December morning, saving countless lives and reducing the death toll.

Gayyoom is the great leader that “developed” Male’, the world’s most congested city slum to the ocean edges of its reef, exposing this low-lying capital city to climate disaster.  He is also the leader that created several other zones of ecocide, including the now infamous Thilafushi apocalyptic waste dump and toxic bomb on a once pristine reef, off the south-western coast of Male’.  Thilafushi is a disaster that has been oozing pollution, contaminating the ocean and its associated marine and human food-chains for decades. He also embarked on an allegedly “safe island” created by destroying another large pristine living coral reef system north-east of Male’, gobbling up nearby Farukolhufushi island in its wake.  Gayyoom, dubbed “a man for all islands” is the indisputable forebearer of the great deformation and distortion of the natural environment of the Maldives.

In 2008, President Nasheed replaced Gayyoom. The Island President outperformed Gayyoom’s rhetoric and doublespeak to tell the world about the Maldives’ vulnerability to global climate change disaster.  He rapidly rose to “climate champion” fame by holding an under-water cabinet meeting, to visually explain how Maldives could well become the next Atlantis.  He too became a leader of the great deformation, embarking on reclamation projects that made Gayyoom’s look like “sixth form projects”.[4]  Across the country, Nasheed launched a campaign of ecosystem degradation and decimation fueled by a political rhetoric of housing need and grand infrastructure developments that left communities bereft of their natural coastal defences.  Global dredging companies were handed multi-million dollar contracts from public debt, and mobilised quickly for “development”.  These trans-national companies happily destroyed the natural reefs and other coastal defences of communities. The communities, led by their saviour-politicians, seemingly unaware of the role these ecosystems played in their survival in the Indian Ocean. The two-millennia long historical indigenous knowledge of human settlement and survival in the ocean archipelago had become forgotten history.

Yameen Abdul Gayyoom arrived in 2013, embarking on an even grander scale of ecosystem degradation – simply because he was the President and he can, so he did. This particular Gayyoom enjoyed the services of trans-national dredging company Van Oord that decimated Maldives during the global coral bleaching peak year of 2016, “with care”, and impunity.  While the coral reefs bleached to near complete loss across the country, dredgers conducted funeral rites by allegedly conducting reclamation over a 600km project footprint, giving the reefs no chance, let alone to recover.  President Yameen is globally known for his involvement in Stealing Paradise, a corruption scandal of a magnitude thus far not documented in such detail in the Maldives. This Theft of Maldives is reported to have involved the liberal, generous – and criminal – distribution of reefs and lagoons to the easiest bidder who wanted a piece of paradise, intent to create money selling paradise, mostly by creating artificial islands requiring intensive reclamation, loss and damage.  Examples of these abound in North Male’ Atoll, with the involvement of global names such as the Waldorf Astoria. This wave of deformation of Maldives has transformed the visual natural beauty of the country to something unrecognisably ugly and unworthy of the label, “paradise”. The erased marine biodiversity and habitat loss is out of sight and out of mind, while resort developers busily green-washed their artificial dead zones.

Not satisfied with the nationwide acts of ecocide by global dredging companies like BoskalisMT Højgaard and Van Oord, President Yameen chose to invest in the country’s very own wrecking machine, a suction hopper dredger baptised “Mahaa Jarraafaa”, received from China in 2017 with great fanfare.  Its first victim was the island of Kulhudhuffushi in Haa Dhaal Atoll which is one of the largest such ecosystems in the country. The island lost its climate resilience to an airstrip, dispossessing sustainable community livelihoods of hundreds of families in the project’s wake.  The tarmac was laid in the middle of its ancient white-mud wetland and mangroves which made up the island’s groundwater recharge, flood-water drainage and climate defence systems. The island just happens to be the largest urban centre in the north of the country, located in a “tsunami high risk” zone.[5]  Kulhudhuffushi now experiences increased flooding and damage to property on a regular basis.  Civil society calls to conserve the wetland’s remaining part continue to be ignored. This case exemplifies the depth of (dis)regard for the Maldives’ climate vulnerability expressed by its climate-champion leadership over the decades. As reef systems were blasted and macerated by machines, the Maldives trembled under the pressures of dredging developments.  Young Maldivian blogger Yameen Rasheed (brutally murdered for his courage to express his thoughts) left us this satirical yet apt observation in his blog The Daily Panic in 2016. “Deriving perverse pleasure from blowing up a ten-thousand year old coral reef may seem excessively pornographic. But when accompanied by tea and refreshments, it is a downright adventure.”  

