Maldives is a country that has been on my radar since my first visit to the atoll nation several years ago. I've been closely watching the developments in Male since February 7, when President Nasheed was ousted from power by what he calls a "military coup."
The surge of women protest groups has been one of the most interesting and inspiring occurrences the past month. In this Muslim nation, these women have banded together to voice their discontent with the coup, even being dealt with unnecessary force by local police (the police brutality against protesters in Male has been constantly brought up by human rights activists).
One of the most surprising details to surface this week was the unlikely position of current President Waheed Hassan's brother, Naushad Waheed, who lives in the UK. Apparently Naushad is "so upset over developments that he has taken to the streets of London to distribute antigovernment leaflets."
Of his brother, Naushad states that "He believes that he is serving his country as the leader of a legitimate government, but I do not agree with him. The new government I believe is guilty of committing human rights abuses against the opposition."
During the last few years, it seemed that the Maldives as a nation was ready to pursue a path to progress. It became a democracy, flourished with foreign investments and high tourism growth, and was pushing for global climate change education. (Some of its low-lying islands are already submerged due to climate change.) With the unfortunate chaos that consumed the capital earlier this year, it's up to the traditionally unpolitical local women's groups and people close to those in power (like Naushad in London) to strive for the continued efforts of the past few years.
With all of this KONY talk buzzing online, it's disappointing that the developments in the Maldives -- which some account as the precursor to the Arab Spring -- has made relatively little headway in global communications.
Hopefully the new documentary film The Island President will put more of this small yet geopolitically-important country in our international conversation.