Monday, April 13, 2009

Can DRP Unite the Country?


As articulated by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, DRP’s main election promise this time is to unite the country politically and religiously. This is one promise that is unlikely to be fulfilled even if the DRP-PA alliance gets all the seats in the Majlis. We are not talking here about the capability of the alliance, but the impossible nature of achieving social unity, a task no country has achieved in modern times.

In fact developed countries have realized the impossibility of achieving such unity and have adopted a policy of multi-culturalism long ago. The policy involves accepting the differences between various groups and tolerating them.

It’s not actually very difficult to understand why unity cannot be achieved in an information age. When one knows a subject one is likely to have opinions on various aspects of the subject. The more one knows the subject, the stronger his opinions are likely to be. Further, strong opinions are likely to clash. It is such clash of opinions that results in factionalism.

In the Maldives case, religious factionalism started with increased religious awareness created over the last three decades. Religious awareness is still increasing in the Maldives, so factionalism will also keep increasing.

There is no basis for the claim that ignorance is the cause of extremism and jihadism. All academic studies on the subject reveal that jihadists are generally more educated than the average person in the community from which they come. (Recall the academic backgrounds of 9/11 hijackers.)

In the sphere of politics too, awareness is increasing in the Maldives. So political divisions are also likely to increase in the future.

Probably Maumoon himself knows that he will never be able to unite the Maldives the way it used to be. After all, when all the disunity occurred he was firmly in power. What can he do now that he couldn’t do earlier?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

presidential election showed there are 82,000 people who strongly support Maumoon. most probably they are still there. at least there is no reason in the last 5 months why they should have abandoned him. but there are also an equal or more number opposed to him. these two will never come together.

Anonymous said...

actually the dots know about the relevant portions of hadees and Quran than most mainstream shaikhs. that's why islamic ministry could not convince them. now there is no choice but to allow them to practice their ways.

Anonymous said...

with quran translation in each house now all maldivians are religious scholars. Also all people know thier rights in the constitution. so how can everybody agree on anything?

Stewie said...

We have got to bridge the differences and learn to tolerate as you mentioned. We have to start talking TO each other and not AT each other. We have to learn how to share information, not debate. I personally am against the notion of freedom of opinion. When everyone goes about preaching their opinion, i see it very destructive behavour. If we observe for instance Engineers language, they do not have opinions but rather facts. one might say this wire can hold up to 1000 kg and the other measures and goes "you're right it does". What we see today is politicians opinions or religious leaders notions on how the society should be, rather than applying science to improve it. No! Maumoon can not unite us, especially with his outdated methods. He is simply manipulating the society using religion social unity.(once again). If was sane, he should've realized by now its a failed approach.

Anonymous said...

somebody else can unite maldives not DRP. They created the problem in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Why should we want to unite. We should remain divided. We live in a pluralistic multiparty democracy.We have sunni muslims,dot muslims, Taliban(Bari brand) style muslims,christians,non beleivers. So what..

Anonymous said...

I voted for Maumoon. But now I vote for Anni. My parents taught me always support Government.

Anonymous said...

There is no "Unity" among Maldivians.

as long as you keep religion in teh middle.

We are Muslims and our religion is Islam.

what makes you think that any political party can unite the country and sing a very happy song?

Anonymous said...

"religious factionalism started with increased religious awareness created over the last three decades."

What religious awareness are you talking about here? With knowledge and strong opinions, factionalism do not necessarily has to be created. Factionalism is not created due to awareness but rather us being dull and dumb.

To curb the recent rise in religious intolerance , what we need is the knowlege of other religions such as Christianity, Hindhuism and all. Its a pity that we Maldivians do not make an effort to learn other religions. Infact, it is knowledge that binds us together. It is knowledge that makes us sane.If we did make an effort learn different religions , we would not have hated jews so much.

peace bro.. peace.

Anonymous said...