The impunity with which ecological damage was done in Yameen Gayyoom’s administration continued unhindered, following the election of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in 2018.  This latest island president is content with the ecosystem degradation inflicted by unchecked reclamation.  The administration engages in patchy public relations activities at opportune moments to ‘protect the environment’.  Declarations are made protecting specific areas, while advocating a policy of protecting “one island, one reef and one mangrove” in each of the 20 atolls in the country, which is closer to public mockery than public policy!  Not to be outdone by his climate champion predecessors, President Solih is yet another saviour who gives his own ghost-written speeches about the government’s desire to save the country’s natural beauty.  Speaking at the opening of the parliament in 2019, he said:  “To preserve the tropical beauty of the Maldives and safeguard the archipelagic nature of our island nation, the Government will give special priority to protecting our natural environment.”[6]

Exhibiting his definition of environmental protection, President Solih’s 3+ year administration has engaged the services of the long-established Maldives State owned enterprise (SoE) MTCC Plc to wreak havoc on the country’s natural environment.  The company celebrates its business of irreversibly undermining the climate resilience of communities as a matter of national pride.  Like other disaster-capitalist ventures, MTCC boasted record profits at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, a trend which continues in 2022, making the President giddy with a sense of achievement and calling the company a “role model”.  What the narrative conveniently sets aside is the inconvenient truths of the irreparable harm MTCC has been consistently unleashing on the country, the actual cost of which is never counted or accounted.  These projects generate repeat business, as they leave the people of Maldives wide open and exposed to climate disasters that have to be rectified with more unsustainable remedial projects from public debt.  President Solih is the current climate-champion of the Maldives giving his full commitment to the great deformation of the Maldives.   His government is forging ahead with another record-breaking project that threatens to destroy over 2km of coral reef ecosystems impacting marine wildlife and habitat including several marine protected areas.  This is the government’s wonder-project, the Gulhifalhu Port Development project, contracted to Boskalis Westminster without a bid in 2019. The project is facing civil litigation in court at the moment.  The latest in the continuing acts of State sponsored ecocide is the sudden and ad-hoc initiation of a multi-million-dollar reclamation project to join Shaviyani Atoll Komandoo with its neighbouring island Mathikomandoo, on the eve of a parliamentary bi-election.  The climate resilience of this already destroyed island and its people is the last thing on the leader’s mind if at all, the priority being the parliamentary seat at stake.

A notable attribute of successive Presidents at the helm of the Maldives’ great deformation is the complete lack of interest to assess the damage they inflict on the country’s finite coral reef ecosystems, as they indulge in their doublespeak at international fora.  Maldives shows no interest to study its own ecosystem degradation, loss and damage, but stand eager to lead the call for others to act and provide funds to climate vulnerable nations, notably to itself.  Maldivian governments act entitled to such funds, with no semblance of accountability for its own self-inflicted destruction, evidence of which is collected and studied mostly by those outside the country.  This complete disregard to the realities of science is the real death-knell to the Maldives.

As the UN Secretary General announced “Code Red for humanity” and the UN IPCC heralds a bleak future for nations on the frontline of climate change, the Maldives is set to arrive at that place of irreparable environmental doom by expediting that horror on itself before the global climate systems do.  The Maldives is wilfully tipping itself into the climate crisis.  The climate champions of the Maldives are in fact, irreverent self-harmers, killing the nation’s own lifelines and immune system to sustain their immediate political and business greed, at the expense of the country and people they are elected to govern.

Maldives is being sunk by its “climate-champion” politicians.

[1] Comments by former Maldives’ President, Mohamed Nasheed, the CVF’s Ambassador for Ambition, following the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, The Climate Vulnerability Forum, [undated – circa August 2021], https://thecvf.org/our-voice/statements/president-nasheed-remarks-on-ipcc-ar6-wg1-report/

[2] Lecture by His Excellency President Mohamed Nasheed, at Freie Universiate [sic] Berlin, The President’s Office – Maldives, 11 March 2010, https://presidency.gov.mv/Press/Article/22422

[3] Address by His Excellency Mr Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives, before the Forty Second Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the Special Debate on Environment and Development, 19 October 1987, Friends of Maldives (web archive), http://papers.risingsea.net/Maldives/Gayoom_speech.html

[4] Words used by President Nasheed at a stakeholder function in Male’ describing coral regeneration projects in Maldives 

[5] Detailed Island Risk and Vulnerability Assessment, HDh Kulhudhuffushi, Ryan Pvt Ltd / Ministry of Energey and Environment, November 2013

[6] Unofficial translation of the presidential address, 2019, The President’s Office – Maldives, 7 February 2019, https://presidency.gov.mv/Press/Article/20617

About the author: Humay is a concerned citizen trying to raise awareness about unchecked environmental degradation in the Maldives. She is a volunteer for the Save Maldives Campaign www.savemaldives.net @SaveMaldivesMV

First they came for Faafu III

by Azra Naseem

3. Muizzing Maldives

Yesterday, from The Guardian, Dhivehin finally learned what the government has in store for the Maldives. The publication ended weeks of speculation as to what Dear Leader Yameen has been planning for us ever since he got up close and personal with the unscrupulous and filthy rich Saudi royal family.

