INTERVIEWING MALDIVES PRESIDENT MOHAMED NASHEED
While at the Toronto Film Festival this year I interviewed Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed and director Jon Shenk about their climate change doc, The Island President. The film is focused entirely on Nasheed’s efforts combating climate change and greenhouse emissions, showing how his stewardship of the environmentally fragile island state can be a model for others looking to enact more progressive policies.
One question I had while watching the doc was how well his environmental activism played at home. The domestic policies of the Maldives are largely absent from the doc.
Today, reports the BBC, Nasheed has resigned amidst widespread unrest in the country. According to the news service he is under house arrest, with some claiming his ouster the result of a military coup. His environmental policies appear to have had little to do with today’s events. From the BBC:
A one-time political prisoner, Mr Nasheed became a vocal figure in office on issues relating to the environment and climate change.
But he has faced constant opposition – from those loyal to former President Gayoom and from religious conservatives who accuse him of being anti-Islamic, says the BBC’s South Asia analyst Jill McGivering.
That pressure has intensified with the prospect of fresh presidential elections, scheduled for next year. Opposition parties are jockeying for power as they try to extend their influence.
I’m planning to run my complete interview timed to the release of the film. For now, here’s an excerpt in which Nasheed discusses his collaboration with Shenk.