This isn’t exactly my take on “Stealing Paradise“, the recently-released Al Jazeera documentary that everyone in the Maldives is talking about. At this point I’m not exactly sure what to make of it, although I will say that I felt kind of violated after watching it (and I’m not even in the country). The optimist in me is hoping that some good will come out of it, and the misanthrope/sadist in me is hoping that the good will only come after a period of violence and bloodshed (yes, I’m evil like that).
In this post, I will focus on one aspect of the web of corruption that the documentary talks about, which is that of selling out the country. This has been going on for a while now. I kind of knew about it, but not in great detail. The documentary really shed some light on just how bad things are.
Basically, what’s been happening is that corrupt politicians have been selling off islands (and even lagoons) to resort developers willy-nilly, with pretty much none of the money benefiting us plebs.
While this, by itself, is cause for outrage, what’s worse is that these corrupt politicians are bad at being corrupt.
A Lesson in Corruption
If the first rule of money is “never use your own”, the second rule is “you can never have enough”. It is this second rule which the corrupt politicians have broken.
The documentary specifically mentions the island of Maagau, which they say could easily fetch $10 million, if they had gone through a proper bidding process. However, the government only got around $2.5 million.
I’m going to use a metaphor now.
The Maldivian islands are prostitutes. Anyone who makes money by selling the islands’ beauty (be they a corrupt politician or a resort owner) is a pimp. Tourists are the clients (but they’re not important right now).
What the boss pimps are doing is giving away their best working girls (the virgins – everyone knows how valuable they are) to other foreign pimps at criminally low prices. Anyone with a basic understanding of anything should see why this is so stupid (and keep in mind the second rule of money).
Back to the case of Maagau. What they should have done is go through the proper legal bidding process, possibly artificially raise the price a bit (everyone does it; and this is a high end lady we’re talking about here, not some trashy $2 ho), and THEN siphon off the money.
The boss pimps can take their share, the banker pimps can take their share, the industry pimps can take their share, the gang pimps can take their share, and there will still be enough money left to improve the plebs’ standard of living.
Maldives is a small country. If we’re going to be corrupt, we should be corrupt together. There are other countries which do it really well.
In All Seriousness…
Jokes aside (and if it wasn’t obvious, I wasn’t being serious), things are bad. I’m not sure whether I should give up all hope now or wait a little bit longer.