Traditionally we have been blessed with all the good ingredients essential to bring about unity.We speak the same language,there is officially one religion and no minorities in the country.However along the way and in the last thirty years things started changing.The country started sending young vibrant students for religious education to various places like pakistan and others known as hotbeds for breeding fundamentalists and terrorists.These people came back brainwashed and ready to do whatever they can to enforce their beliefs.This was happening infront of the then ruling government of Qayoom and he mostly turned a blind eye and by the time he left office these things were out of hand.Like the proverbial Genie released from the bottle.Too big for the good of any one and too difficult to control.Meanwhile the gap between the poor and rich increased further worsening the divide and now every one is witnessing the end result.To complicate matters further an immature and overzealous new government brought about political labels like Muladdu which awakened new ideas of division and hatred among the people of southern atolls who lived in harmony for generations.It is obvious that to unite all these factions and people with various religious beliefs will now be an enormous task.Sadly the immature new president himself is oblivious to all these and more interested in giving useless rhetoric and making costly and worthless and expensive foreign visits.Right now we need a tough ruler with a vision to bring about order and discipline to this country before it is too late.

meekaaku said...

I hope they fail in their 'unity' rhetoric. Uniting by its very nature goes against personal freedoms. How can you unite ppl with so vastly different views and beliefs. The way forward is tolerance and respect for others.

A unity forced upon us is no unity at all.

Stewie:
Engineers do have opinions, usually called engineering judgement. This differs from engineer to engineer.
As for social/religous/cultural issues, there is no science is there? Maybe social science or economic science can be counted?

Anonymous said...

Maldives is indeed a diverse, multicultural society comprising of;

a) Moderate Sunni Muslims
b) Moderate Hypocritical Muslims
c) Muslims by name-only Muslims
d) Moderate Sunni-Homosexual Muslims
e) Extremist Wahabbi Muslim fundamentalists
f) Hypocritical Wahabbi-wanna-be dress fundamentalists
g) Homosexual Wahabbi-Muslim Fundamentalists
h) Wahabbi-Pedophile Fundamentalists
i) Heterosexual Agnostics
j) Homosexual Agnostics
k) Atheists
l) Militant Atheists
m) Bisexual Atheists
n) Evangelical Christians
o) Christian fundamentalist
p) A Buddhist
q) Feminist-Lesbian-right activists
q) One Transgendered Moderate Muslim who alternatively covers his hair with the Burkha
r) Maumoonists
s) Environmental terrorists

*All the above groups can further sub-categorized based on their skin color, sexual orientation, and political affiliation.

Vaaf said...

Unity in a nation can be only brought about in the form of patriotism, even then there will be slight differences of views.

we cannot compare a field of study restricted to certain paths to to take as a analogy to unite the populace who have different levels of consciousness who think in all angles.

Never the less our differences would increase as the rich get richer and the few educated fortunate getting more aware and attaining a different level of conscious.

But the key is inciting a certain patriotism.

Stewie said...

@ meekaaku,

The Engineers opinions certainly would differ from those of politicians and religious leader!

Its not science as we perceive today to apply to society, but scientific methods. Carl Sagan was once quoted as saying something to the effect of "Society welcomes the gifts of science, but rejects its methods".
This is very true! what we fail to understand is that science is not just a tool... it is a near universal functionality which can be applied to society in ways many would not think about. I could not pursue the subject here!
All im saying is its time we seek a more sensible way to improve our life, social harmony. In fact the only thing that is responsible till today for the betterment of humanity which is techonology and science, not Maumoon not Anni or any religion. You are right, there can't be unity if they had to force it.

Anonymous said...

His highness Maumoon is reportedly traveling to north (probably Baa, Raa Lhaviyani) for Campaign and arranged to sleep in Five star resorts. The one calling for unity does not have balls to come to same level as the ordinary maldivians? the luxury life style and accommodation he requires on his trips to people he is promising to serve, what message does it give? he is somehow different, a higher being? why he could not stay with his state given security in the islands ordinary accommodations for once to get the taste of what its like to be an islander!
Does Anni do the same resort accommodation? if so he too is no better than Maumoon!

Anonymous said...

Is it really true that there are christians in Maldives? Then how can we unite if we do not allow Bibles in Maldives and not allow christians to worship in public and not allow building churches?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:58, for their own safety it is not a good idea to allow those things.

Anonymous said...

Maumoon likes luxury. Fortunately for him now there are enough 5 star hotels in Maldives for him to stay all over Maldives. This is partly his legacy.If he stayed on a few more years most Maldivians will enjoy the same luxury.