Sunday, January 30, 2011

End the tyranny

The recent uprising in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere shows what happens to people when they are oppressed for so long. It is a natural human urge to be free, and this freedom is a basic fundamental right. Whether this be civil, political, religious, economic, freedom underlies the very essence of being a human.

It is very fortunate that Maldivians have been able to topple a 30 year dictatorship without resorting to such a revolution. However, we Maldivians have a very long way to go to establish what amounts to basic rights.

We have achieved political freedom, ie the right to elect our leader and representatives.

We have made progress in civil freedoms by having free press and media (relative to what was before).

We are making steps towards more economic freedom by abolishing special privileges (tuna export and tourism oligopoly), replacing regressive taxes with flat taxes (out goes import duty, and comes 15% flat profit tax).

We have not made progress in establishing religious freedom. There is a tyranny by majority when it comes to religious freedom. It is very true that majority (or even 95%) of Maldivians are muslims, but that gives absolutely no ground for oppression of the minorities.

Lets put it this way. If we do accept that having the right to choose one's religion is a fundamental right, that right should be protected for all humans, irrespective of what religion they choose (or not choose), or how many of them there are. Them having few in number is completely irrelevant.

If such minorities are oppressed, it is not a question of if, but a question of when will they have their own Jasmine Revolution to free themselves from the shackles of such tyranny.