The Danger That the Maldives Will Drift Back Into Dictatorship
Mark Seddon is the former United Nations Correspondent and New York Bureau Chief for Al-Jazeera English TV. He reported from eighteen countries during that time, including North Korea, China, Haiti, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has interviewed, amongst others, Ban Ki-Moon, Lech Walesa, Tony Blair, Hans Blix, Michael Foot, Mia Farrow, and George Clooney. In a journalistic career spanning over twenty years, he has been Editor of Tribune and an elected member of the UK Labour Party's National Executive Committee. He has written for most British newspapers and many magazines, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Spectator, New Statesman, Private Eye, British Journalism Review and Country Life Magazine. For a number of years he was a Diarist at the London Evening Standard, and has also reported for, amongst others, the BBC and Sky TV. He lives in Buckingham, England.
When, after thirty years of authoritarian rule, a young dissident and perennial thorn in the side of the Establishment, Mohammed Nasheed won the first free and fair election in the Maldives in 2008, much of the World applauded. In the Maldives there was not so much polite applause, but out and out celebration. For the country had not been a benign authoritarianism, but a thirty year exercise in kleptocracy, grand lacerny and fear. The nation had endured the rule of President Abdul Gayoom, indulged by those who should have known better essentially because he was seen as a safe pair of hands.
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