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Page added on March 29, 2012

Island President resonates deeply following coup: Grist magazine

The Island President film resonates all the more deeply following last month’s coup in the Maldives, writes Eban Goodstein for Grist magazine.

The story’s ending — perhaps tragic, perhaps a powerful continuation — is today unfolding in real time. The Maldives is a string of 2,000 islands off the coast of India, home to about 300,000 people. The highest point in the country is only a few feet above sea level. Until 2008, the islands had been under dictatorial rule for decades.

This is the best film dealing with global warming in years. It is a story of classical proportion: of true heroism, courage and nobility, of eloquent soliloquy, of intimate moments, and of political intrigue, compromise, and betrayal.

The film is also visually stunning. The vast blue ocean is both a serene paradise, and a powerful, threatening force, driving Nasheed’s political urgency. The Maldives capital, Malé, looks like an oasis of buildings rising out of the ocean. When asked by a reporter what was his plan B, should there be no action to slow global warming, Nasheed responds, “We will die.”

Shenk follows Nasheed in strategy sessions with his cabinet as the team seeks to leverage their moral argument as the first victims of climate change, canaries in the coal mine. Nasheed gives speeches, and makes his case with heads of states and ministers at the U.K. Parliament, at the U.N. General Assembly, in India, and finally — during the dark, crushing days of Copenhagen.

Last month, just after I screened the movie, President Nasheed was forced at gunpoint to resign from his office. Political opponents seized on the economic crisis and fundamentalists objections to Nasheed’s modernising Islam. At clear and ongoing risk to his life, Nasheed decided to remain in the country, writing, speaking, leading marches, and fighting for democracy.

And this is the enduring lesson from the movie. President Nasheed and thousands of others in the Maldives understand that their land and lives are threatened both by the rising seas, and by the corrupt politics of business as usual. They continue to fight for both democracy and climate justice, in the face of imprisonment, beating, torture, and murder.

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Comments are closed.


  • sheep: It will end with nukes uh dho
  • Ann: Dear Josh, “I want Palestinians to live peacefully just like us.” without dignity, respect and sovereignty nobody gives a shit about peace. especially...
  • cabs: Hero got his education in some madras,so he can’t comprehend-humanities,capitali sm,cooperation or coexistence, man which world are you living in...
  • Sarah: Are there any kinds of services that offer advice and support for abused children? A helpline phone number they can ring and remain anonymous or a 24hour...
  • justicelover: Just wonder when will this crap end! What cannot be understood is that people not believing in that neither Israel or Palestine is ready to stop...
  • Bitter Truth: Why the need to stick the Israeli story into this article ? Are you guys amateur journalists or what ?
  • Andrew Andreas: What we need is to see reality. Hate breeds hate. Good point Gundaa. Everyone is bowing their heads, asking for anhilation of the perpetrators of the...
  • John: Such a shame – when will the management wake up and realize that they get their salaries through the hard work of the staff at resorts – equal pay...

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Torture victims in the Maldives tell their stories