Maldives 2: Conflict in context


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Although it’s a natural inclination (due in large part to our exceedingly safe and sterile lives here in North America) to shy away from even the slightest hint of conflict, I’m finding it an interesting process to flesh out the details of the recent bombing in the Maldives. The silver lining appears to be that this event has become a rare source of agreement (or at least conversation) between the incumbent government and the opposition, as the individuals responsible for the event are arrested. The bomb was a rather dirty one, packed full of nails, and aimed at Western tourists. Two British citizens were the most severely injured, but by all accounts are slowly recuperating.

Given the massive reliance (admittedly with questionable levels of downward trickling) on tourism in the Maldives, the country has been understandably quick to crack down on hints of Islamic extremism. So, keeping in mind the historical tendency of the incumbent government (ahem… ‘incumbent’ for nearly 30 years) to respond rather negatively to pro-democracy movements and human rights protests in the past, one hopes that this recent act will not fuel further abuses. I suppose we shall see in t-minus four days.

So, next week we will enter discussions on human rights (no irony lost here) and climate change, in the company of 40-odd foreign ministers and deputy foreign ministers from a host of small island states threatened by sea level rise and other such dire climate change impacts. Meanwhile, I will hopefully have the chance to survey some of the affected islands, and explore the unparalleled coral reefs that encircle the atolls.

More to come in coming weeks,


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A wildly interdisciplinary path has led Sarah to pursue her PhD through UBC's Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. She gets riled about climate change, development, and equity issues, and any reference to P_ris Hi_ton. In her spare time, she cares for her rabbit (Stew) and composes self-congratulatory bios. (Sarah's intro post can be found here)