01 October 2007

Maldives: Trouble in paradise?

When you, my poor to moderately well-to-do reader, visit your travel agency to scrounge for a lowest price ticket to Spanish Riviera (if you are a Brit), to Cancun (if you are a US citizen) or to Cyprus (for Israelis), you are probably perusing wistfully the somewhat garishly colored booklets of more expensive resorts, like the ones on the Maldives. Tantalizing indeed.

However, the recent bombing changed the idyllic picture drastically. In many other places on our planet a humble bombing or two wouldn't create too much noise. It is different in Maldives, this tourist paradise. From Al Jazeera:

The Maldives, with a population of about 350,000, is by far the wealthiest, and most orderly, country in south Asia. About 600,000 tourists visit the country each year, accounting for one-third of its economy.
So what is troubling this singularly blessed corner of the world, you might ask? Unbelievably, the answer comes from the same Al Jazeera article:
Half the population is under 18, reasonably well-educated and with few prospects for good jobs. Some young people have turned to drug use, while others have embraced a conservative strain of Islam that had been virtually unheard of on the islands just a few years ago.
Since the drug addicts rarely, if at all, resort to bombing, being otherwise engaged, we should obviously take a look at the "others" - those who caught that elusive virus called in journalistic lingo "conservative strain of Islam". It is hardly a coincidence that this malady precedes the first attempt at bombing, addressed at tourists, of all possible targets.
"The Maldives has never had something like this before. We are taking this very seriously because tourism is our life blood," Shareef said.
Somebody obviously wants to hurt the Maldives' economy. Destitute people are a much better fodder for extremists of all kinds than well-to-do ones. And the Maldives' life blood is in danger of being drained, quite quickly if the bombings become a habit.

Just to satisfy my curiosity: does this virulent conservative strain of Islam come with genetically built in know-how on bomb building? It seems so, since according to this, the bomb was quite sophisticated, including a cell-phone operated primer.

This case could bear watching...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.



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SnoopyTheGoon said...

Nah! You don't say! How did you get to this deep thought, Azoo?

Or is it Wazoo?

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