Saturday, March 31, 2012

Who Cares about the Maldives?

Having lived in Singapore between 1991 and 1995, I was well aware of the vulnerability to the Maldives of global warming.  Unfortunately, at that time global warming was receiving very little attention;  and the Maldives were governed by Maumoon Abdul Gayoon, a president who had secured himself in office for some time.  Thus, when opposition surfaced in the form of Mohamed Nasheed, the official response was to throw him into prison along with his dissenting views.

Eventually, however, Nasheed managed to get himself fairly elected to the presidency.  This gave him a bully pulpit for raising consciousness of the proposition that, were warming to raise sea level by only a few inches, the Maldives would cease to exist.  He is best known in the media for having held a cabinet meeting under water as a sign of what the future might bring.  He was thus one of the most forceful voices at the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009.

Well, nothing that would protect the Maldives came out of that meeting.  Then, almost as if to add insult to injury, Nasheed was removed from office by Gayoon.  As a result, business-as-usual was restored to the Maldives, including the neglect of any environmental problems, thus paralleling the outcome in Copenhagen.

Neither of these sad conclusions received much attention from the media, leading me to wonder if this was just a case in which public attention was once again being directed according to the determination of those with a stake in the production (and probably large-scale consumption) of energy.  Put another way, having Nasheed running the Maldives was as much of an “inconvenient truth” as the popularity of Gore’s documentary of the same name.  However, while the Gore documentary has faded into oblivion, Nasheed was harder to control;  so he had to be dealt with by other means, the most effective of those means being the power-wielder he had displaced.  So it is that the fate of what may be the most vulnerable nation on earth will be disposed of by Big Oil with the same efficiency applied to ruining the Gulf Coast of our own country.

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