Monday, November 23, 2009

I want my rights, but I wont give yours

The recent bill to outlaw places of worship for non-Muslims infringes on the fundamental rights of a large portion of the expatriate population in Maldives. It goes to show the lack of tolerance and respect for people who do not think the same as we do.

We are ok to invite them with job offers because we derive an economic benefit.

We are ok to invite them to our beautiful islands because we derive an economic benefit.

We are ok to sell them alcohol because we derive an economic benefit.
We are ok to go to their countries for our holidays and medical treatments because we are benefiting.

We are ok to watch their TV and movies and subject ourselves to the cultural/religious influence because we like the entertainment.

We are ok to study in their medium and their universities and pass in their exams because it betters ourselves.

But when it comes to their fundamental rights, we are not ok because we don't like it. We come up with all sorts of excuses of cultural/religious disharmony, etc etc. Is harmony achieved by denying the rights of people? Those who support the ban are probably the ones who would first yell 'freedom of religion' if and when non-Muslims wield much power over their rights. Or do they not believe that freedom of religion is a fundamental right?

We have thrown away the tyranny by dictator and replaced it with tyranny by majority.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Freemarket or Corporatocracy?

Recently, the famed econometrician John Perkins was interviwed on DemocracyNow!. The interview was about his new book. Also he talks about his previous book titled "Confessions of an Economic Hitman".

In his Hitman book, he describes himself as an 'Economic Hitman (EHM)'. These EHMs were hired to lure third-world countries into huge loans that they would never be able to repay. They went in to pursuade the third world leaders of the benifits of huge infrastructure projects. The projects were then financed by the international financial institutions such as World Bank or IMF. Obviously, the loans comes with conditions so that the contracts itself is awarded to American or European corporations. Not that IMF/WB don't give productive loans and good advice sometimes, they sure do.

It is no wonder then that these corporations make immense profits from the loans given to the recipient countries. Developed countries tax their citizens and give this money to the financial institutions, who in turn funnel this money to the powerful corporations in the developed countries. The third world country is then forever put in debt.

I sometimes wonder why some people condemn these problems as a problem of free-market capitalism. As far as I can see, it is these powerful governments who fund these institutions. Only with their backing and funding (taxed from their own citizens), can these institutions survive. The corporations have influential lobbyists making sure this money is funnelled into their coffers via 'aid'. This is pure corporatocracy. Social welfare for the politically connected!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The powers of the military

A recent article on DO, which towards the end states that
"...the military is ready to confront and solve any terrorism activities within the country, affirmed the Vice-Chief of MNDF"
Are they really ready to confront any terrorist activities. If so what kind of powers do the military have in combating such activities. Do we know what the capacities and limits of the military/police are when it comes to combating them?

Do they have broad powers to spy on citizens in the name of fighting the terrorists? Are they allowed to torture them? Maybe they are labeled 'enemy combatants' and denied due process. The activities of the military need to be put in the open and discussed at the Majlis level. There powers should be clearly defined and limited. Or are they just 'state secrets' to serve the greater good?

Talking of state secrets, it was not long ago that there was massive outrage about the discovery of the NSA's dragnet domestic surveillance program in USA. The Bush administration's use of the 'state secret' privilege to thwart the lawsuit against ATT caused much uproar seems to be forgotten. The current Obama admin is using the exact same methods to block the investigation of not only the illegal spying, but also torture and rendition too.

I am not sure whether it is even illegal to spy on citizens here in Maldives. For all we know, it might have been occurring for as long as we remember.