10 March 2007
Mariya Didi is the tall unveiled lady in
the centre facing Secretary Rice
On 7 March 2007, the United States
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice inaugurated the Secretary's
International Women of Courage Award.
Ten Women from Afghanistan, Argentina, Indonesia, Iraq, the Maldives,
Latvia, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe received the award this year.
Through this annual award the United States honours the courage
of extraordinary women worldwide who have played transformational
roles in their societies.
According to the State Department, achieving the United States'
mission of advancing democracy, prosperity and security worldwide
is not possible without the empowerment of women. If women cannot
participate in the political process, there can be no real democracy.
If women were deprived of economic opportunity, development is crippled.
If women were not educated, they cannot pass knowledge to their
children and there is no true security for the next generation.
In its citation conferring the award to Miss Mariya Didi of the
Maldives, The State Department stated that:
“In a Muslim country
making an arduous transition to a democratic system of government,
Ms. Mariya Ahmed Didi is one of six women in the 50-member parliament,
and one of only two elected women (the other four were appointed
by the president). Ms. Didi organized the first-ever women's rights
rally in Maldives in March 2006, in response to plain clothes
police arresting a female activist from her home late at night.
Ms. Didi has faced physical harrassment [sic], and arrest. She
remains tireless and tenacious in her efforts in a political scene
dominated by men. She serves as a role model for a nation full
of young women just beginning to become active in politics.”
State Department's citation overlooks to mention Miss Didi's
political party the MDP, even thought at least one web site
affiliated with that party seems to be assigning credit
to the party. The British-based Dhivehi Observer
appears to be congratulating MDP for Miss Didi's award.
In a direct affront to civilised norms, the opposition MDP,
like the Maldive government, has a written commitment to
violating article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights that relates to freedom of religion.
We hope that Miss Didi does not subscribe to this policy
of her party. The Maldives is a state party to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Our contact within MDP and Dhivehi Observer insists
that MDP deserves credit as the party gave Mariya her "platform".
This is not necessarily true as she was elected to parliament
as an independent and joined the party much later. Her family
had the "platform" for centuries.
This web site congratulates Mariya
for this outstanding personal recognition from the citadel of virtue,
the United States.
Many of the recipients of the
award were from countries, including the Maldives, where traditionally
women enjoyed greater freedom compared to what they do now. For
example in the Maldives, until 1953, women had the right to become
the head of state. As the the traditional matriarchal society crumbled
under the weight of Islam and its chauvinistic mullahs, women gradually
lost their rights, beginning in the early 20th century.
Right now, the mullahs who take orders from Islamic centres such
as Medina, Jamia Salafia Islamia in Pakistan and Universiti
Islam Antarabangsa Kampus Gombak in Malaysia appear to be winning
in their unrelenting campaign to force and coerce Maldive women
into the obnoxious burugaa veil also known as hijab. In
countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and to some extent Indonesia,
many women these days have acid thrown at them in order to force
others to submit to the burugaa. It is interesting to note that
many of the recipients of the honour are from countries where women
have already given in to the acid. According
to Mohamed, a woman has ten genitalia. When she gets married, her
husband covers one, and when she dies her grave covers the ten.
(see Kanz-el-Ummal, volume 22, Hadith No. 858
and Ihya Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-Elmeyah,
Beirut, volume II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 65)
We commend Miss Didi for not insulting her distinguished female
ancestors by succumbing to this ghastly head dress instituted to
help perverted men keep
their private parts under their dishdashah
robes. She is truly patriotic in this regard, unlike many of her
contemporary female compatriots who have sold out to the colonialist
Miss Didi told Jane Morse of USINFO that she has been denounced
by Islamic critics as a “messenger from the Pope”. Christianity
is currently the ultimate anathema in the Maldives. While the Maldive
media routinely accuses the United States military of defiling the
Koran, the Maldive authorities do the same to Christian scriptures.
The Maldives has a ban on religions other than Islam and routinely
jams Divehi language Christian broadcasts. It also confiscates and
defiles Divehi language Bibles and crucifixes in addition to Buddhist
and Hindu sacred imagery.
Miss Didi hails from two aristocratic families from Malé,
the Kakaage and the Henveyruge that have been at the forefront of
Maldive politics continuously over the last several centuries. The
Kakaage family is noted for its strong ladies who were known to
display outstanding mettle, particularly in times of national and
family crisis. The family also carries an enduring reputation through
the centuries for producing honest and able public servants who
abhorred corruption; they would rather give up public office than
aggrandise themselves at the expense of the public purse. The editor
of this web site is both proud and humbled to be associated with
Mariya’s noble family through his marriage.
Well done, Miss Didi and keep up the good work! God Bless America!
Not a burugaa in sight! The Kakaage extended family on 1 January
the day Maldive women lost their centuries-old right to be head
Mariya's father Tuttu Ahmed Didi is in the back row, 5th from left.
Her eldest sister Anvarie is in the front row, 4th from left.
In this traditional family, seniority derived from age rather than
rebuke Mariya Didi
24 March 2007
We understand that the Maldive mullahs are extremely
upset about the International Women of Courage Award. An article
in an anonymous web site (these anonymous fanatics are invariably
cowardly unless strapped with sticks of gelignite) called koimala.com
on 22 March, described Mariya Didi and several other Maldive opposition
women activists as "lumps of excrement" for their alleged anti-Islamic
sentiments. The Divehi language article went on:
"Look at the 'women's
courage award' [sic] recently given by the American State Department
to women in Islamic nations who are noted for their antagonism
against Islam. This award is made as part of a hostile conspiracy
to eradicate Islam from the world. Having made the award to Mariya
from the Maldives, ask her what she has done in terms of women's
rights! It is evident from the statement by the American State
Department that the reason why she received the award was her
remarks about the increasing number of religious extremists and
her campaign against learned men's call for women to wear the
burqa in this country. In her interview with the BBC,
Mariya displayed her opposition to Islamic education.
This typically ad hominem outburst from
the mullahs came in the wake of a Divehi language article by an
MDP official in Minvan Daily on 20 March. Under the title
women germs that spread social disease? the article
questions Islam's requirement for women to wear the obnoxious hijab
also known as burqa.
It is interesting that in spite of its Islamic stance, koimala.com
uses the Gregorian calendar in the Christian era. That is likely
to be an inadvertent admission of the well-known shortcomings of
Some analysts allege that the web site koimala.com is run by one
of several rival clans within the ruling Maldivian People’s
Party (DRP). Most of these clans are led by prominent blood relatives
or in-laws of the Maldive president of the republic. A Maldive political
scientist who contacts us said that it is possible that the burugaa
article was a set up by one or more of these ruling factions to
deflect attention from the Buddha
statue erected on a Maldive tourist island by a British
tycoon with the apparent blessing of the Maldive authorities. The
obvious question that follows from this assertion is how a Maldive
ruling faction persuade a prominent opposition activist to create
a convenient red herring.