Oh, he dropped many hints: what is coming will change the very map of Maldives; it will be larger than your [little raffushu] imaginations; it will be development like no one has ever seen; it will make Maldives the envy of the world.

But he stopped just short of telling people what exactly it is. Because people’s reaction may endanger the deal. Maldivians cannot be trusted with the great plans he has for the Maldives.

But yesterday, through The Guardian, Yameen’s cabal finally chose to reveal details of what is to happen: residents are to be relocated to larger atolls, ‘leaving smaller islands ripe for development.’

Thousands of years old island way of life, sustainable development, living with the fragile environment, looking after the astounding natural beauty of the country for future generations—fuck all that. That’s airy-fairy arty-farty New Age hippie bullshit. Solar power, carbon neutrality? Pfft. Who has that kind of time to waste?

“We want to bring better living conditions to the whole country over a small period of time,” housing minister Mohamed Muizzu tells The Guardian.

This is the same Minister, whose unplanned haste to ‘bring development’ to Male’ has led to so many disastrous undertakings that people now say ‘That’s Muizzed” to describe projects–often work that don’t need doing, to fix something that isn’t broken–that become ever messier with each vain attempt to get it right at an ever increasing cost.

So here they are, these members of the kakistocracy ruling Maldives who– knowing so much what the people should want for themselves regardless of what they actually do–are ready to usher in what they call super development: geo-engineered artificial islands built as super-resorts, six-star hotels, high-end housing, high-tech centres, economic free-zones and foreign universities…all for ‘the global elite’, of course.

Meanwhile, the people of Maldives—the very people who have been excluded from the billions earned from 20 years of high-end tourism—will be relocated from their too-small-to-live-on-islands onto the so-called Greater Male’ Area where acres and acres of land is being reclaimed from the sea for this very purpose.

There they will live happily ever after in purpose built high-rises with running water, garbage bins, and plumbed toilets to shit in. Hip-hip-hurrah!

They will, of course, go to the same schools bursting at the seams as now, will be taught by the same barely qualified teachers, will work in the same dead-end jobs in the vast behemoth that is the civil service, or will clean hotel rooms and be bare-chested butlers in sarongs bowing deeply to provide the super-rich with ‘the authentic Maldivian experience’ as they sip their US$100 cocktails.

But, never mind. There will be plumbing at home.

Dhivehin shouldn’t expect much more. Their numbers are just too small for their existence to make any economic sense. What would be really economically viable would be to annihilate them, but then even the super-rich may balk at investing in real estate straight after a genocide. They’d wait at least one or two years; and time is money.

Once the plan is realised, number of visitors to the Maldives will increase from 1.3 million (over three times the population) to more than seven million within ten years (over 18 times the population). The Marine Research Centre—yes, the Marine Research Centre, which you’d think is looking out for the country’s natural resources—thinks this is a marvellous idea. In fact, according to Director Shiham Adam, it could be what saves the Maldives.

“People are investing huge amounts of money. They are not idiots,” says this very brainy scientist. “You can build an island in four weeks with suction dredgers”.

It would be absolute idiocy to think that this causes any damage to the environment; that it will kill the marine life, lead to erosion, destroy beaches, and shrink the entire land mass of the Maldives drastically. According to Shiham, all the existing resorts are just lovely little ‘mini marine reserves’, and there’s no reason (except science, which you don’t really need to consider when time is of the essence) to think the reclaimed super resorts would be any different.

What about sea-level rise that could put 75% of the Maldives underwater by 2100?

‘That’s not going to happen next year,’ says the director of marine research.

What does not happen before Yameen’s election in 2018, and 2023—or in his lifetime—should not concern us. That’s for the future. “We have immediate needs.’ And fulfil them these geniuses will. To hell with future generations, it’s not like they even exist.

This is what is ‘good for the people’, says Muizzu. He knows. That should be enough.

Let us all courtesy collectively to King Salman when he arrives, and pray that his rule over us would be as kind as it is over the people of Saudi Arabia, that he will consider our children with as much love as he does the children of Yemen. Let us all raise our hands in supplication to Yameen, our Saviour, for his Great Economic Vision. Let us all say thank you to all the super-rich billionaires and multinationals who are coming to save us from our inconsequential little lives in the shitty little ‘Indian ocean backwater’ called Maldives that so many people have mistakenly viewed as paradise on earth for so many centuries.


First they came for Faafu I : Of Kings and Pawns

First they came for Faafu II : Of Myths and Monsters