Human Rights lawyer Amal Clooney was on Meet the Press on Sunday to discuss the Maldives…not a usual topic for the Sunday morning talk shows. I found the segment fascinating and encourage you to watch it in its entirety–
What really made me stop and think was her statement that, “If you’re a woman lying on a beach in the Maldives, you might want to know that a kilometer away, another woman is being flogged.”
I have traveled to 127 countries including many with absolutely deplorable human rights records. I am a believer that it is best to see things firsthand and formulate my own opinions, but I can respect those who refuse to set foot in a country like the Maldives.
Every country is guilty of hypocrisy in some vein, but I cannot help but return to the alcohol issue on the Maldives and the hypocrisy surrounding it. Alcohol is forbidden ostensibly because its consumption violates the clear teaching of the Quran and the Maldives styles itself as an Islamic nation. Fine. But the Maldives is also highly-dependent upon tourism for its very survival, thus it issues permits to resorts so that they are able to import and serve alcohol. Women who are “immodestly” dressed are welcomed on resorts but beaten on other islands. Gay people are also welcomed…as long as it is on the right island.
That sounds like the Roman Catholic church selling indulgences for personal profit to me, a highly spurious (and now abanonded) practice that monetizes the very “sin” it purports to be the guardian over.
Alcohol was one of my brief forays into Maldivian law, but the wider political situation in the Maldives is cause for greater concern and while I would not let that stop you from visiting, you should know what is going on beyond the white sand and clear waters.